Global study finds big hurdles remain for autonomous and electric vehicles

Sept. 29, 2015
“Enthusiasm” for autonomous vehicles is limited, as is the desire to own electric vehicles, consulting firm finds.

A global survey of 65,000 consumers in 10 countries finds that only a third would be willing to use an autonomous vehicle (AV), while high sticker prices, still-limited range and lack of charging stations remain major barriers for electric vehicles (EVs) to surmount.

“OEMs face a huge communicative challenge in convincing their reluctant customers about autonomous driving,” noted Wolf-Dieter Hoppe, associate director of the automotive practice at global consulting company Arthur D. Little.

He pointed out that the firm’s Global Automotive Mobility Study discerned that consumers are “very skeptical” concerning the vehicle industry’s biggest trend, autonomous driving, especially in major markets. Little’s poll found that just 29% of respondents in the U.S. intend to use an autonomous car, while 30% “have doubts” about the technology and 40% do not consider using AVs a possibility.

Some other AV-related issues Little uncovered in its research:

  • Up to 37% consumers in the poll expressed concern about the safety of AVs – a point that needs to be addressed clearly by OEMs, the firm stressed.
  • On the plus side for AVs, Little’s study found self-driving vehicle in traffic jams is the most attractive use case of autonomous or partly autonomous vehicles, followed by highway driving.
  • Yet Little’s research also found that AVs pose “a huge threat” to public transportation modes for short distance travels.

Where EVs are concerned, Little’s poll that they currently remain unattractive for the vast majority of consumers, with the main obstacles in the way of a breakthrough still high prices (64%), limited range (53%) and an insufficient amount of charging stations (41%).

“Globally, respondents show varying importance of those particular requirements, but they are the same everywhere,” Hoppe said.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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