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One in three South East Asian consumers open to buying an electric car according to new study

One in three Southeast Asian consumers planning to buy a car are open to purchasing an electric vehicle, a study shows. The finding demonstrates the region’s strong potential to speed up the electrification of mobility. The Nissan-commissioned study by Frost & Sullivan, titled “Future of Electric Vehicles in Southeast Asia,” was released today in Singapore at Nissan Futures, a gathering of industry leaders, government officials and media.

Consumer research in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines reveals that 37 per cent of prospective buyers are open to considering an electric vehicle as their next car. Customers in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia emerged as the most enthusiastic about electric cars. With the right incentives, the region can accelerate the adoption of electric and electrified vehicles, the study shows.

At the Nissan Futures event, Nissan reiterated its commitment to driving the future of Southeast Asian mobility through its Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision for changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated with society – with the goal of moving people to a better world.

The company announced that the new, 100 per cent electric Nissan LEAF, featuring a suite of advanced technologies showcasing Nissan ingenuity, will go on sale in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand during the next fiscal year.

Safety and charging convenience

Across the region, two out of three consumers identified safety standards as the most important factor if purchasing an electric vehicle. Charging convenience was identified as the second-most important.

Contrary to common perception, cost was not a deterrent – in fact, customers surveyed were willing to pay more to own an electric vehicle, compared with a comparable conventional car. However, the study showed that lower costs would prompt more people to consider electric cars.

Three in four respondents said they were ready to switch to electric vehicles if taxes were waived. Other incentives that would sway consumers include the installation of charging stations in apartment buildings (70 per cent), priority lanes for electric vehicles (56 per cent) and free parking (53 per cent).

Significant association with electric vehicle technologies

Electric car ownership in Southeast Asia is still relatively low. Nonetheless, the survey shows that consumers are aware of differences among technologies such as battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrids and Nissan’s e-POWER vehicles. The highest association of electric vehicles is for BEVs at 83 per cent.

Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam are most evolved in their understanding with BEVs. A significant presence of full hybrids in Malaysia and Thailand skews association of EVs with hybrids.

Removing adoption barriers

While potential demand for electric vehicles is significant, adoption barriers remain, including a lack of knowledge. Range anxiety – the fear of running out of power – is the main barrier. Customers are also unsure about safety standards for electric vehicles. “Leapfrogging in electrification of mobility requires strong collaboration between public and private parties and a long-term approach tailored to each market’s unique situation,” Yutaka Sanada, regional senior vice president at Nissan, said at Nissan Futures.

“Consumers in Southeast Asia have indicated that governments have a critical role to play in the promotion of electric vehicles

“Meanwhile, as car manufacturers, we need to do a better job in explaining that EVs are indeed a safe, smart and sustainable option in all weather conditions. Nissan’s electric vehicles undergo extremely rigorous testing in the most severe conditions. We are very proud that our 300,000 Nissan LEAF customers have driven more than 3.9 billion kilometres around the world since 2010, without experiencing any critical incidents with the batteries.”

Vivek Vaidya, senior vice president of mobility at Frost & Sullivan, added: “The current uptake rate of electric vehicles isn’t a true reflection of underlying demand, which is much stronger.

“Contrary to popular belief that the high cost of EVs is the impediment, the survey reveals that safety concerns and charging concerns run high on customers’ minds. If the industry and government can take away barriers, the full potential can be reached.”

Credit: Nissan – Frost & Sullivan