In the July 2014 issue of Vehicle Technology Engineer (VTE), a story about the research of one of our PhD students, Alina Dini from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) was covered.
Alina is one of 40 PHD students sponsored by Excellerate Australia’s Automotive Australia 2020 CRC and 18 of them are directly embedded in industry projects. Many of them are approaching completion of their studies and have the results to show for it, as is the case for Alina.
With her background in corporate affairs for Tesla Motors and as partner in environmental consultancy, Verdant Vision, Alina’s passion is the environment and how we can lessen the impact vehicles have on it.
Given the low uptake of plug-in electric vehicles in Australia, Alina identified a need to understand more about a little studied aspect of the purchasing process; that is, if test drives have a positive impact on people’s attitudes to PEVs.
The impact of having less electric vehicles can be negative in a number of ways. It hinders achievement of environmental policies / goals and means continued dependence on oil imports.
It also means a reduction in economic stimulation resulting from new technology and means less consumer choice and product diversity in the marketplace. There is therefore a strong argument for increasing PEV ownership and by extension, understanding on how to overcome barriers.
Although only an exploratory study, the results suggest that even a short term drive – such as ten minutes at a dealership or drive day event – can have a positive impact on people’s opinions of PEVs.
While this does not necessarily indicate an intention to purchase, the improved opinion suggests that the test drives can perform a significant role in educating people about the benefits of electric vehicles.
This is particularly useful in a ‘low take up’ country like Australia, where it is still rare to see a PEV on the road.
More from Excellerate Australia