How consumer drivers construe vehicle performance: Implications for electric vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as potentially important contenders as low carbon vehicles. However from the perspectives of consumer (non-commercial) drivers, all types of EVs have limitations such as short range and higher cost that are significant barriers to widespread uptake. To displace a significant fraction of conventional vehicles, they may need to offer consumer drivers specific advantages that offset these limitations. Better performance might be such an advantage, since electric powertrains can offer performance benefits such as quieter operation and higher torque at low speeds. This qualitative study explored how vehicle performance is construed by consumer drivers, using a repertory grid approach to elicit drivers’ personal constructs. Drivers were found to construe performance in terms of two main dimensions, both situationally specific: dynamic performance (involving acceleration, power, and responsiveness during pulling away, overtaking and hill climbs) and cruising performance (involving smoothness and low noise, during high speed cruising on highways). Users of gasoline fuelled cars emphasised dynamic performance more than did users of diesel fuelled cars, but the opposite was the case for cruising performance. A conceptual model based on the findings could help focus design efforts on those aspects of performance that are most directly salient to drivers.


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  • Accession Number: 01525328
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 10 2014 10:53AM