An examination of the factors influencing the decision to adopt alternative fuel vehicles

Uptake of alternative fuel vehicles is occurring at a slower pace than hoped by policy makers and manufacturers. The aim of this thesis is to examine the factors influencing the decision to adopt an alternative fuel vehicle, and is underpinned by Rogers (2003) Diffusion of Innovations theory. The Innovation-Decision Process from this theory posits that an individual must first know about an innovation before forming an attitude about it. Innovativeness is instrumental in determining the knowledge an individual has of an innovation and how early in the diffusion process they are likely to become an adopter. Perceptions of the innovation are influential in forming an attitude towards it. The focus of the research is on Birmingham, the UK's second largest city. The first stage of the research involves establishing the locations of individuals across the city that possess socio-demographic characteristics associated with early adopters of alternative fuel vehicles. In the second stage of the research, a household questionnaire was undertaken with 413 respondents in Sutton Coldfield. The final step in the analysis is an evaluation of the characteristics of current models of electric vehicles and how well aligned they are with the driving needs and vehicle expectations of respondents. The results confirm that the knowledge of alternative fuel vehicles is limited and individual perceptions have led to the development of negative attitudes towards them. Socio-demographic characteristics were significant in influencing these factors. There is evidence from the survey of active rejection among a small number of respondents. The reasons largely relate to three problems: purchase price, limited range, and poor infrastructure availability. However, the majority of respondents have passively rejected alternative fuel vehicles, such that they have never given consideration to the adoption of one. This confirms that a concerted effort is required to inform the general public about alternative fuel vehicles. Opportunities for increasing adoption have been identified for policy and marketing, including education and awareness-raising campaigns.


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  • Accession Number: 01560464
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 15 2015 9:19AM