How I see myself behind the wheel:

The influences of experience and symbolic perceptions on EV adoption

Extensive research shows that humans are not entirely rational decision-makers. When it comes to vehicles in particular, we seek not only to fulfill practical needs, but also to fulfill intangible needs as well. Emerging research involving electric vehicles (EVs) suggests that people strongly weigh symbolic attributes—intangible features of a vehicle that convey something about the driver (e.g., power, status)—in purchase decisions. Acknowledging and understanding human preferences such as these is essential for increasing EV market penetration. Prior research conducted by Dr. Sintov and her collaborators in California identified specific symbolic factors—technology trendsetter, environmentalist, responsible citizen—that impacted consumer decisions more than “rational” factors such as cost, safety, performance, and fuel economy. In this project, we partner with Smart Columbus to evaluate the replicability of our previous findings, and to investigate the influence of symbolic perceptions, experience with EVs, and their intersection on EV adoption.

Methods: Survey of residents in Central Ohio

Project Phase: Data collection is complete, a manuscript is currently in preparation

Collaborators: Smart Columbus: Columbus Partnership and Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez (Navigant)