Electric car studies grow in number
We look at a Google Alert daily for information on the Nissan LEAF, which is the top of the funnel that we muddle our way through each day to come up with something timely to discuss. One notable feature of our alerts lately is the ever increasing number of electric vehicle (EV) studies being bandied about. We typically will take a look to see if there is anything worth noting, but often there is an agenda behind the sponsor of the study, and often it is apparent in the result. We don’t remember much from our old statistics classes, but one thing that we do seem to recall is that you can pretty much use statistics to say anything that you want them to. It’s all in the framing of the questions and the study. And in the respondents that you select.
Take for instance, the 60 some page Electric Vehicle Study published by Zpryme Research & Consulting, sponsored by Airbiquity. It has many graphs and charts, and presents itself in a polished manner. One of the surprising findings of this study is that more people would consider buying a Ford electric vehicle, followed by Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda and Nissan. Hold on here – Chevy is third and Nissan is fifth? This, despite the fact that Honda has no EV on the near-term horizon, Toyota is partnering with Tesla to buy EV technology (while Nissan has been developing their current battery technology for eighteen years), and Ford’s Focus EV is not due out until the end of this year. As an aside, Ford has decided to launch the Ford Focus EV not at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas later this week. We’ll keep you posted. But let’s get back to the study. One bit of information that Zpryme provided is the current vehicle brand owned by the respondents. Of the five brands mentioned above, in order, the respondents owned the following brands: Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda and Nissan. No huge surprise that Ford owners might prefer to buy a Ford EV. Certainly, there is potentially some useful data to be derived from their study, but knowing that biases have not been filtered out taints the results of the survey at best, and renders the result totally useless at worst.
Our point to this is that there will be even more studies being released in the coming year as the EV segment gains traction with the release of more vehicles. It is always worth keeping in mind the point of view of the study author, who is paying the bills, is the study author competent and are the results truly reflective of the situation.