Chinese consumers may indicate strong intention to purchase electric vehicles but their decision to buy may be put off by exorbitant prices, under-developed infrastructure and nagging safety concerns, according to a survey revealed this week.
A survey of 606 auto buyers in Shanghai found that 75 percent of them said they intend to buy a energy vehicle within three years, according to a report from research firm Ipsos.
In another research of 1,478 vehicle owners and potential buyers nationwide, the same proportion expressed buying interest and cited low operation costs and environmental benefits as their reason, according to Nielsen Co.
"The electric vehicle is only in the infant stage and Chinese consumers already have high awareness of it," said Jia Zhuang, director of consumer research at the Nielsen Co China.
Auto manufacturers are all keen to produce green vehicles as concerns about global energy and pollution rise.
But sales of green cars in China are limited largely due to quality worries and their high prices.
"To effectively convert intention into action, it is important for manufactures to understand consumer demand," Zhuang added.
Ipsos's research found battery-gasoline hybrid cars top consumers' buying list. Most consumers expect green cars to sell between 110,000 yuan (US$16,129) and 150,000 yuan, or 11 to 15 percent more than a gasoline version.
Wider acceptance by consumers of new energy vehicles was mainly driven by the influx of new models as car makers compete to lead the fledging segment in the world's largest auto market.
General Motors Corp will launch its first electric car, Volt, in China next year while SAIC Motor Corp plans to roll out its first self-developed hybrid car this year.