Size matters: How vehicle body type affects consumer preferences for electric vehicles

Christopher Donald Higgins, Moataz Mohamed, Mark R. Ferguson

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


While a growing body of literature has sought to offer information on consumer stated preferences for EVs, to date no research has examined how preferences for hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles are shaped by vehicle body size or type. The automobile market is differentiated with vehicle attributes that respond to heterogeneous consumer demands. We hypothesize that each bundle of attributes as it relates to vehicle body size also shapes demand for EVs. Using a large primary dataset, we segment respondents according to their preferred next vehicle body type (economy, intermediate, full-size sedan, luxury, minivan, sport utility, and pickup). Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) results show significant differences in the socioeconomic, demographic, and psychological profile of consumers across the seven vehicle segments. From this, discrete choice models detail how vehicle type plays a significant role in the choicemaking behaviour of potential EV consumers. While factors like age, education, and the importance of fuel economy and reduced or eliminated emissions generally play a consistent role in improving the utility of EVs, our results also reveal significant heterogeneity in choice of powertrain across vehicle segments, with luxury and pickup buyers among the most distinct. The results offer useful information for marketing, policy, and research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-201
Number of pages20
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer preferences
  • Discrete choice
  • Electric vehicles
  • Marketing
  • Vehicle type choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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