Hall, Lynne, Hall, M., Middleton, H., & Morris, A. (2010b). A Study into Driver Perspective of Visual Comfort for Electric Vehicles,. 25th World Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition (p. 213).
Electric vehicles are not yet in mass production in Europe, with current statistics still indicating a narrow market, limited uptake and few early adopters. Although supporting infrastructure is under development and green economics high on the agenda, unless electric vehicles tick consumer boxes it is difficult to see how electric cars herald the future for automotive. Recent studies highlight significant and potentially unachievable driver expectations of electric vehicles. Consumers expect electric vehicles not only to be as good as traditional cars but additionally in some way better. Much research and development focus has been on the ability of electric vehicles to match a whole range of criteria: performance, safety, cost, supporting infrastructure. However, several studies also indicate that a key factor for electric vehicle adoption is their appearance. This paper discusses the first phase of a series of studies designed to highlight those elements of visual comfort appreciation most relevant and effective in promoting and enhancing new electric vehicle design adoption. The aim of the first study was to tap general perceptions of electric vehicles according to various pre-identified design parameters. Three focus groups were conducted and ten design parameters of importance were highlighted. Discussions also highlighted unrealistic perceptions with regards to the visual form of electric vehicles. An image based semantic differential test was developed to capture responses to design features and will be used in further studies. Future work is briefly outlined related to driver’s perspective of visual comfort for electric vehicles.