2.18   Collect and analyze on consumer purchase data and charging and driving behavior data 

Reason for action

Understanding consumer behavior – from the point where a consumer is trying to decide what car to buy up to when a PEV driver is charging on a daily basis – is crucial for determining where and what kind of charging network should be built. Information can be shared on a national or multi-state level (see Action 2.1), within the state (see Action 2.4), and with local municipalities (see Action 3.6).

Implementing the action

  • Collect and analyze information on consumer concerns regarding PEV purchase. In particular, consumer attitudes regarding charging may help the DOT build charging infrastructure in locations that would incentivize PEV purchase. For example, regarding highway corridor charging, no research exists as to what extent corridor charging would incent consumers to purchase PEVs. The DOT could partner with marketing firms to create surveys that help the DOT understand what kind of infrastructure and where would be most effective in encouraging new PEV purchases. Spotlight: Deloitte, McKinsey, and Zpryme have all created consumer surveys regarding PEVs.
  • Use internal staff or contract with a university or private entity to collect and analyze driver behavior data. Driver and charging behavior, in contrast to consumer surveys, yields important information about people who already own an electric car. Spotlight: UC-Davis, Idaho National Laboratory and ECOtality collect and analyze charging and driving data, although raw data is kept confidential. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program may also be a potential partner.

  • Build off Action 2.17 in order to identify outstanding research questions. Data may come from the DOT’s charging stations. Data may also come from charging stations not financed by DOTs. Outstanding research topics include:
    • Frequency of Level 1 charging.
    • What trips a family takes in a conventional car versus a PEV.
    • The effect of different time-variant electricity rate schedules on charging times.
  • Account for privacy protections and concerns from participants.



Original data and study on driver behaviors would help stakeholders understand how to optimize charger deployment location and levels in addition to vehicle technologies and battery pack sizes. Knowledge from these studies will also better prepare all DOTs to install effective and sustainable charging stations (see Action 3.3)

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