As the Auto China motor show gets under way in Beijing, a new study has shown that China may be a key country that drives the uptake of electric vehicles.
Global manufacturers such as Honda and Volvo, which have been confirming their commitment to clean energy vehicles at the show, will no doubt be cheered by statistics that show nearly eight in ten Chinese consumers showed intent to buy an electric vehicle if price were not an issue.
The survey, conducted by Nielsen and released April 22, said that 88 percent of those would take into account most the fuel emission and how environmentally friendly the vehicle was, while for 81 percent the low operational cost for zero fuel consumption was of most importance.
Only 66 percent stated that comfort factors, such as low engine noise or passenger room, were a key factor in the decision to purchase.
Interestingly, the most likely consumers to consider going electric were those with smaller, less powerful (1.5 litres or less) vehicles.
Of those that would refuse to purchase (again, if pricing were not an issue), underdeveloped charging facilities and the inconvenience of battery charging were the main concerns of the Chinese market, cited by 77 percent of respondents.
Low mileage on a single charge (67 percent) and the immaturity of the technology/potential faults (64 percent) were the second and third most cited reasons.
Nielsen polled 1,478 vehicle owners and potential vehicle owners in China to compile the survey, which is encouraging news for electric vehicle proponents.
China is now the world's largest car market and is expected to sell over 10 million cars in 2010, although a tiny proportion of them will be electric.
Auto China 2010 is open to the public until May 2, 2010.