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Gen Y is Ready for Hybrids, Unsure About EVs

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer January 2012
  • A new study from Deloitte says a large majority of Gen Y buyers would prefer an electrified vehicle to a traditional gas-powered car.
  • Nonetheless, many Gen Y respondents are unsure about making the switch to a fully electric vehicle.
  • Gen Y buyers are also extremely interested in in-car connectivity - and they're willing to pay for it.


Generation Y is ready to make the switch from traditional gasoline-powered cars to hybrid technology. That's the latest from accounting and consulting firm Deloitte, whose recent survey of Gen Y consumers and what they want in a vehicle uncovered the young generation's affinity for hybrid cars.

According to the annual survey, which canvassed members of Generation Y, Generation X and the baby boomers, a whopping 59 percent of Gen Y respondents prefer an "electrified vehicle" to any other type of car or truck. Among Gen Y respondents interested in "going electric," 96 percent favored hybrid electric vehicles, while less than four percent indicated a preference for pure battery electric vehicles.

"Gen Y consumers...view hybrid technology as proven and reliable," said Craig Giffi, Deloitte's vice chairman and automotive practice leader, who went on to note that Gen Y's affinity for hybrid cars could make it the "generation that leads us away from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles."

But despite Gen Y's apparent fondness for hybrids, young buyers aren't yet sold on pure electric vehicles. According to Giffi, that's because Gen Y is married to the convenience of gasoline engines, noting their exceptional range and a general aversion to powertrains that require plug-in charging.

"Almost six in 10 Gen Y respondents prefer a hybrid over any other type of vehicle, while a mere two in 100 prefer a pure battery electric vehicle," said Giffi, who went on to say that the statistics prove Gen Y is "familiar and comfortable with hybrid technology, but not so much with battery-only technology."

In addition to finding Generation Y's penchant for hybrids, the survey discovered young consumers are interested in cars that provide an extension of their digital lifestyles. According to the survey, 59 percent of Gen Y respondents said in-dash technology is the most important part of a vehicle's interior, while 73 percent showed interest in touchscreen interfaces. On average, the survey found that Gen Y consumers are willing to spend more than $3,000 for in-dash hardware designed to deliver connectivity.

While the survey doesn't outline the next steps for the automotive industry, it's clear that automakers must do a better job of educating young buyers on the benefits of pure electric vehicles in order to increase interest in the technology. It's also certain that as EVs do begin to proliferate, they must be integrated with a host of youth-oriented social media technology to further pique Generation Y's interest.

What it means to you: At nearly 80 million strong, Generation Y will dictate the future of the automotive industry for years to come.

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Gen Y is Ready for Hybrids, Unsure About EVs - Autotrader