Generation Y (consumers aged 19 to 31) could be the "generation that leads us away from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles," according to Craig Giffi, vice chairman and automotive practice leader at Deloitte LLP.
Deloitte's annual survey of 'Gen Y' consumers found that a significant majority - 59 percent - of those respondents would prefer an 'electrified vehicle' over any other car or truck. Moreover, these consumers favored hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles (57 percent) over all-electric vehicles (2 percent) or traditional gasoline-powered cars (37 percent).
The study surveyed 1,500 Gen X, Gen Y, and baby boomer consumers in the U.S. in late 2011. With 80 million Gen Y'ers in the United States, the age group is the largest consumer segment since the baby boomer generation. Giffi, of Deloitte, said projections indicated that one-fourth of new cars sold in the U.S. this year, and 40 percent of cars sold in the next decade, will be bought by Gen Y'ers.
Generation Y is drawn to hybrids primarily because of fuel efficiency. They are willing to pay $300 for each mile-per-gallon improvement in fuel efficiency in a hybrid. Deloitte estimates that hybrids currently cost $350 more per additional mile-per-gallon efficiency compared to traditional gasoline-powered cars.
Also notable was the group's clear preference for hybrids over pure electric vehicles. "Almost 6 in 10 Gen Y respondents prefer a hybrid over any other type of vehicle, while a mere 2 in 100 prefer a pure battery electric vehicle – demonstrating that Gen Y is familiar and comfortable with hybrid technology, but not so much with battery-only technology," said Giffi.
Could this mean that we will see automakers shift away from pure electrics and towards improving their hybrid fleets moving forward?