Customer Satisfaction on PlugIn Hybrid System – Research Paper Example

Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles: A Good Bet The hybrid car is an idea that has been very slow in catching on but has gained increasing popularity in recent years. The first hybrid appeared over 100 years ago but the demand for rapid transportation, the need for speed, kept the concept mainly on the drawing board until lately. Concerns regarding the environment, the availability of oil and ever-rising gasoline prices have popularized these alternative fuel vehicles yet car-makers and consumers remain hesitant about the idea. Part of the problem hybrid cars have had in gaining popularity can be found in the fact that this is too broad of a definition. Hybrid cars are still in the experimental stage, meaning there are numerous different models and types to choose from. While some hybrids do not seem to meet the needs of consumers, offering too many negative attributes to offset the positives, plug-in hybrid cars have proven to rate much higher in customer satisfaction.
Plug-in hybrid cars are essentially what they would seem to be; they plug into a normal electric circuit and charge from the same electrical source found in a typical home. This means anyone with a plug-in hybrid can fill up the charge by simply plugging their car into the wall of their garage for the night with minimal impact on the budget. Research has demonstrated that most U.S. drivers travel, on average, less than 25 miles per day, which is a range easily reached by the plug-in hybrid vehicle enabling people to get to work at a fuel rate much lower than that of today’s current gasoline prices (Sanna, 2005). This switch would also mean a significant reduction of CO2 emissions and reduces the nation’s need for non-renewable natural resources. While this does classify it as an electric vehicle, swaying public opinion against it due to the short range of most electric vehicles, the plug-in hybrid has an additional feature that makes it feasible even for long-distance use. The plug-in hybrids, not intended to run on electricity alone, also carry a liquid fuel tank and combustion engine, which enables owners to fill up when the battery runs dry and continue driving for as long and as far as they wish, all while recharging the electric battery. “The hybrid electric vehicle is a move in the right direction. Its battery/electric motor combination provides the quick starts, so when the vehicle is standing still, the gas engine can be shut off automatically to prevent idling and conserve fuel. In fact, the hybrid can achieve an increase in fuel efficiency of roughly 30 percent. The battery also boosts the performance of the [internal combustion engine] at takeoff and for passing” (Sanna, 2005). As the combustion engine is running and during the process of braking, the battery becomes charged by the captured energy involved in these actions.
The design of these cars has been slow in part because of a lack of evidence that consumers will buy them. Because of the way they are made and the specificity of some of the parts, these vehicles are necessarily priced a bit higher than the average car on the road, causing many to believe it is better to continue building the traditional engine. Customer satisfaction with the plug-in hybrids not only bolsters support for building the vehicles within the car companies, but also encourages increased enthusiasm for them within the greater public, thus increasing popular demand and again bolstering the car manufacturers’ incentives to build them. Customer satisfaction helps to direct the direction in which these vehicles are developed and constructed in a reciprocal web of give and take. The proof that plug-in hybrids are a good investment exists in the satisfaction not only of the environmentalists who wish to improve the air quality, but also in the scores of fleet managers who oversee the budgets of their departments and see them going down rather than up with their increased electrical fleet and uninterrupted quality of service. By measuring the various elements of the plug-in hybrid – ease of use, comfort level, cost of operation, etc. – one can see that these vehicles compare well with strict combustion engines while the broad range in which this information can be collected validates the sincerity of the results.
Numerous events within the world recently have naturally increased interest among consumers for a vehicle that does not depend upon gasoline as its primary source of power. Environmental changes are occurring across the country with disastrous consequences for those who live there while skyrocketing gas prices are quickly pricing people out of their livelihoods. Word of mouth, increased fleets and waiting lists for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles all proclaim that, while there remain some issues to work out, consumers are hungry for a means of retaining their way of life without breaking their banks or their living environment.
Works Cited
Hague, Paul & Nick. “Customer Satisfaction Surveys.” B2B International. June 30, 2008 < http://www.b2binternational.com/library/whitepapers/whitepapers02.php>
Sanna, Lucy. “Driving the Solution: The Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle.” EPRI Journal. Fall, 2005. June 30, 2008 < http://mydocs.epri.com/docs/CorporateDocuments/EPRI_Journal/2005-Fall/1012885_PHEV.pdf>