Give it a Try! How electric vehicle test drives influence symbolism perceptions and adoption intent

Atar Herziger, Nicole D. Sintov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The symbolic meaning individuals ascribe to Electric Vehicles (EVs) strongly predicts EV adoption intent. However, prior literature has been inconsistent in defining symbolic meaning. We assess two types of EV symbolic meaning and evaluate their influences on adoption intent: (1) public meaning (i.e., perceived EV expressiveness), and (2) private meaning (i.e., holding EV-congruent identities). We assess these relationships across two studies, in virtual and real EV test drive experiences (cumulative N = 729). Before and after the test drive, participants rated EV public and private meanings, as well as their post-drive adoption intent. Both studies find post-drive enhancements in private and public EV meanings. They also find that only changes in private meaning (i.e., reinforced identity) are associated with EV adoption intent, whereas enhancements in public meaning (i.e., enhanced perception of expressiveness) are not. These results are discussed in the context of Identity Based Motivation Theory. Limitations and implications are addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101907
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume85
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Electric vehicles
  • Identity based motivation theory
  • Pro-environmental identity
  • Symbolic value
  • Test-drive

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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