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Function, symbolism or society? Exploring Canadian consumer interest in electric and shared mobility

Thesis type
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)
Date created
Electric and shared mobility offer alternatives to the dominance of privately-owned, fossil fuel powered vehicles. I explore consumer perceptions and motivations regarding these innovations, using survey data from a sample of Canadian (n = 529) adopters and non-adopters of electric vehicles (EVs), car-sharing and shared ride-hailing. I apply a framework with four perception categories: private-functional (e.g., costs and convenience), private-symbolic (e.g., making good impressions), societal-functional (e.g., protecting the environment) and societal-symbolic (e.g., spreading inspiration). Using a theory-based approach, I regressed the four perception categories noted above as predictors of adoption for each innovation. Results show that positive private-functional perceptions are consistent predictors across all three innovations, while private-symbolic perceptions are only associated with EV adoption. Societal-functional and societal-symbolic perceptions have no association with adoption. I also apply a data-based approach using factor analysis to identify unique perception categories. Findings are largely consistent with the first method, with some nuanced insights.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Axsen, Jonn
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