Since car buyers have limited practical experience with FCVs, direct study of FCV adoption is not feasible. However, consumer behavior toward other types of advanced-technology vehicles may offer clues about how the market for FCVs will develop. Research of hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) indicates that consumers adopt these vehicles partly because of the vehicles' symbolism. Any vehicle can serve as a symbol; it can represent larger ideas, meanings that frequently relate to the identity of the vehicle’s owner. This qualitative research study examines early buyers of HEVs to understand the symbolic meanings they perceived in their vehicles and the role symbolism played in their vehicle purchases. Findings from these buyers are then prospectively applied to the future market for FCVs. The study includes four specific recommendations to increase the possibility that FCV buyers can access and communicate relevant symbolic meanings with their vehicles.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited