Stefan Benthaus is PhD Student at the Institute of Business-to-Business Marketing at the University of Münster (Germany). His research focuses on electric mobility in general and in particular on willingness-to-pay (WTP) and pricing for charging infrastructure. His efforts originate from a research project called “CrowdStrom” (Crowd= short for crowd sourcing – Strom= German for electricity).
The goal of the project is to develop solutions to push the diffusion process of electric mobility forward. At the moment electric mobility in Germany faces a “chicken-egg-problem” as on the one hand, very few electric cars are sold because of low range combined with insufficient coverage of charging facilities. On the other hand, there is low interest in investments into charging infrastructure since the average utilization is anticipated to be low due to the fact that only few electric vehicles are sold. Our approach is derived from the basic idea of the shareconomy: to share possessions. That means, that private persons share their private charging infrastructure with others in need. This could be the case when private persons are not at home and their charging points are not used by their owners. However, to bring the idea to market maturity a deeper understanding of actual and potential users of electric mobility is necessary. The field of research that addresses electric mobility is still relatively blank and our studies can shed light on blank spots.
One research goal of ours is to show what attributes of charging offers are most important for actual and potential users. We are aware of the fact that there will be distinct groups with different preferences. This is where our first conjoint study has its starting point. We plan to conduct a CBC-Study that sheds light on the preferred combinations of attribute levels of different groups. After identifying user segments we will derive WTP for those segments. This study is only a starting point for a number of studies that will address the topic charging infrastructure. Forthcoming studies will address the pricing strategy for charging offerings and a methodological extension of the conjoint method itself.