Community and Social Media Use among Early PEV Drivers
Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are now being offered for sale to consumers. Contemporaneously, multi-way social interactions among individuals, groups, businesses, governments, and other actors are increasingly facilitated by communication technologies: we take this to be “social media.” Can this confluence facilitate the formation of new interest-based communities among plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) buyers? How might this be important to promoting PEVs? This paper presents the results of 28 in-depth interviews with household PEV drivers in San Diego, California. These PEV drivers show wide variation in their descriptions of who they believe PEV drivers to be, conceptualizations of a PEV, uses of social media to engage other members of the community, and socially mediated and face-to-face interactions with other PEV drivers. Better understanding of the relationship between emerging PEV markets, social media and consumer-based communities will affect the ongoing management of transitions to electric-mobility.