Designing for Customer Consideration of Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Instead of Final Purchase

Designing for Customer Consideration of Alternative Fuel Vehicles (Instead of Final Purchase)

September 21, 2018

Erin MacDonaldStanford University's Erin MacDonald presented Designing for Customer Consideration of Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Instead of Final Purchase on September 21, 2018 at 4 p.m. in 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building. 


Despite years of promotion through incentives, design, and policy efforts, alternative fuel vehicles (AVFs) represented only 7% of U.S. Car Stock in 2016. Financial explanations cannot fully account for their lack of success, given that almost all car shoppers do not buy the most affordable car available and AVFs offer numerous feature benefits to customers. Improving the chances of a customer selecting an AVF for final purchase has been carefully studied, for example, using discrete choice models. This talk focuses on moving AVFs into the consideration set, a stage of decision-making that occurs prior to final purchase. I will first discuss design optimization work for maximum consumer consideration of AVFs. I will briefly demonstrate how consideration modeling can be used to capitalize on market events, namely the VW diesel scandal. I will also discuss some experimental work that shows that design features can trigger consumers to include sustainable products in their consideration sets.

Friday, September 21, 2018 - 4:00pm
290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building


Erin MacDonald is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. She received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan; and a B.S. with Honors in Materials Science and Engineering from Brown University. She was Postdoctoral Associate and Instructor at MIT from 2008 to 2009 and an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University from 2009 to 2014. MacDonald spent several years designing hiking products before returning to graduate school, and holds two patents on consumer product designs. She is the 2012 ASME Design Automation Committee Outstanding Young Investigator and a former NSF Graduate Fellow. MacDonald’s research integrates concepts from psychology, economics, and marketing into engineering design methods to better represent the user; an effort she terms "quantified cognitive empathy in design engineering." A main goal of her research is to increase the success of sustainable products and technologies by improving the representation of the consumer and other stakeholders in the design process.