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Electric Vehicle Survey Says Americans are Not Yet Ready

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author photo by Autotrader December 2010

Despite all the fanfare surrounding the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, many Americans don’t seem to be quite ready to embrace electric cars. So says a new study from Kelley Blue Book, which found that just 7 percent of car shoppers are likely to consider an electric car for their next new vehicle purchase.

As expected, many car shoppers said they would avoid electric cars due to “range anxiety” – the fear of running out of electricity far from a power source. Eighty-seven percent of respondents cited range anxiety as a primary reason for not considering an electric car. Another oft-given reason for not considering an EV was lack of charging stations, cited by 84 percent of respondents.

According to the study, respondents are particularly concerned about these and other limitations of electric vehicles, with 91 percent saying that EVs are too costly. Surveyed car shoppers also reported that, on average, an electric vehicle must have a 340-mile range before meriting serious consideration. In perhaps the most serious blow to the expansion of electric vehicle technology, nearly half of respondents said they simply have no interest in the technology.

“While it seems the car-shopping public still has a long way to go concerning electric vehicle consideration and understanding the realities of electric vehicle technology, the fact that there are all-new methods of propulsion becoming available to drivers is another great step forward for the automotive industry,” said James Bell, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com. “Time will tell whether this technology will be readily adopted by a large number of mainstream car buyers, or if this will just be another flash in the pan of vehicle history.”

The study also sought to measure car shoppers’ awareness of various electric vehicles. According to the study, the Chevrolet Volt ranked as the most well-known EV with 71 percent of shoppers aware of it. Toyota’s plug-in Prius Hybrid and Ford’s plug-in Escape Hybrid came in second and third – potentially due to consumer association with their regular, gasoline-powered versions – with the Nissan Leaf finishing fourth at 45 percent.

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Electric Vehicle Survey Says Americans are Not Yet Ready - Autotrader