Electric Vehicles Struggle To Gain Acceptance With Consumers, Study Shows | Edmunds.com
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Electric Vehicles Struggle To Gain Acceptance With Consumers, Study Shows


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Just the Facts:
  • Despite advances in electric vehicle technology in recent years, eight out of 10 U.S. adults are unlikely to buy an electric vehicle and 30 percent of them say it is due to mileage limitations and availability of charging stations, a AAA survey reveals.
  • The survey shows that 26 percent of U.S. adults cite the higher cost of buying and maintaining an electric vehicle as a reason to skip an EV purchase.
  • AAA believes it will take some time and more marketing for motorists to see the expanded charging station availability and the long-term cost savings of EV technology.

ORLANDO, Florida — While electric vehicle makers have made enormous advances in technology in recent years, motorists identify range anxiety and lack of charging locations as top reasons they avoid buying electric cars, a AAA survey reveals.

Despite the number of electric vehicle charging station locations increasing 959 percent since the debut of the Nissan Leaf in 2010, eight out of 10 U.S. adults are unlikely to buy an electric vehicle and 30 percent of them say it is due to mileage limitations and availability of charging stations.

The AAA survey, fielded in July 2012, also shows that 26 percent of U.S. adults who are unsure about or unlikely to buy an EV, cite the higher cost of buying and maintaining an electric vehicle as a reason they would be unlikely/undecided to make such a purchase.

These are misconceptions that will soon be cleared up, said John Nielsen, AAA managing director of automotive engineering and repair, in a statement.

"Battery improvements, increased competition, and economies of scale are all likely to drive down costs associated with buying an EV," Nielsen said. "With no need to change oil or filters and less brake system wear and tear, maintaining an EV is actually more affordable than a conventional vehicle."

AAA also points out that battery life is more than an average driver's daily commute, which is 16 miles one way, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports. EVs typically have a range of 60-100 miles.

If a motorist needs recharging, there are now more than 5,800 charging stations available for public use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The agency has marketed the expansion of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

AAA has stepped up its game as well. In 2011, it facilitated an electric vehicle charging research and development program to help test EV charging as a roadside solution. It also rolled out specially equipped road service trucks to test in key areas of the country. They are capable of providing EV charging in approximately 15 minutes for about 10 miles of driving. Its online AAA TripTik Travel Planner or the AAA Mobile application reveal charging stations, too.

AAA is also working with the Electric Drive Transportation Association to add EV content to its public information Web site. The new content provides basic information about electric vehicles that will help motorists determine whether an electric vehicle might be right for them. The materials also examine the various types of electric vehicles available, and help consumers understand the important differences that come with owning and operating an electric car.

"There have been major advancements in electric vehicle technology and the supporting infrastructure," Nielsen said. "However, it will take time and education for the general motoring public to understand just how far these vehicles have come, and recognize the many resources available to those who drive them."

Edmunds says: Misconceptions may be the biggest roadblocks to EV sales.

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