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Consumer Interest In Electric Vehicles Has Declined

According to a new consumer survey from Pike Research, fundamental interest in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has declined since the first commercial launches in 2010. In 2012, only 35 percent of respondents stated that they would be “extremely” or “very interested” in purchasing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or battery electric vehicle (BEV) with a range of 40 to 100 miles and an electricity cost equivalent to $0.75 per gallon.

In 2011, 40 percent stated they were “extremely interested” or “very interested” in this type of vehicle, which was down from 44 percent in 2010.

Dave Hurst, a senior research analyst at Boulder, CO-based Pike, said that interest in PEVs remains moderate but has fallen over the last year. “While this decrease is not staggering, it might indicate that auto manufacturers need to address misconceptions among consumers and do a better job of educating consumers about the benefits of PEVs in order to attract buyers in larger numbers,” Hurst posited.

In addition to a decline in interest, the 2012 survey found that there are a number of misconceptions in the market. When asked if PEVs are cheaper to own in the long run than gasoline vehicles, 37 percent of respondents disagreed. Additionally, 37 percent believe PEV batteries are dangerous. Even those respondents who expressed interest in PEVs showed signs of concern, as more than one third believes current PEV owners are often stranded as a result of their vehicles running out of power.

The report, “Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey,” details findings from a web-based survey of 1,001 consumers in the United States. The study assesses consumer demand, preferences, opinions, and price sensitivity for PEVs and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The survey was conducted in the fall.

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