Lack of Information Hurting EV Sales Says Federal Report

A new congressionally mandated report published by the U.S. National Research Council states that current battery technology, vehicle cost, and lack of consumer knowledge are all obstacles preventing widespread endorsement of plug-in electric vehicles.

The key to lowering overall vehicle cost according to ClickGreen would be to develop less expensive and more efficient batteries, this along with developing a better market strategy for informing consumers in regards to EVs would help to quell consumer skepticism. The report proposes a number of different incentives which the U.S. government could offer in order to overcome these and other impediments.

The report itself focused specifically on plug-in hybrids and battery EVs, both of which get charged by being plugged into an electrical source, the difference between them being the way they operate after the charging.

Plug-in hybrids use an internal combustion engine that turns on once the battery is depleted to extend the range, while battery EVs rely exclusively on electricity stored in the batteries.

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The study states that the number one place for charging a plug-in vehicle would is one’s own home seeing that – or assuming that – the vehicle spends the most time parked there, followed by workplace as a close second. The report suggests that local governments should simplify permitting processes and approve new building codes to be able to support future charging installations, as well as advocate workplaces to consider implementing such installations.

While the advises the federal government to refrain from further direct investment within public charging infrastructure until more research can be done in regards to it. However, it also says the government should continue to fund and research the development of low cost and high-efficiency batteries in order to assist in reducing overall vehicle costs.

As for existing federal financial incentives, the report states that incentives to purchase plug-in EVs should continue past the current production volume limit. Also, that the federal government should consider offering purchasers of plug-in EVs a point-of-sale rebate instead of the current federal income tax credit.

Along with that, the federal government should aid state governments in order to create a policy in which plug-in vehicles are free from registration and roadway surcharges for a finite amount of time.

After this specified amount of time, the government should reexamine these incentives and take into consideration advancement in technologies, the reduction of production costs, vehicle emissions, and total cost of ownership according to the study and Clickgreen.

The study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies.