In its 2012 Car Brand Perception Survey, Consumer Reports added a couple of questions to assess “America’s pulse” on plug-in vehicles. In particular, the magazine asked the general public questions pertaining mainly to plug-in vehicle safety.
Of the surveyed group, 43 percent of respondents believe that plug-in vehicles feel are as safe as gasoline-fueled automobiles and 20 percent deemed them safer. However, 28 percent fell that electrified vehicles are less safe than their gas-fueled counterparts.
While limited range was the most prevalent (77 percent) concern, fire risk during charging was a concern voiced by nearly half (44 percent) of the respondents. Other safety-related concerns included pedestrian safety due to silent operation (40 percent concerned), crash protection (39 percent) and post-crash fire concerns (35 percent), which ties directly to recent Chevy Volt incidents. At the bottom of the listed concerns were electric shock (30 percent) and accident avoidance (29 percent).
According to Consumer Reports, most of these responses reveal that the general public is misinformed regarding plug-in vehicles. As the magazine so accurately states, “Exposure to such vehicles and more education should help consumers better understand that electrified cars have been proven safe alternatives to traditional cars. It is a shame the Volt incidents likely misguided consumers and potentially impacted the short-term adoption rate for this promising new technology.”
In December, Consumer Reports announced that the Volt had topped all cars in customer satisfaction, with a 93-percent rating, and the magazine gave the volt a highly positive review upon the car’s release last year.