Survey: 60 Percent of Americans Unaware of Plug-in Vehicles

A consumer survey shows that 60 percent of Americans aren’t aware of plug-in vehicles and 80 percent have never ridden in or driven one.

Released this month by strategy consulting group Altman Vilandrie & Co., the surveyed queried more than 2,500 U.S. consumers on perceptions of plug-in electrified vehicles, and what it will take for purchasing to be taken more seriously.

One thing would be to let people simply get in and drive one. A sign that this would help sales comes from a second survey finding: most (60 percent) consumers who tried a PEV said they enjoyed the experience, compared to the small number (8 percent) who didn’t get to try one out.

Fear of losing battery power followed closely in the study. Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of those taking the survey said they were unsure how far a PEV would carry them on a full charge. That concern was coupled with the dearth of charging infrastructure. Eight-five percent said that lack of charging stations would keep them from buying a PEV.

High prices for buying a PEV is a concern for even more consumers – 83 percent are turned off by it.

The study acknowledged what many observers are watching as the 238-mile Chevy Bolt, launched this month, will turn heads with its range and $37,495 sticker price. That will drop down to $29,995 after the $7,500 tax credit and possibly even more, depending on incentive programs in the state where it’s purchased.

While the high-end Tesla Model S and Model X are turnoffs for consumers concerned about price, a year from now, the Model 3 will roll out with a pre-incentive starting price of $35,000 for the base model.

The consulting group also estimates that the release of less expensive models by all other automakers would boost PEV adoption by nearly 24 times the current market.

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Tesla’s network of Superchargers is expected to help alleviate some of the range anxiety mentioned in the study.

The U.S. charging infrastructure is expected to see growth coming from the Federal Highway Administration’s Alternative Fuel Corridor initiative launched in November. More miles will be added to the network to accommodate growth in PEV charging stations along major highways. That campaign also supports more signage being placed, similar to what’s been typical on highways for years alerting drivers to upcoming gas stations, food, and lodging.

These charging developments could take the edge off negatives U.S. consumers tend to attach to purchasing a PEV that were addressed in the study.

 

 


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