Misconceptions Continue to Hinder Electric Vehicle Sales

By · April 10, 2013

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According to a new study, the public still believes that EVs are dangerous, despite the fact that fires in gas-powered cars are much more common.

Over the past two years, sale of plug-in vehicle have been on a steady growth pattern. And as more models continue to enter the segment, that growth is expected to accelerate. Of course, that doesn't mean common misconceptions about plug-in electric vehicles will disappear overnight.

According to a survey conducted by Navigant Research in fall 2012, those misconceptions are persistent and meaningful, putting a damper on sales of plug-in vehicles.

Topping the list of objections to buying or leasing a plug-in vehicle is that oldie-but-goodie: range. With the average American driving approximately 34 miles per day, the electric vehicle is more than capable of handling this task, but range anxiety continues to be the number one reason cited by consumers for not purchasing an electric vehicle.

Here's another one: more than one-third (37 percent) of the 1,000 consumers surveyed by Navigant Research believe plug-in vehicles are more expensive to own in the long run, as compared to conventional automobiles. This can be debated, especially with the introduction of the base-level 2013 Nissan LEAF S and the trend toward $199 a month leases.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents also believe that lithium-ion EV batteries are dangerous, even though there's no evidence to support this belief. Consumer sentiment goes even further off-course in this sense: more than one-third of the survey respondents believe that current electric vehicle owners are often stranded as a result of their vehicle's battery being depleted.

These misconceptions led Dave Hurst, principal research analyst at Navigant Research (formerly Pike Research), to conclude that "overall consumer interest in electric vehicles has declined since 2011." And yet the EV market continues to grow.

In fact, Navigant forecasts that sales of plug-in vehicles are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of about 30 percent through 2020 in the U.S.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
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  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
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  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
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