More than three-quarters of the American public say limited driving range is a point of concern when considering an electric vehicle, while almost 30 percent indicated that they thought EVs were more dangerous than conventional vehicles, Consumer Reports said, citing responses to its 2012 Car Brand Perception survey.

Pedestrian risk stemming from the nearly silent motors on EVs and crash protection were also areas over concern. Still, many of those polled cited concerns over possible EV fires either stemming from the recharging process or from a crash, the publication said, after a phone survey of more than 1,700 U.S. adults it did in early December.

The concerns of possible fires likely stems from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test last summer of a Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in that resulted in a fire three weeks later. NHTSA said in January that its two-month investigation revealed that EVs pose no more of a fire risk than conventional vehicles. And late last month, Chevy parent General Motors started an ad campaign touting the Volt's safety.

That leaves single-charge range, which continues to be a sticking point with many potential car buyers, given that battery-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf have a range that's just a fraction of what people are used to from a full tank of gas. Last summer, Deloitte's Australia-based Motor Industry Services released a survey stating that about 80 percent of Americans expect an electric car to have a range over 100 miles. This is also known as about 30 miles further than the Nissan Leaf can go (officially) on a full charge.


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  • 60 Comments
      george costanza
      • 2 Years Ago
      combustion vehicles in my area are spurring annual record 100 yr flooding plus a hurricane and a trop storm and a blizzard all in october of '11 therefore spurring doubling of prop taxes doubling of prop assessment ironically as prop values are halved from all being in flood zones now....and thanks to fossil fuels chance of nuclear war over fossil fuels ironically has doubled, as conversation is switched to fears over some other power having nuclear energy while southern co. another dirty fossil fuel co. starts a new nuclear reactor in US and not a peep or 'concern' since they will use this to greenwash their main business. fear of no food and no clean potable water has spurred costs to skyrocket...and post peak oil reality coupled with plummeting dollar has spurred four dollar gas locally.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let's see, the only car reported to have fires here was not an EV, but a plug in hybrid. GJ smearing electrics as they're coming up, Consumer reports and ABG! ( yes, you are guilty ABG for spreading whatever negative press you can possibly find on the net, i often wonder if you have a hidden agenda, but you see m to enjoy walking that line. )
      brotherkenny4
      • 3 Years Ago
      Consumer reports? Why don't they change their name to "We talk to idots".
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        bro, When you consider the intelligence of the "average public" always keep in mind that by definition HALF are dumber than that.
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          Actually, what you have described is definition of median, not the definition of mean (average). In this case, IQ is generally accepted to follow a bell curve where the median is equal to the mean, but that is not "by defintion" of average.
        Ernie Dunbar
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        50% of the public has below average intelligence. :P
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      Consumer "Fear Monger" Reports. Who Said they Don't Take Oil Money.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        They are just reporting a survey. Remember, it was the Washington post (not even fox news) that said they catch on fire during road tests (the volt). That has to qualify as the worst wrong thing said about the volt yet!
      amtoro
      • 3 Years Ago
      I-20 west was closed yesterday at the evening rush hour because a gasoline vehicle caught fire... was it on the news? noooooooooo........
        Ernie Dunbar
        • 3 Years Ago
        @amtoro
        Hah. Kind of like how some people like to say "bicycles kill pedestrians too!" Yes, but you have to *google* to find those stories. To find a story of a motorist killing a pedestrian, you just have to listen to the morning traffic report.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @amtoro
        has to be a man bites dog sort of thing....
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      So instead of baby boomers on Harley's proving they're 'cool' by riding a dangerous machine... it will be the EV drivers that are the dangerous type...
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      The good news is that fires and safety are not real issues and will go away as people become more familiar with EVs and deal with them in the real world. The bad news is that range is a real issue and cannot be easily addressed. People are just going to have the "get over it" in due time. And they will get over it . . . when faced with $8/gallon or 100 mile range, people will eventually realize that most of their driving can be handled just fine with the EV. It is going to be a long hard slog though. Either that or someone needs to build a cheap PHEV but I don't think that is very easy.
        Actionable Mango
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Pure BEVs will always have a range problem; even with level 3 the wait is long and you are hurting the battery. The only thing available for EVs is the battery-swap station idea and range extending motors like the Volt. Hydrogen fuel cell EVs and infrastructure wouldn't have a range problem, but I get downranked when I talk about that. I still think it's the way to go for EVs some day.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          You get downrated for being short sighted. BEVs are limited in range yes... directly limited. A limit you can see, feel, and know from the sticker before you buy. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles are JUST as bad with range... but it is indirect, can be obfuscated by the automaker and dealer salesperson, and is very misleading. Until there exists a battery that contains 100 kwh of energy and can recharged in 15 minutes... BEVs will have a range problem compared to current gasoline/diesel vehicles. But that future is possible and getting nearer. More over, BEVs can fulfill the needs of millions of drivers RIGHT NOW, with no new infrastructure. And even more over, PHEVs can fill any gap between gasoline and battery cars. Leaving no room for hydrogen to find a market. Until there exists a hydrogen fueling infrastructure of sufficient density throughout the nation... FCVs have limited range that is restricted by a small distance from a H2 station..... and right now, not even 100,000 people could use a FCV even if they had one. Bottome line. BEVS ARE limited.... by total miles from the house per day. FCV ARE limited... by total miles from the H2 station.... that doesn't even exist.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          You obviously haven't been watching battery tech too close if you have that opinion, AM. I have, on my desk, batteries that can tolerate a 10C charge rate, meaning they can take a full charge from 0% to 80%-90% in less than 10 minutes. These are RC aircraft batteries that are cheap and mass produced. Toshiba's SCiB battery can take a 5-10C charge as well. Tesla is releasing a 300 mile EV and Panasonic has cells that are even better than what's going into the Tesla car on the way. ( 4 amp hour 18650's!! ) And dozens of companies are working on the next big thing. The hobbyists, who help drive new things forward, aren't even touching hydrogen right now. We still do not have a way to generate the stuff without basically converting natural gas into another fuel. Hydrogen power is where electric was decades ago.. why do you put your eggs in that basket?
        Ele Truk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        For commuters, range is a non-issue. Admittedly EVs aren't long range cars, but nobody is trying to sell them as one. EVs are good for 90% of your daily driving. Those people who need to drive for hours every day are not well served buying an EV. But for everybody else, the EV is a great solution for unpredictable gas prices, maintenance costs, and of course, fuel alternatives.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ele Truk
          It take 3.5 hours of continuous driving to run my pack down in the city. It takes approx 2.25 hours to run the pack down when driving 55 mph. That would be driving for hours each day. Bottom line is... The people that do not own EV's are the ones with range anxiety, the people that own EV's have no range anxiety. A comment above was, "people don't want to change their life style to suit their car". They may not want to but they do. They did in 70's when they could not get gas because of the oil embargo from OPEC. They did again in 2008. They did not make their mortgage payments but chose to fill their tanks instead. People have had to always change their life styles to suit their cars and they will again in the future. The difference is, one is a planned way to change their life style to suit their car and the other is unplanned. One change is controlled by the owner of the car, the other change is controlled by supply and demand of oil which in this case is OPEC as they manipulate supply thus manipulating demand. Very foolish to think you don't have to change your life to suit your car if you drive a ICE. You will change weather you know it or not. Instead of going out to dinner and a movie, you bite the bullet and fill your car with four dollar a gallon gas. Instead of buying that lotto ticket, you put it in your gas tank, instead of buying new clothes, in your tank they go, instead of paying your mortgage, it is more important to get you daughter to soccer practice. After all not paying you mortgage is a private thing, if you could not afford to get your daughter to soccer practice or to school it become more public to friends and relatives.
      Actionable Mango
      • 3 Years Ago
      People fear what they don't know or aren't used to. I have a friend who has been in three motorcycle accidents; he will happily go on a motorcycle road trip and yet he is afraid of flying.
      Jas Aub
      • 3 Years Ago
      Today's EVs are over-hyped. They remain market place experimental and not practical with the vast majority in this Nation. Build a nice reliable 250 mile range electric car for <$30K and they will come. Until then it is all about emotion and fantasizing that you are saving the planet, curing world hunger and creating world peace.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      "More than three-quarters of the American public say limited driving range is a point of concern when considering an electric vehicle, while almost 30 percent indicated that they thought EVs were more dangerous than conventional vehicles, Consumer Reports said, citing responses to its 2012 Car Brand Perception survey." The real question is this - How many of those "almost 30 percent" are not part of the "more than three quarters"? In other words: If you've already decided not to buy a BEV because of the range, it really doesnt matter if you also believe that there is a fire hazard.
      Joeviocoe
      • 3 Years Ago
      "after a phone survey of more than 1,700 U.S. adults" ... *translation* Senior citizens who still have landline telephones, registered with Yellow Pages, too afraid to leave the house or aging bodies that prohibit leaving the house.... AND willing to take surveys over the phone. Yeah, I have a feeling that these folks would say anything if prompted correctly by the survey taker. "The news has been buzzing about all of those new fangled Electric motor cars CATCHING FIRE! Would that concern affect the purchase of your next automobile??"
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      sure the masses are ignorant. so what else is new. but in fairness, what should be demonstrated is a network of level 3 chargers along key routes such that people can get an EV knowing that they can go any distance if they really wanted to. and of course the more efficient the car the quicker a level 3 can fill it. the masses don't think for themselves so the real crime is that noone demonstrates the obvious. thanks Steven Chu for being a complete dunce. way to be oblivious of EV potential.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Dan... You have to stop prior to typing your last sentence. I think that is what gets you n trouble. The survey IS proof people are not informed. So no real argument there, I am not a big fan of Chu, but I think that through politics his hands are tied. one does have to balance the various interests to get things done/passed and signed. In reading his speeches, I do not doubt what he wants, but he has others he must get things passed. Public opinion, republicans, and even democrats who propose odd things (like special taxes on EV's). Again, not a big fan (radical right wing extremist here) of chu's, but he has to work through the same process as all the rest of the politicians, be it good or bad.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Dan...keep in mind I agree with most of what you said...
        porosavuporo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Dan, would you finally tell us all how does your transdimensional gateway works that lets you preach your great wisdom upon us from whatever that universe is that you live in ?
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