Fascination with plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) has been softening for in the US in the past year, Pike Research found after once again surveying consumers about their interest level and concerns about the practicality of making such as purchase.
Interest in owning plug-in electric vehicles is down from last year's annual survey findings. Those in the "extremely" or "very" interested in purchasing category fell from 40 percent in 2011 to 36 percent in 2012. The survey reached 1,001 US residents and the questions were identical to those asked in 2011 and 2010.
For those surveyed, practical lifestyle concerns were potential deal breakers. Insufficient range was the primary reason for lack of interest in EVs. More than one-third believe EV batteries are dangerous, and 40 percent think plug-ins often strand drivers when battery power is depleted.
As for group demographics, they were no surprising results. Early adopters of the latest technologies are twice as likely to be interested in EVs as the average consumer. Interest in EVs didn't differ all that much by age, gender, income or education level.
Familiarity with the available products varied, with consumers being most informed about the Chevrolet Volt. The practical cost of ownership continues to dampen enthusiasm, with one-third of respondents disagreeing with the statement that plug-in vehicles are cheaper to own than gasoline-powered vehicles.
Consumer passion for these new technologies seems to be waning a bit. The challenge for stakeholders such as automakers will be effectively informing the public. It would also help consumers to have their own test drive experiences and get feedback from more influential stakeholders in their lives – co-workers, cousins, buddies, next-door neighbors – who they see driving a plug-in and who can answer their questions.
Note: the image above (seen better here) is a 1994 BusinessWeek cover that says "Electric Cars: Are They The Future?" Just saying.