This week, the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers found that plug-in hybrids
have to be "affordable" if automakers think that customers will want to buy them. People are interested, U of M says
, but cost is paramount to people deciding to make a purchase. Speaking at the Business of Plugging In
conference in Detroit this week, Richard Curtin, from the University of Michigan's Institute of Social Research, said that at $10,000, 56 percent of the people surveyed said they wouldn't even consider it. At $2,500, a third were "very eager" to buy a PHEV. Note that the price difference there is the biggest tax credit that the federal government is offering for plug-ins with battery packs that have 16 kWh or more.
Curtin also said that this is not VHS vs. BetaMax redux, with the loser becoming obsolete – the way plug-in vehicles did in the early 1900s – but even if plug-ins don't immediately dominate, they can at the very least find a niche audience. With the right price, they will be tremendously popular because there are many people who want to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. Price them too high, and people will be happy to keep dealing with the downsides of gasoline.
[Source: U of M