Study Reveals Car Buyer Lack of Interest in Electric Vehicles

A new study from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs determined that mainstream car buyers are both ignorant and apathetic about plug-in electric vehicles. The study, which is based on a survey of 2,300 adult drivers in larger American cities, such as Chicago and Boston, is a snapshot of driver sentiment from the fall of 2011. The findings of this study were published online by the journal Transportation Research.

Findings of the Study

The 2011 survey of adult motorists showed that only about four percent of respondents indicated a serious consideration of purchasing a plug-in electric vehicle. Of the respondents who expressed a high interest in buying this type of vehicle, only 22 percent were interested in a pure electric car while 78 percent showed interest in a plug-in hybrid, such as a Chevy Volt. Though limited range was cited as one of the primary disadvantages of a plug-in electric vehicle, plug-in hybrids are not any more limited in range than gas-powered cars.

Despite any of the misgivings expressed by respondents, motorists in some cities were more amenable to plug-in electric vehicles than others. Interest was great among highly educated, more conservative-minded people, and respondents in San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston were ranked highest out of the 21 cities for interest in these vehicles.

Misunderstandings of Electric Cars

The results of this study raise the question as to what consumers are basing their answers on, as many knew very little about electric vehicles and their potential benefits. John Graham, the dean of the university’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the study’s designer, states that the group "found substantial factual misunderstandings of electric cars in our sample of 2,000," which in some cases led drivers to be more pessimistic about the vehicle than they perhaps should be.

Graham states that car buyers may experience "sticker shock" when shopping due to the substantially higher price of these vehicles, but buyers may not understand that the upfront cost can be recouped, mostly, by cost saving on fuel. He adds that it is an estimated 70 to 80 percent cheaper on a per-mile basis than gasoline, on average. In addition, the distance traveled daily by respondents was, as a mean, 28.35 miles, which can easily be covered in a single charge by electric vehicles.

As some consumers may be basing their opinion of electric vehicles on preconceived notions, Graham believes that familiarity and more exposure to the cars may increase acceptance.

Electric or Not, Any Car May be Involved in an Accident

The Seattle car accident lawyers of Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. understand that an auto accident can occur in any type of vehicle at any time, and a person can never be prepared for this unfortunate event. Our legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured in a traffic accident caused by another person’s careless actions and will work diligently to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable for your losses. If you have been injured in any type of vehicle crash, please call (888) 228-3860 to discuss your case with us during a complimentary consultation.

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