Never underestimate the power of American consumers to fall out of love with an icon. We’re talking about the gasoline engine, the embodiment of American sinew and spirit. Yep, it’s headed to the dust heap of romance past along with the Marlboro Man and shoes with spats. The Nielsen Energy Survey recently questioned consumers about their preferences when purchasing a new car, and when you crunch the numbers a whopping 85 percent said they would buy a plug-in electric vehicle powered by the whisper of a electric battery, not the roar of a gasoline engine. O how fickle is the heart of consumers when they are stabbed in the back by high gasoline prices!
America Hearts Electric Vehicles
The energy consulting company E Source teamed up with the Nielsen company to do the crunching of the Nielsen Energy Survey. What they found certainly vindicates GM’s decision to include a just-in-case gasoline engine with its Chevy Volt electric vehicle — and its purposeful decision to market the car as a vehicle for all Americans, not just the “real” ones. Though overall 85 percent of consumers surveyed said they would buy an electric car (pdf), 58 percent actually prefer a hybrid electric car such as the Volt. Only about 8 percent are ready to go all-electric.
Not So Fast on that EV Thing…Hey, Wait for Me!
Given the state of the U.S. economy, it’s no surprise that not everyone is ready to jump right out and grab the nearest EV. Only 3 percent of consumers surveyed are ready right now. Most (57 percent) say they’ll buy an EV when they’re ready to replace their current car, and a significant number (25 percent) are waiting until the technology goes mainstream. They better not blink. The Army started looking into mass purchases of EVs in 2008 and dipped its toe in the water by leasing 4,000 EVs back in 2009 — and remember, the Army owns the largest vehicle fleet in the world. The U.S. Postal Service, which owns the world’s largest civilian fleet, has had electric vehicles on the road since 1899 and it recently stepped up its efforts to press more electric vehicles into service. EVs are also being introduced into car rental fleets.
Don’t Look Back, Hydrogen Fuel Cells May be Gaining on You
Electric vehicles may have a head start in the mass market, but hydrogen fuel cells are right behind them. It seems that in the future hydrogen fuel cell-powered car owners may be able to manufacture their own hydrogen at home with a simple solar-powered device. Well, you know that crazy, fickle American consumer. Today it’s electricity, tomorrow it’s hydrogen fuel cells. As for gasoline…so 2000-and-late!
Image: Electric sign by withassociates on flickr.com.
- SiEnergy Lowers Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Temperature by 300-500 °C (cleantechnica.com)
- Scientists Follow 150-Year-Old Trail to Clean Fuel of the Future (cleantechnica.com)
- Google Maps Will Guide EV Drivers to Charging Stations (cleantechnica.com)
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