Editor’s Note: It has long been my opinion that the #1 barrier to much broader electric car adoption right now is simply lack of awareness with EVs + lack of experience with EVs. With full understanding regarding plug-in electric cars and the specific models on the market right now, I’m convinced we would have several times more electric cars on the road. However, raising awareness is slow, even with the firepower of Tesla and Elon Musk at your back. Getting people into EVs and thinking about life with EVs is even more challenging. But word of mouth is powerful once it picks up momentum, and I don’t doubt that it will with EVs. For the time being, though, we have the findings below, and yet another reason to go buy a CleanTechnica and/or EV Obsession t-shirt and mug. 😀
A recently conducted consumer survey from the strategy consulting group Altman Vilandrie & Co has found that around 60% of people in the US are unaware of the existence of plug-in electric vehicles, and that 80% have never ridden in one, much less driven one.
To be clear, that 60% figure is indeed people who don’t realize there are cars out there that can be plugged into an electricity socket and charged instead of fueled with gasoline or diesel.
Given that the survey findings are based on only 2,500 sample data points, though, it’s not completely clear how representative the sample pool is. Remember that there is a great deal of cultural variation across the US, and no less so with regard to EVs.
Hybrid Cars provides more on other topics covered in the survey:
“[M]ost (60%) consumers who tried a PEV said they enjoyed the experience, compared to the small number (8%) who didn’t get to try one out.
“Fear of losing battery power followed closely in the study. Nearly three quarters (74%) of those taking the survey said they were unsure how far a PEV would carry them on a full charge. That concern was coupled with the dearth of charging infrastructure. 85% said that lack of charging stations would keep them from buying a PEV. High prices for buying a PEV is a concern for even more consumers — 83% are turned off by it.”
That said, it’s hard to trust the responses of people who don’t have any awareness of EVs before beginning the survey. They surely weren’t provided with a rundown of these 30+ electric car benefits.
The group that performed the survey noted that if most auto manufacturers were to release “less expensive” plug-in electric vehicles, the rate of adoption would probably become around 24 times greater than the current rate. That’s one guess.
It should probably be stated here that despite the survey findings, the range limitations clearly shouldn’t apply to Tesla’s offerings and plug-in hybrids, though the cost issues certainly do.
Of course, the respondents were almost definitely unaware of deals like these: