Even though consumers paid record prices for gas in 2011, the interest in energy-friendly electric cars is quickly declining, according to a new survey by Pike Research.
Of more than 1,000 adults polled in the Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey, only 40 per cent said they were “extremely” or “very” interested in purchasing a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV). That’s down 8 per cent from 2009 and 4 per cent from 2011.
The problem has nothing to do with awareness, but that Americans haven’t really warmed up to the higher price tag associated with plug-in cars. (See 8 questions every couple should ask before buying a car.)
“Price is the most significant barrier to consumer interest in electric vehicles,” says research director John Gartner. “About two-thirds of our survey respondents who stated they would not be interested in purchasing a PEV said that they felt such a vehicle would be too expensive.”
Electric plug-in cars are about 19% more expensive than gas-guzzlers because of the special batteries they require, Pike says.
And then consumers have to either find a charging station nearby to keep them running or cough up an extra $500-$800 for at-home charging equipment. (See how to get the most out of your car insurance claims.)
But just because the interest in plug-in cars is dropping doesn’t necessarily mean Americans are sticking to their Hummers and SUVs – especially as oil prices rise.
Drivers paid $400 more for gas in 2011 than the year prior, a trend that Gasbuddy.com predicts will continue well into 2012.
A recent study by Wards Automotive found that in the first 10 months of 2011 while sales of Ford and Chevy pickups remained strong, purchases of SUVs fell behind more fuel efficient small and mid-sized sedans like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion.
Nissan and Chevrolet both introduced plug-in cars at the end of 2010 and Toyota is launching its latest Prius this month.