CHICAGO - With the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf set to hit dealer lots, 40 percent of consumers still feel they don't know enough about the technology to consider an electric vehicle for their next purchase, according to a new poll from Cars.com.
While the bulk of consumers are still unsure of the technology, those who said they would consider an electric vehicle (36 percent) for their next car purchase outweighed those who said they would not (24 percent).
"Electric cars still face many hurdles in the minds of consumers who have range anxiety," said Cars.com Editor and Chief Patrick Olsen. "When asked for reasons they would not purchase an electric car, 54 percent said they feared they would run out of electricity while out on the road, while 43 percent said they drive distances greater than electric technology will currently allow."
The cost, infrastructure and time needed to charge an electric vehicle are also concerns for many consumers. A total of 36 percent said they don't have or don't want to pay for an electric outlet in their garage for charging an electric vehicle. They also have high expectations on an acceptable amount of time for a vehicle to fully recharge, with 41 percent indicating it should take less than two hours.
While there was a wide discrepancy among consumers when it came to the amount of miles per charge considered acceptable, roughly a quarter of all consumers said they would expect more than 400 miles per charge.
Age and gender play a role in whether or not a consumer would consider an electric car. Men are almost twice as likely as women to consider the new technology. A total of 60 percent of consumers ages 18-24 said they would consider an electric car, while only 25 percent of consumers ages 45 to 54 said they would consider one.
Survey respondents were also asked for their thoughts on clean diesel technology. A total of 54 percent of consumers said they don't know enough about clean diesel to consider it for their next car purchase. Cost of diesel fuel was the primary deterrent to consideration, with 59 percent citing the expense of fuel as a reason not to buy.
"It's interesting to note that more consumers say they have heard of electric cars than have heard of clean diesel cars, which have been around much longer," said Olsen. "Despite a growing number of eco-conscious consumers and interest in saving money at the pump, both of these alternatives have a ways to go to gain mass consumer awareness, appeal and acceptance. That said, we are thrilled to see more options being developed."
This survey was conducted online by Impulse Research, on behalf of Cars.com, with a random sample of 1,030 men and women, 18 and older. Cars.com said the sample was carefully selected to closely match U.S. population demographics and the respondents are representative of American men and women 18 and older. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is +/-3 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence, Cars.com said.