Forty percent of consumers say they are likely to test drive an electric vehicle, according to an online survey of American adults from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
Despite these findings, U.S. corporate fleets are expected to be among the steadiest customers of electric vehicles, including cargo vans, as they come to market.
The study, “Electric Vehicles: The Future of Driving,” finds that consumers are concerned about several disadvantages with electric vehicles. Fifty percent of respondents are concerned about mileage potential before needing to recharge and 34 percent are worried about battery life. Other key concerns include cost of the vehicle, reliability and availability of charging station.
The study finds running out of battery power on the road (71 percent), lack of charging stations and/or not being able to recharge (66 percent) and limited mileage (59 percent) are the most common perceived disadvantages with electric vehicles.
Home charging stations may also impact purchase decisions, say CEA analysts, with 51 percent of consumers reporting that they would be less likely to consider purchasing an electric vehicle if they would have to install special charging equipment for the batteries.
Yet, the study finds that consumers are open to considering an electric vehicle in the future, with 42 percent reporting they are likely to follow news reports about electric vehicles. But overall awareness of the various types of alternative vehicles remains low. While nearly one-third (32 percent) report they are familiar, or very familiar, with hybrid vehicles, only about one-quarter are familiar with electric-powered vehicles (25 percent), according to the report.
Those consumers who are open to buying an electric vehicle cite the positive environmental impact and potential cost savings as primary reasons for purchasing electric vehicles. More than three-quarters of those surveyed (78 percent) said the vehicle’s ability to run without gasoline is the greatest advantage, followed by less pollution (67 percent), and the lack of need for oil changes and tune-ups (60 percent).