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Report: Americans ready for electric cars with normal auto range

It seems U.S. consumers are changing their minds about electric cars as analysis of a Nielsen Energy Survey conducted by Boulder CO based E Source reports 85 percent claim they will buy an electric car either right away, when their current car needs replacing or when the technology becomes mainstream.
Posted: April 27, 2011 - 3:09PM
Author: Don Bain

Three percent of respondents said they are ready to by an electric car right now. Fifty-seven percent will when it’s time to buy again. Only 25 percent still need more proof the technology works and is already viable.

One strong preference that emerged from the analysis is the interest in cars with the same range as the gasoline driven cars they are used to – a plug-in hybrid electric such as the Chevrolet Volt. A majority of 58 percent expressed this opinion.

Only 8 percent are ready to purchase and prefer an all-electric car like the Nissan Leaf and range is the most significant issue.

"We are seeing a substantial willingness for drivers to move to plug-in electric vehicles, but only if the manufacturers can provide the easy extended range of travel that Americans are used to," says Bill LeBlanc, senior advisor at E Source.

Younger drivers and those who label themselves as politically liberal are the ones more likely to accept an all-electric vehicle as a viable option.

"We see that all ages and all political mindsets like the plug-in hybrid vehicles equally," says LeBlanc. "But when it comes to the all-electric car, it appears to be seen as more of a 'green' purchase, rather than as a practical upgrade to a more-efficient vehicle."

The more time people spend in their cars, the more interest they seem to have in plug-in hybrid vehicles, though the amount they drive daily didn’t seem to matter.

So it would seem the issue is one of geographic freedom. Though most people don’t drive more than the range of an electric vehicle daily, they want to be able to do so if so desire.

"Overall, the survey supports the existence of a huge untapped market for electric vehicles that can be charged at night at home. People seem very ready to move to the next generation of cars and dramatically decrease the frequency of their visits to the gas station," reports LeBlanc.

Other variables, including home ownership, type of home, household size, annual income, gender, age, marital status, and ethnicity were taken into account in the E Source analysis.