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Pike Research Finds Consumer Interest in Plug-In Vehicles Falling


Plug-In VehicleAccording to research findings over the last three years, consumer interest in plug-in vehicles, including electric vehicles [EV] and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [PHEV], has been declining. Pike Research surveyed about a thousand consumers regarding their attitudes on plug-ins, and the results weren’t all that surprising.

In 2011, according to the report, some 40% of respondents were very- or extremely-interested in plug-in vehicles. In 2012, that number fell to 36%, which doesn’t seem significant, but does point to a short-fall in plug-in technology and marketing.

Interest in EVs is still a problem, considering the limited range and excessive charging times involved in this particular form of transportation. Most survey respondents showed range anxiety and believed that EVs wouldn’t be exciting to drive.

Safety also seemed to be a major concern, including fires and being stranded. Excessive charging times were also a major problem for most respondents. Interest in PHEVs, as part of the same survey, is still disappointing, considering the fuel economy benefits.

Most of the respondents believed that the supposed fuel savings would never recoup the higher up-front costs of a PHEV or EV and in-home charging equipment. Of five plug-in vehicles, including the Toyota Prius Plug-In, Chevy Volt, Ford Focus EV, Nissan Leaf, and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, only 24% to 46% saw them as a good value.

Even though many automobile manufacturers have added EVs and PHEVs to their fleets, they need to do a better job educating people about the benefits of plug-in vehicle technology. Consumers could also benefit from learning how to discern media hype from actual news, which has done a lot to hurt plug-in vehicle marketing and public opinion.

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