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Battery Life, Charging Worry Potential EV Buyers

U.S. drivers will test drive electric vehicles. Buying or leasing one is another matter. A loss leader to build showroom traffic?

by on Aug.24, 2010

Two high-mileage vehicles, the Chevrolet Volt and the Chevrolet Cruze at half the price.

Forty percent of consumers report they are likely to test drive an electric vehicle, according to a new study of U.S. adults. However, overall awareness of EVs remains low. Even those who follow EV developments and news reports remain concerned about batteries – the Achilles heel of what remain very expensive vehicles.

“For a new product category, interest in electric vehicles is strong and likely to grow as more vehicles enter the market and consumers become more aware of them,” said Chris Ely, manager of industry analysis, for the Consumer Electronics Association, the publisher of the study.

“Manufacturers, dealers and other sellers will need to emphasize mileage and battery-related specifications when promoting and selling electric vehicles,” Ely concluded.

This should come as no surprise to people knowledgeable about the ongoing efforts of automakers to reduce the cost of battery packs, which can range from $10,000 to $20,000 per EV – or the price of a new gasoline-powered economy car from the same makers such as Chevrolet and Nissan, arguably the two companies most committed to popularizing EVs.

The study, Electric Vehicles: The Future of Driving, affirms that electric vehicles tempt consumers with improved environmental quality and potential cost savings, but serious questions remain about battery life and convenience of battery charging. (more…)