AAA: Fear of Unknown Fuels Aversion to EVs

AAAEVGraphic

If U.S. car shoppers were more informed about the capabilities and advantages of electric vehicles, they'd be more inclined to buy one, according to AAA. Despite technological advancements and thousands of available charging stations that make EVs far more practical than before, an AAA survey showed that eight out of 10 adults are still either unsure about or unlikely to buy one.

Mileage limitations were the top concern for 30% of surveyed drivers who were uncertain about buying an EV. AAA contends that such fears are largely unfounded, as modern EVs have a driving range of 60-100 miles compared with the average commute of 16 miles one way. Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 5,800 EV charging stations are now available for public use across the nation. Moreover, AAA noted that it is now testing specially equipped roadside-service vehicles capable of providing EV charging to stranded motorists in 15 minutes for 10 miles of driving.

The other top concern among surveyed motorists — the perceived higher costs of purchasing and maintaining an EV — was cited by 26% of respondents. But that is increasingly unfounded, as well, AAA indicates.

"Battery improvements, increased competition, and economies of scale are all likely to drive down costs associated with buying an EV," John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering and repair, said in a statement. "With no need to change oil or filters and less brake system wear and tear, maintaining an EV is actually more affordable than a conventional vehicle."

Working with the Electric Drive Transportation Association, AAA has added content to its website to help car shoppers determine if an EV is right for them. Drivers can also find a public charging station using AAA's website or smartphone app. For more info go to AAA.com.

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More Hybrids/Alternative Fuels News on Cars.com

Comments 

Others

There are more than 17,000 EV charging stations.

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/stations_counts.html

Infact price of Level-2 station may drop to just $1,000 soon.

If its right for you, just buy it. Sooner a Charging station will come near your home/office.

Sam

We live out in Colorado country about 30 miles from civilization and have owned a Prius ever since it first came out more than ten years ago.

It's not a plug-in but a hybrid. It's a great grocery-getter for local use. Both my wife and I love our Prius and drive it a lot on short hops to and from.

Each time we trade it for a new one we keep coming home with another Prius Hybrid. It is great for around town use and you don't have to worry about how much battery capacity you still have left.

We've considered the Volt, which is also a Hybrid that's plug-in capable, but a Prius costs a lot less, especially when trading in another Prius.

As far as battery-only plug-in vehicles, there's no way we would buy one because there is no secondary power generation, and when you're out of juice, you're out of juice. There are no charging stations where we live and we have many power failures especially during the winters.

Our Prius is one of three vehicles we own. For long trips we normally take my F150 or my wife's Camry. Both are roomier than an EV or Hybrid and a lot more comfortable for long road trips to Denver or out of state.

Our decision has nothing to do with fear of the unknown. All of the Prius vehicles we have owned have been great and have never let us down or ran out of juice.

You can't go far with a battery-only EV before you have to stop and charge it, and lose time. A Hybrid is much better. At least you don't ever have to stop to recharge your battery. Filling it with gas if it needs it takes a lot less time than charging the battery.

Zerf

We have a Volt and love it. After the federal rebate, GM rebates and negotiating it was not nearly as expensive as many seem to think. For my long commute it has provided incredible fuel economy in a car that is enjoyable to drive. After having put nearly 18K miles driving year round my lifetime average fuel economy is about 130 mpg in a cold MA. If I had the option to charge at work or had a shorter then 66 mile R/T commute my numbers we be much better. When we shopped, the other EVs were not even a consideration because the limitation in miles was not really an option for us. The Volt seemed like a great choice since I can be electric as much as possible but have the gas to keep going when there is no time or option to stop. If I had to do it all over again I would choose the same car.

DC

I'm another Volt driver. It's possible I could make my daily rounds with the range of a Leaf but there are several occasions (about once every other week) where the range limits of a Leaf would be too small. I could probably get away with the range of a Tesla (200 miles) but I can't afford one.
There are no public charging stations around northeast MA that I have convenient access to. In southern california there are charging stations aplenty. The day is coming though. To 'Others' - home charging stations are as inexpensive as $600 but for most some installation costs (electrician, wiring) will add on. Commercial charging stations are in the thousands still.
Given the lack of charging infrastructure in the northeast, a PHEV or EREV (PlugIn Hybrid Electric Vehicle or Extended Range Electric Vehicle) is the way to go.
There are many rebates and tax credits available for electric vehicles like the Volt, bringing the price to within a few thousand of the basic Prius. The driving experience, though, is worlds better than the Prius. Plus, I'm averaging 200 MPG - about 1000 miles per fill-up of gas. And yes, my electric bill is up about $25 per month to recharge the car every night.

Greg G.

I already own a Nissan LEAF and have a Tesla Model S coming in a couple weeks.

The LEAF is a really nice car when compared to other gas cars but also far smoother and quieter.

That said it's still too early for most people. There need to be a lot more public fast chargers especially in the boonies. I live near downtown Chicago and there are charging stations all over, but then again home is close enough so I expect I'll rarely need one.

The issue is when I got out to the 'burbs. There I need the range and there really aren't that many. Thanks to Whole Foods for at least putting fast chargers in all their stores so the one time I pushed my luck I was able to get to one and top off the Leaf. Got the kids a snack and did a little shopping and was charged up enough to complete my trip.

Temecula Tom

"After the federal rebate,"

That only applies to people who actually pay more than that in federal taxes.

People who pay little or no taxes due to low income or those of age 65 and over don't get the benefit of that $7500 tax rebate.

I still believe that you can get TWO Chevy Cruzes ($17K each) for the price of ONE Volt. At least in Southern California.

If I were forced to make a choice I'd take the two Cruzes over the one Volt, and not worry about raising my electric bill which is already outrageous where I live.

Gasoline still offers a lot more for the money.

Disruptive technology always has its haters, and EVs are no different.

As the technology stands now (which will improve exponentially in the next few years, as it always does) EVs only make sense for certain people:

- As a 2nd car
- For shorter trips around town
- For people who have access to a plug at night
- For those who do not live in an excessively hot climate (i.e. Phoenix, Houston, etc.)

This doesn't make the technology bad, it just makes it not right for everybody.

I bought a used, 2011 Nissan Leaf several months ago and have been keeping a diary / blog about the experience, with the most recent post being about some of the more hilariously stupid Hater's comments out there. Follow along! http://EVearlyAdopter.blogspot.com

DC

Temecula Tom that is true - you have to have a $7500 tax liability to be eligible for the full $7500 tax credit. If you shop around you can get easily $5000 off MSRP through dealer incentives on the Volt, and subtract the tax credit, and it will cost you more in the $28K price range, far from the advertised MSRP. If you aren't eligible for the tax credit you can consider leasing - the lease company gets the tax credit and it's reflected in your lease rate.
For $28K you get a lot more car than a Cruze or Prius and electricity is still cheaper than gasoline. Is it the cheapest thing on the market? No. But it's comparable to other $40K cars on the market and that makes it worth a look. For that matter no new car will ever "pay for itself", so it's not all about that. Buy a 6 year old corolla if you are hung up on the purchase price and lifetime operating costs etc. You won't get a better deal than that.

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