The Tesla Model 3 and 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars are set to make 200-mile ranges attainable for a much larger number of buyers than today’s $72,000-plus Tesla Model S. But according to one new study, that may not be enough.
A survey by a U.S. national lab showed that many consumers won’t consider an electric car unless it has even greater range. The study looked at current consumer views of electric cars, and was conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Range is apparently still an issue for many consumers, with 56% of respondents saying cars must have 300 miles of range before they would even consider purchasing one. In addition, 53% would need a guarantee that they could consistently park their cars near electrical outlets at home.
There’s better news, too: 52%of respondents said electric cars were “just as good as or better than” gasoline cars. The survey sample included 1,015 households, 60% of which owned two or more vehicles.
While range was a factor, the study also seemed to indicate that knowledge is power when it comes to electric-car adoption. Respondents who were aware of accessible public charging stations were more likely to view electric cars positively and consider purchasing one, according to the study.
Those who were able to name one of the top nine best-selling models were also more likely to take a positive view of electric cars. However, only 48% of respondents were able to name a specific electric-car make and model at all.
Just 24% said they would consider or expect to purchase or lease an electric car as their next vehicle. While boosting the range of mainstream electric cars to 300 miles may be a difficult task, the study indicates that electric-car advocates could still make progress by raising awareness.
Respondents’ lack of knowledge of electric-car models, and questions about charging infrastructure, indicate these is still some work to be done in this area. Indeed, electric-car advocates have expressed profound dissatisfaction with the five years of marketing done to explain their electric cars by Nissan, General Motors, and other makers of plug-in vehicles. The NREL plans to repeat this study annually to track changes in consumer perception of electric cars.