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Survey details top reasons consumers avoid electric cars

The factors aren't surprising. Not even a little bit.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric
These have to cost just a little less and offer more range to capture the public's attention.
Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Like technology fans itching to try the latest and greatest, electric-car owners are early adopters. EV sales remain paltry in the US despite tax credits and other discounts, but a new study aimed to uncover the major factors the internal-combustion engine reigns supreme.

According to the latest findings from Autolist, the reasons aren't that shocking. Electric cars' overall range, their price compared to a traditional car and charging infrastructure are the top reasons why consumers shun an EV. The time it takes to charge an electric car and an overall lack of knowledge rounded out the top five reasons why consumers aren't interested in an electric vehicle.

Electric cars often have a higher priced attached to them as they are not at a price parity with vehicles powered by an internal-combustion engine. It's not exactly known when electric vehicles will reach that price parity, either.

What's perhaps most interesting about the survey are the realistic expectations consumers have when it comes to price. When asked what kind of range they'd expect from a $35,000 EV, most agreed between 250 and 300 miles was acceptable. That largely falls in line with the market today with most mainstream electric cars priced around $37,000 before tax credits or local incentives. Think the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Hyundai Kona Electric and upcoming Kia Soul EV. In fact, the majority of respondents (69%) said they support credits, incentives and other perks from the federal and local governments.

Where things fall off is the upper end of the spectrum. When asked what kind of range a $70,000 EV should provide, the popular answer was more than 500 miles. No electric car on sale provides such a range figure, even the most expensive models from Tesla, Audi and even upcoming models.

It's clear the biggest boon to EV adoption will be general education if consumers' expectations already match the reality of mass-market EVs. Although the sample size of 1,500 respondents was relatively small, it does provide a snapshot of consumers at large and their feelings. The more consumers understand electric cars, the more likely they'll be to purchase one -- over half said an EV would be their primary vehicle if they purchased one today.

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