Why aren’t more people buying electric cars?

Between hybrids and all-out electrics, the tech has been in place for at least partial electric transmissions to get us to our destinations for a while now. Yet, reports show that auto consumers are not buying electric for some reason. This, despite the claims that there is long-term cost savings and it is more eco-friendly, is something that baffles the experts.

What reasons could consumers be sticking with their diesel and petrol-powered versions of Peugeot vans and Japanese compacts instead of their more fuel-efficient, electric-motor powered counterparts?

More Expensive Off the Bat

For one, because of the hybrid battery and the customised engineering that is necessary for this still relatively new technology, electric cars are more expensive initially. They are long-term investments in an era where those trying to keep up with the Jones’ are flipping cars every few years, which negates the cost savings that generally are seen in the long haul.

If you are talking about the more specialised electric vehicles, like the kind that Tesla makes, then you are looking at only luxury vehicles, pretty much. Those are well out of the price range of most buyers except those comfortably in the middle and upper middle class, which explains its cost exclusivity.

Tech Remains Unproven

For many, the internal combustion engine has been around for as long as they can remember and that is good enough for them. Their political leanings may colour them indifferent to the environmental impact of cars that run on fossil fuels, so their old-school approach of sticking to ostensibly more powerful, reliable petroleum-burning engines that can get them from point A to B, no matter how long the journey, is enough for them to stick with the tried and true.

The infrastructure for long-distance travel is certainly not developed in most countries, so for those concerned with traveling farther than just the city limits, this is a real technological concern until they develop batteries that can hold a charge longer. Yes, in some places there are charge stations, but these are too few and far between to be of practical use for the average consumer. Also, in some cases one has to wait a long time to have access to the limited number of charge stations available.

Too Many Options Confuse the Consumer

The categories and classes for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are numerous, which could cause potential buyers to be confused and reluctant to spend on what is available without first understand all the options.

The National Academy of Science produced a report that was commissioned by the US Congress which divided PEVs into four classes: minimal plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) which can only perform short trips on battery power alone; short-range battery electric vehicles; range-extended PHEVs which, most of the duration of a trip, drive on electric power; and long-range battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which are rated to travel anywhere from 200 to 300+ miles on a single charge before needed to see a station. As a relatively new product to the market, this class confusion is surely preventing people from investing.

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Tom Brown

Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.

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Tom Brown
Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.