Study Says Interest in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Rising

By dancurranjr On November 29th, 2010

A new survey by Consumer Reports, the American monthly published by Consumers Union, has found that despite recent reports of a decline in sales of hybrid and electric vehicles, interest in them is actually on the rise.

According to the magazine, 39 percent of 1,713 new car buyers polled by Consumer Reports’ National Research Centre said they are considering purchasing either a hybrid or an electric vehicle, with the majority of those shoppers — 60 percent — considering a standard hybrid.

By comparison, only 14 percent of new car buyers said they are currently considering diesel-powered cars. Of those, the vast majority — 57 percent — said they would use bio-diesel fuel.

The survey also found that 16 percent are interested in a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle while 14 percent are interested in an electric car.

Still, 94 percent find green cars in general lacking in some way, citing a high purchase price, inadequate energy infrastructure, and limited driving range as chief concerns.

Among the survey respondents, men strongly favour plug-in hybrids and electric cars while women see greater appeal in regular hybrids.

Overall, 63 percent expect to get a significant increase in fuel economy, regardless of the type of vehicle they buy. Only 67 percent said they are considering a traditional gasoline engine in their next new-car purchase, which may reflect a growing optimism regarding the availability of competitive green cars.

In addition to hybrids and electric cars, a significant number of consumers also said they would consider other alternative fuels:

• 35 percent said they would consider a flexible-fuel vehicle, one that can run on either gasoline or E85, which is a mixture of 85 percent renewable ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

• 19 percent said they would consider natural gas or propane—a fuel resource that is abundant in North America. Currently, there are very few vehicles equipped to run on natural gas and the infrastructure is limited.

• 16 percent would consider a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. This, despite that fact that only a tiny number of fuel-cell cars are being leased to customers in selected regions, and no automakers have announced imminent plans to mass produce such cars.

Of those surveyed consumers believed electric cars to be the “greenest” vehicles, while the number one reason given for switching to a green car wasn’t environmental concerns, but reducing dependence on foreign oil, with a 26 percent response rate compared to 21 percent.

SOURCE: Renewable Energy Magazine

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