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In the U.S., sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are expected to reach nearly 48,000 in 2012 and to surpass 400,000 vehicles annually by 2020. However, according to a new consumer survey from Pike Research, fundamental interest in PEVs declined among survey participants between 2010 and 2012.

In 2012, only 35% of respondents stated that they would be extremely or very interested in purchasing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or battery electric vehicle (BEV) with a range of 40 to 100 miles and an electricity cost equivalent to $0.75 per gallon. In 2011, 40% stated they were extremely interested or very interested in this type of vehicle, which was down slightly from 44% in 2010.

“Interest in PEVs remains moderate but has fallen over the last year,” says senior research analyst Dave Hurst. “While this decrease is not staggering, it might indicate that auto manufacturers need to address misconceptions among consumers and do a better job of educating consumers about the benefits of PEVs in order to attract buyers in larger numbers.”

In addition to a decline in interest, the 2012 survey found that there are a number of misconceptions in the market. When asked if PEVs are cheaper to own in the long run than gasoline vehicles, 37% of respondents disagreed. Additionally, 37% believe PEV batteries are dangerous. Even those respondents who expressed interest in PEVs showed signs of concern, as more than one third believe current PEV owners are often stranded as a result of their vehicles running out of power, the report adds.




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