More than three-quarters of the American public say limited driving range is a point of concern when considering an electric vehicle, while almost 30 percent indicated that they thought EVs were more dangerous than conventional vehicles, Consumer Reports said, citing responses to its 2012 Car Brand Perception survey.
Pedestrian risk stemming from the nearly silent motors on EVs and crash protection were also areas over concern. Still, many of those polled cited concerns over possible EV fires either stemming from the recharging process or from a crash, the publication said, after a phone survey of more than 1,700 U.S. adults it did in early December.
The concerns of possible fires likely stems from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test last summer of a Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in that resulted in a fire three weeks later. NHTSA said in January that its two-month investigation revealed that EVs pose no more of a fire risk than conventional vehicles. And late last month, Chevy parent General Motors started an ad campaign touting the Volt's safety.
That leaves single-charge range, which continues to be a sticking point with many potential car buyers, given that battery-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf have a range that's just a fraction of what people are used to from a full tank of gas. Last summer, Deloitte's Australia-based Motor Industry Services released a survey stating that about 80 percent of Americans expect an electric car to have a range over 100 miles. This is also known as about 30 miles further than the Nissan Leaf can go (officially) on a full charge.