'Pure' electric cars face uphill battle

May 25, 2011 at 2:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- Despite high gas prices, American are proving reluctant to consider buying electric cars based on initial costs and other factors, a poll indicates.

Nearly six out of 10 Americans surveyed in a USA Today/Gallup poll said they wouldn't buy an all-electric car no matter how high the price of gas went, USA Today reported Wednesday.

The survey suggests pure electrics -- defined in the poll question as "an electric car that you could only drive for a limited number of miles at one time" -- could face an uphill battle in the U.S. market.

Such cars "are very much niche vehicles," Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl said. "They find acceptance among a core group of passionistas, but too many questions remain for mainstream consumers."

Electrics are priced thousands of dollars more than comparable gasoline cars, he said, and consumers are concerned about range per charge, recharge time and battery replacement cost.

The only pure electric car from a major manufacturer currently on the market is the Nissan Leaf, rated at 73 miles on a charge and costing $33,630.

The poll of 1,024 adults nationwide, conducted May 12-15, when the average gas price nationally was about $3.98 a gallon, had a margin of error of 4 percentage points, USA Today reported.

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