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Survey: Hybrid Vehicles Gaining U.S. Acceptance

June 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: This story was written by Bob Difley and appeared on www.RV.net.

Johnson Controls, a leading producer of lead-acid batteries for passenger cars and trucks, including batteries for hybrid vehicles, commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a survey on Americans’ attitudes toward buying a hybrid vehicle. The online survey contacted 2,309 adults 18 years and older with the results weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. population for gender, education, income, ethnicity, and propensity to go online. The survey was conducted between March 9 and 11 and revealed some interesting results.

Here are some of them.

  •          84% think government should support the advancement of battery technology in this country.
  •          90% of U.S. adults are open to choosing a hybrid if they were in the market for a new vehicle.
  •          80% think financial barriers such as purchase price and/or insufficient cost savings prevent people from buying a hybrid car.
  •          84% see incentives and tax credits as an effective way to encourage consumers to purchase hybrid cars.

Highlighting the need for technological improvement, cost reductions and greater public education, the survey also revealed the following when asking respondents why they thought people were reluctant to buy hybrids:

  •          49% of adults cite reluctance to sacrifice features such as size and horsepower
  •          42% express concerns that hybrids might mean inferior performance, lack of speed, or a poor driving experience.
  •          47% believe lack of understanding about hybrids in general prevents people from buying them
  •          59% have no idea what the distinctions are between different types of hybrids.

It appears by this survey that public attitudes on hybrids in America have changed dramatically, though it is not yet reflected in sales. And maybe concerted efforts toward public education on hybrids would be a good idea for hybrid manufacturers.

As for plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), at least three Chinese car companies are planning on introducing EVs in the U.S. in the next year or two. And Shai Agassi introduced his new battery-changing robot in Japan, which can remove and replace an EV battery in one minute – less time than it takes to fill a gas tank-and the driver stays in the car the whole time.

If you think of these battery changing stations scattered along major freeways and highways, the current limited range and battery-charging times of EVs may not be a big issue. After all, 98% of Americans drive less than 100 miles a day, and can recharge their EV overnight. So these battery-changing stations will be necessary only on longer drives. Now translate that to driving an EV RV across country, locating these battery stations for quick replacement taking less time than filling the gas tank.

Is it far-fetched, or is it far-sighted?

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