Highly touted electric cars will be rolling off the assembly lines later this year. And while consumers  are intrigued by this new automotive category and have incentive to buy, thanks to a sizeable tax credit, they also have questions. The findings of a recent Consumer Electronics Association survey show that auto makers are likely to engage in educational ad campaigns to boost sales.

Here’s what consumers like about electric cars:

  • Vehicles don’t use gasoline 78%
  • Less pollution 67%
  • No need for oil-changes or tune-ups 60%

However, consumers are also hesitant to purchase an electric vehicle. Price is an issue. Even with the tax credit, a GM Volt will cost about $33,500 and the Nissan Leaf will cost $25,280.  Some models, for now, may only run 40 miles on a battery charge before the engine switches to the gas engine that allows an additional 300 mile range. And the batteries will need to be charged at home or at work. Here are the specific consumer concerns on this topic:

  • Running out of battery power on the road 71%
  • Unable to recharge 66%
  • Limited mileage range 59%
  • Not interested in installing a home-charging station 51%

Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, says “[e]lectric vehicles are going to be the dominant automotive technology of the future. All the trends are moving that direction.”  Because of the performance uncertainty and higher prices, manufacturers will be promoting leases as the best way to purchase an electric car. In addition, auto manufacturers are expected to launch educational campaigns in the next few months to generate sales and interest in this category.

[Sources: Clayton, Mark. Chevy Volt vs. Nissan Leaf. Csmonitor.com. 27 Jul. 2010. Web. 27 Aug. 2010; Americans Want to Give Electric Vehicles a Test Drive. CEA.com. 23 Aug. 2010. Web. 27 Aug. 2010]