Chevy Volt versus Ford Focus Electric: Americans not ready for pure EVs
Americans want everything in their cars, and that challenge will be difficult for EVs to overcome
The bulk of my driving for the last several years has been dominated by distances that just aren’t battery electric vehicle friendly. Thus, if I had to buy a plug-in, it would have to be some kind of plug-in hybrid that can also use gasoline to extend my range. But if I could buy two cars, I’d buy a pure EV and then the most fuel efficient highway hybrid.
Nevertheless, there are many other Americans that could easily get by with a pure electric vehicle for almost all of their driving needs, yet the anecdotal evidence, minimally, suggests that it’s going to take a lot to convince Americans of the relevance of pure EVs to meet their needs.
This morning, MotorTrend pitted the Chevy Volt versus the Ford Focus Electric. Certainly, the fans of MotorTrend are not necessarily big EV or plug-in fans, but the overwhelming majority of respondents picked the Volt over the Focus electric, and it all seems to boil down to range anxiety.
Interestingly, however, most responding to MT’s question believe both cars are too expensive. Yet, long term pure battery electric plug-ins will offer a better case for cost-effectiveness. In fact, real mainstream plug-in potential might be significantly hinged upon the ability of pure electrics long term, as they will be more cost-effective.
Ironically, however, plug-in hybrid producers/marketers will almost certainly reinforce the negative image of limited EV range as a way of differentiating their products to increase sales. ‘Limited range is bad’, unfortunately, is exactly the kind of marketing spin that US consumers are ready to receive, and that many automakers will reinforce, even those also selling EVs.
Sadly, this negative reinforcement could severely stunt plug-in penetration long term.