The age of electric cars is quickly coming, but numerous recent studies are showing that consumers know little about the new technology. With that lack of knowledge also comes a fear of the change, with plenty of hand-wringing that having to plug is a car instead of filling it up with gasoline will somehow make life worse.
Daimler recently concluded a two-year study on electric vehicles. Not surprisingly, one of the big takeaways from the study was that people who know less about electric cars also are more likely to have a negative perception of them. This same pattern has been seen time and time again in the automotive industry and elsewhere.
WardsAuto commissioned its own report recently, concluding that automakers have a tough battle ahead when it comes to actually selling electric cars. Thanks to increasingly tough government regulations around the world, the different automakers have no choice but to sell all-electric models in big numbers in the not-distant future, but the sheer ignorance of the general public could make that a tall order.
During the past few years, a number of publications have pointed out that most dealerships provide little training to their employees when it comes to any all-electric models. That could help explain why most Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt owners are well-educated and almost obsessive about the electric drivetrain technology. Quite simply, any casual consumers would quickly become discouraged by the lack of help provided when trying to assess an electric model. This lack of dealer knowledge is an obvious area to target.
The fact is that something is going to have to give. Automakers and their dealer networks will need to do a better job of incentivizing consumers into purchasing electric vehicles. At the same time, the general public will need to become better educated on electric drivetrain technology, which could come from a number of different sources.