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Most consumers don’t know about electric vehicle incentives

One of the reasons why electric cars are poor sellers is because consumers have little understanding of the financial incentives and other benefits available to owners of the vehicles.

That’s the finding of two Indiana University researchers who surveyed more than 2,000 drivers in 21 of the nation’s largest cities. They discovered that 95% of respondents didn’t know about state and local subsidies, rebates and other incentives.

For example, only 2 out of 758 survey respondents living in areas where subsidies for home charging equipment are offered were aware of their availability, the researchers said.

A large majority, 75%, also was uninformed about the savings in fuel and maintenance costs that all rechargeable cars such as battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars offer over traditional gasoline vehicles.

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“It is well-established that current mainstream consumer interest in these vehicles is low,” said John D. Graham, one of the co-authors of the report. “What should be particularly troubling for plug-in electric vehicle proponents and manufacturers is that the respondents to our survey live in major urban areas, the places where PEVs make the most sense due to daily travel patterns.”

Americans will purchase about 50,000 rechargeable cars this year, a tiny fraction of the 15.5 million new vehicles that will be sold in the U.S. in 2013.
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