Some people say numbers don't lie. Some say they do - damn lies, and statistics. Whichever side of the divide you come down on, there are some new numbers out about the potential fate of electric vehicles. Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) have put together a study looking at the acceptance rate of EVs in the in the U.S., and there's a lot in there to encourage EV fans.
Let's start with the key takeaway from the abstract (PDF) of Electric vehicles in the U.S.: Progress toward broader acceptance:
Overall, recent advances and improvements in several of these areas have led to PEVs becoming increasingly more competitive with conventional gasoline-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Furthermore, future costs of the vehicles and fuel, coupled with rising public interest and increasing numbers of charging locations, are expected to make such vehicles even more capable of replacing ICE vehicles for the majority of U.S. drivers in the relatively near future.
That sets the tone of the whole thing, which finds that a lot of the underlying numbers in the EV world, things like public charging stations (around 16,000 in the U.S. today) and median price for internal combustion vehicles vs. BEVs and PHEVs ($35,000 vs. $39,160 and $44,795, respectively), are all moving in the "more EVs" direction.
There are other promising lines in the report, if you think there should be more EVs in the world: "The prices of PEVs are expected to become comparable to prices for the average ICE vehicle in the next several years, especially in Europe" and "Public opinion is generally positive regarding acceptance of PEVs."
The problems the authors identify are ones most readers are familiar with, I'm sure. Things like not understanding how to compare MPG with gasoline-gallon equivalent (GGE) and – surprise – range anxiety.
Source: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (PDF)