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Electric Avenue

This One Graph Shows The Biggest Obstacle Facing Electric Vehicles

There are plenty of barriers to widespread EV adoption. But many companies are often forgetting the most basic one: Most people don't know they even exist on the market.

This One Graph Shows The Biggest Obstacle Facing Electric Vehicles

[Image: Electric car via Shutterstock]

The road to a land of electric cars is proving to be a bumpy one. There’s the lack of charging infrastructure, the limited battery capacity, the accompanying "range anxiety." Not to mention the high costs, the heavily subsidized fossil fuel industry, and the series of battery fire incidents with the Tesla Model S.

But as difficult a sell as electric cars are now, a new survey shows they’re suffering from a much more old-fashioned obstacle: People don’t know they exist.

Sure, if you say "electric car," most people will be able to synthesize those two concepts. But according to a recent survey by Navigant Research, if you ask people about that Tesla Model S, fewer than one in four people are even "somewhat familiar" with it. The Nissan Leaf doesn’t crack one in three. And fewer than one in two know the most well-known electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt.

The percentage that says they’re "extremely familiar" with all of these vehicles is similar: in the low single digits.

If your glass is half empty, the survey suggests public interest in fuel economy doesn’t run very deep. If your glass is half full, there’s plenty of room for the EV market to grow, and it starts with better advertising.