Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Green vehicle revolution - price puts buyers off claim JD Power

A U.S report by JD Power and Associates has warned that the success of electric and hybrid cars lies with consumer take-up rather than the motor industries forging ahead with new models.

The report (as published in the Globe and Mail) goes onto say that "one or more scenarios" needs to happen before car buyers take up hybrid vehicles.

Namely, a significant increase in the price of fuel, a "substantial" breakthrough in green technologies that reduces the cost of such vehicles or "coordinated government policies" to encourage consumer purchase.

All in all, those hoping for a green car revolution will find little cheer, but then we all knew this already didn't we?

JD Power predict global sales of hybrid / electric vehicles will reach 5.2 million in 2020. That's just 7.3% of the estimated 70.9 million vehicles that will be sold that year. The 2010 prediction is for 2.2% of the 44.7 million car sales will be alternatively fuelled models.

Consumers still find the increased price a put-off when compared with their petrol/diesel equivalent says the report. Consumers are also concerned over reliability, unhappy with the power and performance of current vehicles, worried about driving range and recharging and perhaps most damming - many don't like the styling of the current models.

As one commentator wrote, Hybrids only make sense in stop / start traffic. On the open road, they're just an underpowered petrol car with a 500lb deadweight of batteries in the boot.

It seems we have a long way to go.

p.s. After having a go in a Toyota Prius Hybrid earlier this year, I've posted a couple of times on how much sense the vehicle made (read that post here). And if you're in the market for a new vehicle, then it makes sense to check them out as possible alternatives.

The list price may be higher but the longer view that you'll save money on road tax and fuel could offset that and if you keep the vehicle long enough, then perhaps you'll even end up winning?

photo credit: les chatfield

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