Consumer Reports Finds Concerns About Plug-In Cars

87 percent of consumers have a concern, with range limitations being chief among them.

Published: 31-Jan-2012

As more electric and plug-in hybrid cars charge to market, most (87 percent) consumers have a concern, with range limitations being chief among them. There are also significant safety concerns, many of which may have been fanned by the widely covered Chevrolet Volt fires experienced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after conducting crash tests. The investigation may have been closed, but the public remains apprehensive.

In conducting our recent 2012 Car Brand Perception Survey, we added a couple questions to take America’s pulse on electric vehicle safety, and the results suggest consumers are misinformed and are likely overestimating the risks.

Despite the concerns raised, 43 percent of respondents feel electric and plug-in hybrids are as safe as gasoline-fueled cars, and one-fifth (20 percent) deemed them safer. Twenty-eight percent said the electrified cars are less safe, and nine percent responded they don’t know (a fair answer). Young consumers, those aged 18-44 years, were more likely than others to view the alternative powertrains as safer (23 vs. 17 percent).


Prius PHV starts at $32,000 compared to $25,565 for standard model.

CR suspects some EV enthusiasts will be disappointed at the plug-in's relative eagerness to turn its engine on, though EPA rates it at 95 mpg in EV-mode, 50 in hybrid mode, some 15 mpg better than the Volt.


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