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Slow EV and hybrid sales due to underinformed customers

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Electric cars and hybrids don’t sell very well because most people don’t understand what they really are or how they work, according to a study conducted by a research team at Simon Fraser University, which the Globe and Mail reported.

Of the 23 developed countries listed in the study, Canada is 17th in terms of plug-in hybrid sales with just 0.27% of total new car sales. Norway leads the world with almost 14%.

In Canada, a minority of people can correctly identify how to fuel the Toyota Prius (18%), Chevrolet Volt (29%), and Nissan LEAF (31%). None of the respondents interviewed had direct experience with a battery-electric vehicle, and only a few had direct experience with a plug-in hybrid vehicle (as either a passenger or driver). In fact, most mainstream respondents did not know plug-in hybrids even existed, and had trouble understanding the ‘dual fuel’ concept.

The study also found that those who buy such vehicles tend to be more affluent and better educated, led by Tesla Model S customers.

Across the country, plug-in hybrid ownership is concentrated in B.C., Ontario, and Quebec.