Consumers were quick to adopt hybrid cars when they debuted around a decade ago, particularly the Toyota Prius. Will they do the same with the new plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs)? A new report from Pike Research says, not so fast.

This study indicates that while many people are aware of the environmental and transportation cost benefits surrounding the next generation of electric vehicles, many concerns still exist that the new models  set to hit the market within a year (such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt) represent unproven technology.

Nissan Leaf
image via Nissan

The key factor? “Range anxiety:” the worry that these new vehicles won’t have enough range to be practical on a day-to-day basis. This means that it could take several years for the mainstream car-buyer to get comfortable with the idea of purchasing an electric car.

That’s the mainstream consumer, however.  Pike senior analyst Dave Hurst noted that, “Despite the skepticism of many consumers, the early adopter market should still easily meet the industry’s expectations for the first few years of electric vehicle sales.”

And if early adopters prove the technology practical for the American lifestyle, we may see the next boom in green vehicles.

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