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Electric Vehicles Continue to Grow in Popularity but Education Still Needed Says AAA

Ginnie PritchettEven as technology advances, motorists identify range anxiety and lack of charging locations as top reasons to not drive electric

ORLANDO, Fla., (May 9, 2013) – The number of electric vehicle charging station locations has increased 959 percent since the debut of the Nissan Leaf in 2010. Despite that, eight out of ten U.S. adults are unsure about or unlikely to buy an electric vehicle (EV) and 30 percent of them say it is due to mileage limitations and availability of charging stations locations, according to a survey by AAA.

“There have been major advancements in electric vehicle technology and the supporting infrastructure,” said John Nielsen, AAA Managing Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, “However, it will take time and education for the general motoring public to understand just how far these vehicles have come, and recognize the many resources available to those who drive them.”

Modern EVs typically have a range of 60-100 miles, more than enough for the average driver’s daily commute which the U.S. Department of Transportation says is around 16 miles one way. As to recharging, the U.S. Department of Energy reports there are now more than 5,800 charging stations available for public use. The agency has aggressively promoted expansion of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Additional findings from the AAA survey, fielded in July 2012, show that 26 percent of U.S. adults who are unsure about or unlikely to buy an electric vehicle (EV) cite the higher cost in general of an electric vehicle (i.e. buying, maintaining) as a reason they would be unlikely/undecided to make such a purchase.   “Battery improvements, increased competition, and economies of scale are all likely to drive down costs associated with buying an EV,” Nielsen continued. “With no need to change oil or filters and less brake system wear and tear, maintaining an EV is actually more affordable than a conventional vehicle.”

As joint efforts by government, private groups, and the automotive industry bring the charging picture into focus, AAA’s commitment to meeting member’s needs continues through electric vehicle roadside assistance. In 2011, AAA facilitated an extensive electric vehicle charging research and development program to help test EV charging as a roadside solution. AAA’s specially equipped road service trucks – capable of providing EV charging in approximately 15 minutes for about 10 miles of driving – are currently being tested in select markets across the country. The trucks can also provide traditional roadside services to members with any type of vehicle.

Working with the Electric Drive Transportation Association, AAA recently added EV content to their public information website, AAA Exchange. The new content provides basic information about electric vehicles that will help motorists determine whether an electric vehicle might be right for them. The materials also examine the various types of electric vehicles available, and help consumers understand the important differences that come with owning and operating an electric car.

Electric vehicle drivers looking for a public charging station in their area can consult the online AAA TripTik Travel Planner or the AAA Mobile application for smartphones. About 400 EV charging stations are located at AAA/CAA Approved hotels, restaurants and attractions. A green “plug” icon accompanies listings for these establishments in club-customizable AAA.com Travel Guides and 2013 Tour Book guides, which also denote stations available at AAA club offices.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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