image taken by Monica Almeida, and published with the New York Times article The small city of Santa Monica has made it easy to own an electric car--there are dozens of charging stations throughout the city in parks and public parking areas...and those with a current electric vehicle HOV-lane sticker can park for free at city parking meters. Nevertheless, only 3.6% of vehicles registered in the city are electric. But 15.5% of the registered vehicles are hybrids, so there is some "progress" being made toward reducing the carbon footprint. The survey by R. L Polk that produced that data could have been designed better, however. The "hybrids" category combines plug-in electrics--which operate on electricity ONLY until they run out of charge--with hybrids like the original Prius, which is really just a gasoline engine with a battery assist. RoseMary Regalbuto, a Ford C-Max Energi owner, who is featured in the NYT article linked below, drives a car that plugs-in. I drive a Chevy Volt, which also plugs in. Our driving habits keep us well within the range of our respective cars' electric driving radius, so we never use gas unless we are driving out of town. The gasoline engine is there to provide long-range flexibility and total freedom from "range anxiety." Nevertheless, I find that many people I run into have misconceptions about my car...and that might be the result of poor marketing by electric car manufacturers--and misunderstandings resulting from the failed launch of the electric cars in the 1990's (see Who Killed The Electric Car? ). At any rate, electric cars have "failed to encourage mainstream consumers,” according to Jean François Tremblay, of Ernst & Young’s Global Automotive Center. Some of the reasons cited for this failure are: high sticker price of the cars (although offset by $7500 in Federal tax credits and additional credits from states, still is daunting) lack of a national network of charging stations (not really a factor for cars with a gasoline back-up) Recently there have been decreases in the sticker price for several models, but it remains to be seen whether the market for electric cars is responsive to price adjustments. Car dealers are finding that there is a lot of ignorance on the part of potential customers, which is more of a communication and marketing problem. And if this problem exists in Santa Monica, imagine the gulf in understanding that must exist in the Midwest or rural areas. I like saving the $200 per month in gas...and I like seeing my center post display screen register "250+ miles per gallon." Source: " Santa Monica Bets on Electric Cars, but Consumers are Slow to Switch, " by Jaclyn Trop, New York Times, September 20, 2013 (in print edition 9/21/13). Follow up: What is "range anxiety"? Would you ever consider owning an electric car? How would you improved the marketing of these vehicles?