When will more Americans buy electric cars?

Up to forty percent of American households could use an electric vehicle with little impact to their daily needs, according basic criteria set forth in a recent survey. The results, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Consumers Union, give notion to the idea this type of personal transportation has strong potential to take root in the United States.

That this potential still has a long way to go to be fulfilled is an understatement, as less than one percent of the country at this point are behind the wheels of electric vehicles. This survey did find that 42 percent of those responding meet the “basic criteria for using plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt.  More than half of those households are also able to use a battery-electric vehicle (BEV), such as the Nissan Leaf.”

image via Nissan

What the criteria are which define this potential are laid out first for plug-in hybrids, as those owners

have access to parking and an electrical outlet at home or work, need to carry less than 5 occupants, and do not need hauling or towing capability. A BEV was considered suitable when these criteria were met and maximum weekday driving distance did not exceed 60 miles and, in the case where weekend driving frequently exceeded current BEV vehicle range, other household vehicles were available.

“Consumers who might be shopping for a new vehicle this holiday season may be surprised to learn that an electric vehicle could be a good fit for their household,” said Josh Goldman, policy analyst for the UCS Clean Vehicles Program in a statement. “Drivers may have preconceptions about whether electric vehicles can meet their driving needs and habits, and this survey shows that for many, they can.”

* Nino Marchetii, EarthTechling