DETROIT -- A new Nielsen survey finds that a majority of Americans are interested in buying an electric vehicle, but 65 percent don't want to pay more for it. And even among those who say they're willing to pay more, just over half say an extra $5,000 is the most they'll pay for an electric.
That attitude isn't new.
At a 1996 international electric vehicle symposium in Osaka, Japan, I listened as the EV True Believers insisted that consumers would gladly pay more for this wonderful, advanced technology.
No, replied the automakers. All of our studies, they said, show that because of the more limited range, consumers believe they're getting less car and therefore believe they should pay less.
By the end of the year, Chevrolet and Nissan will launch electrified vehicles. The ranks of early adapters and EV True Believers will be depleted before the government subsidies for those vehicles. But at some point, we'll find out just how much, if anything, consumers are willing to pay as an EV surcharge.