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USA Today Asks; Will Masses Embrace Electric Cars Despite High Prices?

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Washington GC November 9, 2010; The AIADA newsletter reported that according to USA Today the biggest automotive revolution since horseless carriages first rumbled along rutted roads is about to take place – and you'll have to strain to hear it.

That's because the first mainstream electric cars in nearly a century will be hitting the streets over the next couple of months, and their electric motors are as eerily quiet as they are tailpipe-emission-free.

Automakers like Nissan and Chevrolet are touting the new vehicles in splashy ads, but already there are signs that wary mainstream consumers won't be quick to embrace the largely untested electric models.

Automakers likely will have no trouble selling out their initial, limited production to electric enthusiasts and early adopters who have to have the latest thing, but mass acceptance that would lead to profitable production in big numbers remains a question.

"Barring significant changes to public policy, including tax incentives and higher fuel-economy standards, we don't anticipate a mass migration to green vehicles in the coming decade," says John Humphrey, a senior vice president for J.D. Power.

Reasons for this include the lack of public charging stations; necessary garage upgrades to accommodate home chargers; the stability of current gas prices; sticker shock; and a range of other unknowns that accompany EV ownership.

For coverage of the challenges to long-term acceptance of EVs at USA Today, click here.