If you go to a traditional new car lot today you'll probably see a plug-in hybrid or full electric car — or two, but getting somebody to buy them is proving to be a challenge. Ford, Honda, Toyota, Kia, and other traditional internal combustion manufacturers have been slowly easing into electrification, first with hybrids and now plug-in hybrids and full EVs that can fuel up from the wall. Alas, while attitudes towards such vehicles are improving, there's still a big gap of enthusiasm to make up there.
According to a study conducted by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (pdf) (hat tip to Green Car Congress, right around half of Americans (52%) think a plug-in hybrid is just as good as a conventional ICE-powered car, but only 24% would buy one. And the numbers aren't any better for pure electric cars — 45% say they're just as good, but only 1-in-5 would consider buying one.
Meanwhile, in Europe we're seeing a full-on embrace of electrified vehicles. According to Electrek, sales of the Model S in Switzerland have more than doubled over the past year, while in Norway hybrid and plug-ins accounted for 61% of vehicle sales in March — 18% were pure EVs. Per Norway's Dinside (via Green Car Reports), they're so into EVs that the Nissan Leaf scored the #3 slot while the more expensive and further-driving Tesla Model S with the 5th-best selling car in Norway.
So what's holding back American buyers? Range anxiety and price. While we won't disagree that the average gasoline-powered car still gets considerably better range than even the nearly 300 miles that the updated Tesla 90D gets and is faster to refuel, it's worth keeping in mind that the majority of drivers don't use anywhere near that range in their typical driving. But then again, Americans have a tendency to buy more vehicle than they typically need, spending tens of thousands of dollars extra on large pickup trucks that haul appropriate cargo maybe a few times a year.
As for price, yes, EVs are pricy too. The Tesla Model 3 and other competing EVs coming soon will help somewhat in bringing down the cost, but they'll still be more expensive overall than the typical new family sedan. EVs are niche, for now, but it will only a matter of time before the internal combustion engine goes the way of the dinosaurs that are now its fuel.