BOSTON - Imagine never having to gas up your car. Sounds good, doesn't it?
The recent surge in gas prices is sparking renewed interest in electric vehicles that run on batteries. But new dependability rankings might tap the brakes on that EV momentum.
The annual Consumer Reports ranking of most reliable vehicles is notable for the absence of EVs in its upper echelon. Tesla ranked 19th out of 24 vehicles rated.
"There are a lot of problems with electric vehicles," says auto expert John Paul, the "Car Doctor" for AAA Northeast. He notes that while hybrid vehicles did well in the rankings, some of the electric-only makes are a headache waiting to happen.
"There's a lot of software-related issues, there's a lot of electronics, and there's a lot of cutting-edge electronics in some of these vehicles that we don't necessarily see in your traditional Toyota Camry or Honda Accord," says Paul.
Another problem with EVs - charging up when away from home, even if you can find an open charging station.
"Some can charge up an electric vehicle to 80% capacity in as little as 30 minutes; other times, you may be sitting for several hours to wait and have your car charged up," Paul says.
Outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker set a goal of 750,000 EVs on the road in Massachusetts by 2030. The incoming governor, Maura Healey, saw his bet and raised it another quarter million.
Good luck with that. Right now there are only 31,000 EV's registered here.
Says Paul of broader EV interest: "Having more public charging available makes a lot of sense and maybe makes that electric vehicle something you'd consider in the future...[but] I think it's gonna be a while out still."
Cost has been a deterrent to EV sales as well. According to the most recent Kelley Blue Book figures, the average sale price of a new EV is almost $65,000, $16,000 more than a conventional vehicle. And the state's own research shows it's highly-touted rebate program designed to entice more EV buyers has spent tens of millions of dollars with little impact on the marketplace.
But anything really new like this takes time to catch on. Even a skeptic like John Paul says in 20 years, maybe less, it'll be hard to find a gas-powered vehicle on the road.
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