2011 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Once upon a time, people who bought (or built) electric vehicles were often science-minded, forward-thinking, eco-conscious drivers who sometimes had a hippie past.
Times have changed.
Today, there are several motivations for buying a car that plugs into the electric grid to recharge its battery pack.
Drawing loosely on research on the motivations of plug-in car buyers, done a few years ago at the University of California-Davis by a team headed by Tom Turrentine, rough categories of electric-car buyers include:
These four groups are, of course, gross reductions and stereotypes. And many buyers share all these motivations to some extent. But our experience has led us to think there's some truth to them.
If you're considering buying an electric car or have already bought one--or, if you have decisively rejected doing so--let us know where you fit into these profiles, or how you'd characterize yourself.
Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.
Editor's Note: We originally published this article on June 2, 2008, well before any electric cars were on the market. Even the Tesla Roadster wasn't yet in production. We've now revisited the piece and updated it to reflect the latest research, and what we know thus far about plug-in cars and their buyers.