Cost. The issue comes up time and time again with electric vehicles. New technology means new technology prices, and you can bet that after someone asks you what range a new EV has, they'll then ask how much it costs.

According to a recent poll by Nielsen conducted for the Financial Times, three quarters of U.S. and British consumers would consider buying an electric car. That's an impressive number, but the less impressive figure is the 65 percent who wouldn't pay more for an EV than they would for a regular gasoline one. In the U.K, that figure rose to 76 percent.

Even those consumers who did say they'd be willing to pay more would only be prepared to pay an extra $1,000 and $5,000 for the privelege.

Figures like these are much of the reason why government tax incentives are incredibly important for the immediate future of electric cars, since they can cut huge amounts of money off the list price and minimise the initial financial hit for buyers. The $7,500 tax credit available towards the purchase price of EVs and extended range EVs in the States brings a car like the 2011 Nissan Leaf within a few thousand dollars of high-spec Toyota Prius hybrids - an important psychological barrier for consumers.

It shouldn't all be doom and gloom though. The number of people willing to drive an electric car is encouraging. Indeed, this suggests an increase in consumer interest since the research suggesting 40 percent of U.S. adults were eager to test drive an EV. In that survey, respondants listed cost savings and environmental benefits as being one of the biggest draws, with the lack of any need for tune-ups and other mechanical attention also proving attractive.

Consumers from both the U.S. and U.K. say they are mainly willing to consider electric cars for the potential fuel savings. Environmental concerns were of lower priority

New York-based Nielsen researcher Sallie Hirsch adds "In general nobody wants to pay more for electric cars, but in the UK they’re more hesitant, whether because of the higher cost of living or other reasons".

To see what financial incentives are available on EVs where you live, why not check out our Electric Vehicle Incentives Guide?

[Financial Times]