A new report issued today on the current status of plug-in electric cars suggests that buyers are very happy with their cars, and plug-in sales are rising faster than hybrids sales did after they were launched.

"Customer experiences have typically been extremely positive," says the report, citing data from J.D. Power and Associates surveys.

Owners of plug-in electric vehicles "are generally happy with their purchases" and are especially fond of the vehicle's performance, "likely due to the instant torque provided by the electric motor."

That may be because, among other reasons, electric cars are nicer to drive--being quieter and smoother, as well as providing that good acceleration away from stoplights.

More than 100,000 plug-in cars have been sold in the U.S. since their launch for the 2011 model year, the report notes--and they sell at a rate almost three times as high as hybrids during the same point in their introduction.

Battery costs are expected to drop by roughly half by 2020, but even today, some plug-in hybrid vehicles are cost-competitive with hybrids and conventional gasoline vehicles over their life.

The report, State of the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Market, was produced by the Electrification Coalition and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), the consulting group.

The Coalition issued a pair of "Electrification Roadmaps" in 2009 and 2010 that laid out policies and steps necessary to aid in adding plug-in electric cars to the U.S. fleet, both for private buyers and corporate and government fleets.

Today's report is the first in a series of "Electric Vehicle Market Outlook" analyses that will look at plug-in electric car sales, the costs of battery packs, various infrastructure issues, and other topics related to electric vehicles.

The full report can be downloaded from the Electrification Coalition website.


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