Electric-car sales have grown more or less steadily over the past years, but the segment still represents a tiny fraction of total new-car sales.
Factors like range, charging infrastructure, and low production volumes all contribute to caution on the part of the car-buying public.
But could it also be that automakers just aren't very enthusiastic about selling electric cars?
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A new study claims that electric-car sales in major markets have been visibly hindered by ineffective advertising.
Inept marketing, in fact, was was found to be the most significant of several factors impacting sales in an analysis included in the E-Mobility Index (via Charged EVs), a report published by Germany's Roland Berger Automotive Competence Center and FKA research institute.
"There's very little, if any, promotion of electric cars going on," said Thomas Schlick, a partner at Roland Berger.
Value for money of market-ready plug-in cars (from Roland Berge/FKA E-Mobility study, Q3 2015)
The report claims that carmakers aren't doing enough to win buyers over to electric cars and plug-in hybrids, or to convince dealers to make more of an effort to sell them.
At the same time, carmakers must sell a certain volume of electric cars to meet increasingly stringent national emissions standards and--in the case of California--specific mandates for the sale of zero-emission vehicles.
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However, carmakers can't pass the full costs of electric powertrain development on to their customers, according to the authors' conclusions.
The report analyzed sales trends in seven major new-car markets: the U.S., Japan, China, France, Germany, South Korea, and Italy.
Sales figures and market share plug-in cars (from Roland Berge/FKA E-Mobility study, Q3 2015)
Of those seven nations, France is the only one where combined electric and plug-in hybrid sales surpassed 1 percent of total new-car sales between the third quarter of 2014, and the second quarter of 2015.
The U.S. had the largest total number of plug-in car sales at 119,424, but that represents only 0.71 percent of total sales during the same period.
Analysts view France as leading in terms of technology, because its carmakers appear to be concentrating more heavily on all-electric models that sell for relatively low prices.
Germany and China put too much emphasis on plug-in hybrids, they said, while Japan placed relatively little emphasis on all-electric cars.
Although Nissan builds the Leaf, by far the best-selling electric car in history, the two other largest Japanese carmakers--Toyota and Honda--are focusing on hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell cars instead.