Despite a proliferation of new models and continuing pressure from stricter emissions standards, sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric cars so far remain low.

Even successful models can only muster a fraction of the sales volumes enjoyed by their internal-combustion counterparts.

The nationwide launch of a redesigned, second-generation Chevrolet Volt has helped sales increase 58.5 percent this year, according to Wards Auto data.

DON'T MISS: Plug-in electric car sales surge in Nov: Volt soars, Prius Prime arrives (final update)

But the plug-in hybrid's 21,048 deliveries through November pale in comparison to the 171,552 Chevy Cruze deliveries this year.

Another example: Of 311,352 Honda Accords sold this year, just 6,055 were the hybrid model.

Low gas prices and increased consumer interest in SUVs may have something to do with stubbornly-slow sales of electrified vehicles.

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

But buyers' avoidance of green cars may be due to something more elemental, Wards senior editor Christie Schweinsberg argues in a recent piece.

Cost is often cited as a factor, but government incentives for plug-in cars as well as competitive leases and incentive offered by automakers often negate the price premiums of these cars, she argues.

But consumers' concerns about having to plug their cars in was enough of an issue that Chrysler decided to use the "Pacifica Hybrid" name for what is actually a plug-in hybrid version of its minivan, Schweinsberg notes.

ALSO SEE: Plug-in hybrid problem: buyers don't understand them at all

Since modern electric cars first went on sale in large numbers six years ago, the term "range anxiety" has become a familiar refrain.

That's something expansion of public charging infrastructure and an anticipated crop of mass-market 200-mile electric cars are just now beginning to address.

Many car buyers also don't fully understand plug-in hybrids and how they differentiate from hybrids and all-electric cars.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

It's up to automakers to allay these fears and promote electric cars like they would any other product, but that isn't necessarily something they can be counted on to do.

According to the Sierra Club, automakers spend substantially less on national television advertising for electric cars than their other products.

MORE: Electric cars are on the market, so where are all the ads?

The group also recently conducted a survey of dealers, noting numerous issues such as lack of inventory, and staff that did not appear to have adequate knowledge of electric cars.

Addressing these issues could go a long way toward alleviating any consumer fears of plug-in cars.


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