Electric cars have promised to revolutionize transportation for years now.
As more manufacturers offer electrified vehicles and prices continue to drop for battery technology, the easy correlation would be to assume that consumer interest has spiked.
Actually, it remains pretty darn low, according to extensive research from J.D. Power.
But the price isn't the biggest deterrent from electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles—charging stations and their associated infrastructure is.
Research shows car buyers have absolutely zero knowledge of electric vehicle infrastructure.
In fact, many don't even know charging stations exist around them—this lack of knowledge, coupled with range anxiety, keeps buyers wary.
Nissan Leaf at West Coast Electric Highway charging station (Photo by Pine Mountain Sports)
37 percent of car buyers stated availability of charging stations is the biggest concern with owning an electric car.
At the same time, 60 percent of them stated they never see a charging station when traveling in their area.
Contrast those statistics with these: the U.S. Department of Energy estimates there are 15,993 public charging stations in the United States.
Over 3,000 of them alone call the state of California home.
Most buyers also believe a range greater than 300 miles is a comfort zone to combat range anxiety.
The most affordable electric vehicle on the market manages an EPA-estimated 238 miles per charge, that being the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car at EVgo fast-charging station, Newport Centre, Jersey City, NJ
So, what gives? Why are charging stations invisible to car buyers?
That is unclear at this time, but resources to locate electric charging stations clearly have not been utilized to their full potential.
Apps like Plugshare quickly pull up the thousands of charging stations throughout the United States—stations are often hiding in plain sight, too.
Carrying out a quick search shows Level 2 and DC fast charging stations hiding at Dunkin Donuts, Wal-Mart, and even McDonalds in areas across the U.S.
If automakers are serious about pushing electric cars at more affordable prices, consumers must be aware the infrastructure is not necessarily stuck in its infancy any longer.
BMW and Nissan electric car fast-charging station
Whether that comes through partnerships or grand advertising campaigns is for others to work out.
Until then, electric vehicles will likely remain a niche.