A new study on P.E.I. suggests Islanders like the idea of electric cars but they are too much of an investment for most.
The study reflects the reality that there are very few electric cars driving on P.E.I. roads.
"There's really only about three or four, which isn't very many," said study author Georgina Vardy, a graduate student at UPEI.
There is only one electric car model available on P.E.I., the Chevrolet Volt, and that has only been available since October. The two dealerships that sell them report four cars sold.
At $43,000, price is a big factor preventing people from trying out the new technology.
"They didn't have the finances to be able to afford one at this point," said Vardy.
"They were interested in purchasing, however they felt that there were a lot of limitations,
Some of those limitations are seeing improvements. Last summer Sun Country Highway installed 10 charging stations in the province, and the company announced this month it had completed a coast-to-coast network of charging stations along the Trans-Canada Highway.
Company president Kent Rathwell said he expects to see a boom in electric cars in the spring.
"When the cost of battery technology starts coming down, then you're going to see a dramatic increase in that sector," said Rathwell.
While the upfront investment is bigger, electric cars are cheaper to fuel up: a $160 a month gas bill would come to about $50 a month for electricity. Vardy said if the province started a rebate incentive it could help people make the leap, but her prediction for when the cars will become common is more conservative than Rathwell's.
"I would love to see it happen within 10 years, but realistically I think it would be 15 to 20," she said.
Vardy's study, which included 712 Islanders, shows that people want more information on the cars, and they don't feel they have enough to make an informed decision.