While interest in alternative vehicles may be growing, more than six out of 10 consumers are more likely to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle that is superior to gasoline-only models in every way, according to a new survey by Accenture.

The research finds 65% of survey respondents are more likely to buy a hybrid or electric car that will not sacrifice the benefits fuel-only vehicles offer, but will surpass them in terms of reliability, performance and affordability.

The survey indicates interest in attributes other than fuel efficiency is increasing, as just 36% of respondents cite higher gas prices as a reason to buy a green car.

Those who have driven a hybrid or EV rate fuel efficiency as being very good to excellent. But most rate the ride, performance, style and maintenance as good at best.

Nearly one-third say they are likely to buy an HEV or EV in the next two years. Most of the purchases are more likely to be HEV models. One-fourth of the respondents say they believe everyone should own at least one HEV or EV.

“We conducted this survey to learn what car-buyers are currently thinking about alternative vehicles as the industry transitions into producing more fuel-efficient and climate-friendly vehicles,” says James Robbins, an Accenture executive specializing in the auto and industrial-equipment industries.

“Our survey suggests consumers embrace and understand the value of alternative vehicles, but want models that represent a new phase in the evolution of the automobile.”

The survey also finds:

  • More than half of the respondents say they are not willing to pay more for a hybrid or electric car compared with a gasoline vehicle.
  • In terms of the payback period for investing in a hybrid or EV, 83% says they want the period to be five years or less.
  • Assuming a hybrid or EV could run on an electric charge for 200 miles (320 km), the majority of the respondents say they want the driving distance between recharging points to be every 11 to 50 miles (17 to 80 km).
  • Fifty-one percent want recharging to take less than 20 minutes.

“The automotive industry will continue to face challenges as it strives to develop alternative vehicles that appeal to consumers,” Robbins says.

“Our survey indicates consumers are becoming comfortable with the ability of green cars to provide exceptional fuel savings and now desire models that are comparable to or better than fuel-powered cars.”