A select fleet of drivers in Oxford and London have been testing a prototype electric Mini, but the key issue of charge duration still exists, leaving consumers to wonder about the real future of electric cars.
On 6 July last year, the US Patents and Trademark Office in Virginia received an application from General Motors to trademark the term “range anxiety”. With just a few months to go before GM was set to launch its much-anticipated Chevy Volt – a plug-in hybrid, which would go on to earn the title of “most fuel-efficient compact car in the US” – the company’s marketing team was on the offensive. It knew that prospective buyers would need to be convinced early on that the Volt would not have a limited range, as has proved the case with standard electric cars. “It’s something we call ‘range anxiety’ – and it’s real,” explained Joel Ewanick, GM’s head of marketing, when quizzed about the trademark application by car gossip website Jalopnik.com. “We’re going to position this as a car first and electric second . . . People do not want to be stranded on the way home from work.”
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