(Credit: Accenture)

Given the choice between full electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, consumers prefer a battery-powered car that comes with a built-in backup plan, according to Accenture.

The consulting group conducted a survey of 7,000 people in 13 countries to gauge consumer readiness for the new clean automotive technologies coming to market. Accenture found that 58 percent of drivers were in favor of battery-powered vehicles replacing conventional gasoline-powered cars, but they weren't ready to give up gasoline all together. If they had to choose between a a plug-in hybrid or a pure electric vehicle, 71 percent of the responders favored the more conservative plug-in hybrid vehicle, and only 29 percent would prefer an all-electric car.

Range anxiety, limited charging infrastructure, and convenience of the dual-propulsion power train were cited as the main preference for hybrid cars. The average driving range for survey participants was 32 miles per day. The average EV range preference is 271 miles on a single charge, according to Accenture's survey data.

Accenture's results indicate that drivers prefer plug-ins to EVs because the automotive paradigm shift requires fewer changes to their current driving habits and is less inconvenient. GM has cited similar findings in its decision to develop first a plug-in hybrid rather than an all-electric car, like the Nissan Leaf. Volkswagen recently announced that it will develop a range of plug-ins, while BMW has indicated that it will go the pure EV route.

Although Accenture's findings suggest that plug-in hybrids are probably best suited to meet current market needs and attitudes, that could change. Survey responders younger than 35 were found to be more open to forgoing gas all together, with 37 percent saying they would rather drive an EV, compared to just 24 percent of drivers older than 55 willing to take the all-electric plunge.

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