Mike Stevens | Aug 2, 2011

A new study by international consultants Deloitte has found that fuel prices will need to reach beyond $2.60 per litre before most buyers will consider an electric vehicle.

The results also showed that a majority of motorists will stick with fossil fuels even as prices climb toward $3.00 per litre, if engine efficiency can consistantly achieve fuel consumption figures of 4.7 l/100km or better.

A major concern for buyers considering an electric vehicle is the purchase price, with only seven percent of respondents willing to pay up to $4000 more for an electric vehicle - and two-thirds of respondents unwilling to pay any premium at all.

Mitsubishi's i-MiEV will go on sale to the wider public in Australia next month for $48,800 - around $14,000 less than the 2010 model, which was offered exclusively to government and corporate fleets.

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Despite the significant price drop, the i-MiEV's purchase price is still well above the most miserly petrol- and diesel-powered offerings in the same light-car segment, and more even than the priciest Prius - the iconic green car.

Renault and electric network and battery supplier Better Place will soon launch the Fluence Z.E. electric vehicle in Australia.

While pricing has yet to be announced, the greenest Fluence is expected to retail for around $30,000 - although buyers will also need to 'subscribe' to a Better Place membership package, the cost of which has not been revealed.

In the coming year, Australia's electric vehicle market is expected to welcome at least two more players: the Holden Volt, and the Nissan LEAF.

The Deloitte study also showed that most motorists are not satisfied with the 120-180 kilometre driving range of most electric vehicles, with 68 percent of respondents demanding a range 320km or better.

The survey showed that 90 percent of the 500 Australians surveyed travel less than 120km each week day.

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