Remember when cellphones were the size of a small shoe box?
That's where the electric car is today, said a sales manager at Smith Chevrolet, which sells the plug-in hybrid Volt.
"It's going to take time," said Clint Duff. "It's in its infancy. People don't really know as much about the cars as they should."
By now, most are familiar with Toyota's Prius, which popularlzed hybrid gasoline-electric cars.
But two other automakers have models on Kamloops lots that do it differently.
The Nissan Leaf is simply electric. There is no internal combustion engine and it lives or dies by its electric charge.
The Chevrolet Volt's driveline is powered only by its electric motor, which can be charged either from a plug-in or by its three-cylinder gasoline engine, which kicks in to recharge when the batteries require charging.
Both dealers have sold a handful of the leading-edge cars, notably to Kamloops-North Thompson MLA and B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake.
Another early adopter is Andrea Ross, whose family purchased a Leaf early this year.
"It's our second car," she said. "It's viable for us. We do have another car if we need to go to Vancouver."
The official range of the Leaf is 160 kilometres before it requires another charge.
Ross said her family is confident doing trips in and around Kamloops, including to Walloper Lake and hiking at the Dewdrop range, north of Kamloops Lake.
Using data from the car and a Nissan Canada website, the family has calculated driving the Leaf has cost them about 1.3 cents a kilometre thus far.
Ross said her family keeps the Leaf's range in mind, taking no chances they may be stranded. Otherwise they charge with a 220-volt connection at home and find it the perfect second car.
Deneef predicted manufacturers of electric cars will extend range with each model year, alleviating concerns about being stranded.
"It's range anxiety," he laughed. "Everyone gets it. You want to use the car for daily purposes."
Which begs the question, when will electric charging stations be available to lessen driver's anxiety and make remote "fill-ups" possible?
There is no centralized listing of charging stations in Kamloops. There are stations at the Nissan and Chevrolet dealers. Typical home stations are lower-cost 220-volt units, which require at least four to six hours for a charge.
Deneef said a 440-volt station will charge a car in 30 minutes, but they are costly — at least $7,500.
The province announced a program in spring to spend $2.74 million on 570 charging stations. There is also an idea to install a small number of quick-charge stations on major routes, including the Coquihalla, that would allow a charge in as little as 15 minutes.
Deneef said a lack of stations is not proving a problem so far because drivers are treating them as in-town only.