Electric vehicle sales slow as reality sets in

Posted by Shane McGlaun

The electric vehicle market isn't exactly booming today. Yes, there may be several reasons, but mostly it's the price.

Indeed, battery packs are still quite costly and raise the price of EVs significantly, prompting many to opt for gas-powered vehicles intstead. Think about it - the price of the battery packs in Ford's EV is nearly half the price of the car. Plus, consumers often worry about driving range and the cost of replacing battery years down the road.

Electric vehicle sales slow as reality sets in

As such, it comes as little surprise that sales of electric vehicles in the US during 2011 totaled only 17,425 or 0.1% of the entire car and truck market.

It is worth noting that sales were (relatively) minimal despite significant government rebates. 

As such, it never ceases to me amaze me that although   EV's aren't selling, carmakers still insist on moving ahead with new electric vehicles and hybrids. Why, you ask? Well, some speculate that car manufacturers are primarily interested in meeting federal CAFÉ regulations which require significant improvements in fuel economy.

"Right now, from a cost standpoint and a performance standpoint — range for customers — I don't think EVs are ready for primetime," Toyota Motor USA Sales CEO Jim Lentz confirmed.

Toyota has a pair of electric vehicles set to launch later this year and the company sold 900 of the plug-in Prius hybrids in March. Ford has the Focus Electric, but only sold 12 units nationwide in December and January to fleet operators. Not one Focus Electrical was offloaded in February or March.

Nissan is perhaps the only bullish automaker selling electric vehicles in the United States with expectations of selling about 20,000 Leaf EV's this year. The 20,000 unit number is roughly twice what it sold last year. Currently the federal rebate on the purchase of electric vehicle is $7,500 and the White House wants to up that rebate to $10,000.