Sometime over the weekend, the 100,000th plug-in vehicle was sold in America.
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The sales of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles (PEVs) have not been as strong as many had hoped, and a new study from Pike Research shows that around 410,000 PEVs will be sold between 2011 and 2015, falling short of the million mark that the Obama administration wants.
California has been known for leading the way when it comes to encouraging the sale of EVs, and once again the state is taking a new step by amending a law to sets a higher base limit for the number of zero-emissions vehicles each automaker has to sell in the state yearly.
In 2008 when President Barack Obama was a senator, he pledged a goal of having 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. streets by 2015. Four years later, that goal seems far away at best.
In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama said “with more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.” Even though there is the capacity to build 1 million EVs by 2015, sales and overall demand for electric vehicles will keep that goal out of reach.
The Chevrolet Volt, for example, hasn’t done as well as anyone hoped, with production stopping at times to help match supply and demand. In fact, the Volt is selling at about 10 percent of the Department of Energy’s projected 120,000 units per year. The Nissan Leaf, despite its selling better than the Volt, won’t meet 100,000 sales until 2014.
Rather than admitting the goal is out of reach, the White House changed the wording in its “Blueprint For A Secure Energy Agenda” from aiming to have 1 million EVs on the streets to saying “by 2015, the United States will be able to produce enough batteries and components to support one million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.”
Even without the fire fiasco of the Volt, the million EV goal by 2015 would be a challenging one. Electric vehicles will continual to fight an uphill battle until the technology is widely accepted and is convenient.
[Source: Left Lane News]
In the battle of hyped EVs, it appears that Nissan‘s Leaf is so far winning, at least on the sales front. Despite a slow start to production and difficulties in acquiring cars for US consumers, the Leaf appears to be taking off. So far this year, 3,708 of the lithium ion powered cars have been delivered, versus some 2,745 Chevy Volts during the same period.
As Japanese automakers get back on track and resume normal production levels, following the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami, Nissan hopes to shift around 12,000 Leafs by the end of the year. Al Castignetti, Nissan Nice President for US sales, said, “we’ve been telling you we’d grow every month, and now you’re seeing more normalized production flow.”
GM has said it plans to sell around 12,000 volts by the end of 2011.
Nevertheless, despite growing demand, overall sales are still small and for most consumers, the vehicles remain relatively expensive purchases – the Leaf selling for $33,000, the Volt $41,000, though government incentives ease sticker shock somewhat.
Analysts including George Peterson of consulting firm AutoPacific, based in Tustin, California, say that while electric vehicle sales are growing, don’t expect them to have a significant impact on overall car sales anytime soon. “From a sales standpoint, Nissan and Chevrolet have been very cautious, wanting to make sure these vehicles are as bulletproof as possible, taking time to thoroughly inspect and check everything.”
He went on to say that sales of such rechargeable vehicles might rise to around 3 percent of total volume but “we’re not going to see hundreds of thousands of these on the road.”