Report: Plugin Cars to Miss Goal of One Million by 2015

5 years ago by Lyle Dennis 16

A couple of years ago the Obama administration announced an ambitious plan to get 1 million plugin cars on US roads by 2015.  At that time no cars were available for retail sale.

Since then several automakers have rolled out vehicles and have roadmaps for many more.  While sales of some cars like the Chevy Volt are coming along relatively nicely, other mainstream EVs like the LEAF are falling rather short of projections.

The shortfall is not for lack of government support.  All plugin cars carry hefty tax rebates up to $7500, and millions have been spent in grants supporting battery companies, EV automakers, and charging infrastructure.

But the public is still not biting very hard.

This week Pike research issued a new report on its prediction of EV adoption.  The agency projects that only 400,073 units will be sold by 2020, far short of the hope for 1 million by 2015.

The report concludes that California, Texas, New York, and Florida will continue to be the lead areas for adoption, with California far ahead of the pack.  By 2020 Pike predicts only 2.5% of all car sales will be plugins, and one in four of them will be bought in California.

Pike believes consumer adoption is slow for two key reasons.  One is the continued sluggish nature of the US economy, the other is concerns about battery performance and range.

Pike Research

16 responses to "Report: Plugin Cars to Miss Goal of One Million by 2015"

  1. Shawn Marshall says:

    Cost is a primary concern. EVs need a $20 something thousand car.
    Subsidies are a waste of money – money the government doesn’t have – money the recipients don’t need.

    1. Brian says:

      You seem to be contradicting yourself here. You start by saying that the cost is the problem, and conclude by saying that reducing the cost to the purchaser isn’t needed.

      The subsidies are in place to help offset the fact that it will take time and volume to reduce the costs. With the subsidies, the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i ARE $20 something thousand cars.

      I think the major hurdle is public L3 charging infrastructure. L2 is nice and all, but to really take an EV on the road, you need L3.

    2. MrEnergyCzar says:

      I agree, we shouldn’t be subsidizing the oil companies by providing military cover of the sea lanes and man bases located where they extract their product overseas. Gas should be $14 per gallon without that subsidy….

      MrEnergyCzar

    3. Bonaire says:

      Oh, we’ll get a $20K Electric Car. Maybe 2-3 years.

      It will sell at “Walmart Motors” out near the Tire Center around back. It’ll be from China. That’s what our politicians and consumers seem to be wanting to deliver. As long as we import them from countries that keep labor costs low – people will buy them.

      Reminder – did everyone get their new Apple iPhone 5 today? Anyone? That’s yet another Apple product I have chosen not to buy. (though I sure would have liked to buy a few thousand shares of Apple stock in 1986).

  2. Airton says:

    As long as we keep moving FORWARD with this electrification plan all of humanity will benefit in the end. Support Clean Energy today! and Brian you are right L3 charging and improved battery density will eventually get us there.

    Thanks for posting this Lyle.

  3. Mark H says:

    We still look at reports as if the US is the only 800 pound gorilla in the room. It is very likely that China and India will lead this revolution, followed by Europe and then the US. EREVs will pave the way as the charging infrastructure settles in and battery technology improves. For the first million? It gets here when it gets here. We all love to watch it. I even love the monthly “Cole report” (10 days). The exciting thing is that we are witnessing and participating in the change.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      I can’t stand that guy and his month end sales reports, (=

      Overall, I’d have to say Europe (and Renault) is really turning a corner now. So much easier to make “financial sense” of EVs there over petrol cars.

      /wave to Lyle

    2. Bonaire says:

      The USA is becoming like the poser runner or skiier type. Dress real fancy, hang around the event, act like you’re about to run a sub 3-hour marathon or hit the black-diamond run with your new boards. Then stop. Complain that it’s too windy, rainy, sunny, damp, busy, empty, breezy to do the event and go home alone.

      I think we need real leadership in this country who can stand up to these poser politicians who are out there talking and not doing something. It’s yet another year and nothing has been done. Other than 1-Trillion more in debt. I congratulate China and India for actually doing something other than talking. They deserve to win through the act of actually *doing*. Our politicians are more interested in their own jobs than the US citizens.

      USA – stop posing and get in the game. And, no more incumbents in November.

  4. That was never a realistic goal. I’m just looking at annual sales. I want to see that number increase every year. If so we are on track. This is an evolution, not a revolution.

    1. Mark H says:

      I agree on all counts. It is an evolution and I look for improved sales each year. I’m still a junkie for the Cole Report and the occasional Moloughney oil rant. I’m so easily entertained.

  5. MrEnergyCzar says:

    Peak Oil, war in the Middle East and $6 gas will change those projections….too early to tell.

    MrEnergyCzar

  6. Nelson says:

    “and millions have been spent in grants supporting battery companies, EV automakers, and charging infrastructure.”
    What infrastructure? Here in NJ I’ve yet to see a L2 charging station at a mall, supermarket, movie theater or hotel parking lot.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

    1. Nelson says:

      Why are utility companies not rolling out the charging infrastructure. They make the electricity, they benifit the most from selling it.

      1. Nelson, there are over 100 public charging stations here in NJ. I just installed two of them in the parking lot of my restaurant in Montclair. In fact here are seven public charging stations within two miles of my restaurant and there are movie theaters, supermarkets and shopping within a couple hundred feet of them.
        The reason utilities aren’t installing them is there is no sustainable business model for utilities. People here whine about paying $1.00 per hour for public charging. You’ll never get infrastructure if you aren’t willing to pay for it. Electricity here in Northern NJ is around 18 cents per kWh. So a car charging at 6.6kW (the bare minimum any EV should charge level 2 at) will take about $1.20 per hour. thats just break even on the electricity expense. How about the installation, maintenance and insurance expense of the station? A typical ChargePoint level 2 public charging station costs about $4,000 to buy and depending on the installation will cost $1,000 to $4,000 to install if trenching and repaving is necessary the utility then need to maintain the stations and vandalism is always a concern. I didn’t have my stations up a month and one was vandalized. You also need to have liability insurance on them in case someone trips on a cable or somehow the station malfunctions and shock someone, etc. What I’m saying is there commercial public charging stations stations are very expensive to buy, and maintain. If someone like a utility wants to install them they have to have a plan to get their money back. If the electricity cost is $1.20/hr and they charged $2.00/hr for charging they’ll need somewhere around 10,000 hours of people charging to even break even and that’s if there isn’t any expensive maintenance required. I installed them on my property because I’m a big EV advocate and want to help the progression of the industry. I’ll NEVER get the money back that I spent on them.

        1. Nelson says:

          Hi Tom,
          Your business is less than 20 miles away from Manhattan NY where there are lots of overpriced charging stations in over priced parking garages. Maybe I’m looking for public charging stations on the wrong map, but when I search on ChargePoint for charging stations within a 10 mile radius of your business it only shows 9 unrestricted stations.
          In fact I only see a total of 11 ChargePoint unrestricted charging stations in all of Northern NJ, 2 of which are at a Community College in Paramus.
          I don’t see any charging stations near or at Willowbrook Mall, Wayne, NJ which is 6.5 miles from your business.
          I don’t see any charging stations at Garden State Plaza(mall), Paramus, NJ which is 12 miles from your business.

          The ChargePoint map indicates only 6 stations in Montclair.
          1. MONTCLAIR / UPPER PLAZA 1: Price $2/hr
          Address: Upper Montclair Plaza, Montclair, New Jersey 07043
          2. MONTCLAIR / UPPER PLAZA 2: Price $2/hr
          Address: Upper Montclair Plaza, Montclair, New Jersey 07043
          3. MONTCLAIR / 20 PARK ST #1: Price $2/hr
          Address: 20 Park St, Montclair, New Jersey 07042
          4. MONTCLAIR / 20 PARK ST #2: Price $2/hr
          Address: 20 Park St, Montclair, New Jersey 07042
          5. NAUNA’S / BELLA CASA: Free
          Address: 148 Valley Rd, Montclair, New Jersey 07042, United States
          6. HILLSIDE SQUARE / HILLSIDE #1: Price $2/hr
          Address: 8 Hillside Ave, Montclair, New Jersey 07042

          Please let me know how I can find those 100 unrestricted hidden NJ charging stations.

          NPNS!
          Volt#671

          1. Nelson: You are correct. There aren’t over 100 in New Jersey. I misspoke and was referring to the fact that there are over 100 charging stations within my driving range here in Northern NJ which would include NYC: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_locations.html
            I have also had a good deal of communication with the local networks helping to inspire property owners to install chargers and know that we are going to see a lot more come online in the next year. Six were just installed in Atlantic City and Rutgers University is going to be installing dozens of them very soon. They are coming, but I still contend that one of the barriers is the chargers will not be self sufficient on selling the electricity alone. The property manager has to understand the added value to having them there, not just how much do they cost and how much can I charge for the electricity.
            You talked about having them at movie theaters, shopping malls, etc. If the site operators charge $2.00/hr will you use it? If not and they don’t get used then the operators will assume nobody wants them. I try to convince them that they need to charge very little, or even offer free charging and that will bring people with plug in cars to their property and patronize their businesses and that’s how they will get a return on investment. I’m sure if there were two movie theaters playing the same movie and one had a charging station that offered free or cheap charging you would go there, right? The problem is it’s hard to convince property managers that and because these stations cost many thousands of dollars to buy and install and then pay for the electric, maintenance and network fees, I believe plug in enthusiasts should be willing to pay extra, at least now in the beginning, to support the places that paid to be one of the first to support public charging. Sure, in a couple years when there are many more of them we can then only patronize the places that offer fair pricing and that will force the high price places to come down to earth, but for now I don’t mind paying a couple bucks extra just to show that there is a need and demand for public charging infrastructure. If nobody uses them because the price is high then others will be much less likely to install them and we will all suffer. Just my opinion.

            By the way, there are seven in Montclair like I said. The ChargePoint map only shows my ChargePoint charger, they won’t list then one I have that in one the Blink Network! 🙂