Aside from a few hundred Tesla Roadsters paving the way, 2011 marked a turning point. The Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf launched.
To this day, sales of both cars have fallen considerable short of goals. GM originally had hoped for 60,000 Volt sales in 2012, so far around 14,000 have been sold. Respectable but not what as hoped for.
The pure electric Leaf however, with its 70 or so real world mile electric range, started out strong but has all but fizzled out. Nissan had hoped to move 20,000 units in fiscal 2012 (which for them ends March 31st, 2013). As of now, only 4228 units have sold, down about a third from last year.
"The sales overall have not met our expectations, but we're working hard to keep pushing," said Nissan spokesperson David Reuter.
There is a large backlog of Leaf inventory as well, about 114 days worth of 2012 models sit in lots unsold.
As such, earlier this month the automaker began offering steep discounts. The lease price has been reduced from $249 to $219 per month for 32 months with $2999 down. Discounts have been raised from $850 per vehicle in January to $3250 by the end of August.
Nissan says part of the sales slog is because cars were distributed across the nation rather than in concentrated areas like California where sales are most brisk.
The US built 2013 model will being shipping next year.
Unfortunately even at low prices, the appetite for electric cars isn't what was initially hoped. Stable oil prices, expensive premiums on electric cars, and difficulty accepting limited ranges and trusting battery technology are holding back demand.
It will be a long road to roads filled with EVs.
Source (Detroit Free Press)