The truth is, EV sales have started slowly and demand is not yet as great as some EV advocates have hoped. Most industry watchdogs and other firms have downgrade expectations of EV sales, such as the government's hope of 1 million on the road by 2015.
Early this week an industry panel on EVs took place in New York City.
That panel included Delphi CEO Rodney O’Neal and several other industry leaders. O'Neal described consumer reaction to EVs as "carnage." Borg Warner’s CEO Tim Manganello said EVs were "not ready for primetime.”
Both execs cited low ranges, battery reliability, lack of charging infrastructure and cost as major hindrances to adoption. Both believe EVs do not make financial sense for consumers or companies at this time.
These sentiments fit with what automakers are doing such as quietly rolling back projections, and recent events such as bankruptcy of battery supplier A123. Hearing these comments directly from the CEOs of the two largest auto suppliers in the world however does offer a stark reality.
Executives from Daimler and Volkswagen weren't as blunt but also provided a cautionary tale. Jonathan Browning of VW America thinks consumer acceptance will remain poor, projecting EVs will keep to a small role only accounting for 3% of sales by 2018. Daimler chief Martin Jäger thinks the government needs to provide even more incentives beyond the current $7500 tax credit.
Even the hope that battery technology will eventually improve to increase both range and acceptance was not shared among these leaders. “I’m not as hopeful battery technology will get better," said O'Neal.
Reference: Car and Driver