Even if gas pump prices topped $4 per gallon, there are projected dark days ahead for electric vehicles. The continued slow sales of plug-in electric vehicles have slumped many companies, leading to many to reassess their goals and projections for this burgeoning market.
Market giants such as General Motors have halted the building of the Volt for five (5) weeks commencing on March 19. The sales have been disappointing to sale the least, but it is still fares better compared to the Nissan Leaf.
On the other hand, Toyota has reported that the sales of its hybrid Prius outpaced its plug-in electric vehicles ten to one. Despite continuous price increases for gasoline, the hybrid Prius still continues to lord over the market. The Prius hybrid is not a plug in, as it utilizes both gas and battery power to propel the vehicle.
According to Brett Smith, Co-Director of Manufacturing at the Center for Automotive Research, “All along you saw an enormous amount of hype for electric plug in vehicles. The public’s perception of the time frame for widespread adoption was way out of whack with the reality.”
There are projected troubled times ahead for the electric vehicle industry, as shown by the following circumstances:
- According to Consumer Reports, a Fisker Karma all-electric that was being run on a test track died during its lap. The cost of the vehicle was $107,850 and the company is reeling from the recent loss of funding from the Department of Energy. The company also announced that it has appointed Tom LaSorda as its new CEO, a position he formerly held with the Chrysler Group.
- In a recent statement, A123 Systems announced that it lost $257.8 million in 2011 because of the withdrawal of the orders from Fisker. On a similar note, Ener1, a builder of lithium ion batteries, declared bankruptcy last January.
- Bright Automotive also announced closure and bankruptcy after high hopes in selling hybrid plug-in delivery vans to the market out of its Anderson, In. facility.
Many industry experts still keep the faith, saying that plug in electrics just need time in order to catch on with consumers and the buying public. In time also, the technology would improve allowing for increased range and lowering the cost of the car. There is also the roadblock of decades of internal combustion engine sociology and psyche that needs to be modified to accommodate the technological requirements.
Another factor is the continued high price of the technology but this can all change with the continued skyrocketing prices of fuel would be the key factor in changing the landscape, despite the projected doldrums ahead.