Electric Car Sales Buoyed for November

Electric cars
Electric cars

The month of November is a high point in the electric car revolution, as this month is the fourth consecutive month where sales records have continued to increase. The increase for this month was attributed to the introduction of the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in electric hybrid into the market.

The steady upsurge was observed by Aaron Chew of the Maxim Group, as he counted 7,600 electric cars sold in November. This makes the total count for 2012 at 47,500 and the experts predict that the year would close at about 56,000 electric and plug in hybrid electric vehicles sold.

Other incentives have helped buoy sales for the electric car. These include Nissan’s U.S. $199 leases and U.S. 5,000 price breaks on the Leaf, jumpstarting sales for the year. There have also been a number of new models that have widened the selections of buyers for electric cars. Ford for its part sold 1,259 units of the C-Max Energi just in November, a month after it was introduced into the market. The highest seller was the Toyota Prius plug in at1,766 units followed by the Chevrolet Volt, which posted 1,519 units sold. Tesla, despite its secretive sales records, was said to have sold 1,150 of its Model S sports sedans in the same period.

Despite the sales, there are still some major issues that electric cars face in the coming years, some of which are as follows:

a)      The Cost. While electricity is much cheaper compared to gasoline, the cost of amortizing an EV is still way above the standard costs for an internal combustion engine vehicle. The prices though are steadily decreasing, making it more affordable to purchase an electric vehicle in both the short term and long term.

b)      The Source. While the main issue with gas guzzlers is the emission of pollutive greenhouse gases from the vehicle, electric cars do not have this problem. The main issue is the generator of electricity, which is still the coal fired electric generator. Even with natural gas generators, there are still emissions created and thus allocation of this pollutant factors must still be addressed.

c)       The Technology. The main drawback is still the power source of electric vehicles as the range and effectivity is still determined by the amount of electrical power stored in the battery packs. While many of these battery developers are bellying up because of the prohibitive costs and limited market scale, the improvements in the technology are around the corner to make the electric car as dependable as it is affordable as the standard gasoline powered car.

Tesla’s Showrooms Provide Different Experience

Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors

The Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Ownership Experience at Tesla Motors, Mr. George Blankenship, sums it up as “I hope we never sell a car here.” Quite a surprising remark from one of the top honchos of one of the most electrifying alternative fuel carmakers in the world today.

The new showroom is located at the upscale shopping mall the Westchester. Blankenship further adds, “Our goal instead is to interact with people when they’re looking at new things in the mall and not necessarily in the market for a car. The focus is on answering the many questions they have about electric vehicles and the Tesla Model S.”

This is the company’s seventh such showroom and the first one on the East Coast. Other outlets include Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, Chicago, IL and Houston, TX together with Orange Country and San Jose CA. These stores have already 600,000 visitors to all these stores in the past year.

The centerpieces of the Westchester outlet are the Tesla Model S prototypes on display, each in differing colors. The stores can provide showroom services such as authorize sales and have test driving activities, but the approach is quite the opposite. Blankenship’s previous work includes opening Apple stores and Gap stores, thus the inspiration for these Tesla outlets.

The model was Apple’s way of getting people to move from outright refusal to a recognition how Apple products such as iPods or Mac computers are important in their personal lives. The VP adds, “Today, people don’t know much about electric vehicles, so it’s our job to educate them about the advantages of this cutting-edge technology. We want to get to the point where people really want a Model S, so we won’t have to sell them.”

The experience in these Tesla outlets includes multiple touch-screen interfaces on information such as battery life, driving range, charging and carbon emissions. The screen also would have configurations that would allow store visitors to visualize the possible purchases in different colors and interior choices. Currently, the Model S starts at U.S. $57,400 before tax credits and the Signature Performance model is currently priced at U.S. $105,400.

Currently, the Model S has 10,000 orders and the waiting list is sold out through 2012. A car ordered now can be delivered at the earliest by the middle of 2013. The store would also have traditional branded items such as jackets, water bottles and remote control models of the Roadster. The cars still remain to be the attraction and store visitors to rear seat legroom and play music with the vehicle’s seventeen inch display screen.

Top Ten Plug Ins for 2012

electricsedan
electricsedan

Top 10. The expanded market Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. As new markets in Canada and the UK receive the Opel Ampera, the European version of the Volt, the market base is expected to increase. As for the Leaf, it would also start to show up in Nissan showrooms in the UK and other fifty states in the United States.

Top 9. The SmartforTwo Electric Drive. The Smart Car builder Daimler has said that it would be launching its third generation SmartForTwo Electric Drive car in thirty new markets by the fall of 2012. The delay from the original summer 2012 launch was due to quality control issues with its battery supplier Li-Tec.

Top 8. The Honda Fit EV. This EV from Honda was scheduled to be released in Oregon and some parts of California by the summer of 2012, with only 1,100 scheduled to be built in the next three years.

Top 7. The Mitsubishi i. This is the updated version of the MiEV and is available in both Japan and the United Kingdom since the start of 2012. Costing just about U.S.$29,125 before the application of the incentives from state and federal law, this is clearly one of the most affordable EVs in the market today.

Top 6. The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The Prius Goes Plural campaign in full swing, the Japanese car giant has offered this new hybrid version to its current stable of hybrid models.

Top 5. The Ford Focus Electric. The market ready ones would become ready for the market by the spring of 2012. This is the first pure electric vehicle from one of the Detroit Big Three carmakers.

Top 4. The Fisker Karma. Despite the delays, the Fisker Karma has now become available. The first ones though need to be recalled for some minor repairs but the current issues of the company may eventually make this car an endangered species, especially with its six-figure purchase price.

Top 3. The Toyota RAV 4 EV. This is the joint venture project between Tesla and Toyota. The first few vehicles would become available in California, hopefully by mid-2012.

Top 2. The Ford C-Max Energi. This is a plug in version of the Ford C-Max wagon. This vehicle is scheduled to become available in the United States within 2012 while Europe would have to wait until 2013.

Top 1. The Tesla Model S. This is one of the longest waiting lists for cars in history, with 6,500 individuals placing their order together with U.S.$5,000 two years before its actual availability. This vehicle is one of the most awaited releases for 2012.