Is Consumer Interest in Electric Cars Waning?

Nicholas Zart sees EV skeptics rallying after first year of sales ends, but are we really seeing the end of the EV story... again?

Published: 09-Jan-2012

It is safe to say this week hasn’t been the most favorable for electric car, EV. With news from Pikes Research, as you read here form fellow writer Frank Sherosky in this story, showing consumer interest trend dropping after the over-enthusiastic 2009 introduction of the EVs. While naysayers are jumping on the trend, it’s easy to get the wrong idea. But wait, there is more.

History, The Greatest Teacher. If history is to repeat itself, and it will, then we can see the dubious role played by carmakers’ marketing departments, notoriously heavy handed and rarely capable of continuing the momentum of their exuberant promises. 2009 was a year of uncertainty, fear and doubt (FUD) where the feared “R” word was surfacing. We were finally talking about a recession. People were scared, gas went up and many automakers played on FUD with so-called “range anxiety fear”. As a comic relief note, 80% of U.S. drives commute less than 40 miles a day, something even your basic EV can handle at a fraction of operating price than a conventional vehicle does. These claims and FUD would have to bite them where it would hurt most at one point or another, the bottom line. We all experience range anxiety, gas or electric… get over it.

Then And Now. Two years later, Auto Shows are not prominently displaying alternative energy prototypes as they used to, nor putting their EVs, plug-in hybrids, PHEV or even the more mind puzzling hydrogen drives front stage. If in 2009 all these vehicles proudly graced front center, it suddenly showed how every company somehow had been secretly working all along on alternative energy models. 2010 showed more muscle vehicles then the previous year, whereas 2009 relegated to the back scene big V8 pick up trucks and SUVs. They not only crept back in 2010 but by 2011, they were once again displayed next to more frugal smaller engine vehicles.

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