Electric Cars Looking for Sales 'Spark' in 2012

Tripling of sales in 2012 to 60,000+ vehicles would herald the permanence of EV technology, industry observers note.

Published: 07-Feb-2012

It's early yet, but 2012 is shaping up as a white-knuckle Year 2 for the makers of new "plug-in" vehicles, who have wagered billions that the appeal of new electric-drive technologies will surmount hurdles not only from a weak-as-a-kitten economy, but also from high sticker prices and a spate of unfavorable publicity.

No fewer than 11 automakers are launching 13 plug-in vehicles in all, ranging from tiny urban runabouts to sports cars and even station wagons. All will run on electricity alone for all or most of the time. Are consumers ready to plug into a garage charger or one at the local shopping mall if their car batteries are running low?

Nobody knows. It's a bold push toward an electric-drive world-without-oil – or at least a lot less oil. But this year will tell, analysts say, whether the launch is a roaring liftoff – or a slow-rolling start – for plug-ins.

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