It’s no secret that the Obama Adminstration has been aggressively pursuing goals aimed at seeing 1 million plug-in vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015.
However, according to a report by Automotive News, a divide is emerging between the government and vehicle manufacturers. The report emphasizes that while many automakers recognize the importance of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids as important in achieving long-term fuel savings and emissions reduction, over shorter time spans, the internal combustion engine still has a lot of potential.
Strategies by Ford Motor Company, which has pursued a somewhat low-key roll out of its Focus Electric, with no defined sales target and even Toyota, which is only planning to sell 15,000 examples of its new Prius Plug-In Hybrid this year, would appear to support the notion.
However, despite still marginal sales volumes and skepticism among many industry “experts” that plug-in vehicles won’t meet the government’s projections, sales and interest in plug-in vehicles has been increasing.
There are at least three new plug-in models on the market in 2012 and for those that were also on sale in 2011, sales have noticeably increased. The Chevy Volt, which sold 1,703 copies in the first four months of 2011, saw demand jump to 5,377 units in the same period for 2012. Nissan’s all-electric LEAF although not seeing as significant a jump, witnessed sales grow from 1,025 to 2,103 units during the same period.
Over the next few years more plug-in vehicles are expected to launch including both pure EV and range extending form, and should help contribute to automakers reaching aggressive Corporate Average Fuel Economy targets. And, in an effort to spur sales, the Obama administration is looking at further incentives, such as increasing the federal tax credit from $7,500 to $10,000 on some alternative fuel vehicles.
Automotive News (subscription req’d)