With sales figures for EVs set to be very small this year (under 20,000 cars), Martin LaMonica over at Cnet muses on the difficulty of forecasting EV sales. LaMonica suggests that plug-in electric hybrids (PHEVs) could be the winners since their costs are lower, which results from smaller battery packs. As my weekly update points out, initial cost is the biggest barrier right now to EV adoption, more than any of the consumer behavior concerns like range anxiety. So LaMonica’s point about greater viability of PHEVs makes a lot of sense. I depart with LaMonica on one issue, though. I believe that we can reasonably say that while the price of oil will fluctuate, over a longer time frame, it’s definitely going to get more expensive. Which will make any car that is battery powered more attractive.
It was a tough week for electric cars, with Chevy Volt’s sales falling short and Aptera’s filing for bankruptcy. The barriers to EV adoption are widely known but center around a few major issues, including range anxiety, charging time and initial cost. Range anxiety and unease about charging time will decline as consumers get more comfortable with the product. That leaves the real long-term issue: initial cost.