According to Detroit News, “ Electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids are off to a tough start in January after a disappointing 2012”.
The Volt had sales of 1,140 units in January, a drop from the December sales of 2,633.
GM says it was due to low inventories in California caused by a rush to buy the Volt in December because of tax incentives—-$7,500 in Federal Tax Credit as well as some State incentives——which owners claim on the following year’s taxes. Not only that but last year, in order to pick up slow sales, GM offered a discount of $10,000 on Volt leases.
Nissan Leaf January sales were only 650. The Leaf sales were 1,489 in December probably buoyed up at the end of the year by tax credits. The Nissan Smyrna, Tennessee Leaf manufacturing plant came on-line in January making the new 2013 model. The 2013 model’s price has been lowered to $28,800, about 18% lower than last years model.
The poorest showing came from the Ford Focus EV. The total sales of the Focus EV in 2012 was 685. According to the Detroit News, “ Ford is also offering a $2,000 cash discount on the Focus EV and 1.9 % financing if purchased through Ford Motor Credit. The Dearborn automaker also said on its website that it has dropped the base price of the Focus EV by $2,000 for cash sales and is offering up to $10,750 off for three-year-leases.”
This low level sales performance apparently has cause the Obama Administration to rethink their priorities.
In the 2011 State of the Union message, President Obama said that one of his administration’s goals was to have the US be the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Well, it seems that this like his other plans are clearly not going to be achieved. The DOE says they are no longer focusing on the 1 million vehicles by 2015 objective, but rather are going to focus on new battery technology and manufacturing methods RESEARCH.
According to the website, TheTruthAboutCars DOE told Reuters that “demand for hybrids and electric vehicles has been weaker than expected.” Government money was poured into black holes.
“Poor demand has hurt lithium-ion battery makers, pushing two DOE grant recipients, A123 Systems Inc and EnerDel, to file for bankruptcy protection. Dow Chemical Co took a $1.1 billion charge last year, related in part to a writedown of its lithium-ion battery business, Dow-Kokam LLC.”
Research is where the government belongs and that is a goal I can support. The government has no business attempting to pick out winning businesses and backing them.