By Richard Lowenthal
Expectations of electric vehicle sales have varied widely. First the thought that sales would take off like a rocket, and then that they were a dismal failure. Although reality is closer to the “rocket” scenario, neither one is accurate.
Initial targets by General Motors and Nissan have been missed to be sure but let’s set aside the aspirations of optimistic car companies and see what’s actually happening.
In the last year over $2 billion of plug-in cars have been sold in the United States. In 2011, 17,000 of these vehicles were sold, and over 53,000 were sold in 2012—a staggering growth rate of 244%. Wouldn’t we all like to see our businesses grow like that?
(Please see graphs attached to this article.)
Another way of looking at the market is how it compares to other growth stories in the automotive world. Everywhere you look in Cupertino you see the Toyota Prius, which is to be expected, since it is the No. 1 selling car in California. If we compare the first three years of the Prius with the first three years of the plug-in vehicle, it makes the plug-in car look like a raging success.
And then there’s the Chevy Volt. It’s taken a lot of criticism in the press by people labeling it as a failure, but what’s the reality? Well I don’t think anyone thinks of the Porsche 911, the Mazda Miata, the Corvette, or the Mercedes S Class as failures, but the Chevy Volt outsold all of them in 2012.
You can draw a couple of conclusions from this story. First that you can’t always believe what you read and second, the electric vehicle seems to be off to a good start. Who knows, soon you might own one.
Richard Lowenthal founded electric vehicle charging company ChargePoint right here on Bubb Road. He’s also a former Cupertino Mayor and guest contributor to Cupertino Patch.