When Chevrolet and Nissan started assembling electric cars late last year, the general consensus was that the auto industry had taken a turn in the right direction. While EV’s have been wildly popular in states such as California, they’ve had trouble gaining traction in other parts of the country like the Midwest.
Chevrolet has sold 3196 Volts since the car went on sale in December of last year, while Nissan’s Leaf had production slowed by the earthquake that shook Japan in March. Out of the 13 million new vehicles expected to hit U.S. roads this year only 20,000 of those will be EV’s, but don’t look to the Midwest to carry sales. The Center for Automotive Research believes Missouri and Kansas will have fewer than 3000 EV’s on its roads by 2015.
California is expected to have close to 34,000 EVs by that same time, but those sales will come in part thanks to a more robust charging infrastructure and an initial $5000 state tax credit, which was recently reduced to $2500. By contrast, no such program is offered in Kansas or Missouri. Pair that with the hesitation of adapting to a new form of transportation and the lack of public charging stations, and it’s clear why the Midwest hasn’t tapped into the EV market fully yet.
However, that will have to change. Automakers like Nissan, General Motors, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda have all turned their attention to making the EV more appealing to the masses. Although Toyota’s hot-selling Prius is a hybrid, it introduced the average consumer to alternative propulsion, and showed that people were willing to embrace it if they saw the advantage. So far, more than 4,806 Nissan Leafs have found homes, and the Chevrolet Volt is now parked in 2870 private garages. Sure, those people are early adopters, but in the course of the next few years the electric vehicle market will become crowded, and fast. It’s a good bet that at some point soon, commuters in St. Louis or Kansas City will be wondering why they can’t plug in downtown.
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Source: Kansas City Star, iSeeCars.com