NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Electric Vehicle Sales Are Less Than Impressive

October 24, 2013

After the federal government spent billions of dollars on federal tax credits and subsidies to promote all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, they accounted for less than half of 1 percent of the 11.7 million light vehicles purchased in the United States during the last nine months, says CNS News.

In his 2011 "State of the Union" address, President Obama predicted that the United States would "become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015," and backed up his prediction with $2.4 billion in federal grants to companies that produce lithium-ion batteries to power them.

But with 14 months to go, sales of the two top-selling plug-in cars are running far behind the president's expectations. And despite receiving $99.8 million in stimulus funds, electric charging station manufacturer Ecotality filed for bankruptcy last month.

  • In April, the Congressional Research Service reported that "there is a gap between the Administration's goal of having one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 and consumer demand for such vehicles."
  • According to the Department of Energy's (DOE) "February 2011 Status Report," General Motors was supposed to produce and sell 120,000 Chevrolet Volts in 2013 to keep pace with the president's goal.
  • However, despite a $7,500 federal tax credit and aprice drop in August, GM only managed tosell 16,760 Volts during the first three quarters of this year.

Meanwhile, Ford's F-Series pickups remain the nation's most popular vehicle, with 559,506 sold during the first three quarters of this year, up 20.7 percent over last year. The Volt is number 135 on that list. The problem with electric vehicles, experts say, is that they cost more to produce -- and deliver far less driving range -- than those with internal combustion engines.

Source: Barbara Hollingsworth, "Plug-Ins Account For Less Than Half of 1% of Auto Sales This Year," CNS News, October 17, 2013.


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