According to conventional wisdom — alternative fuel technologies would become economically viable in the US auto market when gas prices get high enough. And yet the era of the electric car is being short-circuited by the vagaries of fuel price and demand elasticity — and wary consumers.
Even with $6 per gallon gas in some parts of the country — the stampede to electric cars just isn’t happening! With totally viable — though arguably problematic, — offerings like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Honda FIT EV and Mitsubishi i Car — and many other smaller players — electrics still only represent one tenth of one percent of all cars sold in America.
The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are making market headway — but falling short of annual projections of 20,000 and 45,000 units respectively — with no sales surges on rising gas prices. And while slower than expected sales are not a doomsday scenario for electric cars — the benchmarks of consumer expectations of price, convenience and practicality must be met. And that’s a long-term proposition.
New high-efficiency conventional gas-powered vehicles from all manufacturers — and high – performance clean -diesels offered by Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes are also slowing widespread acceptance of electric cars.