What consumers say about not buying Chevy Volt, GM listens
Earlier this month GM said it is on truck to meet the target of selling 10,000 Chevy Volts by the end of 2011. By August GM had sold 3500 Volts. This means the company needs to sell 1,700 Chevy electric cars by December 31 to meet its 2011 target.
Yet, apparently there are some serious hurdle that prevent people from buying more Chevrolet Volt models. Some of them are subjective others are objective. What is encouraging is that GM is very serious about learning what they are since the company has asked its followers on Facebook, it's a sign that GM wants to address them in the coming weeks and months.
The reason is the survey by Trend Tracker which found that people are not considering an all-electric vehicle for their next purchase. A year or so ago many people wanted electric cars to lower the amount of money the spent on gasoline. Now the society kind of got cozy with the existing average gas prices and its members' priorities have changed, the Trend Tracker survey shows. "With interviews taking place face-to-face in their homes 42% of those surveyed said they want to choose a car that lowers their personal emissions. Sixteen percent agreed strongly with this proposition, while 25% neither agreed nor disagreed, 14% disagreed, and 3% disagreed strongly," the survey shows.
Thus, who or what killed electric cars?
Chevy's desire to want to know why people are not considering electric cars for their next vehicle purchase is commendable. The company spent many millions and has committed thousands of workers to developing Chevy Volt and we all need to find out the objective and subjective reasons of EVs' marketing failure.
Here are some interesting comments from Chevy Volt's Facebook followers.
"People are conditioned now to a tolerance of paying $3-4.00 a gallon. The shock of $60 at the pump is gone. If gas jumped to $5.00/gallon, Volts would move like crazy," writes Larry Bisagni. Dance Jacobs brings up the issues of battery power, replenishing time and the cargo. "Volt is a good idea, when the price comes down a little it will more viable for more people. The Leaf is a joke, it gets about the same efficiency as gasoline and the hundred mile range is a joke too. It depends in your speed, temperature, cargo. You are lucky to get 60 miles out of a charge. Whatever nanotech will change things eventually."
Other responders bring up the cost of the car, the ratio of the cost of pumping gas vs replenishing battery and the time of replenishing it. "Battery power isn't as fast to replenish as gasoline... why don't they use solar ponels to charge the battery or something similar to help.. also, electric bills increase more so than gasoline costs," writes Robert Mitchell.
Yet others believe that the scarcity of charging stations and the range is an important factors. One things the marketing of electric cars will be more successful if the gas is 5 dollars per gallon. Another one says it takes less time to fill up a gas tank than replenishing the battery. Another question is what if the batter needs to be replaced in 5 years or so? Consumers seem to want at least 300 mile range on electricity in case they need to travel.
Overall it seems that many people are not well aware of the pros and cons of electric cars or Chevy Volt. Some say it will take up to 5 years to break even, others say it may take up to 8 years to break even on electric vs regular car purchase. One reader said if the companies can make the initial price under 20,000 dollars they can't make enough of it.
Society-wide change to electric or solar cars will be a huge and unprecedented effort. Perhaps a new way of thinking can help to lower the price of the Chevy Volt or other electric cars and the companies could still make some money by using the concept of price elasticity.