In July 2011, Nissan handed out 931 new Leaf electric vehicles – marking the first time they’ve sold less than 1,000 units since April. Compared to June, the Leaf saw a decline of 46%. This sudden drop in Nissan Leaf sales opened the door for General Motors to get back into the electric vehicle game but unfortunately, the Volt saw a decline of nearly 80% in July 2011 compared to just one month before as just 125 new Chevy Volt sedans left dealerships last month. While it was rough for Nissan to see a drop to just 931 units, GM’s numbers of just 125 Volts last month makes July 2011 the worst month for the Volt since being introduced last year.
What does all of this mean for the future of the electric vehicle? Right now, it is too early to tell exactly what is going wrong for the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt but one main issue with these vehicles could be the price in relation to other highly efficient competition. For someone who doesn’t have any city commute, the short electric range of the Nissan Leaf makes that vehicle useless as a daily driver and for those who exceed the electric only range of the Volt – there are several vehicles on the American market that offer better fuel economy for far less than $41,000. As more and more new compacts and subcompacts (like the Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Sonic) near the 40mpg mark with price tags closer to $20,000 – the American consumer who drives 100+ miles each day likely finds their money better spent on non-hybrid models like the Fiesta and Sonic rather than ponying up the 40 grand required of the Volt.
Another problem for the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt could be that in those limited markets where the Leaf and Volt are currently offered, those people who want one of these innovative new vehicles may be on short order – meaning that the people who want a Volt or Leaf in the limited markets may have already gotten one. This problem could be solved as these two vehicles spread into more markets around the United States over the next few months. However, if the bigger problem for these electric vehicles is the fact that they are not practical for most American consumers – especially when price is taken into account – the automakers building these electric cars may need to take a closer look at their pricing and capabilities for these new vehicles to succeed on a larger scale.
Other Electric Vehicle News:
The Nissan Leaf bests the Chevy Volt in June 2011 sales
The 2012 Nissan Leaf gets a healthy price increase
Nissan LEAF earns five-star NCAP rating
Enterprise, FedEx betting big on electric vehicles
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt comes to the Carolinas