Electric Cars

Many electric car automotive decision-makers, our own government included, believe that persistent electric vehicle hype, spiced with a viral marketing approach to the electric transportation revolution, will single-handedly spell success for the electric car. They trust that these alone will be the strategic components to influence prospective buyers of electric and plug-in hybrids. But will they truly be enough? We think not!

Various experts have a mindset similar to the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams – if you build it, they will come. This may not, however, be the case for the electric car. While Kevin Czinger, CEO of CODA Automotive, an electric car and battery designer and manufacturer, calls these first buyers early adapters, others may call them lab rats.

Getting electric vehicles on our roads is certainly one way to elevate buyer awareness. Potential buyers talking to friends and sharing knowledge about their potential new EVs will certainly accelerate EV sales, as will the construction of charging stations in parking lots, stores, and workplaces. Unfortunately, however, the correct solution to the problems posed by the necessary staging, promotion, and direly needed sales of this innovative mode of greener transportation lies somewhere between ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ and ‘Green with Envy’!

As of now, the electric car-buying public is truly perplexed. To many of us, this is frightening technology with unfamiliar terminology. Even the electric car window sticker is confusing with too many new and different terms and no less than three different methods used by the EPA to estimate miles per gallon.

Another hurdle is the installation of home charging stations. This procedure fluctuates in cost among states and cities, depending greatly on the buyer’s location as well as the company performing the installation.

All the players within the electric car industry must keep in mind that the purchase of a vehicle is one of the biggest purchases we ever make. In order for the all-electric vehicle and its counterpart the plug-in electric hybrid to reach the mainstream within the automotive industry, a multitude of puzzles need to be solved to jump-start the electric car revolution.

So far, today’s electric automobile owners – early adapters – are either green-conscious by nature or are the few who have waited for green car technology and welcome it. Up to this point, the majority of EV buyers have been part of one or both of these two groups! Based on industry surveys, the principal motives for buying electric cars have been either to reduce our dependency on foreign oil or a fascination with the technological innovation behind these cars.

If you trust the gossip, you’d think electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids have taken over the roads, we’ve been liberated from foreign oil, climate-change is a thing of the past, and our planet has been saved. Regrettably, however tenacious the gossip may be, it’s tough to argue with the numbers. Nissan reported that they would sell 25,000 Leafs in 2011. General Motors said they’d sell 15,000 Volts in the model’s first year. The fact is that Chevy has only sold roughly 2,500 plug-in hybrid Volts. The Leaf, by Nissan, is a just few cars off their pace with sales of nearly 2,200 models so far.

It has become painfully obvious that buyers from around the world, especially Americans, are still apprehensive with respect to purchasing electric vehicles. The automotive buying-public needs to be educated; the buyers’ nervousness in relation to the technology and EV’s in general needs to be addressed and eliminated. Automotive executives, government agencies, and green organizations must instruct the public about the electric vehicle market, familiarizing them with the technology.