2013 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Add to that the high costs of all plug-in cars in the early years of large lithium-ion cell production; the added effort required to install a charging station at home for battery-electric vehicles; and both range anxiety and the highly variable range of electric cars, depending on driving style, temperature, and many other factors.
Then there's figuring out how to market cars with such a radically different propulsion and energy storage system--Hint: "It's good for you and the planet" won't cut it--and the disinterest and occasional cluelessness of many franchised dealers.
Oh, and media eager for headlines who seize on headlines about Fires! Range Anxiety! Disappointing Sales! Fear! Uncertainty! Doubt!
It's enough to make any pioneer sigh.
Here's where we stand: We think plug-in cars will increase their U.S. sales every year, but that adoption will be slow. But the more "butts in seats," the more people will start to understand the allure.
As former IHS Automotive analyst Aaron Bragman said last March, "It may be that the cars are slow sellers, but so was Prius when it first arrived as well."
To underscore the point, the author of this piece has a bet with electric-car advocate Peder Norby that by 2020, conventional gasoline-engined vehicles will still make up more than 50 percent of U.S. sales.
That means that battery electrics, plug-in hybrids, regular hybrids, diesels, and natural-gas vehicles together still won't add up to 50 percent of the U.S. market, which will likely be at about the same 15 million vehicles a year as it is today.
What do you think?
Will Norby win the bet--will gasoline engines be less than half the market--or will I?
Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.