Plug-In Electric Car Buyers Very Satisfied With Cars: Report

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2011 Nissan Leaf plugged into an EVgo quick-charging station, Texas

2011 Nissan Leaf plugged into an EVgo quick-charging station, Texas

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A new report issued today on the current status of plug-in electric cars suggests that buyers are very happy with their cars, and plug-in sales are rising faster than hybrids sales did after they were launched.

"Customer experiences have typically been extremely positive," says the report, citing data from J.D. Power and Associates surveys.

Owners of plug-in electric vehicles "are generally happy with their purchases" and are especially fond of the vehicle's performance, "likely due to the instant torque provided by the electric motor."

That may be because, among other reasons, electric cars are nicer to drive--being quieter and smoother, as well as providing that good acceleration away from stoplights.

More than 100,000 plug-in cars have been sold in the U.S. since their launch for the 2011 model year, the report notes--and they sell at a rate almost three times as high as hybrids during the same point in their introduction.

Battery costs are expected to drop by roughly half by 2020, but even today, some plug-in hybrid vehicles are cost-competitive with hybrids and conventional gasoline vehicles over their life.

The report, State of the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Market, was produced by the Electrification Coalition and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), the consulting group.

The Coalition issued a pair of "Electrification Roadmaps" in 2009 and 2010 that laid out policies and steps necessary to aid in adding plug-in electric cars to the U.S. fleet, both for private buyers and corporate and government fleets.

Today's report is the first in a series of "Electric Vehicle Market Outlook" analyses that will look at plug-in electric car sales, the costs of battery packs, various infrastructure issues, and other topics related to electric vehicles.

The full report can be downloaded from the Electrification Coalition website.


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Comments (36)
  1. Electric cars give you their weakness right up front, lowering expectations. But then, you get in and drive one, and you say to yourself, "This is fantastic!" I think anyone who's ever driven a Prius got in an electric car and was blown away by the acceleration, the continuous quiet. No wimpy engine kicking in, just loads of torque and happiness. And once you stop going to gas stations, once you no longer worry about gas prices, you really don't ever want to go back to such an archaic way of traveling.

  2. part of the snowball process - getting evs out in the hands of the public.

    so that actual owners can give actual experience to non-owners.

    i am beginning to see some leafs, now.

  3. What would be good is if Car Rental companies offered EVs for rent in small areas where limited miles are expected. Say San Francisco where you rent at the airport and expect to only put 50-60 miles on the car. Or around LA where there are a lot of public charging stations. That lets people try out an EV for a day or two on their expense report. Also lets EV drivers "also drive an EV" while on business trips.

  4. absolutely - coda was planning on doing this before their demise.

    great exposure for non-owners.

  5. Going further, I think rental car companies can be part of the solution for range anxiety. Travel to a town, drop your car off - getting it charged and rent another car for the day. Come back drop rental EV off, pick up your fully charged car and go home!

  6. I have a Prius and a Tesla Model S, and as much as I loved the Prius, it now seems pretty crude by comparison. I have driven the Prius so little, that I discovered it has "vampire loads" that will completely drain the 12 V battery over time (should've read the manual). You are right - I can't imagine going back.

  7. the main thing i am watching for now is to see if big oil starts dropping the cost of gas ?

    if they wanted to, they could sell it for 25 cents a gallon.

    this is how the big 3 got rid of their competitors, who had better quality cars than they did.

    it is called DEEP POCKETS.

    which is why i keep telling all you guys about the bigwigs and how wealth ultimately controls you and me.

  8. just in case you dont believe me, here is a link about kaiser, and how gm and ford dealers were selling cars at a loss, to get rid of the competition.

    in the real world, these things happen just as i said they do.

    here is a statement from this link :

    There was also the problem of GM and Ford overproducing and dumping cars on dealers, who often had to sell them at a loss; their large dealer bodies could do that, while Kaiser and, for that matter, Plymouth could not.

  9. So what if Ford and GM were selling cars at a loss to get rid of competitors, it's a good tactic to gain market share. I'm assuming you don't have a problem with new EV's being sold and leased at a loss for market penetration.

  10. i am simply stating facts as they are. at least one person thinks i have paranoid delusions when i bring this stuff up.

    i have already received 2 negatives. i am sorry if i rock the boat with the truth. i will continue to do so.

    evs are a new technology. not so easy to attach a price to it, cuz there are all sorts of start-up costs, etc. this occurs whenever a brand new techonolgy starts.

    much different than selling something way below value to eliminate competition.

    and today's evs are still quite a bit more expensive. so they are not undercutting the competition, simply cuz they have a boatload of dollars.

    your analogy is fairly poor.

  11. I don't see the current pricing as a bid to dominate the auto industry so much as to increase volume enough for profitable mass market operations. That could be achieved with sales of 100,000 to 150,000 units per year. That will not put any competition out of business but will allow car buyers a greater selection of drive trains and styles. I am glad I had the opportunity years ago to abandon fossil fuels for transportation. The investment was well worth it.

  12. thanks steve,

    every ev on the road helps out. has anyone asked you about it ?

  13. I wouldn't care if they gave away the gasoline, I still wouldn't take it. Because, driving a gas car means I'm still beholding to the repair shops to keep it going. Gas cars means I'm paying all the time. My EV doesn't need maintenance like a gas car and it's saved me over $4000 dollars this year. Why would I want to go back? So I can make someone else rich? No way.

  14. $0.25 a gallon is ancient history. Costs of drilling and inflation are way up since then. However, I believe we would be seeing $5+ gas now if there were no EVs!

  15. I have been driving a Nissan Leaf for a year, and I love it. I really like plugging my car in at home, rather than having to visit gas stations or public charging points. The one thing I miss is fast chargers between Memphis and Nashville, so I could drive to Nashville without renting a car. The EV Project was supposed to install them, but they never did.

  16. The EV Project? Yeah - they did use a lot of that government money to install overpriced stations to the point of exhausting their funds before the promised rollout fully occurred. More "government money" spent to excess. Some results were seen but "chargers per dollar" spent was way too low.

  17. Hope you live in a cooler climate area. If it's hot in the summer where you live, you'll be sorry!

  18. yes and no. Nissan new tactic is to lease the Leaf. The batteries still go bad but the customer does not take the financial beating. Battery cooling systems are needed on BEV.

  19. $100 dollar month lease, though. Yuck. I'd rather buy the battery outright and when it needs replacing in 10 years I'll pay the current market prices.

  20. Great point! What't your come back Mike? Maybe you'll for our battery lease.

  21. That is easy to understand.

    GCR had an article about how to sell EVs, get potential buyers to drive them. A test drive usually nails the deal..

  22. WRONG!!!!!! This owner is not at at all satisfied with the fact that the battery assembly has degraded prematurely in the heat of Southern Arizona(see Wikipedia-Nissan Leaf), and the fact that Nissan is trying to portray this as "NORMAL"! Be for warned, do Not buy one of these cars if you live in a hot desert area of the US.

  23. I live in a hot desert area of the US, and I'm happy with my BEV. No battery degradation problems expected despite the heat. But I have a Focus Electric, not a Leaf. I suspect any other BEV with a cooling system for its battery will do just fine here.

  24. You were very smart purchasing that car. Me, not so much.

  25. I know many people dismiss you as an unhappy consumer, but the truth is battery degredation and climate influences ARE real problems that needs to be addressed before widespread adoption of EV's occurs.

  26. it already has been to a pretty good extent - thermal mgmt systems.

    nissan chose to save on the cost. i actually do not think this was a bad choice. price is a huge deterrent.

    many people do not need the extra cost. but if they sell in areas where it is an issue, nissan needs to make people aware.

  27. Nissan should make a battery TMS optional on the LEAF so that those who need one can get it while those who don't won't have to pay for it. I live in upstate NY and really don't think my LEAF needs it.

  28. The internal structure of the batteries doesn't help. The Leaf batteries are stacked vertically - pancake style. Heat rises - the top batteries get really cooked. Heat does permanent damaget to LiOn battery cells, unlike extreme cold. I wish Nissan would address this problem but it looks like they play ostrich on this one.

  29. 1) Most of the Leaf's cells are vertical, bookshelf style.
    2) Supports and enclosure are all metal, no reason to think that heat wouldn't spread quite evenly.
    3) The cells' resistance is very low (

  30. [arg, lower-than character broke things; continuing]
    3) The cells' resistance is very low (less than 0.1ohm total for the pack), so they self-heat very little; ambient heat dominates, and would affect all cells equally.
    4) Li-ion degrades continuously, especially at high SoC; high temperatures only exacerbate this.
    5) While at least some Leafs have suffered abnormally fast degradation (and/or faulty dash indication) in the southwest US, other areas/climates seem immune.
    6) There is no reason to think that Nissan hasn't improved its 2013 model.

  31. There are more comments in this thread
  32. After going from a nearly silent EV most drivers are shocked at how their gas car is so rough and jerky with all the gear changing of the transmission and just how plain loud their gasoline car engine is. I am looking forward to Tesla's Gen III sedan with a 200 mile range coming in 2016

  33. I'm not going back to a "so 20th Century" conventional gas car. The first test drive in a Volt convinced me that this was a special car. Now I happily whoosh down the road in my personal space shuttle and thumb my nose at gas stations. Critical mass is building. I have read very few negative reviews from EV owners. In fact, the Volt had Consumer Reports' highest reliability rating of any vehicle for the 2011 model.

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