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The market for electric vehicles appears to be gaining steam in 2012, according to a tally of...

The market for electric vehicles appears to be gaining steam in 2012, according to a tally of the most recent round of sales numbers. In Q1, domestic sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs increased 44% Y/Y to 113,457. The pickup in buying activity stands in contrast to an industry mired in a slump last year amid a safety probe on Chevrolet Volts, supply issues, and limited model options.
Comments (24)
  • I was just reading that Ford introduced the electric Focus in December 2011, as of March 1 they have only sold 10 units. They sold zero Ford Focus electric cars in March and April to date. Now that the GM prototype battery exploded recently, the future of electric cars doesn't look too bright with their very limited range before switching to gasoline.
    23 Apr 2012, 03:39 PM Reply Like
  • If you are talking about the battery that was undergoing destructive testing that was a A123 battery in a GM lab. Actually the battery did not explode unvented gases ignited and those from an unknown source as investigation continues.
    23 Apr 2012, 05:34 PM Reply Like
  • According to The Detroit News' David Shepardson, "Chemical gases from the battery cells were released and ignited in the enclosed chamber. The battery itself was intact."


    Unnamed sources have told the media that it was a prototype battery pack made by A123 that caused the fire. Fox News says that pack was being tested for use in the Chevy Spark EV and other all-electric vehicles. Batteries made by A123 were recently involved in a $55 million replacement effort in the Fisker Karma.


    So the gasses really weren't from an unknown source, they were from the A123 battery. What happens when the gasses escape into the interior of the car and say maybe someone lights a cigarette?
    23 Apr 2012, 05:45 PM Reply Like
  • A123 is paying to replace defective batteries (manufactured defect) on all Fisker products. Essentially the batteries failed in service due to misplaced terminals - something that normally would be caught in an experienced QA program. It has caused their value to drop precipitously.
    23 Apr 2012, 06:11 PM Reply Like
  • Hoe - you are confusing "sales" with "production". Yes, Ford built some "production proofs" of the Focus Electric late in 2011 - but these units are only meant for final quality evaluations. If everything checks out in the "proofs", they are sometimes shipped or provided as demonstrators for media drives and dealership demonstrations, and to celebrities and such. Full production (built to order!) of the Focus Electric did not begin until April, and those units are awaiting final approval to ship to the dealerships to be sold in the initial markets.


    Like all auto manufacturers, Ford's "sales" are to dealerships, not to consumers - so "sales" mean wholesales to the dealers. Since Focus Electric cars are to be built to order (after a few fleet demonstrators are shipped to dealers and celebrities, etc.), there won't be any massive shipments to dealerships, where the cars would pile up on dealership lots (as is done with Volt and Leaf).


    Ford only expects to sell only a few to several hundred Focus Electrics in the first model year (2012). The 2013 model year for all Focus models comes later in the summer.


    In short, Ford sold essentially no Focus Electrics until April because essentially none were built or shipped until April.
    23 Apr 2012, 07:29 PM Reply Like
  • Thanks Tdot for schooling me on the Focus. I own a buttload of Ford stock and was concerned that their electric vehicle debut had been a bust. I know the technology is not yet mature or proven reliable. I'll be honest I would rather see them spend their R+D money on compressed natural gas vehicles right off the assembly line. Fracking has made nat gas so cheap and so plentiful it would be foolish not to go in that direction. Maybe the nat gas vehicle could bridge the gap until the electric Focus has been perfected.
    23 Apr 2012, 07:49 PM Reply Like
  • and this represents what percent of total annual sales (real or forecast?)
    23 Apr 2012, 03:42 PM Reply Like
  • Jeffrey Immeldt, CEO of GE bought a huge bunch of Chevy Volts to help out his old buddy, BarackObama save face.


    He bought about 5000 units.


    The $7500 tax rebate per VOLT we all gave Mr Immeldt and GE wasn't bad either.


    GE didn't pay any income tax and got money back from us in addition.


    How does that figure into the tally of electric cars?
    23 Apr 2012, 04:44 PM Reply Like
  • Do you have a source? Although I woulD have preferred GE buy Prii, HEV purchases of that magnitude or not unusual for utilities, and rather smart given gas savings and low maintenance. Out west PGE has an even larger fleet of newer Prii.
    23 Apr 2012, 05:41 PM Reply Like
  • Companies should be free to select any products they want, and answer to shareholders and their customers. Likewise, their management of tax obligations hasn't been found illegal and is subject to the same reactions. The internal program is not limited to just Chevy Volts, and it includes other brands and products (e.g. hybrids).


    If you don't like the situation, you should avoid all GE products. This is minor as cronyism goes given that GE is BUYING said products.
    23 Apr 2012, 06:21 PM Reply Like
  • If you need a source, do your own homework!! GE would have never bought the Prius in fleet size purchases due to the relationship Immelt has with Obama. As an everyday service vehicle that drives 200 miles a day and only runs on electricity for 25 - 50 miles maximum on a charge, how is that a savings? Do you think electricity is just pulled out of thin air for free. You know it is produced by old school methods, coal, nuke, nat gas, and every carbon source this administration is intent on killing. Plus no one knows the lifespan of these batteries although they are covered for 8 years. Surely the technology will be for more efficient cells and the cost will be less than the $3300 current replacement cost for the battery.
    23 Apr 2012, 06:03 PM Reply Like
  • Just READ that at a conference, Ford's CEO stated " the batteries on the Focus EV will run between $12,000 - $15,000" . Will owners be told of this as Nothing " rechargable" lasts forever. What will the car be worth when the batteries need replacing. What's the "battery disposal fee" going to be. How much will the labor be to replace them. What's the depreciation going to be at trade in time. If it weren't for the incentives paid to Government Motors and the generous tax credits, people wouldnt spend $40,000 on a car to go 40 miles at best, on flat terrain, without the heater or air on and no windshield wipers or radios or GPS going or cell phone plugged in. EV's were a flop in the 1970's and will be a flop again. God help you if you have an "electrical" problem or you kid forgets to plug it in after a date. What ya gonna do, call the boss in the morning ans say....... My car's out of juice? As for numbers, sounds like someone hired the Enron Bookkeeping team.
    23 Apr 2012, 07:13 PM Reply Like
  • Dyna - Nothing made by man lasts forever, including and especially $40,000 gas and diesel powered cars. They are designed to last maybe 10 years and 150,000 miles, relatively trouble-free. Anything beyond that should be considered a blessing.


    The biggest killers of rechargeable batteries are poor charging strategy, and heat. Each cell has a slightly different impedance, and thus charge at different rates. Cells that charge fast tend to overcharge relative to other cells that charge more slowly, and doing so starts to degrade the chemistry and physics package.


    The biggest risk factor to the integrity of cell chemistry is too-rapid charging. Fast Charging can substantially shorten battery life, as individual cells degrade and drop off the grid as ineffective.


    Heat also kills these batteries. They like to be warm, around room temperature, and strongly dislike being below freezing or above "body temperature".


    Ford claims to have optimized the high voltage battery charging strategy, and the warming and cooling of their battery, to the extent that the battery retains at least 80% of its capacity at 10 years and 150,000 miles. In fact, Ford has a warranty to that effect on its hybrid models.


    Most vehicles are considered fully depreciated after 10 years and 150,000 miles, and are either junked or sold on the used market for a very small fraction of original price.


    Focus Electric would, if anything, retain a much higher resale value at 10 yrs / 150,000 miles, since the battery still has at least 80% capacity, and there are far fewer powertrain-related things to go bad (no combustion chamber issues, no ignition, cooling, or lubrication system issues, no cam / valve issues, no transmission issues, no drive or accessory belts, no exhaust system issues, etc.
    24 Apr 2012, 09:00 AM Reply Like
  • I wonder what percentage of the 44% total consisted of only EVs.
    23 Apr 2012, 08:01 PM Reply Like
  • So far, Tesla stock is beating the hell out interest you would recieve at a bank.
    23 Apr 2012, 08:04 PM Reply Like
  • Future of electric cars not too bright?
    Internal Combustion engines are at the lowest cost that they will ever be, Electric components are at the highest cost that they will ever be.
    As time goes on Internal combustion costs will continue to rise, While electric components will continue to drop.
    Coupled with the fact that the part count of an EV is a fraction of the parts count of an internal combustion vehicle the end looks obvious.
    We are seeing the death march of internal combustion and the rise of electrification, even with the millions being invested in negative propaganda by the Petroleum conglomerates; the end does not seem to be avoidable this time around.
    23 Apr 2012, 08:04 PM Reply Like
  • Have you tried to buy a Focus EV? I was told by 3 dealers that there are none available until July and that they would be priced at $2500. above sticker price.
    23 Apr 2012, 08:05 PM Reply Like
  • RFK - In other words, Focus Electric, which is exclusively built to order, has a 3-month waiting list and enough demand to support a premium on the MSRP. This is Very Good News for Ford and its Dealerships and Shareholders!
    24 Apr 2012, 09:05 AM Reply Like
  • I'm a retired college teacher. I just went solar on the house with enough for charging an EV. I'm currently #4980 for a Tesla S this fall and looking for a second EV. The Focus looks pretty nice for around town.
    23 Apr 2012, 08:05 PM Reply Like
  • Then you want to place your order now. There is a 3-month waiting list, and they are built to customer specifications. Not that there are many options to choose from - just 6 colors, and optional leather seating. Beyond that it comes fully "loaded".
    24 Apr 2012, 09:12 AM Reply Like
  • When you dig into the data Toyota was up 50% while the total market was up 44%. In other words Toyota continues to gain steam in the hybrid and electric vehicle market.
    23 Apr 2012, 08:07 PM Reply Like
  • My advise to the cons on here is to drive one. The hybrids rather than the ev's due to he power that's reserved for the traditional driver. However, hedge that with some nat gas options like Westport inn, because there is going to be a shift from oil n gas. Has to happen, and his time around it will happen.
    24 Apr 2012, 12:55 AM Reply Like
  • Nissan LEAF fully 100% electric cars are NOT gathering dust at dealers, and have delivered over 27,000 cars worldwide from the factory in Japan. The assembly plant to open this fall in Smyrna, Tennessee, USA will have a capacity of 150,000 units, with 200,000 battery assembly capacity. LEAFs will also be produced in England.


    The GM Volt / Ampera did have too many cars at dealers, and shut down the assembly, only to then have a record sales month. They reopened the plant early. Why the crazy extremes? Just watch Fox News; they mercilessly attacked the Volt when it had a battery fire that started 3 weeks after US government safety testing. Neil Cavuto of Fox News called it a, "roller skate on wheels", amongst other bizarro comments from all the Fox News staff. Now, the Volt has been cleared by the government as to any fire related issues, and Volt sales soared, and the factory is back up.


    07Dyno's comments are just typical mudslinging, and nothing anybody could say would help.


    Tony Williams
    San Diego
    24 Apr 2012, 03:22 AM Reply Like
  • Regardless of the political aspects and who said what on what broadcast or site, are you trying to say that your figures represent success? 27k sales, if accurate, is a minuscule fraction of just Nissan global sales, and worse is the stated 113,457 portion of all sales in this news item.


    People will always take political sides and react for political reasons. That the Volt's parent received so much taxpayer support makes it a target for politically motivated attacks. But facts are facts, and no amount of "stimulating" is offsetting the problems with the most recent, and not the first, effort at introducing EV's and PHEV's and hybrids into the marketplace. After almost 10 years the situation isn't a failure, but to try to paint it as a success is either political or delusional. And ask yourself how good or bad (choose your angle) it would be without the tax credits that have been steadily offered in that time frame.


    EV's could be a good fit for a larger portion of transportation units, but that hasn't happened. The politics of it aren't the main reason. Very small ICE vehicles have been the target of ridicule for a long time, yet their sales are strong. Breakthroughs are needed, face it.
    25 Apr 2012, 09:01 AM Reply Like
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