The argument between EVs versus gas powered vehicles is a debate that we could only have on a theoretical even just a handful of years ago. The Chevy Volt, the Nissan Leaf, and others coming up behind are prepared to try to wrest some of the market share away from the traditional market for gas powered cars and the loyalty of their drivers and starting debates on everything from style to factory vs. extended warranties for these new vehicles. Although there have been some strides made in hybrids that have electric drive components, the models rolling off the lots are the first generation that we can truly call electric cars.
EV Target Market Demographic
If the current pricing patterns are any indication, there are no plans on the part of automakers to try to insert electric vehicles at the top of the heap in terms of worldwide sales. When you look at the blueprint created by General Motors with the Chevy Volt, for example, you see what is really an expansion of the formula the world's number one automaker has seemed to adopt for sales of all of its vehicles. Rather than shoot for the most market share, GM has elected at least for now with the Volt to go for profits. The venerable GM tried for decades to play king of the mountain for decades and keep that number one title as long as it could, literally selling cars for a loss on purpose just to pump up sales.
Chevrolet Volt Sales Strategy
But the so called new GM that has emerged from bankruptcy is different in this regard. The development and subsequent public offering of the Volt is the clearest indication yet in this regard. As the company spent untold billions developing the technology to give the car a 40 mile range on a battery charge, for example, it has chosen to look to recover its investment and sell a car for a profit for a change. This strategy seems to be saying that the company is going for the critical acclaim and is really trying to appeal to a buyer for whom pricing is not the most important thing.
Of course, this means that the Volt won't appear in every driveway in middle America any time soon; but it does seem to indicate that General Motors is not willing to sell low in order to flood the market and create some kind of public relations victory. At the point enters the Nissan Leaf. Now a 2011 model due to a pushed back production schedule, this car is every bit the essence of Nissan. Folks who love Nissan and who love the idea of an electric vehicle will love the Leaf, plain and simple. In other words, Nissan did not try to go out and create a whole new marketing strategy to attract tons of new people who have never considered buying its cars; but instead, seems to have created in the Leaf a car that will appeal to buyers that already kind of like Nissans to begin with.
Market Share for EVs
The projected market share for electric cars as a function of the overall total cannot be expected to grow that explosively fast. One thing that may hinder the speed of this growth is the development of charging stations and more convenient and expedient charging times. These will improve as technology improves, to be sure. For now, the EV and plug in hybrids are not poised to unseat gas powered SUVs as people's favorite rides. But the hope is that they make automakers a little money. National auto insurance policy holders should keep an eye on this market for EVs vs. gas vehicles as it develops.