High Prices Will Limit Sales of Electric Vehicles in 2012

Nissan raised the price of the electric car Leaf for 2012, and while the 2012 Chevrolet Volt will sell for $1,000 less, the car comes without several features that were previously standard but are now options.

According to data from Pike Research’s annual Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey, the optimal price for a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) to engage consumers is $23,750. With the 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV ($32,000), the Honda Fit BEV ($36,625), and the Ford Focus EV ($39,995) all north of $30,000 (before federal incentives), consumers hoping for an affordable EV ride have been left wanting. These relatively high selling prices will constrain the market for PEVs in 2012. The white paper, which includes 10 predictions about the EV market in 2012, is available for free download on Pike Research’s website.

“Vehicles on sale in 2012 will not benefit from recent cost reductions in batteries,” says research director John Gartner. “The batteries in these vehicles were ordered before 2012, so any flexibility in reducing vehicle pricing will not occur until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest. Nevertheless, the global market for plug-in electric vehicles will grow to more than a quarter million vehicles in 2012 – a number sufficient to put an end to the ‘are they for real?’ speculation that has surrounded this market.”