John Voelcker lists those EV offerings which appear intended only to meet California's ZEV mandate. The ethics / wisdom of this strategy is, to me, moot, now that it appears the sales of Nissan LEAFs are plummeting. I am worried that there currently isn't a sustainable market for EV's now for the same reasons as when the EV1 was offered:
1) the current costs are too high for most of the market (and too low for automakers to make money)
2) energy / power density of batteries is too low for the performance, utility and range for the market
3) the charging infrastructure is still insufficient
I am worried that our current regulations (ZEV mandates) are forcing automakers into the wrong strategies. If the market doesn't want it, no amount of regulation will make people buy it. I am recommending the following changes / allowances to the ZEV mandates:
1) Broaden the vehicle classifications that count towards the ZEV mandate - quadracycles, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, Segweys, personal electric wheelchairs, etc. Where micro EV's are failing, quadracycles, motorcycles, scooters, etc. are succeeding, because they are cheap enough, with just enough utility for city dwellers and other folks with short commutes (like me).
2) Allow major automakers to buy credits from these manufacturers, so that they can reduce their prices, and continue mainstreaming these simpler / cheaper vehicles.
3) Broaden the subsidies to include quadracycles, motorcycles, scooters, etc., so that they become more affordable, and reinforce the trends for these vehicle sales to increase.
I believe this will lead automakers to partner with these alternative vehicle manufacturers and offer a range of vehicles that is obtaining a toe-hold in the American market. BEV's need more time to gestate.