Long ago in the old gm-volt forum I expressed my doubts BEVs would survive past their early adopter stages; so far none have proved that thought wrong.
I don't think Ford shared Nissan's reckless (Ghosn's narcissistic) visions of an eager buying public waiting to gobble up BEVs such as the LEAF. Instead, Ford pursued a 'wait and see' strategy of creating an entry among all the fledging classes of 'green' automobiles - hybrids, plug in hybrids and full BEVs - without fully committing their resources to any of them.
Ford got into the game very cheaply with the FFE, outsourcing its mechanicals and putting it into an existing production model. With their 'lick your finger and hold it up to the wind' strategy, Ford has kept their eyes on the market and judging by the LEAF's lousy sales record this entire year, I think it is clear that they will NOT grab the BEV torch from Nissan's hand and run with it. Instead it looks like they will be focusing upon hybrids and plug in hybrids like the Energi, and put little to no energy in pursuing the BEV market because it has not proven itself to exist beyond the early adopter fringe.
I'll say it again - BEVs are not yet ready for prime time. They need the Volt around now in order to have any chance of a future, for the Volt and Volt-like cars that will follow will be what will lay the permanent foundation for EVs in the auto marketplace; and in so doing will drive battery technology forward. The day will come when a pure BEV will be able to go far enough and recharge fast enough to be a stand-alone player in the marketplace - but that day is not now. The Volt is what works now.
Great point. I think analyst that were hot and ready on bev also think we would be at $5. gas right now. Eventually, that would definately push the dynamics, and it may be the case in Europe and outside of the US.
But, right now, the less than stellar economy seems to be pushing people to search for used cars with high MPG, or inexepensive cars with high mpg--we still have a lot of trucks, suv, and old gas guzzliers. I think with more and more Volt's on the road, like the Prius, it will be a staple of responsible and joyful driving.
Right now, I cannot imagine driving anything else...maybe a tesla or model s if I had some disposible income.
I think Elon Musk has it right with the Tesla model: work from the top down. BEVs very much are status symbols at this point, and who bought all of the Tesla roadsters? Celebrities and the rich, even though they are the ones would could afford paying more for refueling. Now Tesla is releasing the S, which only the upper middle class can reasonably afford.
Three things will need to happen before BEV undergo widespread adoption: 1. The car will need to be under $30,000 and have a minimum 300-400 mile range. 2. A nationwide charging infrastructure will need to be put into place, including businesses and work places installing charging stations under similar requirements for handicapped spaces. 3. Gas prices need to be high enough (probably $8/gal or more).
#3 will be the tipping point because people will be spending (even in hybrids) $20-30 to travel 100 miles. Those same people will look around at their friends who have BEVs (and who are paying hundreds of dollars less per month), and they will want in. I'm not sure when all of this will happen, but it will probably happen suddenly. Manufacturers might not even be able to keep up with EV demand.