The greenest cars on the market —electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids — have attracted very few buyers so far.
But instead of scaling back, major automakers are eager to bring more battery-powered models to their showrooms.
G.M., the biggest American automaker, on Tuesday said it would begin production later this year of the Cadillac ELR, a luxury version of the Chevrolet Volt, the company’s current extended-range plug-in hybrid sedan.
Nissan, the Japanese automaker, is taking a different approach to lift sales of its all-electric Leaf sedan. Rather than turn more upscale, it will offer a new base-model Leaf that is $6,000, or 18 percent, cheaper than the current car.
Both strategies have the same intent — to lure a wider range of consumers to electric cars.
“We think the Volt is very much a success story for General Motors and that the ELR will feed off that success,” said Robert E. Ferguson, head of G.M.’s Cadillac brand.
Despite Mr. Ferguson’s expression of confidence, it’s debatable whether the Volt, which runs primarily on battery power but has a small gasoline engine to extend its driving range, has truly been a hit.
Last year, G.M. sold 23,000 Volts in the United States, less than 1 percent of its overall sales and well below the expectations set by the company. Much of the Volt’s volume was attributed to cut-rate lease deals that made it decidedly more affordable than its $39,000 sticker price. (Volts, Leafs and other electric cars typically qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit and sometimes state credits that lower the effective purchase price.)
“Even with $199-a-month leases, the Volt is still barely making a dent,” said Larry Dominique, president of the auto-leasing research firm ALG. “With gas prices moderating, it’s tough to make an economic argument to buy a plug-in hybrid.”
via The New York Times
The Latest Streaming News: Electric Cars updated minute-by-minute
Bookmark this page and come back often