POLITICS

Sales lag far behind Obama’s goals as consumers say no to electric vehicles

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Business,Environment,Michal Conger,Barack Obama,Energy Department

Electric car sales lag far behind President Obama’s ambitious electric vehicle goals, as Chevy reports an 11 percent drop in Volt sales in April, and Nissan a 15 percent drop compared to March’s monthly record of 2,236.

Leaf sales plunged despite Nissan’s decision to lower the EV’s price by 18 percent in January. Nissan officials had hoped to double sales in 2012, but fell far short of that, according to the Detroit News. And startup electric car maker Coda filed for bankruptcy Wednesday after selling only 100 cars so far this year, according to USA Today.  

The numbers don’t bode well for Obama’s 2008 goal of 1 million electric cars on the road by 2018. Just over 70,000 of the cars have been sold in the U.S. since 2011, well behind target. It appears politicians have vastly more desire to see EVs on the roads than American consumers do to buy them.

Still, Obama’s 2014 budget proposes a 75 percent increase in funding for electric vehicle research, allocating $575 million for the EV Everywhere initiative that strives to make electric cars as attractive to buyers as gas-powered cars and trucks. Obama also proposed a $2 billion Energy Security Trust that would take revenue from the drilling industry and spend it on alternative fuel research.

The Environmental Protection Agency is also proceeding as if EVs dominate the road, proposing new gasoline standards at the end of March that tighten emissions rules for cars and trucks. The EPA said the new rules would raise gas prices by about a penny per gallon, but oil industry experts predict pump prices will increase as much nine cents. 

A lot of people are testing the Leaf, but not buying it, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said in March, according to the Detroit News.

“We need more conquests,” he said. “We need to attract more people.”

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