In the short term, price will be the most significant limitation to the uptake of both plug-in hybrid vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and fully electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf. The median base price of autos sold between July 2009 and June 2010 in the US was $21,800. By comparison, the Nissan Leaf will cost $26,280 after federal subsidies (including an allowance for charger installation), which is a higher price point than three quarters of all new auto sales.
The Chevrolet Volt will be targeting an addressable market of 7% of total US auto sales, and the Nissan Leaf 11%, , according to research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
However, actual sales will be much lower and limited by vehicle availability.
BNEF also forecasts sensitivity to gas prices, which will have a considerable effect on uptake. Rises in electricity prices do not affect sales as severely, the company concluded, as fuel costs are a lower proportion of the total cost of ownership for electric vehicles.
Last week, J.D. Power released a forecast projecting combined sales of hybrid cars and electric vehicles are expected to total 5.2 million units or just 7.3 percent of global sales by 2020.