Posted by Barry Silverstein on March 31, 2010 10:24 AM
Certainly you remember the GM electric car, the EV1. No? Well, believe it or not, the EV1 was an all-electric car introduced by General Motors in the mid-1990s, well before all the hybrid hype surrounding the Toyota Prius. To find out whatever happened to the EV1, you might want to watch the 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? (Hint: Big Oil.)
Fast forward to 2011. That's when two all-electric cars will hit the US market. A pre-production Chevrolet Volt will come off the production line today and if all goes well, the Volt will be available in November. Meanwhile, Nissan will bring the Leaf electric car to market in December.
The Leaf is generating a lot of buzz. Nissan says it has already signed up 80,000 people who are interested in buying one, and the company will soon begin accepting $99 reservations for the Leaf. Yesterday Nissan announced it will price its all-electric car at just under $33,000 – as much as $10,000 higher than the Prius and Honda Civic hybrids – but the carmaker points out that a Federal tax credit of $7500 lowers the price to a few hundred dollars more than $25,000. The Volt is expected to be priced at around $40,000 ($32,500 with the tax credit).
Nissan has been working with lithium ion batteries for 17 years, so it expects the car to be profitable. The company says "customers should expect more variants of the Leaf in coming years." Obviously, Nissan is confident that the time is right for an all-electric car – despite the fact that an owner will need to install a home charger on a dedicated line for around $2000. Half of that cost will be covered by a tax credit. The all-electric Leaf will have a range of about 100 miles before needing a recharge; the Volt has a range of 40 miles, but it can go up to 300 miles with its supplemental gasoline engine.
It remains to be seen if American car buyers will turn over a new leaf and gravitate towards an all-electric vehicle.