Sales of both the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf electric cars were insignificant in the month of December. Due to the slow ramp-up of production volumes, it's still unclear how much long-term demand for EVs there is.
In December GM sold less than 350 Chevy Volts, while Nissan moved just 10 Leaf models in the last two weeks of the year. Nissan has said, however, that a shipment of 90 additional Leafs has docked in the U.S., with deliveries set to take place early in the new year.
Nissan claims it has the capability to manufacture 50,000 Leaf models a year, while Chevy plans to build 10,000 Volts in 2011, with that number jumping to 45,000 in 2012.
Initial interest is high, with 50,000 reportedly on the list for the Volt. Aiding interest in the car is a $7,500 federal tax rebate being offered to help encourage consumers to purchase a battery-powered car. Without it, the Leaf is priced at $32,780 and the Volt at $40,280 – significantly higher than a typical compact-to-midsize car.
According to Edmunds.com, hybrids are expected to increase from 2.4 percent of the market in 2010 to 4.8 percent by 2013, although true electric vehicles will still make up a tiny potion of that number. Reaching that number may not be easy, however, as it was recently revealed that over the past two years on quarter of all domestic hybrids (Ford and GM) had been purchased by the U.S. government, while overall hybrid sales have been decreasing. In fact, there may only be a market for the Toyota Prius, which as of the mid-way point in 2010 had accounted for more than half of all hybrid sales.
More: Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf EVs Sell in Small Numbers in December