• Jan 29th 2011 at 5:37PM
  • 73
During last week's State of the Union address, President Obama reiterated his ambitious goal that calls for one million plug-in hybrids and electrics on the road by 2015. However, IHS Automotive analyst Rebecca Lindland thinks that hitting the one-million mark will require extensive fleet sales.

Lindland claims that the general public will be reluctant to purchase plug-in vehicles due to a lack of recharging infrastructure and because, "There's going to be perpetual range anxiety." The reluctance will translate into much lower sales than early plug-in vehicle OEMs are predicting.

Linland forecasts that Chevy will sell just over 60,000 [a year, see below] Volts to retail customers by the end of 2015 and that sales of the Nissan Leaf will be marginally lower. Linland does anticipate that the upcoming launches of plug-in vehicles from Toyota, Ford and Fiat will contribute to the total plug-in sales volume, but automakers will still fall short of hitting the one million target. Only by emphasizing fleet sales, Lindland claims, can the U.S. hit Obama's goal. Hat tip to Frank T!

*UDPATE: The original Automotive News piece says:

By 2015, she forecasts, retail sales of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid will total slightly over 60,000, while those of the Nissan Leaf electric sedan will be about 60,000.

Lindland actualy estimated that the Leaf and the Volt will sell around 60,000 annually by 2015. This is a big difference, and we apologize for passing on AN's misleading wording.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Unfortunately most of these consulting firms just publish what they think the company that pays for the report wants to hear. Reality is not part of the equation.

      I don't remember which consulting company it was but about a year ago, before Nissan made their big announcement, they were predicting about 5000 EVs by 2015.

      GM and Nissan wouldn't be investing over $1B if they didn't believe they could sell the cars. Nissan has 20k US orders in hand to be delivered this year and expects to be able to supply 150k LEAFs/year by 2013. GM as many as 120k Volts. These are only the beginning as most companies will introduce their cars in the next few years and major manufacturers will have several models to choose from. GM is working on reducing the price of the Volt, but still 1M cars is not likely before 2015 but maybe by the end of 2015. The limiting factor is manufacturing capability, not shortage of customers. Fleet sales, although a significant factor in demand, will not create a faster ramp up.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Oil companies are not just selling oil to China anymore, their now selling their Oil Assets. Why would you give up good future profits for a big profit today? Supply management? Keep tight supplies tight. Keep high prices high?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow! Presumably this refers to US sales, although the blurb does not say so.
      That would be a considerable disappointment to Nissan, which will have a capacity of 150,000 Leaf cars a year by 2013.
      It is almost impossible to evaluate this statement, as the petrol prices on which it is predicated are not even mentioned.
      Sales of electric cars when petrol is at $3/gallon are likely to be very different to sales when petrol is at $4, or even $5.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yup. This analyst makes no sense.

        Chevy Volt is supposed to sell like this:
        2010 = 360
        2011 = 10k to 25k
        2012 = 30k to 45k to 60k to 120k (1/24)
        2013 = 45k?
        2014 = 45k?
        GM keeps bumping their numbers up, presumably based on strong demand and positive word of mouth increasing interest. Worst case (10k + 30k/yr), we're looking at 100k Volts sold by 2015.

        Nissan is building massive global capacity, to sell 250k by 2012, potential for 500k annually. Short of a disaster, I can't see them doing badly here. 25k to 50k units in the US should be easy, and there's potential upside. As with the Volt, Nissan should easily sell 100k by 2015.

        Both GM and Nissan are anticipating solid sales, potentially 50-60k (or more) annually.

        So why is this analyst saying 60k for each over the next 4-5 years? Is production going to fall off a cliff? What?
        • 8 Months Ago
        This kind of prediction make Astrology a respectable profession.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I still think people are missing the mark when they talk about "price premium" for EV's. People buy vehicles in their price range, they don't suddenly spend an extra $10K they don't have. A fully optioned Prius with a NAV system, which the LEAF comes with, is $29K, compared to the unsubsidized price of the LEAF at $33K. No one is spending a huge amount of extra cash if they buy an EV. They spend what they are going to spend, on either an EV or an ICE.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I'm a relative pessimist about the near-term mass-market viability of EV's, but even I think they're going to exceed these estimates by quite a bit. I think the Volt will do decently; it's main problem is that it's expensive. Add in the plug-in version of the Prius, and the plug-in version of the Ford C-Max, plus whatever else comes down the pipe.

      For what it's worth, a pure EV does not suit my needs and I don't see it happening in the foreseeable future, but a plug-in hybrid would ... but it needs to deliver better fuel consumption in engine-running mode than my VW diesel does, and the Volt ... doesn't!
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sure, when you commute to work you can charge at home. However, want to take that EV on a Saturday for a drive up the coast, to a tournament in a town 60 miles, to the lake 70 miles away? Forget it. There's no charging station.

      If there is, you better hope there's not another EV using it.

      So you pay more for a car that can only be driven locally, can't use for even a modest getaway or recreation, and takes hours to charge.

      Like I said, ONE TRICK PONY.

      You need another car that burns the EVIL oil.

      These things are so impractical for anything but local driving but you're blinded by smugness and guilt. I almost feel sorry for you. A cheap ol' Geo Metro costs far less, gets great mileage, and can go father than any Leaf.

      Fortunately, I don't suffer from such a contrived malady so I just choose a car based upon price, features, performance and my needs. You want an EV that goes 70 miles? Go for it.

      And $5.00 gas only makes people drive less, not order EV's. You're speculating. Some people traded their vehicles in the last time gas went up and they bought another...wait for it gas vehicle. So someone will trade their old beater for a Chevy Cruze. You think they're going to trade their car in for an electric? Dream on.

      Oh, but then guess what happened? Gas prices went back down. Oops. There's no guarantee gas prices will stay at $4.00, $5.00 whatever. They will fluctuate like they always have.

      Just because you see this as a social engineering experiment doesn't mean it will happen the way you want it. The market will decide. Your contrived alarmism about emissions, global warming slash climate change slash peak oil slash "the end is near!!! is truly pathetic.

      Shave your heads, dance in the park and preach your fear. EVangelists. LOL

      And no, I don't drive a Hummer. Typical regurgitated loony left talking points. If someone wants to drive a Hummer, that's their choice. Too big and impractical for me. Don't need one.

      But I'm not telling everyone what they should drive and how they should think like the resident "green" moonbats here.

      Remember when all those people sold their stuff and fled to the woods because of "Y2K" computer issues? How did that work out for 'em?

      Go ahead and buy that Leaf. It'll turn into an Albatross in five years. When you have an EV that goes 300 miles at freeway speeds, can charge in 5 minutes, let me know. Other wise, I can only own one car. And it will have to do all things, not just one thing.

      The "green" autoblog hive. So smug. So gullible. So naive.

      To the person who only owns a bike, you're not green at all.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Man, who pissed in your coffee this morning?
        • 8 Months Ago
        Why do you label all of us as smug greenies? I dislike them too, but I want electric cars to succeed in a bad way. If you loved your country you too would want EVs to succeed, even if you didn't buy one until every one of your criteria is met. There are too many good reasons to lose the foreign oil dependence. Why do you hate America?
      • 8 Months Ago
      How about this, I predict that the US government, broke and with insane debt that our grandchildren will suffer to pay, will STOP subsidies to these expensive toys and sales will have to proceed on their REAL cost/benefits, not a taxpayer subsidized cost.

      • 8 Months Ago
      It's not range anxiety. It's just lack of range, period.

      Even if this fantasy about the public EV infrastructure were to be what EVangelists could dream, who's going to want to wait between 1/2 hour and four hours to charge?

      You can fill up a car in five minutes and have another 350-400 mile range.

      People's time is worth way more than that. No one is going to buy an electric urban commuter for almost $30,000 after tax credits. That's if they get the entire tax credit which many won't qualify for.

      The paltry range of BEV's make it a one trick pony. The realistic range is 75 miles with any climate controls on. Throw in a few hills, add to that going 70 mph on the freeway and it's more like 60.

      $30,000 for a car that goes 60 miles before taking up to 8 hours to charge? You guys are over estimating the public to be as gullible as you. They'll know snake oil when they see it.

      The elixer of the electric vehicle curing what ails us will outed to be precisely what it is...overpriced and a step backwards. Less for more? Since when?

      Hey! Here's an EV! It's got 1/4 the range, takes hours to charge, and costs $10,000 more than a reliable, comparable ICE car.

      Yeah, they'll eat that up.

      I guess you can dream, though. LOL
        • 8 Months Ago
        :RE Potpie: :"Yeah, they'll eat that up."

        Actually, they will. They will eat it up when gas is $5/gal battery technology continues to improve. The market will be driven further by anger and resentment at fossil fuels and OPEC, etc.

        btw- You lowballed all your numbers from past examples, numbers continue to improve each year..
        • 8 Months Ago
        Whenever our Leaf gets here, it's power use will be offset by the solar array that's already paid for itself, so we'll be driving for free.

        I bought my snake oil and used it make popcorn. It's delicious.

        • 8 Months Ago
        I already pay almost $2000/year to fill up my gas burner. And I actually bought a car with better mpg than my last car, and it's not even an SUV!

        All the things you say about how easy it is to refill EVs assume you have access to a charger. Not everyone can install a charger in their garage. If you have a carport, or park in shared parking at your apartment or condo you may not be able to charge. What about when you stay in a hotel overnight? What about when you go to the grocery store? For EVs to work well, you really need to be able to charge each time the car is stationary. This isn't necessarily possible.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yo dude....we get it. You don't like EVs. Great, don't buy one.

        Now leave the rest of us alone and go buy some more imported oil.
        • 8 Months Ago
        potpie, you just don't get it yet. When you are paying $2000/year in gasoline for your gas-burner you will start to get it.

        Charge time? Unless you don't sleep ever, then you have at least 8 hours a day when your car is doing nothing. Actually most cars do nothing for like 22 hours a day. It takes 5 seconds to plugin and 5 seconds to unplug . . . much less time than to find a gas station & fill up.

        And the maintenance is much less.

        Yes, the initial cars have limited range . . . that will improve a bit in time. But they cover most daily driving needs. And most families have multiple cars, so this will be a commute car . . . you can use your gas or hybrid car to go to grandma's.

        So please . . . go buy a hummer and enjoy it for now. You'll be back much sooner than you realize.
        • 8 Months Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      When I read this, I thought it said 2011. It seemed like amazing news to me.

      But only 60,000 of each of these before 2015? I have to imagine it'll be higher. Even if gas prices don't go up.
      • 4 Years Ago
      However, **IHS** Automotive analyst ...

      IHS is the consulting firm which is also the home of CERA . . . the purveyors of the cornucopian view of oil production. They continue to think that through investment and magic, oil will continue to flow & flow and make us all happy. They've been stunningly wrong. But they produce predictions that the oil companies want to hear and isn't that what is most important?

      Here is a page documenting some of CERA's wizardry:

        • 8 Months Ago
        I wonder what their 2005 predictions were about EV sales by 2015. Probably less than 20,000 total worldwide sales.

        They keep changing their tune.
        • 8 Months Ago
        If you want to be REALLY cynical about this, then you could interpret this as the oil business (the largest customer of CERA/IHS) telling the automobile companies to KEEP MAKING GAS CARS! Don't build electric cars . . . people don't want that (and they don't burn the gasoline we produce!). Trust us!
        • 8 Months Ago
        Your comment is deeply cynical....and incredibly accurate!
        It makes me reflect on a life miss-spent. I have spent my life talking nonsense, for free. If only I had known I could be paid for it! :-)
      • 8 Months Ago
      ZIV is right on. High fuel prices have always been a bubble followed increased supply, decreasing demand, and a bear market. Nothing has changed that much. Energy is relatively inelastic. Oil used to be, but isn't any longer.
        • 8 Months Ago
        That was before Wall Street decided you don't need a job in America.
        We're talking about China and India, and an extra 2 Billion people in the next 25 years.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I am sorry, but unless GM drops the price of the Volt significantly, (to about $35k, pre fed credit) They don't have a hope to beat Nissan in 2015.

      Slow ramp up aside, by 2015 Nissan will have 3 factories worldwide making Leafs and they simply cost much less, AND have a cheaper operating cost.


      This "Perpetual Range-Anxiety" line makes Neil Roland from Automotive News, sound like a shill for GM.

      Range-anxiety is a temporary condition and really doesn't affect residents of large cities who will use a 100 mile EV as a runabout. And "range anxiety" CERTAINLY DOES NOT apply to folks who buy an EV as a second or third car.

        • 8 Months Ago
        Mike, range anxiety isn't about wondering about your car's attributes, it's about this particular trip. Am I going to make it?

        So although most people go less than 40 miles per day most of the time, that doesn't mean when they do go more than 40 miles a day that they won't have a range anxiety situation.

        Even if you only drive more than 40 miles 4% of the time, that's 15 times a year, not 0.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Range anxiety absolutely applies to those who buy an EV as a 2nd or 3rd car. You start out on your trip and it turns out to be longer or you're getting worse efficiency than you thought, or maybe that charger you were going to use to recharge in the middle is out of order or in use. And now you wonder if you can make the whole trip.

        Range anxiety isn't wondering if your car is useless, it's wondering if your car can finish this trip. And it's going to apply to Leaf owners.

        Heck, I've had range anxiety in my gas car. A friend (due to skipping the nearest gas station and the next being far away) had it just under a month ago on a trip I was riding along on.

        Do I think range anxiety will define people's purchases? I dunno. But it is there. And it's going to be more prominent on EVs due to their shorter ranges and longer refill times.
        • 8 Months Ago
        I think it's silly for everyone to project the 100 mile range of the first wave of EVs onto the 2015 cars.

        I'll bet you that 150miles will be the standard by 2014 so you'll see cars with a range of 100+ miles for a cold winter day and over 150 for those who drive conservatively in good conditions. Throw in a decent EV infrastructure by that time and these predictions will seem silly when we look back.

        What would cell phone penetration predictions for 1998 have looked like by projecting 1993 costs forward? As I said, a silly discussion.

        EVs will do fine.

        • 8 Months Ago
        The car's price (overpriced to the tune of $20K) is definitely going to hold it back. Along with the cramped interior, 4 person seating capacity, cheap interior, etc. etc.

        "Hat tip to Frank T"

        Frank T. sounds like a genius, I wonder who it is;)
        • 8 Months Ago
        "my prediction is that it will actually get worse as owners discover the range is highly variable with conditions"

        I disagree.

        Anxiety, in this instance, is really defined by the drivers fear of the unknown. And over time, the "unknown" becomes known. Even in varying conditions.

        Anxiety will start when the driver first drives home from the dealership. This lasts from a few days to a week or so.

        There might be a brief resurgence of anxiety going into the 1st winter. Since that is an unknown. But a few days of freezing weather will inform the driver of the range differences.


        " I also predict the Leaf and other electric car sales (other than the Volt) will trail off considerably, until a charging infrastructure becomes a lot easier to spot."

        I also disagree.

        The initial sales should be lower for the first year. Since EVs are unproven. Once 2013 comes around, and every automaker has at least one EV model available... the market will open up as EVs will enter "mainstream" as an urban runabout or secondary vehicle for any household.

        The public charging infrastructure will help somewhat... but 95% of the time, EV owners charge at home. And charging in public will take precious time.


        I am glad you have your Volt and are happy. It certainly is an appealing car for those in a slightly higher price point. But you should NOT underestimate how happy Leaf owners are too. And if you read and/or listen to their comments about the Leaf....
        Range Anxiety does NOT last.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Since most people drive less then 40 miles in a day, that's a 60 mile buffer.
        It's hard to imagine anyone in this group having "range anxiety".
        • 8 Months Ago

        Good point. These early adopters are not a good example of what "range anxiety" might do to the general population.

        I think that once almost every automaker releases at least one model of EV, and gasoline is once again expensive.... mainstream potential buyers will begin weighing the pros and cons of EVs. And start studying their own driving habits to see if 65 - 135 miles per day is enough.

        Just like drivers today realize that, if they have a heavy foot, they assume the worst, and mentally subtract 20% from the EPA sticker MPG. So they can see what is realistic for them. I believe EV buyers will do the same. If they live in cold climate, or drive aggressively, they will use the low value of 65 miles as the range. Luckily, that number still fits the majority of commutes. Also, as a secondary vehicle, the requirement for an EV to go beyond commuting distance is null.


        So you may be correct about early adopters. But there must be something said by even Mainstream adopters. If they do the math for themselves before buying, and still choose an EV anyway... then Range Anxiety should not be as much of a problem. It may take a bit longer than a few days, but they will get there too.
        • 8 Months Ago
        In regards to having Range Anxiety by Trip (rather than car attributes):

        That is why the Leaf has a Navigation system that will tell you if a trip is within range or not.

        And yes, it does include a healthy margin of error. I also believe that it learns your driving behavior over time to further increase accuracy.

        I am not sure or not if it checks the weather forecast or has an external temp sensor that adjusts for freezing weather. But that is something that could easily be implemented if wide variations in range due to temperature, become a problem for estimating trips.

        Right now, Google Navigation and many other Nav systems adjusts drive time estimates for traffic.

        Range Anxiety will go away as people begin to trust their equipment.

        Can I make this trip? Just put the destination into the Leaf computer and it will tell you if you can. It should err on the side of caution. So if it says no... DON'T ATTEMPT IT! And that is the end of anxiety.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Joe, I think you should keep in mind that ALL Leaf owners right now are early-adapters to this EV tech. They are absolutely NOT your typical automotive customer, and they have a significant emotional investment in their Leaf. Cognitive Dissonance will make zealots defend the indefensible sometimes, and this is part of why you can't take these first Leaf owners as representative of the motoring public.

        The future is still very much unknown concerning attitudes towards EV's by the public at large...
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe: Seems to me the author lumped the Chevy Volt in with the "range anxiety" comment, which is of course ludicrous since the Volt can also run on gasoline.

        As far as "range anxiety" being a "temporary condition", my prediction is that it will actually get worse as owners discover the range is highly variable with conditions, requiring more and more conservative estimates for "how far can I go?" As such, I also predict the Leaf and other electric car sales (other than the Volt) will trail off considerably, until a charging infrastructure becomes a lot easier to spot.

        BTW, I have had my Chevy Volt for over a month now, and I absolutely love it. It's quite easily the best car I ever owned. GM has the right formula here. All I'd like to see really is a 50% better EV range and perhaps the ability to fully recharge in 2 hours (as opposed to 4) and it would be very close to the perfect car for the new millennium. I even think the price is more than reasonable, but do expect it to go lower.
        • 8 Months Ago
        All this talk of "range anxiety" - how about "fueling annoyance"? With an electric car you can go the maximum range of the car EVERY DAY without even thinking about it, because the car is plugged in each night. Whereas in a car with liquid fuel you have to pay attention to the fuel gauge.

        That, at least, is the usage scenario I would have. There is a rather significant portion of the population who I think would be the same.

        Personally, 160 km range is definitely more than I need. I hope that in future when higher capacity batteries become available that a lower-range (cheaper, lighter) option will still exist.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My buddy Ed says his psychic dog told him 400,000 units.

      I have to give the dog equal credence to the analyst in knowing what the public's mind will be I think.
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