How many people are actually willing to pay the price in purchase cost, range, and utility for a plug-in vehicle?
While Nissan and Mitsubishi are (publicly at least) very bullish on EVs, Toyota apparently remains more skeptical. Bill Reinert, Toyota's U.S. national manager for advanced technology, told a National Academy of Sciences panel in Washington that the company doesn't expect PHEV demand to top 50,000 units a year, and the total could be as low as 3,500. So far, the argument goes, in most real-world testing, PHEVs are showing relatively little benefit to justify the significant extra battery cost. Unless plug-ins are designed as such and able to operate through most of their range on electric power (unlike conversion PHEVs), the real world benefits may only be visible to dedicated hyper-milers.