Prediction: Electric Cars Won’t Be Buzzing in 2012

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Here's a big shock: Electric-car prices aren't expected to drop this year, despite breakthroughs in technology and production.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to go green by making your next car an electric one, resolve yourself: It might cost you more than if you bought it in 2011

According to the Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey by consulting firm Pike Research, “Nissan raised the price of the Leaf for 2012, and while the 2012 Chevrolet Volt will sell for $1,000 less, the car comes without several features that were previously standard but are now options.”

Here’s a story video reporter Jim Robinson did on why not to buy an electric car: check it out, then read on for more…

Electric cars getting more expensive

Usually, the longer a technology is around, the cheaper it gets – think smartphones and flat-screens. So why are electric-car prices moving in reverse of that trend?

“Vehicles on sale in 2012 will not benefit from recent cost reductions in batteries,” says Pike research director John Gartner. “The batteries in these vehicles were ordered before 2012, so any flexibility in reducing vehicle pricing will not occur until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest.”

Pike says the “optimal price” for an electric car – basically, the most that the ordinary consumer is willing to spend – is $23,750. Meanwhile, Pike says the price of a 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV will be $32,000, the Honda Fit BEV $36,625, and the Ford Focus EV $39,995. And federal incentives won’t make up the difference.

The industry website Plugincars.com predicts, “In 2012, plug-in electric vehicles will take major strides toward becoming a mature if small component of the overall vehicle fleet.”

Of course, the site made some predictions for 2011 that didn’t quite come true. Like…

The majority of people who drive a plug-in vehicle won’t own it. Thanks to car rental fleets, taxis, and car share programs, getting people into plug-in vehicles will be more influential in the long run than getting them to sign on the dotted line.”

And our favorite, which thankfully hasn’t happened…

Somebody somewhere will have a bad EV experience and the media will overreact. The first time a driver is left ‘stranded’ by running out of charge will be cause célèbre for the doubters to highlight the superiority of gas cars.”‘

None of this, of course, is reason for you to completely ignore electric alternatives. They may not be the most convenient, and they’re definitely not the cheapest transportation. But driving by gas stations without pulling in? Priceless.

Stacy Johnson

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