Tesla’s Roadster is the only highway capable electric vehicle commercially available. Yet, J.D. Power and Associates Mike Omotoso, a powertrain analyst tells Earth2Tech, “There is a strong possibility of an EV glut” in the next 10 years.
How do we get from one electric car model to too many electric cars in 10 years? There’s two fundamental problems with the EV market: Gas is still cheap and the projected sticker price for electrics will scare people away. If an “affordable” electric car costs $45,000, then it will be hard to get buyers on board.
Those issues could resolved in the next few years. Oil is expected to rise in price, along with it the price of gas. Also, over time, EV sticker prices should fall.
Even if those problems resolve themselves, there will still be another issue–there’s a bunch of startups and traditional automakers building electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Everyday it seems like there’s a new electric car being announced by someone. Only so many of these companies will make it to market and compete. Here’s the five we think have the best chance:
Nissan: It’s been working on its battery technology for over 15 years. Nissan is almost ready to deliver. The company has firm plans in place to roll out electric cars in the next three years. It’s rumoured to have received a $1.1 billion loan for building a factory in Tennessee. It wants to be aggressive on price and volume. It’s serious about the electric game.
Toyota’s plug-in Prius: The Prius is already a success. Now Toyota is testing plug-in hybrid versions of the car around the world, in preparation for a mass commercial launch. Take the basic concept of the Prius and ratchet it up, and we think the company has a hit on its hands.
GM’s Volt: The Volt is in this group because it’s explicitly backed by the U.S. government. The government wants GM to succeed. It also wants the Volt to succeed. The Volt will be pricey, and sales are not guaranteed, but we think it’s got a good chance, if for no other reason beyond pride. GM will stick by the car until it’s a winner. We also think people will want the car. It’s good looking and drives pretty nicely.
Tesla’s Model S: The company may not make it as Tesla, but now that Daimler has a 10% stake in the company, we think in a worst-case scenario, it becomes the electric arm of Daimler. Tesla already has the Roadster, and its Model S is 90% ready, though it will be pricey, might attract a decent population of buyers.
Coda Sedan: This company has the longest odds on this little list. It’s advantage: It will be first on the market with an electric sedan by the end of next year. It’s sticker price is $45,000, but factor in a tax credit, and the savings on gas, and the price for a driver is on par with a regular sedan. If this startup can convince ‘early-adopter’ types to purchase the car in the years that follow, the automaker could establish itself as a real player while the bigger companies try to get their feet underneath them.
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