Californian EV Market Shows Frst Signs of Maturity
This is a website about electric cars, and ever day there is more news about EVs on the market today or coming soon. That's amazing, considering that barely six years ago, there wasn't a single new electric car available in the United States. The first customers of the Tesla Roadster got their car in 2007, but it was a $100,000 car very few could afford. The Nissan LEAF, the first EV with mass-market appeal, followed three years later. It was the only one of its kind, but in 2013, there will be EVs in nearly every segment of the market.
Want a compact? Check out the Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus Electric (and possibly the Coda). A city car? The Chevrolet Spark EV and the Fiat 500e will be available in a few months. Even smaller models exist, such as the Mitsubishi i and the Smart ED. The customer looking for a full size sedan will get a Tesla Model S, and there's the Toyota RAV4 EV for those who want a SUV.
Finally, the rich and famous will be able this year to drive silently in the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive. The less rich and less famous will get the BMW i3, which should prove to be an attractive mix of style and technology with a strong upmarket flavor (and pricing). That's 10 cars and that's absolutely fabulous. Some people may lament the fact that most will only be available in California, but that doesn't change the fact that there's a choice of 10 different EVs for millions of people. Lucky people!
Elon Musk is a South African native, and EV fans there should miss him. There isn't a single electric car available in South Africa. Nor there is in the whole of Africa, in Greece or Russia and dozens of smaller countries.
Looking back a century ago, they were a few EVs on the market in 1913, but there never was a choice of 10 different EVs anywhere.
This is not the golden age of the electric car yet, but it starts to look like a buyer's market, and that's huge progress. In less than five years, California has gone from no choice in the Henry Ford sense (Any color you want as long as it's black) with a single model available, to a choice of 10 different models (all available in different colors!).
The customer can choose what kind of car he or she wants—and then buy it. Another great progress is that for the first time in 2013, it will be possible to make real comparison tests between EVs. The Nissan LEAF or the Ford Focus EV? Those two cars are close enough in every regard that they should be compared the way Mustang and Camaro are. People can take sides for one, and tell fans of the other model that they are losers. This will happen in 2013.
And I'm not even talking about the growing number of plug-in hybrids that will constitute the lion's share of the plug-in market.
Actual sales numbers may not be skyrocketing yet, but for the first time, those are signs of a mature market. The electric car is not an exception anymore, and there may not be many new EVs at upcoming auto shows. But EV fans can keep on smiling: we never had it this good.
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