Falling Prices Spur Demand For Electric Cars


| 6/27/2013 12:00:00 PM


Tags: electric cars, electric vehicles, Honda, Nissan, electric car sales, Joanna Hlavacek,

After going unnoticed at a Los Angeles-area dealership for months, three Honda Fits were snatched up by customers one Saturday morning in June.

The sudden enthusiasm surrounding the Fit even generated a waiting list for the previously low-selling electric car, surprising Jeff Fletcher, sales manager for Honda of Santa Monica.

“It’s incredible, especially since we haven't had any foot traffic or interest in the car in six months,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m not even sure we’ll have enough cars for the people on the waiting list.” electric car sales

Fletcher’s situation is not unique. Dealerships across Southern California similarly experienced increased EV sales in early June, fueled in large part by reduced lease rates, according to the Los Angeles Times. Honda cut its lease on the Fit from $389 to $259 per month, while the Chevy Spark and Fiat 500e are leasing for $199 a month.

Price cuts by manufacturers, in addition to aggressive incentives from federal and state governments (the U.S. Department of Energy offers a $7,500 income tax credit for many models) have also spurred the new demand for electric cars.

It wasn’t always like this. For many years, electric cars failed to attract customers and impress critics, who cited pricey upfront cost and impracticality as the EV’s biggest shortcomings. Automakers sold about 12,000 pure-electric (as opposed to hybrid) cars in the U.S. through April, according to Ward’s AutoInfoBank and Tesla Motors. That’s less than one percent of the 4.97 million cars and trucks sold during the same period.

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