I believe that the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf have amazing potential for success! There are more and more enviromentally conscience people out in the world today and even more just waiting for an opportunity to make a difference. In the last couple of years the popularity and sales of hybrid and other environmentally geared vehicles has grown substantially. Now it is just up to the manufacturers to ensure that the cost is feesable to the general public and that any concerns “bugs” are delt with appropratly and timely.
I definitely think they will be a success! People are ready for change, especially after disasters like the recent gulf oil spill, and electric vehicles may be one part of the answer. Before they can really become popular though there has to be a support structure in place. We need charging stations for these vehicles so that they can travel beyond their 40-100 mile range (something already set up in parts of Japan). Portland, Oregon (my home town) is proposing to put in charging stations on a length of highway and will be one of the first cities to test out the leaf this coming december, so I guess we’ll see how that goes.
Maybe the Nissan Leaf but I don’t know about the Chevy Volt. I have yet to see any advertising or marketing for that product. I am not aware of any buzz for the Volt so it’s hard to form an opinion.
I have major doubts that either of these vehicles will be commercially successful. Both are significantly more expensive to own and operate than conventional internal-combustion-powered or hybrid-electric vehicles, even at gasoline prices significantly higher than those of today. However, I do believe it is important to develop electric and other advanced vehicle concepts to demonstrate their feasibility for next-generation concepts. With each new generation of projects, some of the shortcomings of the previous generation are addressed; so these cars are part of the journey, not the final destination.
All that said, I do not think there is any way electric cars will fully replace the number of vehicles on the road today, nor should they, as there are many other externalities associated with automobile culture (e.g., traffic and associated stress) aside from just impacts of oil production and gasoline emissions. But who knows, I could be proven wrong!
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