REVE reported that so far in 2011 Europeans have purchased 5,222 electric cars, up ten-fold over 2010.  Germany is the leading European market for electric car with just over 1000 EVs sold, followed by France (953), Norway (850), and the UK (599).

Given that 500 million people live in the European Union, this small number of purchases begs that question as to what the future for the electric care will be, especially in an area of the world where climate change is a major concern and generous subsidies have been handed out by governments to allow their citizens to purchase EVs.

Over in the US, its population of 311 million bought 9,240 EVs so far this year. (Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt Battle It Out)

A new UK survey appears to suggest that there is not much interest in EVs, at least in that country.  Of 12,000 men and women survyed, none showed an interest in purchasing an EV as their next vehicle.   TheGreenCarWebsite summarzies a study by Trend Tracker that concludes that there is a lack of appetite for electric cars among the UK population.

When asked what engine their next car would have, 45% of respondents said petrol (gasoline), with diesel close behind on 42%. Sadly, Just 2% said they would choose a hybrid-electric car, but none opted for a fully-electric car. In fact even LPG beat electric, taking just 1% of the responses…Over half (53%) of women said their next car would be petrol-fuelled, and 28% diesel-fuelled, while under half (43%) of men would choose a petrol car against a higher 39% opting for diesel. Two per cent of men would consider a hybrid, against 1% of women. Overall, women are more likely than men (63% versus 52%) to want to choose a car with lower emissions, but this does not necessarily make them more inclined to purchase a hybrid or pure electric car.

Australia’s Climate Spectator followed up by asking “Does the World Even Need Electric Vehicles?”  With turbochargers and fuel efficient diesel and gasoline engines coming on strong by improving engine performance and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the need for EVs may be declining:

Although it may be an odd-sounding name for a green technology, the turbocharger raises fuel efficiency levels by up to 40 percent and is now included in 75 percent of new cars in Europe. That could rise to nearly 90 percent by 2015.

They are far less common in the United States, mainly due to Americans’ aversion to diesel-powered cars, but that is expected to change soon in an era of strict fuel economy standards…

A diesel engine fitted with a turbocharger can go 40 percent further and a gas engine 20 percent further on a litre of fuel…Turbochargers are only in about 10 percent of new U.S. cars but that is expected to double in the next five years to 20 percent.

Despite the focus on electric vehicles at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show, with every manufacturer pushing their new ideas, EVs are not expected to do will over the next decade for a variety of reasons, both technical and green:

…industry officials and analysts say electric cars will have only a small sliver of the market even by 2020. Doubts abound about prohibitively high battery costs, infrastructure issues, range anxiety and the size of the electric cars’ carbon footprint when power comes from fossil-fuel burning plants.

What is the point of charging a battery with electricity produced from a coal-burning power plant?

Given the high price of electric and hybrid vehicles, even with the generous subsidies, one wonders if power, fuel consumption, and C02 emission improvements in diesel and gasoline engine technology might not keep these vehicles dominant on the road for a long time to come.

 

UPDATE

JALOPNIK asks Is the Chevy Volt a Sales Flop?  GM sold only 723 Volts in September.

autobloggreen tells us that few are willing to make sacrifices to buy today’s electric vehicles. A new survey by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited of more than 13,000 drivers in 17 countries, found only 2 to 4 % would have their expectations met by the current generation of electric vehicles. Deloitte’s press release about the survey follows the article.

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