A couple of totally unrelated items from AutoObserver. First, a little something from China:
Beijing appears to be on the verge of doing a U-turn on its support for plug-in vehicles, in light of the fact they have proven enormously unpopular despite hefty government incentives to by them.
Premier Wen Jiabao said in July’s issue of Qiushi, a leading Communist Party magazine, that “it remains uncertain whether hybrid and electric cars, which are now the focus of much of the development, will be the winners in the end.” He cited “problems with their technical path, problems with core technologies, problems with investment, problems with policy support.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world:
Consumers bought 17,930 hybrids and EVs in July, a 21 percent improvement over June but still down 24 percent from a year earlier. In contrast, conventionally powered cars and trucks posted an overall sales hike of 1.8 percent from July 2010, largely because of increased sales of new small and fuel-efficient cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze that can compete against many hybrids, especially in pricing. The differences are a strong indication that the technology premium that boosts the price tag of most advanced-tech cars and SUVs doesn’t play well in a soft economy. Indeed, one reason Toyota’s Prius continues to outsell all other vehicles in the segment by a huge margin is that it doesn’t have a conventionally powered counterpart to continually remind consumers of how much more they have to pay for the batteries and electric drive systems that add to the cost of hybrids and EVs.
Boy, it’s a good thing our government isn’t as silly as China’s, trying to prop up electric cars people don’t want to buy.