Technologies notwithstanding, there are really only two types of electric cars: real cars, which the manufacturers hope to sell in mass quantities, and compliance cars, which the manufacturers hope will get California off their backs. Green Car Congress explains the difference:
We’d suggest that any plug-in car has to meet the following criteria before it can be considered real:
- It’s sold outright to consumers, not only leased; and
- It will sell at least 5,000 or more a year in the U.S. or reach total global sales of 20,000; and
- It’s offered outside the “California emissions” states, or will be within 18 months
Any car that doesn’t meet those tests at a minimum isn’t a serious volume car; it’s either part of a test fleet or it exists just to comply with the [California zero-emissions vehicles] requirement.
The Nissan Leaf, for instance, has achieved Real status: it will sell in five figures this year in the US and can be had for purchase at pretty much any Nissan store you can name. Honda’s Fit EV, not so much:
Honda obligingly revealed that it would lease the Fit EV for $399 a month (on a base price of $36,625), but not offer it for sale.
And, it said, it plans to offer only 1,100 of them from 2012 through 2014, starting in California and Oregon this summer, expanding into six East Coast markets next year.
The very model of a modern for-compliance car.
(Via The Truth About Cars.)