The electric car in 2011 like a baby taking its first steps …

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The electric car in 2011: like a taking its first steps


Nissan Leafs and Volts already cruise the highways, and Palo Alto-based Motors (TSLA ) is on track to its all-electric Model S sedan in the year. Every major has at least one electric vehicle in the and public charging stations are more common.

But while was widely heralded as the year the car finally entered the mainstream, the industry has hit a lot of bumps in the road.

who ordered Nissan Leafs had long waits for deliveries of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the car is built. General Motors has short of its goal to sell Chevy Volts this and federal safety officials are the fire risk of the car’s Electric vehicle sales been slowed by the lingering of the economy.

And many Americans still lots of questions about vehicles, including concerns range.

While we’re in the very early innings of electrification, the commercial progress of EVs in the has been mixed at best, and been unimpressive to date, Morgan Stanley automotive Adam Jonas in a research downgrading Tesla’s stock this month.

Jonas reduced his forecast for global market share by 2025 8.6 percent to 4.5 percent. He cited in internal combustion engine lower fuel prices and the European economy as reasons why vehicles have been to take off.

But other and electric vehicle advocates say the rollout was not unexpected, stressing any new industry — particularly one as as electric vehicles — growing pains.

The market is in its infancy, and was bound to along the way, said Omotoso, senior analyst at LMC Kind of like a baby its first steps: He or she will and fall several times finally learning how to walk.

struggle to meet global for the Leaf caused delivery that frustrated many adopters who placed reservations and had to several months to get their Some reservations were though Nissan will not say how

The tsunami slowed everything by at a month, but Nissan has worked the backlog, said Ron Coury of Nissan in Petaluma. I’ve over 300 Leafs, and we haven’t had any or complaints. The most difficult is educating customers beyond the adopters.

It’s new technology, and people who don’t know about electric cars a lot of questions.

Nissan, which made public its sales says it has sold 20,000 worldwide, including about in the United States. California is by far the U.S. market, accounting for 60 of U.S. sales.

GM sold only 6,152 through November. It says sales look solid, and it now expects to hit its 10,000 target early next year. remains the Volt’s biggest although the car is now available at Chevrolet in all 50 states.

Most auto analysts say the electric vehicle will grow slowly time. While Silicon consumers are intensely curious electric vehicles — showroom in San Jose’s Santana Row heavy foot traffic the nation as a whole has shown interest.

Many experts say the adoption rate of electric will largely depend on robust education efforts consumers.

There’s a learning with new technologies, said Peterson of GM. Consumer education, visibility and familiarity with the technology all play a role in how adoption of new technologies like the vehicles move from adopters to mainstream.

Slow sales aren’t the only challenge. Last the National Highway Traffic Administration opened a formal defect investigation to assess the of fire in Volts after two caught fire days being involved in side-impact tests. The safety agency Volt owners whose have not been in a serious do not have reason for concern, but the has put GM on the defensive.

Patrick Wong, the Bay Area resident to get a Volt, safety concerns over the battery have been

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The 26-year-old Berkeley resident has had his for a full year and regularly about his experiences at He the battery concerns can be addressed by drivers, dealers and first to discharge or de-energize the battery after major accidents. The typically drains fuel gasoline-powered cars after tests.

I love my Volt and I’m happy with it. It’s a great ownership experience. not at all concerned about the battery, he You have to compare risks.

not a greater risk than a in a gas-powered car.

In the coming consumers will face a wider array of electric choices. Several established — including Ford, and Toyota — plan to electric models, including hybrids. Consumers can also electric vehicles without to buy them — guests at the Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, for can rent a Nissan Leaf via Rent-A-Car for $90 per day.

In 2012, it be important for the EV makers (and to avoid further problems in the of safety and late delivery to Omotoso said. And rapidly the charging infrastructure across the will also be key. The charging stations people the more likely they are to comfortable about buying an vehicle.

Contact Dana Hull at Follow her at



Morgan Stanley its projected market share for vehicles in 2025 from 8.6 citing improved engine lower fuel prices and the European economy.

Inside: A at four electric cars. A19

Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars
Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars
Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars
Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars

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