My personal lament with these cars are simply the long term cost involved. If I am hanging on to it after 3 years and with that there would be the major cost of a new battery pack. People will seldom budget for that with life's other daily expenses being pressed so hard these days.
IF the Volt and Leaf battery systems are as reliable as those of Prius, that shouldn't be an issue, as there are Priuses (Prii?) out there with 10 years and a quarter million miles on the original battery pack.
GM had an assembly plant in Delaware, which they shuttered a few years ago as part of the great restructuring. Fisker bought the plant to build their "Nina" plug-in hybrid (although when I used that term with one of their executives, he was offended, and said the Fiskers are "Extended Range Electric Eehicles = EREV -- I'll take "plug-in hybrid" which has the benefit of not requiring explanation).
After the lawsuits between Fisker and Tesla, I was somewhat skeptical, because Fisker seemed more like a pyramid marketing scheme than a real manufacturer. So far, they have only imported a few of their $100,000 Karma (which is assembled in Finland), and the Nina remains vaporware. There's not an awfully big market (but Justin Bieber got one!) for a $100,000 hybrid sedan that gets crappy gas mileage
. Fisker closed the Delaware assembly plant last month, due to schedule slippage (which meant they didn't receive any more government loan money, since they hadn't met production milestones).
I've always been skeptical of the total energy chain
efficiency claims of hybrids and all-electric vehicles. On the other hand, I suspect that the author of the Forbes
article, "The EPA's Electric Vehicle Mileage Fraud
" did not calculate the total energy/carbon cost for gasoline vehicles from well head through transport. The biggest advantage of the electric vehicles is that, for the most part, non-US petroleum isn't required to produce the electricity they ultimately consume. Natural gas is rapidly changing the economics of energy production and consumption.
Even though the article I cite mentions the EPA in an unfavorable light, I do not consider this overtly political, so I hope my post doesn't get flagged. The Forbes
article is the first that I have seen that tries to do a total energy cost calculation for electric powered vehicles, so I'm much more interested in the science/engineering/economics, rather than the politics.