Electric Cars for the Middle Class

It appears that companies are realizing that zero emission electric vehicles should not just be for the “rich”. In May, Nissan announced that it would begin electric cars in the U.S. to be available in 2010. This week, they announced they would mass produce a zero-emissions electric car by 2012 that would be affordable. However, during a Nissan shareholder’s call Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn refused to speculate on the sticker price.

According to an Associated Press article, Ghosn said, “If it’s not affordable, it’s not gonna work. We are not going to come with a very high price. We are gonna come with a reasonable price,” he said. “We are here to mass market them.”

What I want to know is what the company will consider affordable now that America’s economic turmoil continues to spiral downward.

Nissan plans to produce an electric vehicle for Japan this August and then set its sites on America. Ghosn did confirm that Nissan plans to have the zero emission vehicles manufactured in America. This is great news for all the skilled auto workers who are out of work.

Now while all electric vehicles are seeming to gain traction in the U.S. it appears that hybrid vehicles are beginning to gain some traction overseas. The Indian company Tata Motors is capitalizing on success with the petrol-efficient Nano to build electric and hybrid cars with their first electric car to be sold in the Netherlands.

In addition, Hyundai and Kia, both Korean car makers, are also planning to compete against Toyota and Honda by entering the hybrid and electric market. Mitsubishi recently announced it will begin mass producing the I-MiEV and is expected to hit the market next month.

With oil prices trending upward, and worldwide government incentives on the rise for alternative vehicles, especially utilizing electric and hybrid technologies, it looks like the race is on to see who can mass produce and sell the most electric and hybrid vehicles the fastest.

 

Joanna Schroeder

Joanna is a writer and consultant specializing in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture issues.