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EV news: Leaf won't meet sales goal; Fiat 500e first peek; fast-charging on Chevy Spark

More electric cars are ready to challenge Nissan's electric car, which has seen a lack of demand.

By Clifford Atiyeh Nov 16, 2012 12:30PM
Nissan isn't going to sell 20,000 Leaf models in the U.S. this year. CEO Carlos Ghosn has acknowledged that doubling the Leaf's 2011 sales was no longer possible. Fewer than 7,000 cars have been sold through October; its main rival, the Chevrolet Volt, has sold nearly three times that amount despite losing to the Leaf by around 2,000 cars last year. Nissan's serious battery problems in hot-weather climates have not helped.

Still, while Ghosn is blaming marketing and the car's overseas production -- soon it will be built in Tennessee -- the electric-vehicle market is still too nascent to make any solid case for sales trends. Even with Motor Trend and Automobile magazines crowning the Tesla Model S their Car of the Year, too many outside forces stand in the way of today's EVs; politics, money, infrastructure and technology are constant battles.

That won't stop Fiat from introducing an all-electric version of the 500 later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The car features a longer chin spoiler and new wheels, but so far, that's all we know.

Fiat 500e (c) Fiat
To be competitive, the new 500e will have to be around $35,000 without incentives and pack at least a 70-mile EPA-rated range. We'll have to wait until the month's end to find out more.

Chevrolet has loosened its lips a little more. Its Spark EV packs a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and a 100 kilowatt electric motor, good for a whopping 400 lb-ft of torque. More important -- and another crushing weight on Nissan -- is the Spark's new SAE fast-charge outlet, the first EV to use the new standard since it was approved last month. Chevrolet says the Spark can be recharged to 80 percent of its range in just 20 minutes. Nissan is using an older Japanese fast-charge standard that has been rejected by the SAE and eight major automakers.

Chevrolet Spark EV cutaway (c) GMChevy promises doors and a full windshield when the Spark EV hits dealers in 2013.

Both Fiat and Chevrolet EVs will go on sale next year alongside the Ford Focus Electric. Two other Japanese EVs, the Scion iQ EV and Honda Fit EV, will be sold in very limited numbers. Looks like this is a real market segment after all.

[Source: Automobile, GM, Fiat]

Nov 18, 2012 10:25AM
Looks like General Motors has really shaken up the autmotive world with the Volt.  When GM announced the Volt everyone else scrambled to come up with something they thought would be able to compete and so far nobody has come close.  If GM were to put the Volt technology into a vehicle like the Equinox with a 40 mile range on battery power then 40 miles per gallon using the gas engine GM could easily sell 400,000 units of that vehicle and start putting the pressure on other companies.
Nov 20, 2012 11:24AM

If only these automobile's that are electric and some of the hybrids Like the prius were not so "ugly.!"

The technology will need to be more advanced with a range pushing near or exceeding 500 miles to justify the high prices of these products.

Nov 20, 2012 9:19AM

Can`t an electric car be a honeywagon.Few women get in that car on a date, unless the

date was Johnny Depp.

Nov 20, 2012 12:07PM

I own a chevy volt and i must say the car is incredible. in alaska dead of winter right now 17 degrees outside, the fuel mileage is averaging 77.1 mpg, the tourque is right now the car goes first 35 miles on electric power then switches to gas if need be, I live close enough to work that i do not use much fuel. 8 gallon capacity tank i go 1018 miles between fuel ups, in summer the average fuel mileage is 250 plus mpg, my electric bill  did go up. I charged the car twice a day in the first two months to see worse case scenario and electric bill under those conditions only went up 37 dollars. that was 61 days total charge time at 37 to 48 dollars a month increase as winter approached. I love driving by gas stations, plenty of power comfort is incredible. the range on tank of fuel is right at 350  miles on 8 gallons. I have done it. these numbers are as accurate as i can be aug and september. Chevy nailed it with the volt. I love the car and every one that i talk to that owns one says the same. I think volt will be a strong car once the word gets out. I change oil every 24 months due to low engine run time. there is just too much to say on the possitive side of this car. I am not a tree lover by any means, I just tried something new and i am absolutly blown away at the perfection in the volt.

Nov 20, 2012 11:13AM
Gov, or should I say the tax payer is buying the GM electric car. 
Nov 20, 2012 4:44AM
WS6 Trans Am,  the volt can't hit those numbers, how the  Equinox ( big and boxy ) is going to  those numbers?????
Nov 20, 2012 11:40AM
I  seriously wanted a Leaf when I was shopping for a new car last year. I was on the Nissan email list to receive updates. I went to our Nissan dealer to see about actually seeing/driving one. Never happened. I just couldn't buy a car sight unseen. I've been in cars that I just don't fit into because of my height and my husband's height. I really wanted to go electric. I ended up by a Nissan Sentra instead and am very pleased with it. I have been a Nissan owner since 1993 when I bought my Altima. Nissans are just reliable and I'vee never had an issue with any that I have owned. Oh well, maybe next time I need a new car there might be some to test drive.
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