The latest news from the world of
electric cars can't be good for EV battery makers.
First, there was Toyota Motor Corp.'s recent announcement that
it will cut its sales targets for the all-electric eQ city car
in the coming year. In truth, Toyota's planned sales numbers for
the eQ had already been miniscule, but the remarks that
accompanied the announcement were the real problem. According to
an article from Reuters.com, the giant automaker
admitted it had misread the ability of battery technology to
meet consumer demands.
"The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet
society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run,
or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge," said Takeshi
Uchiyamada, Toyota's vice chairman, in the Reuters story.
Then there was the September report from the non-partisan
Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which questioned the value of
tax credits for electric vehicles. The report, titled "Effects of Federal Tax
Credits for the Purchase of Electric Vehicles," took special aim
at pure electric cars with big batteries.
"Assuming that everything else is equal, the larger an electric
vehicle's battery capacity, the greater its cost disadvantage
relative to conventional vehicles -- and the larger the tax credit
needed to make it cost competitive," the report stated.
"Conversely, electric vehicles with small batteries are more
Finally, there were the recent stories about the Nissan Leaf
and Tesla Model S. Articles from greecarreports.com chronicled
an ongoing battle between Nissan and some owners of its Leaf
electric cars, as a result of those owners complaining that
their batteries were suffering from premature range loss in hot
climates. Meanwhile, a story in The Wall Street Journal
suggested that Tesla Motors Inc., which makes electric cars with
giant lithium-ion battery packs, warned investors that it is
cutting its revenue targets for 2012 because it has fallen
behind its production goals for the Model S electric car.
Some of this could be written off to the media's over-zealous,
microscopic examination of the electric car business, of course.
But not all. You can't blame the media when the sales figures of
electric cars are so disturbingly low. The Leaf is a case in
point: Nissan sold only 395 Leafs in June, followed by 685 in
July, according to greencarreports.com.