Five years ago, President Barack Obama announced a national goal to have one million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2015. Although we know now that the goal was too ambitious, the United States is making some progress in alternative vehicle market. Based on sales through the end of August 2016 the United States ranked the second largest consumer of EVs in the world with about 500,000 EVs on the road.
Part of the progress, albeit slow, can be attributed to the U.S. government federal tax credits for new vehicle purchases that vary between $2,500-$7,500. More than 20 percent of states offer an additional EV purchase incentive that is contributing to the nation’s increasing numbers.
State incentives vary greatly for EV purchases with California offering up to $2,500, Connecticut offers $3,000 and Colorado rounding out the top at $5,000. Plug In America has an online state-by-state guide.
On the federal level, car manufacturers have had access to grant money and incentives to research, develop and launch EVs. Several car companies have taken advantage of that opportunity and are now seeing the results. More than half of the vehicle purchases are one of several models: The Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf and Tesla’s Model S.
Research from a 2016 study from University of California – Davis shows that the federal tax credit influenced 30 percent of the EV sales. The same tax credit provided an even higher level of influence for consumers who purchased the Nissan Leaf – with a 49 percent influence factor.
The same research team also noted that dealership sales teams can often impede the sale of an EV. The team said the success of top selling models comes from a sales force that actually drive and experience the vehicles. The ‘drive what you sell’ philosophy helps the sales people better shares experiences and dispel myths of EV cars with potential buyers.