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More EVs Hitting the Road

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author photo by Autotrader May 2011

After years of hype, media speculation and anticipation from buyers the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf went on sale within a week of each other late last year, finally bringing a practical electric car to the American consumer. At this point, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and the 2011 Nissan Leaf are really the only widely available electric cars but more choices are coming.

If you’re shopping for an electric car, the American made Volt may have been easier to get earlier in the year as Nissan struggled to get the imported Leaf out to customers. However, April marked the first month where more people opted for the Leaf with 573 deliveries to the Volt’s 493 - so both should be easy to find depending on where you live. Despite taking the crown last month, however, the Leaf is still behind overall, notching 1,044 total sales compared to the Volt’s 2,029.

While Volt and Leaf sales number into the hundreds monthly, both cars have thousands of buyers lined up ready to sign the papers. But both automakers are constrained by production capacity, transit time, and various other factors keeping overall sales figures low even though demand is high.

Nissan, for example, announced last May that it had “sold out” its first year of U.S.-bound Leaf production, receiving 13,000 deposits for the all-electric hatchback almost immediately upon allowing customers to sign up. Meanwhile, widespread markups have been reported for the Chevy Volt, which remains in extremely high demand as buyers clamor to try out new technology. The real question is whether both automakers will continue to see so many interested buyers as other EVs begin to hit the market.

If you’re set on buying an EV, you’ll soon have more choices. Ford will roll out all-electric versions of its handsome new Focus compact and TransitConnect van, and Mitsubishi has announced plans to sell an all-electric small car, dubbed the i-MiEV. The Electric Honda Fit should be available soon as well and Fiat is working on an EV version of the 500. Even luxury automakers are getting behind EVs, with Audi continually showing off all-electric concept cars and BMW planning to test market the Active E, a car that’s basically a battery powered 1-Series.

But for now, anyone looking to buy or lease an electric car essentially has two choices, the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf – expect that to change very soon.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
More EVs Hitting the Road - Autotrader