Mainstream media misrepresent EV sales story

volt-buildingeditors-blog-entry3If you’re an EV enthusiast and you surf the net, perhaps even the same way that I do, primarily via hundreds of RSS feeds set up in Google Reader (if you don’t use an RSS reader, you should!), then you’ve seen this story — the very same story, and the completely wrong story — published at least a dozen times.

Here’s how the story goes: Sales of Chevy Volts and Nissan LEAFs in the U.S. are miniscule! Ha, ha — gotcha! EVs are a complete dud!

Yes, seriously, this story is being written and published repeatedly in various media outlets, including respected outlets such as The Christian Science Monitor, which, just today, published a story under the following headline:

“Electric cars? Sales are blah.”

The story focuses on the fact that about 1,200 Volts have shipped in the U.S., and, inexplicably, doesn’t even include the number of LEAFs that have shipped — somewhere between 400 and 500 — in the U.S. so far.

Lack of supply real reason for low sales
It, like other stories which negatively frame EV sales in the U.S., doesn’t bother to mention the true reason for the low number of sales: Lack of supply.

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Yes, that’s right: The real reason so few Volts and LEAFs have been sold or leased so far in the U.S. is very definitely not because no one wants them. It’s precisely the opposite reason: Demand for the Volt and LEAF far exceeds supply.

Tens of thousands of people are currently on Nissan’s LEAF reservation list and demand is so high for the Volt that Chevy dealers in some places are pumping the Volt price up by five or ten thousand dollars, or even more.

Unfortunately, rather than reading this story — the real one — we get media schlock that completely misses the mark. That’s bad enough. But it’s made worse because a failure to examine the real reason behind why so few plug-in vehicles are on American roadways yet leads readers to believe that EVs have flopped.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the real flop you’re hearing isn’t Volt, or LEAF, or plug-in sales, it’s the belly-flop of bad, and just plain wrong, media coverage of EV sales.

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