Electric vehicle sales keep shorting out

Even with substantial help from the government in the form of $7,500 buyer’s tax credits, automakers are having trouble moving their electric vehicles:

Ford Motor Co. is offering hefty discounts of more than $10,000 for leases on its slow-selling Focus electric vehicle.

Ford is offering customers up to $10,750 off for three-year leases, according to the Dearborn automaker’s website. It also has dropped the base price of the Focus EV by $2,000 for cash sales.

In addition, Ford is offering a $2,000 cash discount on the Focus EV and 1.9 percent financing if the electric vehicle is purchased through Ford Motor Credit.

The automaker sold just 685 Focus EVs in 2012, but built 1,627 — making it one of the poorest performers among electric vehicles on the market.

chevy voltThis follows reports that Nissan has dropped the base price of its Leaf EV by 18 percent, following sluggish sales in 2012 that didn’t come close to meeting projections. And the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt continues to struggle, although it saw an uptick in sales late last year. But Government Motors still loses thousands of dollars on every Volt it sells.

Despite these grim numbers, some forecasters predict robust sales for EVs in 2013. But President Obama’s promise to have one million electric cars on the road by 2015 still seems to be a long shot. The choices made by consumers are speaking much louder than Obama’s words ever could.

(Cross-posted from A Thousand Cuts.)