General Motors North America President Mark Reuss made a strong case for the future of electric vehicles during his keynote address last week at the Automotive News World Congress. , and some people already have. While sales are still small, they nearly tripled to 52,172 units in 2012, according to Automotive News Data Center.
Reuss acknowledged the challenges – high prices and signs that local government support for green car incentives might be waning, such as the state of Washington’s recent decision to charge EV owners a $100 annual fee. Given that, GM is still very committed to the Chevrolet Volt, he said. Reuss said the Volt took an “unprecedented political beat-down” last year during the election season as it became the symbol of the Obama administration’s support for green initiatives. There were also unfavorable press reports for missing GM-set sales targets since its 2010 launch. Sales still did well in the challenging environment – tripling to 23,461 units last year. Cheaper leases and stair-step incentives helped, as did the second straight year with top ratings in the Consumer Reports magazine annual owner satisfaction survey.