Some say electric vehicle acceptance is at an inflection point, whereas others say it's far from the interests of the average US car buyer, many of whom have to returned to SUVs as gas prices have stabilized.
Sales of hybrids waned last year, dropping from a measly 2.4% in 2010 to an even measlier 2.2% in 2011, according to auto market research firm, LMC Automotive.
Sales of Nissan's Leaf electric car and the Chevy Volt plug-in are falling short of expectations (about 10,000 cars have sold) and many analysts don't expect the segment to grow much as long as gas
prices remain under $4 a gallon. Nissan, however, expects sales to grow as it begins manufacturing the car and battery in Tennessee and as the Leaf becomes available in more states.
Honda's 2013 Accord Sedan has a two-motor plug-in hybrid system that moves continuously through three modes: all-electric, gasoline-electric, and direct-drive. Also on display are the first two hybrids under its Acura brand, the ILX and NSX.
Toyota is unveiling its smaller version of the Prius, Prius C, and has another plug-in hybrid concept on display, NS4, which should go on sale in 2015. Lexus, its premium brand, unveiled a hybrid concept sports coupe.
Volkswagen has a hybrid Jetta, and BMW, Mercedes, and Volvo all have hybrids, electrics
and plug-ins on display.
AMP Electric Vehicles (OTCQB: AMPD), which specializes in truck conversions, is taking orders for its electric AMP Jeep Grand Cherokee, for deliveries that begin in the fall. Production of the vehicles will take place in Ohio.
Department of Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, addressed the Detroit Economic Club on January
11 to highlight support for U.S. auto industry innovation and the DOE released this video, "Energy 101: Electric Vehicles", which showcases their benefits.