We hit the show floor in Detroit this week to…
Kermit knew what he was talking about when he said, “It’s not easy being green.” In my completely unscientific poll that consisted of 12 not-so-randomly selected people, I discovered that green cars still have a lot of work ahead of them in order to persuade consumers to buy them. It was a 50/50 split between folks who said that they’re “most likely” to purchase a hybrid as their next vehicle and those who said “outlook not so good.”
But why are we, in 2010, still battling the decision between gasoline and green? Maybe it’s just that green cars aren’t “sexy” enough. Fisker is about the only company really working hard toward that with their Karma sports hybrid. And with a price tag upwards of $90,000 it’s not exactly economical. At the same time, Toyota has sold millions of its Prius hybrid based not only on its fuel efficiency but also on its quirkiness.
So, I think it has yet to be determined what exactly will be the catalyst to really heat up the hybrid market enough to wind up with 40 to 50 percent market share. Many analysts and organizations believe that unless gas prices spike to levels rivaling those in Europe and elsewhere, America may never feel the dire need to make the full switch. Or to paraphrase what Volkswagen’s Stefan Jacoby said at the Washington Auto Show’s Green Car Summit on Jan. 25, we have to be realistic about the future and how long it will take us to get to that large of a market share for electric vehicles. We must be smart by continuing to advance diesel and petrol technologies, not to just put all our eggs in one basket with fuel cell and battery-only cars.
I agree with Mr. Jacoby. I think we (and by we, I mean manufacturers) are smarter to continue developing the technologies we have at hand, while working to fully understand and perfect those of the future. This is also why I am not sold 100% on buying a hybrid. It’s kind of like using Botox. Sure, it’s great for me now, but what’s going to happen in 10-20 years?