It’s been a good week for electric cars — a pleasant break from all the fretful talk of low sales. While consumers may be having a difficult time making the leap from fuel-efficient cars to all-electric plug-ins, it appears manufacturers — and even the rental car companies — are full speed ahead.
Volkswagen will unveil a one-seat experimental electric car this September in Berlin. And CEO Martin Winterkorn said VW is aiming for their battery-powered vehicles to account for 3 percent of sales by 2018.
Three percent doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider that VW plans to sell more than 10 million cars in 2018 alone, that’s more than 300,000 electric cars entering the market from one single manufacturer.
Ford and Toyota also announced this week plans for a line of hybrid trucks and SUV’s to compete among the next generation of green cars. These heavy lifters won’t be rearing their cleaner engines anytime soon, but the step reflects the auto industry’s acceptance of their role as leaders and playmakers in the clean energy marketplace.
“This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability,” said Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally.
With Ford’s reputation in pickup trucks and Toyota’s leadership in hybrids, we can expect some high-selling, high-energy-saving vehicles from this automotive matrimony.
As all of these car companies are gearing up for the next era of green four wheelers, many are concerned that demand will not be able to keep up with supply — especially once you consider that fuel efficiency and electric more often than not = $$$.
Our friends Hertz, Avis and Budget may have the answers.
Hertz will begin renting electric cars in China as soon as tomorrow, and the Avis Budget Group has started renting several hundred electric cars to drivers in France, England and other European countries.
We’re not too sure what it is with U.S. drivers that has rental car companies withholding the goods from us, but we’re glad to see that some of the excess EVs can be put to good use.