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Car companies promote electric cars despite dreary year 2014

CHARLOTTE: One category trying to get attention is electric cars. Lots of new cars are being displayed there. Some companies have decided to show their latest environment-friendly cars, even though electric cars’ sales in the US are not taking off.

Gregoire Molle reports.


In a booth close to a round-shaped car track, four companies are inviting people for a ride. BMW, Kia, Nissan, and Ford are showing off with their latest models of electric cars.

BMW EMPLOYEE: This is where the battery is.

Jeffrey Margolan is here with his son, who is a teenager but doesn’t look old enough to drive. For his first time on an electric car. Margolan is checking out a BMW i3.

MARGOLAN: It’s not quite a Smart Car but it certalinly looks like it’s more conducive to living in Manhattan as far as finding parking spot.

An employee comes to take Margolan and his grandson to the car. You can fit take four people in there, including the driver. Margolan takes the front seat.

AMBI: Door slammed

While he drives, the BMW employee explains that even though this car is a BMW, it doesn’t have a lot of features.

DRIVER: There is not many options just because the options add weigh to the car. 


DRIVER: Yeah yeah.

Electric cars’ dealers have been struggling. The stock of Tesla, a company that only sells electric vehicles, have been on a downward trend since last September. Sales of General Motors’ electric cars have been down by more than 15 percent last year.

Matthew Nagler teaches economics and business at the City College of New York. He says there are several reasons why electric cars’ sales are down.

NAGLER: People who would be normally attracted to electric cars as an alternative to traditional gasoline powered cars aren’t gonna be as excited about that because gasoline prices have been so low.

On top of that, there is still the issue of range anxiety – The fear to run out of power while driving.

NAGLER: You’ll have to consider you know, ok so I am not gonna throw it up at the gas station, you know how am I going to go about power, do I need to plug it in? There is a whole bunch of new habits that need to be learned.

Negler is still optimistic though. He says it’s likely that electric cars will eventually become cheaper, and their battery won’t be a big issue very long. And people are gonna start buying these cars.

NAGLER: And as those people start to adopt, more people are gonna know people who have electric cars and it’s gonna be easier for them to adopt electric cars and pretty rapid ly and pretty soon a point will be reached where they’ll be very a very rapid rate of uptake.

Going out of his electric car tour, Margolan has a big smile behind his thin gray beard.

MARGOLAN: You know for people living here in the city as long as you don’t have five kids, it’s a great car, I would certainly consider purchasing something like this.

As long as he drives in the city, Margolan won’t have to worry too much about range anxiety. Gregoire Molle, Columbia Radio News.

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