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. He and his company believe that the public will accept and embrace EVs, 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.