Naysayers were hooting when sales for the two vehicles, projected to be 10,000 each for 2011, totaled only about 18,000. Yet most close ob-servers gave them a pass, saying production ramp-up challenges and Japan's tsunami, not lack of demand, were to blame. According to this view, the cars were available in only a few states, and buyers on waiting lists were itching to get their plug-ins.
But any excuses probably won't fly this year – the year plug-ins are supposed to "get real" – selling not just to movie stars and first-adopter zealots but to families and commuters in the suburbs as well.
So far, seven plug-in models are for sale: the two from Chevrolet and Nissan and other less widely available models from Mitsubishi, Daimler, BMW, and others. But new models will be hitting showrooms soon, according to the PluginCars.com website. Ford is rolling out its Focus EV; Toyota, its Plug-in Hybrid Prius and, later this year, its RAV4 EV. Volvo is offering a V70 PHEV station wagon; Honda, its popular Fit as an EV; and Daimler, its distinctive two-seater Smart as an EV; to name just a few.