Why Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are failing

Great cars, terrible sales — here is your e-car paradox… For the electric car to be anything more than a plaything for rich environmentalists — and have any impact on energy security or the environment — it has to succeed in the mass market. Unfortunately, manufacturers are approaching the electric car as another new product when what they really need is a new business model. The problem is not the cars themselves (which are technology marvels), or even the availability of charging infrastructure (which is improving thanks to government largess). Unless two neglected factors — battery depreciation and power-grid management — are addressed, costly efforts at improving e-cars and charge spots will fail in the mass market.

Ron Adner

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