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Electric Cars Make Modest Sales

— The folks at autoblog.com say that sales figures for the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf have been very small. According to autoblog:

The Leaf sold 573 units in April versus the Volt's 493. Compared to March's results, which had Leaf sales at 298 and Volt sales at 608.

Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

Above: Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

The Leaf and the Volt were introduced in December of last year. Total U.S. sales of the Volt, which combines an electric engine with a conventional gas engine, have been 2,029. Sales of the Leaf have been about half of that. Compare that to the 71,526 vehicles Nissan says it sold sold in the U.S. last month.

Part of the reason (maybe the primary reason) for the low sales is low availability. One San Diego Nissan dealer said he had four Leafs on the lot but he suspected there were all spoken for. I asked him how many people were on the dealer's waiting list for the Leaf and he said "maybe a thousand."

So far, the Volt and the Leaf have gotten mixed, preliminary reviews from Consumer Reports. While the Volt claims a range of 40 miles for its electric battery and the Leaf claims a 100-mile range, those numbers can be a lot less, depending on weather and other circumstances.

"Range anxiety" is a smudge on the waxy gleam of electric cars. No electric car owners want their cars to run out of juice when they're 30 miles from home. That's why San Diego County is in the process of creating a patchwork of changing stations at commercial developments around the county.

One proud Leaf owner emailed me recently and said she was becoming frustrated with the lack of progress being made at installing those stations, called Blinks. More on that later.

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