The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that an electric car battery undergoing tests at a research center in Michigan exploded, sending an employee to the hospital.
The article went on to say. . .
“The explosion is the latest glitch in the auto industry's efforts to bring electric vehicles to market. GM's battery-powered Volt and Nissan Motor Co.'s Leaf had disappointing sales in their first year.”
Disappointing sales? Really?
Well, perhaps GM didn't hit its very aggressive target, but only detractors of progress, like some folks over at the Wall Street Journal, have decided that 2011 electric car sales were disappointing.
The truth is, sales were extremely impressive. Especially for Nissan, which debuted its all-electric LEAF last year.
In 2011, Nissan sold more than 20,000 LEAFs globally, with 9,674 coming from the U.S.
Now for just a moment, think how that number stacks up against first-year numbers for previous disruptive vehicle technologies?
When Toyota first launched the Prius hybrid in 1997, the Japanese automaker sold only 3,000 units worldwide.
So in its first year, Nissan sold 6,674 more units of an all-electric vehicle in the U.S. alone. Globally, the company sold 17,000 more units. That's pretty damn good, considering that the LEAF carries with it the issue of range anxiety – something Prius owners never had to deal with.
Look, we're talking about a vehicle that requires the driver to make some pretty major changes. Not changes that are necessarily a big deal. But anytime you ask the consumer to do something differently than he's done for years, it is a monumental task.
Now over the years, the Prius did turn out to be a major winner for Toyota. Just one year after the Prius first hit showrooms, total sales reached 20,000. And today – well, total Prius sales numbers are in excess of 3 million, with about half of those generated in the U.S. One actually sits in front of my house.
I also find it fascinating that of all the testing that goes on involving all kinds of new technologies, where work-related injuries are not uncommon, the Wall Street Journal decides to report on such developments when it's related to electric car development.
And by fascinating, I mean really, really suspicious.
I've been reading the Wall Street Journal for decades. And never have I seen so much focus on vehicle testing when it was related to internal combustion engine vehicles.
So I'm calling bullshit on the Wall Street Journal for this one.
Just like we called bullshit on the Wall Street Journal for this one, too.
Of course, I doubt anyone over at the Wall Street Journal will give this piece even a glance. But if I'm wrong, let me just remind the good folks over there that electric cars are not instruments of socialism and extreme treehugging, but rather tools that we can use to curb our reliance on foreign oil.
This is a patriotic declaration, not an environmental one.
Get with it!