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Have we Been Incentivizing Electric Vehicles Wrong All This Time?

Tesla Motors' Electric Vehicle, Left Out of Connecticut Electric Vehicle Sales Incentive Program
Tesla Motors’ Electric Vehicle, Left Out of Connecticut Electric Vehicle Sales Incentive Program

Electric vehicles aren’t exactly the biggest sellers in the automarket, and it’s easy to see why.

First, electric vehicles, not including the $100,000 Tesla Model S, are more expensive than their conventional or even hybrid electric vehicle counterparts, as much as $10,000 more, in many cases. Let’s face it, why would you spend an extra $10,000 on a Toyota Corolla just to get an electric vehicle powertrain? Well, the answer is obvious, because it has an electric vehicle powertrain. In the long run, refueling and maintenance of a conventional or hybrid vehicle will end up costing far more than a comparable electric vehicle, but making the initial investment can be daunting. Hence the tax incentives offered by the federal government and many states, but these help only a little.

Second, research has shown that automobile dealerships, when faced with selling electric vehicles alongside their conventional and hybrid lineup, aren’t exactly enthusiastic when it comes to selling them. Independent studies have shown that some dealership associates actually steer prospective buyers away from electric vehicles. Perhaps incentivizing the customer hasn’t been as effective as it could be, which has prompted Connecticut to change their incentive program.

Instead of giving incentives to the buyer of the electric vehicle, Connecticut will give incentives to the dealers. This won’t affect the federal incentive, but could incite Connecticut dealers to change their selling tactics when it comes to their electric vehicles. Connecticut will award the dealership with the most plug-in sales for the first six months of 2014, as well as the second six months of 2014. Could this be Connecticut’s ticket to a 10% electric vehicle population by 2022? On the other hand, could this be another jab at Tesla Motors direct sales? After all, like New Jersey and other states, Tesla Motors isn’t allowed to sell direct in Connecticut.

Photo credit: Michael Kappel / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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