Hey everybody--it's the Age of the Electric Car! Sales numbers for the Chevy Volt are out and you'll never guess how many of these future machines consumers gobbled up in the month of February. Go ahead and try. I'll wait.Is that your final answer? Okay. Well the real number is:
Yup. 281 Volts were sold in February. That might sound terrible to you, but it's actually really strong. Because Nissan only sold 67 Leafs (Leaves?), and the Leaf is both cheaper and, as far as over-priced econo-boxes go, way better than the Volt. So really, the Volt is doing pretty great. In fact, if you had told GM execs last year that the Volt was going to out-sell the Leaf by more than 4-to-1, they would have been thrilled.
Now if you wanted to be a Grumpy Gus and fixate on the bad news, it's true that the trend isn't great. In January, GM moved 321 Volts, so February represents a 12 percent decline. But again, there's a bright side: Leaf sales dropped by 23 percent! So actually, the Volt has better legs than its prime competitor, too.
What, you want more good news? Okay, how about this: Because the Volt and Leaf sales are so . . . emerging, taxpayers saved money! The government gives everyone who buys one of the overpriced Volts or Leafs $7,500. So every electric car that doesn't sell is money back in our pocket!
The only real problem is what these numbers mean for President Obama's goal of having 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015. At this rate, it'll take 232 years to hit that mark. But never fear. As Fred Barnes reminds us, Washington won't ever give up trying to influence how Americans drive. They'll think of something.
Bonus Fun Fact: The Volt's 2011 production run was originally supposed to be 60,000 units. GM cut that number to 10,000 units. At this rate, the Volt is on track to sell 3,612 Volts this year. (Assuming sales don't decline any further.)