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EV Buzz Continues (at Lower Pitch)

gallery-14Nissan LEAF

While it’s well documented that many of the first buyers of electric cars—such as the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt (by definition a plug-in hybrid) and the upcoming Ford Focus Electric—will be former hybrid owners, we expect many more green-oriented customers to enter the market with their first hybrids. General Motors and Nissan will continue to generate as much heat as possible with their electric halo cars, but it’s Ford’s portfolio strategy that will generate the light—illuminating the future direction of the market for the full range of electric-drive cars. Ford believes that by 2020 as much as 25 percent of its sales will be electrified—but that 75 percent of those sales will be conventional hybrids like the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

Besides, it will be hard for EV-makers to maintain the level of buzz leading up to the LEAF and Volt, after the cars hit the road and the novelty starts to wear off.

Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda all feature pure no-tailpipe electric cars, to varying degrees, in their product roadmap—but every single one of them will produce hybrids (with or without a plug) in greater numbers in the coming years.

With higher fuel efficiency standards starting in 2012—based on how many are purchased not how many headlines they garner—it’s the good ol’ conventional gas-electric hybrid that will move into the mainstream, beginning with a solid expansion of models and sales in 2011. And a massive proliferation of hybrids, including 11 new hybrid models from Toyota alone, by 2012.

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