San Diego Union Tribune - New plug-in cars catching on
By Morgan Lee, November 16
Sales and leases of plug-in vehicles in California continued to accelerate in October, likely topping 2,000 autos for the first time.
The October estimate comes from the California Center for Sustainable Energy, which administers the state's zero-emission vehicle program, providing up to $2,500 toward purchases and three-year leases.
The center received 1,820 rebate applications during the month of October, its highest participation to date.
Actual sales figures are higher, however, because of a lag in application submissions and the fact that some buyers never apply. Energy center Transportation Program Manager Mike Ferry said the trend is linked to more affordable leases on plug-in cars that incorporate a federal tax credit.
"For the last three months we've seen pretty much a 30 percent increase in month-over-month sales" of zero-emission vehicles, Ferry said.
California is encouraging residents the adoption of low-pollution vehicles in an effort to reduce endemic smog and meet its goals for carbon emission reductions. The state's electrical grid depends on a relatively clean mix of power generation, weighted toward natural gas, nuclear power and -- increasingly -- renewable energy.
The Chevy Volt remains the state's No. 1 selling plug-in car. It is is being challenged by a new plug-in version of the Prius and, starting in December in San Diego, the plug-in Ford C-Max Energi, which is sized along the lines of the Prius V.
Honda is rolling out an all-electric 2013 version of the Fit, starting with leases in California and Oregon. Prices for a base version of the all-electric Leaf sedan are expected to fall early next year after Nissan starts manufacturing in Tennessee.
More than 50,000 plug-in vehicles are on the road nationwide.