Boulder, Colorado – Many potential buyers will hold off purchasing electric vehicles (EVs) in 2012 due to their premium price, according to Pike Research.

The company said that Nissan has raised the price of the Leaf for 2012, while the Chevrolet Volt costs less but some features that were previously standard are now optional.

According to Pike Research’s annual Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey, the optimal price for a plug-in EV to engage consumers is US$23,750, but the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, Honda Fit Battery Electric Vehicle and the Ford Focus EV are all over $30,000 before federal incentives.

Vehicles on sale in 2012 will not benefit from recent cost reductions in batteries, the company advised. “The batteries in these vehicles were ordered before 2012, so any flexibility in reducing vehicle pricing will not occur until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest,” said research director John Gartner. “Nevertheless, the global market for plug-in electric vehicles will grow to more than a quarter-million vehicles in 2012, a number sufficient to put an end to the ‘are they for real’ speculation that has surrounded this market.”

Among Pike Research’s predictions for EVs in 2012 are that car-sharing services will expand their market; battery production will outstrip vehicle production; the Asia-Pacific region will become the early leader in vehicle-to-grid systems; third-party EV charging companies will dominate public charging sales; employers will begin to purchase EV chargers in large numbers; and EVs will begin to function as home appliances.

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