he 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas vehicle winning the Green Car of the Year award from Green Car Journal at this year's 2011 LA Auto Show surely shocked many and changed the psyche.
The start of this fading halo effect for the EV, however, actually began earlier than that; in fact, as early as the NAIAS 2011 in Detroit, in this writer's opinion. Just one year prior to that, a special setup at NAIAS called Electric Avenue captured media and public attention on the main floor. Then in 2011, Electric Avenue moved special displays to the larger basement with rides and drives (see photo), but many EVs remained on the main floor stages, in essence joining the ranks with all the rest of the mainstream vehicles. That was a pivotal moment.
Point is, halo vehicles and technologies come and go; itís the way of all things automotive. So, the moment that EVs became integral with the mainstream, it literally defined the beginning of the dimming of the EV halo effect; and there is no relighting of the wick unless a new technological advance comes into play.
The situation became cemented even more with the official release of the Chevrolet Volt, which had won the same Green Car award in 2010. While GM touted a 35-40 mile EV range, many had forgotten that just one year earlier the range was touted by GMís PR
and the media as 40-45 miles. Furthermore, the price of the car at $42K defined economic reality and sealed its fate as too expensive for the masses, and that was despite a government subsidy that has the potential to set the vehicle up for its own economic doomsday that will surely occur the moment those subsidies stop coming.