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The problem: How do you convince buyers to pick electric cars?

Various plugs on electric, hybrid plug-in and hydrogen cars, shown at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

REUTERS

Electric vehicles surely have some sort of future, but not one in a landscape littered by innovative EV start-up companies feasting on government assistance and pent-up consumer demand.

Last week Coda Holdings filed for bankruptcy, a move that comes on the heels of the well-documented woes of EV maker Fisker, and the demise of Think. Tesla, another small EV company, remains viable, but is a relative pipsqueak competing against colossal car companies who have made massive investments in EVs and expect to someday get a return.

That's really the point. Developing EVs is an pricey proposition, one best left to companies with deep pockets, a rich engineering corps, a wide network of suppliers and a sprawling distribution network. Make no mistake, the world's big car companies are hard at work on EVs, plug-in hybrids and more traditional hybrids.

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Automotive News points out that EVs and the like all are "very much alive in the product plans of major automakers. Automakers will launch a wave of electric-drive vehicles over the next three years."

Look for car companies to tout EVs and such using the innovative technology on board, not the "green" benefits or the savings on fill-ups. EVs are quiet and fun to drive and those will be the marketing hooks for EVs and plug-ins, in particular. Still, few consumers are clamouring to buy an EV and that remains a problem. In a nutshell, as Automotive News points out, government regulations are driving EV development. The problem is, governments can't make consumers buy them.

"The natural consumer pull just isn't there," Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific, told the industry publication.

Send your automotive buying, maintenance and repair questions to globedrive@globeandmail.com

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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