That's because a doubling of sales year-over-year is pretty good, regardless of the forecasts.
Through the first six months of 2012, this report shows that EV sales in the U.S. reached 20,640 year-to-date. That tops the nearly 18,000 sold in all of 2011, and appears well on the way toward topping 50,000 total sales for the year. Meanwhile this report forecasts total 2012 sales at 62,400; breaking down this way: Chevrolet 20,000, Nissan 15,000, Toyota 14,600, Ford 3,000, Tesla 5,000, BMW 700, Mitsubishi 1,000, Coda 1,000, Honda 1,100, Fisker 1,000. TOTAL: 62,400.
Given the slow sales of the Leaf and the recalls involving Fisker cars, the prediction of 62,400 sales feels a bit optimistic. Still, this rate of growth tops the introduction of hybrid vehicles, now quite well established in the U.S. Seriously, who hasn't seen a Prius in their city? It also utterly blows away the previous attempt to introduce electric cars in the U.S. -- the EV1. General Motors produced and leased 1,117 of those cars -- total -- from 1996 through 1999.
Right now EV sales have been slowed by the rough economy, gas prices staying mostly under $4 a gallon, and skepticism about EV range and public charging points. Oddly, environmentalists also have remained non-enthusiastic about EVs, which has scared away some "green" early adopters.
All that said, Americans will start buying EVs in bigger numbers with each step forward in EV tech. This trend will only grow as gas prices rise and the economy improves. As a result, within a few years, electric cars will be so entrenched in our society that they'll stop being a news topic.