Electric cars have long been criticized for not being sufficiently mainstream to find a large audience in the U.S. And it’s true that the typical suburbanite family may not be ready for a short-range car powered by electrons instead of gasoline. But the April car sales data, reported Wednesday, suggest that electric cars are beginning to carve out a niche. The all-electric Nissan Leaf notched its second-best monthly sales total and surpassed the volume of its plug-in hybrid competitor, the Chevy Volt.
Both launched in December 2010, the Leaf and the Volt were created to appeal to the niche market of new technology and electric-car lovers. The Volt, a plug-in hybrid, was expected to be the easier sell, since it also uses gas and has a range of several hundred models. Nissan instead targeted an even smaller clientele with its all-electric model. But so far this year, the Leaf is proving to the buyers’ preferred.
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