Americans Are Buying Gas Guzzlers Again. That Still Won’t Hurt the Electric Cars. – Slate Magazine
Consumer preferences are also playing a role. At the high end of the auto market, Tesla’s success—it sold 3,500 cars in the U.S. in December alone and 17,400 worldwide in the fourth quarter—is spurring other high-end luxury automakers to redouble their efforts. Nobody buys a Tesla to save money on gas. People buy them because they are status symbols, because they have a lot of acceleration, and because they’re regarded as cool. In other words, they buy them for the same reasons that many people buy BMW, Porsche, and Audi sports cars. To protect their turf and maintain their technology-forward images, foreign automakers have joined the electric fray. In December, BMW in the U.S. sold 656 of its very cool plug-in electric sports car, the i8, which costs about $140,000. Porsche is working on an all-electric sports car. Audi this week said it expects that 25 percent of its U.S. sales will be electric cars in 10 years.