Electric car sales in the Coachella Valley

POSTED: 06:27 PM PDT Jun 05, 2013 
Cathedral City, Calif. -

Electric cars make up a small percentage of all vehicle sales, but more companies are coming to market with plug-in automobiles.

"They have turned a corner," Jessup Chevrolet Sales Manager J.D. Bunnell said. "A lot of the consumers are very skeptical to the electric car, but they're getting smarter."

Consumers are beginning to have more electric car choices. Later this year, Chevy will introduce the Spark Electric Vehicle to complement its Volt.

Nissan was first to market with the current crop of electric cars.

Palm Springs Nissan has many Leaf vehicles in stock. They have sold 23 this year, according to General Manager Abraham Razick.

"The Leaf has already hit the 25000 milestone for U.S. sales," Razick said. "Over 60 thousand globally. A bunch of stores - Walgreens - all these stores putting in Leaf charging stations all over. It's just a phenomenal momentum."

Fiat is now producing an electric version of it's 500e. The first shipment of one to the valley is expected in late June.

Honda has lowered the lease price on it's Fit EV to $259 a month, but none have been delivered to the desert, and few have been produced.

"This is a new car that has just come out," Honda of the Desert Internet Sales Manager, Mark Stipkovich said. "The only way they can get the car is going to be through order, and that's going to be directly with Honda."

Jessup Chevrolet is selling five or more Volts per month according to Sales Manager JD Bunnell.

"The Volt has been doing extremely well for us here," Bunnell said.

A Volt can travel between 37-41 miles on an electric charge. Then the nine gallon gas tank kicks in, which averages 40 miles per gallon.

The Nissan Leaf is electric only and averages 75 miles per charge.

Those who purchase an electric vehicle get a $7500 federal tax credit.

The Nissan Leaf is eligible for a $2500 California rebate on purchase or lease. The Chevy Volt gets a $1500 California rebate. California rebates for all electric vehicles can be found here: http://energycenter.org/index.php/incentive-programs/clean-vehicle-rebate-project/cvrp-eligible-vehicles

The lowered prices are making the cars more attractive and affordable to some.

Nissan is offering a $199 monthly lease on a Leaf with $1999 down. A Chevy Volt can be leased for less than $300 a month.

"Our future is getting brighter," Bunnell said. "And the economy is getting smarter."