The U.S. market isn’t ready to support plug-in electric vehicles, Volkswagen AG’s U.S. chief said Thursday, citing below-peak gasoline prices and the high cost of the vehicles themselves as reasons.
Stefan Jacoby, president of Volkswagen’s U.S. business, said he believes plug-ins won’t become mass-market cars in the U.S. until the price of gasoline reaches between $6 and $7 a gallon. Until that happens, Americans won’t be willing to pay premium prices that can reach thousands of dollars for plug-in vehicles, he said.
The retail gasoline price peaked around $4 in 2008 and has since tracked in the $3 range. “It will take time” before plug-ins take off in the U.S. market, Jacoby said during a discussion at Georgetown University in Washington.
General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. plan to roll out electric vehicles in the U.S. this year, and other companies will follow suit in subsequent years.
President Barack Obama has said he wants 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015.