Cars chart-1

Published on July 14th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Electric Vehicle Sales Growing Fast

July 14th, 2014 by  

chart-1It’s no secret that electric vehicle sales are on the rise, but it seems that EV sales may have hit a turning point, both in America in abroad. The estimated number of EVs sold since 2010 have crossed the half-million mark, and the Energy Policy Information Center has released a set of graphs charting the exponential growth of electric vehicles.

Prepare to be impressed.

Following two record-setting months in May and June of this year, total American EV sales have surged past 222,000 units since late 2010, and while the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt remain the dominant players, there are many more options now. Ford, BMW, Toyota, and of course Tesla have all offered EV enthusiasts a wider range of options, from the short-lived RAV4 EV to the much-celebrated Model S. Monthly EV and plug-in hybrid sales are now over 10,000 units a month; compare that to the less-than-10,000 Nissan LEAF electric cars sold in 2011.


As you can see in this next chart, the year-over-year growth of EV and plug-in hybrid sales  is even more impressive, especially compared to last year. So far over 54,000 plug-in cars have been sold in 2014, compared with just over 41,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids at this time last year. At this pace, sales are well on their way to setting and breaking even more records, with analysts estimating over 150,000 sales of plug-in cars this year.


This next chart shows that not every brand is benefitting from the growth in plug-in car sales though, with certain contenders dominating the chart. The Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF remain top dog, though the Toyota Prius Plug-In, Ford Fusion Energi, and Tesla Model S are all making a mark. Meanwhile though, cars like the Cadillac ELR, Ford Focus Electric and the Mitsubishi i barely register on the charts.


Finally we have a chart showing the explosion of EV sales often coordinates with rising gas prices, as people sick of paying $4.00 a gallon or more decide to try something different. As gas prices rise, so do EV sales in most cases  though conversely as gas prices fall, so do to EV sales.

The lesson here? Higher gas prices mean more electric cars on the road, though the momentum behind EVs doesn’t seem to be settling anytime soon.

Images: Energy Policy Information Center 
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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • visualeyes

    I am not color-blind and found the graph to be difficult to discern on my browser

    & how about inscluding owner build EVs as well?

  • Seattle Math Geek

    Definitely linear growth, not exponential. When I fit a curve with the annual figures in the 2nd graph, even if I assume that the second half of 2014 is 50% higher than the first half, the coefficient on a 2nd order polynomial fit is negative.

  • rarnedsoum

    There is going to be a class action against the Nissan LEAF.
    Most drivers in their 2nd year, and over 15k miles, will experience severe range loss, going from 90+ miles per charge to about 60. Crippling.
    Yet Nissan refuses to do anything about it, even if they have a 8 year battery warranty.
    Most discount the Mitsubishi, but it is a better EV without these problems, and much cheaper. Holds more cargo as well.

    • gbshaun

      “Most” ? I must be luck then as I’m in my 3rd year with only the slow/steady range drop off we were told to expect.

      • gbshaun

        Sorry, I’m now in my 4th year

    • Vensonata

      My dear rarnedsoum, why do you tell such fibs?

      • exhaustfree

        Some companies pay people to write stuff like that in comments. It’s dirty and unethical, but they seem to think it works. Judging from Mitsu sales, it’s not.

  • Offgridman

    Have to agree with other comments that it is hard to qualify this as extreme growth especially as considered as a part of all car sales. However it is nice to see that the growth continues and hopefully will be enough of a sign to the big distributors to come out with BEV’s with a practical to the majority mileage range of 150-200 miles. Then the sales of EV’s will seriously go through the roof, even if priced somewhat higher than the comparable ICE vehicle.

  • JamesWimberley

    Exponentially? Grrr.

    Especially as neither the post or its source bother to calculate the growth rate. Hint: In a spreadsheet table, use the function LOGEST to return the average year-on-year growth rate. If you want the fitted data points as well, use GROWTH. In a spreadsheet chart, once you have set up the data columns, right-click on any one, and in the context menu select “insert trend line”, select “exponential”. If you select “show equation”, the exponent in the regression equation is the continuous growth rate to base e, which isn’t used in everyday life.

    If this is all beyond you, I suggest avoiding the term “exponential”.

    • eveee

      Yup. Anbody got access to the data? The source does not mention exponential. It’s a great source.

    • Kyle Field

      I was also taking issue with the “cumulative sales” graph. Makes the numbers look overly inflated and closer to being (but still not) exponential. Anyways…the fight goes on. Still impressive to see 300% growth YOY, then another impressive 100% improvement last year. Good times

  • disqus_21jShFaTaX

    If cost can be a driving factor in almost any aspect of life, then their almost certainly will be an impact of fuel prices and sales of electric cars, it would be nice to compare the trend to monthly google searches. If you look at websites such as you can clearly see they must be getting a monthly traffic increase.

  • DGW

    Why do so many graph designers hate color-blind people?

    • I know…and supposedly 10% of men are red/green color blind with another sizeable percentage being red/green color “deficient”

  • AaronD12

    Mathematically speaking, this is no where near “exponential”. They are growing quickly, which is a great thing!

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