Clean Transport

Published on May 21st, 2013 | by Adam Johnston


Impact Of The Electric Car: Infographic

May 21st, 2013 by  

Ever wondered what the impact of electric vehicle is so far? Well, wait no longer. An infograph recently released from shows some interesting numbers.

Image Credit via

Image Credit via

In 2012, 62,400 electric vehicles were sold in the US, only 0.45% of cars sold. In 2011, 18,000 EV units left US auto dealer lots. Currently, the Obama Administration is targeting 1 million EVs on the road by 2015. So why haven’t more consumer invested in EVs?

One factor is cost.

In 2011, $28,771 was the average price of a conventional car. Meanwhile, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV costs around $30,000. While costs of EVs remain higher than conventional vehicles, lower li-ion battery prices (from $600 kWh now to $160 kWh by 2025) could help in driving EV costs down.

Add Tesla’s Elon Musk’s suggestion at a TED Talk earlier this year — that when newer technology is introduced it takes around three business cycles before a product can become “a compelling mass product” for customers — gives further market potential for EVs.

The question is, even if EVs plummeted in price, would it be enough? Would it be enough to dramatically cut down global carbon emissions?

While EVs impact on carbon emissions could be minimal, given the rising middle class in developing countries, don’t underestimate the power EVs will have as emerging market consumers demand more products in the future.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business

  • roddy6667

    Comparing an electric vehicle with an “average” ICE car is a cheap trick.They are comparable to Smart Cars and Ford Festivas. Still not a fair comparison. The Smart Car and the Festiva can go from New York to DC and back.

  • Marc Talloen

    Ignoring the fact that the infographic is indeed outdated let me comment on the following 3 questions / statements:
    1) The question is, even if EVs plummeted in price, would it be enough?
    2) don’t underestimate the power EVs will have as emerging market consumers demand more products in the future.
    3) China generates 90% of its power from coal and oil…..

    EVs will become more popular if they are correctly priced, once the battery technology allows for a higher energy density and increased km range and last but not least, if car manufacturers increase their efforts to join with solar and /or wind energy suppliers to provide V2H and V2G solutions to the customers, allowing for a more intensive and efficient usage of the EVs battery pack.

    With regards to point 1) and 2): Price matters, let me give some obvious examples:

    Reducing the price of the Leaf in the US has resulted in a serious jump in sales, starting March 2013. Sales numbers for Jan, Feb, March and April were respectively 650, 653, 2236 and 1937 units.

    Reducing the price of the Leaf in Germany resulted in sales of 191 Nissan Leaf in April while only 50 units were sold in the first 3 months of 2013.

    In China, according China Autoweb, the total sales of EVs in 2012 was reported as 12,085 units, excluding buses.

    While this number was strikingly low for China where authorities are very supportive towards EVs, the number is also extremely misleading as it doesn’t account for sales of LSEVs. In Shandong Province alone, LSEV sales in Jan. and Feb. reached 25,924 units representing >8% of all automobile sales for Shandong province in that time period.
    This goes in stark contrast with the 0.08% market penetration for EV sales versus total passenger car sales for the whole of China in 2012.

    The Shandong LSEV sales are the more astonishing because no subsidies are available for buyers of these LSEVs while generous subsidies were available for sales of EVs produced by the dominant China car manufacturers.

    Why? Mainly because of price:
    A fully licensed A class EV fulfilling the China GB/T 28382-2012 standard for Battery EVs such as the BYD E6 EV is priced at $59000 before subsidies and costs approx. $38400 after deduction of subsidies.

    A Shandong manufactured LSEV with Lead-Acid batteries, having a km range of up to +/-80kms is sold at < $7000. No subsidies available.

    Sales are expected to drastically increase once the new EV subsidies become available in the second half of 2013.

    A MIT approved BEV such as produced by Kandi Technologies, slightly larger than the Smart, with 2 Li-ion battery packs totaling 9.6 kWh is being priced to consumers at <$6500 exluding batteries and <$14200 including batteries before application of any Central and Local Government subsidies that will be available starting 2nd half of 2013.

    Kandi Technologies recently signed a joint venture with Geely which is expected to boost sales all over China, especially in the 25 EV demonstration cities.

    With regards to point 3, the little note in the frame below your article I would like the readers to have a look to the following article because China is clearly doing more efforts to steer away from dirty power:

    • agelbert

      Thank you for that excellent and informative comment.

  • As others have pointed out, the infographic is so out of date that it is barely worth reading it through.

  • Bob_Wallace

    The Nissan LEAF price is incorrect. It is not $36,050 but $28,800. The price fell when the Tennessee plants started up.

    The LEAF is $21,300 after the federal subsidy. Less than $20k in some states which offer subsidies.

  • arne-nl

    Fisker only received 192 million, not 529.

    “If 1 in 20 cars sold in the US this year was a LEAF, 385,000 tons of CO2 would be saved on a clean grid”

    According to the infographic a LEAF on a clean grid saves 314 g/mile. An average car does 10,000 miles per year. That works out to 3,14 tons of saved CO2 emissions per year per LEAF. 1 in 20 of ~15 million cars sold in the US annually is 750,000 cars. 750,000 * 3,14 tons = 2,36 megaton. This is 6 times more than the infographic says.

    Furthermore, as CleanTechnica’s EV reporter Zachary Shahan has shown, an EV is cheaper than a comparable ICE vehicle.

    Hmmm, exaggerating DOE loans, underplaying the environmental benefits, inflating the costs, emphasizing how few EV’s are being sold today. Was this infographic made by Fox News?

    Next time you publish an infographic, please make sure the numbers are correct.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The most recent numbers I find is that US drivers averaged 13,476 annual miles in 2011. That makes the infographic even more incorrect.

      Bit of a fail here Adam Johnson, Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications student and energy writer wantabe. Perhaps you could do some fact checking and work up a better version?

  • sault

    While vehicle emissions are around 20 – 25% of global CO2 emissions, if you count oil refining and extraction, this total gets pushed up even higher. And considering we’re thinking of downright suicidal methods of oil extraction like Tar Sands and Oil Shale means that the upstream emissions for gasoline and diesel will get progressively worse as the easy-to-extract oil gets depleted.
    Some of the numbers in this infographic are way out of date too. While Nissan holds actual cost data about its batteries close to its chest, $300 – $400 a kWh has been the consensus estimate of their battery production costs for a while now. And given that sales are taking off, this value is set to fall regardless of technical improvements. They also did not capture the recent price drop on the LEAF that brought the base price to around $30k. After federal tax incentives, you can own a LEAF for the low $20k’s or even lower depending on the state where you live.
    The final impact would be to take money out of oil company profits and switch it to renewable energy companies and car companies making EVs by buying these cars. We can expect the oil companies to spread as much FUD as possible about EVs in the coming years to minimize their revenue loses, but as more and more people switch over to EVs, the oil companies will have less and less money to influence politics and stall action on protecting the environment.

    • patb2009

      We need to get viable Vehicle 2 Grid technology rolling, i think that’s the missing piece of the puzzle. If people could have cheap Solar PV (Happening fast), affordable EVs (Happening soon) and then use the car to plug in the house ( Happening slow), we’d see people getting off the grid, and getting clean and local

      • Bob_Wallace

        How would they charge their EVs when they’re gone from home during the day?

        • sault

          The output from the solar panels would displace usage at the house, freeing up grid power to charge the EVs. If their employer has solar too, then it’s even better. I just wish PV arrays could just charge with DC directly, increasing the usable energy delivered to the battery by 15 – 20%

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