Published on June 12th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Monthly Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Sales Update (May 2013)

June 12th, 2013 by  

I know, it’s almost mid-June, but better late than never! Big stories of the month involve Ford and Nissan, but you can get into the details below in this repost from EV Obsession:

First of all, apologies for the long delay on this one! Unfortunately, I was unable to work for about a week (very not fun stuff), and this was hence delayed. But it’s ready now! Following the table, I’ll add my personal notes/reflections regarding May’s electric and hybrid vehicle sales numbers, as well as regarding electric and hybrid vehicle sales numbers for the year to date (compared to last year).

Hybrid Electric Vehicle Sales Numbers May 2013

Click To Enlarge. Created by EV Obsession and available for use under a CC-BY-NC-ND license.


The first thing that stands out to me is that Ford has seen a massive surge in hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) growth in 2013. Basically, that’s due to the relative youth of the Ford C-Max Hybrid, Ford C-Max Energi PHEV, Ford Fusion Hybrid, and the Ford Fusion Energi PHEV. Of course, it’s also important that these vehicles be competitive with leaders in their niche, which they are.

With over 400% positive change YTD compared to 2012 and over 500% positive change May 2013 over May 2012, I think Ford is doing pretty darn well… at least as far as any major auto companies go.

Ford Fusion Energi Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Credit: Ford

Ford Fusion Energi Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Credit: Ford

Overall Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Sales

It’s also quite uplifting that overall sales of conventional hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are up by a strong degree, and that sales of 100% electric vehicles (led by the Leaf) are up by a great degree.

Nissan Leaf. Image Credit: Nissan

Nissan Leaf. Image Credit: Nissan

Nissan Leaf

Naturally, the Leaf’s sales have been amazing since manufacturing was moved to the US and the price of the vehicle dropped several thousand dollars to a very affordable $28,800 before incentives. Aside from perhaps the Tesla Model S (which doesn’t release sales numbers), it is now the best selling 100% electric of plugin hybrid electric vehicle on the market. With sales up about 319% in May 2013 compared to May 2012, this could well be the EV or hybrid sales story of the month. Kudos to Nissan!

Inside the Nissan Leaf. Image Credit: Nissan

Inside the Nissan Leaf. Image Credit: Nissan

Chevy Volt

It’s noticeable that the Volt is down a bit for the year (down from 9146 to 7544, compared to January–May 2012) and especially in the month of May (down from 1903 to 1781, compared to May 2012). However, I think that this is primarily a testament to the strong competition on the market (i.e. from Ford and from the Nissan Leaf — I know some people contend the Leaf and Volt don’t compete, but I think they very much do). We’ll see what GM does about that.

In any case, the Volt is still the best-selling PHEV on the market, even in the month of May.

Chevy Volt. Credit: GM

Chevy Volt. Credit: GM


Despite being an early hybrid electric vehicle leader with the Honda Insight and other hybrids, it’s clear that Honda hasn’t innovated enough to compete much with today’s hybrid, PHEV, and 100% electric offerings. The Honda Fit EV and Honda Accord PHEV are the lowest-selling vehicles in their respective categories. (Note that these vehicles are not yet broadly available, but the point remains.)

Honda Fit EV. Credit: Honda

Honda Fit EV. Credit: Honda


Similarly, while Toyota has dominated the hybrid scene for years, and its various Prius models are still doing quite well, it has not been a leader in the PHEV and 100% EV space. However, it is offering the Toyota RAV4 EV now, and hopefully sales of that vehicle will pick up. And the Toyota Prius PHEV (678 sales) did at least come in second behind the Volt (1607) in PHEV sales last month, ahead of the above-mentioned Ford C-Max Energi PHEV (450), Ford Fusion Energi PHEV (416), and Honda Accord PHEV (58).

Toyota Prius Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Credit: Toyota

Toyota Prius Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Credit: Toyota


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Jackie

    How can we use this data to make accurate predictions about the future sales of EV/HEV/PHEV? Say in 5, 10, 15 years from now?

    • Bob_Wallace

      I don’t think we can. Many people in the EV/battery industry think we are short years from much improved batteries which will give us EVs with much longer range and prices equal to or less than same-model ICEVs.

      If/when that happens then the rate of EV adoption changes very significantly. One would be able to purchase an EV with all the functionality of a regular gasmobile, purchase it at no extra cost, and save a lot of money with driving expenses.

      “If/when”, we don’t know that part. It could be sometime this year. It could be years or never.

  • Mohan Raj

    Just the conventional hybrid sales are

    And the Electrics & Plugins add another 7,754 vehicles.

  • Marion Meads

    would be nice to have a summary for each category:
    Hybrids (uses all gasoline or diesel)
    PHEV (uses wall electricity and gasoline)
    EV (uses wall electricity, no gasoline)

    • you mean summarizing what the differences are? will keep in mind for next time. thanks.

  • Marion Meads

    Excellent! 382,200 hybrids/EV/PHEV sold since 2012!!! And more than 100,000 of those are EV or PHEV! The oil industry is soon going to play their trump card unless the environmentalists can make it very hard for them.

    • Ross

      Bring it on. More bark than bite.

  • SecularAnimist

    The Honda Fit EV is the one I want. And yes, the fact that it is “not yet broadly available” does have a lot to do with its low sales figures. In fact, as far as I know, you can’t actually buy one at all — it is only available for lease at this point.

    But the Fit EV gets very positive reviews, and in many ways I think it hits the “sweet spot” that EVs need to hit to truly break out into a mass market option. It has good range, relatively low cost, and it is a practical utilitarian vehicle for commuting and suburban errands, rather than a high-tech high-end sports car.

    When Honda eventually starts making the Fit EV available for sale in quantity, I would expect it to sell very well.

    • Marion Meads

      the Honda Fit EV will never go to the mass market. it is a loss leader compliance car for Honda to meet their overall fleet requirements. But anything that gets the EV market going is super!

      • Bob_Wallace

        What’s your proof for that claim?

        • Marion Meads

          I’d rather have you search for it rather than spoon fed it to you. It is not a claim, it is a fact. Even Tesla have been touting their revenues from Green and Carbon credits to other companies to meet their compliance requirements.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry, that’s the sort of response one would expect from someone who can’t back up their claim.

            Either you can backup your claim that the FiT will never go to mass market production or you can’t.

          • Otis11

            Ah, I think Marion i partially correct on this one. The reason the Honda Fit EV is restricted is because Honda is actually leasing it at a loss. There are two reasons for this: First, to be compliant with CA sales standards as Marion mentions, but also, second, market research for Honda. They are playing the game – losing a bit now in an effort to be ahead of the market when it peaks.

            Now, I cannot *link* to any proof for this, so feel free to take it with as much or little credibility as you so chose.

          • Bob_Wallace

            My issue was not about the loss claim. It was about ” will never go to the mass market”.

            If Honda has put the money into developing an EV they’ll sell it. Unless it turns out to be badly flawed or they replace it with something superior.

          • Otis11

            Ah, ok – very true. The only reason this wouldn’t expand “when the time is right” (aka very soon IMO) is if they figured out something better…

    • You have any idea why Honda is taking so long to bring the car to a broader market?

  • Ian Arnell

    Thanks for the update! Glad you are back in action. Some pretty interesting data. Nice to see some of the newer models really surging ahead

    • Thanks a lot! 😀

      Yeah, it’s very exciting. Nice to see the game opening up a bit. Ford is clearly the big mover of late. Curious to see who steps up next.

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