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US Electric Car Sales Have Increased 361% In 2013 So Far

Originally published on EV Obsession.

October hybrid sales electric car sales

I would say that the strong growth of 100% electric car and plug-in hybrid electric car US sales is really no longer a story — they’ve been growing strongly month after month without a break. However, the odd thing is that there’s still all kinds of anti-hype. There are a lot of people in the media, especially “Big Media,” who are repeating the whole “electric vehicle sales are disappointing” meme. This is a case of two things, in my opinion. 1) This is largely a case of expectations being too high. Sure, if you’re expecting 700% growth, then 350% growth is disappointing. But, genuinely, can anyone really consider 350% disappointing?! 2) There are a lot of people who don’t even know the numbers and yet repeat this myth. Unfortunately, that’s all too common with humanity — a lot of people, even people in the media, are willing to talk about things they know nothing about in a way that makes it seem like they know what they are talking about. And what they often do is actually just repeat something they’ve heard that sounds like it comes from an informed place.

So, I am happy to report month after month the fact that electric car sales are rocking it in 2013. We may not be on track for the Obama target of 1 million electric vehicles by 2015, but we’re seeing tremendous growth nonetheless. If you’re still curious why we aren’t on target to hit that 1 million vehicle target, I will very quickly give you my take on that. I think that no one realized a few things: 1) that getting the word out about the awesomeness of electric vehicles takes longer than it “should” based on EVs’ merits — a lot of people don’t even have a clue what EVs are on the market or even that EVs are on the market; 2) that people are very predispositioned to inaccurately be opposed to short-term costs to a much larger degree than long-term costs (which benefits gasmobiles over EVs); 3) that people talk a big game about hating oil and oil dependency, but aren’t actually that determined to move away from it (even when it benefits their medium- to long-term energy costs!); 4) that even though people are now accustomed to conventional hybrid electric vehicles, it is a big step for them to get used to electric vehicles that plug into the wall in order to “fuel up.”

Luckily, word is getting out there, more and more people know someone who owns an electric car, and more and more people are coming to see the many benefits of electric cars. So, on to the uplifting stats from October 2013! You can see the straight stats above, but here are the notable take-home points, imho:

Strong Growth For EVs & PHEVs

First of all, as the title indicates, it’s quite awesome that 100% electric cars have seen about 361% growth in 2013 through October (compared to 2012 through October), and more than 52% in October 2013 compared to October 2012.

Plug-in electric cars have also seen strong growth. Compared to 100% electric cars, it may not seem so impressive, but 34.4% year-to-date growth and 27.5% October growth is also very strong.

Ford Strong Growth

Ford continues to see extremely strong growth in electric and hybrid car sales — 48.5% in October 2013 compared to October 2012; 263% growth in 2013 to date. Wow.

Also, while I’ve previously attributed a lot of Ford’s sales growth to the fact that it didn’t have its Ford Fusion and Ford C-Max models on the market until late 2012, it’s clear that the Ford Fusion conventional hybrid is selling much better this year than last year and that the Ford Fusion and Ford C-MAX Energi/PHEV models are doing quite well in an increasingly competitive market.

GM Suffering

Well, maybe not suffering, but sales have dropped. October 2013 sales were nearly 35% lower. Year-to-date sales are down 12.31%. I can genuinely say that I think the only reason for that is the greatly heightened competition in this market, and especially in the PHEV market. Well… actually, I also think it’s due to GM not pushing the Chevy Spark EV, a very hot and awesome electric car, out to more markets. Reviews have very clearly put the Chevy Spark EV as better than the Chevy Spark gasmobile. That car should be selling like hotcakes, but it’s only available in a few markets.

Despite the drop in sales, it should be noted that the Chevy Volt was still the 2nd-best-selling plug-in car on the market, just barely below the Toyota Prius PHEV, which just saw a big price cut and also carries that very helpful Prius name. I imagine dealers could do quite well upselling people who are looking for a conventional Prius, turning them into PHEV buyers.

Nissan Leaf Going Strong

The Nissan Leaf’s sales continue to grow very strongly. Nearly 27% growth in October and 166% growth year to date — pure electric, pure awesome!

The Leaf is barely trailing the Volt for year-to-date sales, but it’s still very close.


As always, we don’t have exact monthly sales stats from Tesla. They’re based on quarterly sales. Notably, while Tesla’s US sales may seem a bit lower than what you’d expect, there are two key attributions for that: 1) Tesla is a bit supply constrained, resulting in lower sales than there’s demand for (this is getting worked out); 2) Tesla is moving into the European market and had to ship a number of its limited cars over to Europe rather than to customers in the US.

Well, I think that’s your definitive monthly summary for electric and plug-in hybrid electric sales in the US. Hope you enjoyed it!

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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