1 Million EVs Sold Worldwide

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

More than one million all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids have been sold worldwide to date, according to the most recent figures. Considering that the 500,000 threshold was just passed last July, that means that growth has really been picking up as of late — with a bit over 200,000 in sales between July–December 2014; and with around 300,000 of sales in just the last 9 months or so.

Of these estimated 1,004,000 EVs sold worldwide to date, an estimated 62% are pure EVs and 38% PHEVs. The vast majority of these sales have occurred since late 2010, when the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan LEAF launched (click those links for some serious flashbacks). That means that the one million sales threshold was passed after around 4 years + 10 months of time.


As one can probably guess, of these million or so sales, a great majority have been from only a few models — the Nissan LEAF, the Chevrolet Volt, the Tesla Model S, the Toyota Prius PHEV, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the BYD Qin, the BMW i3, the Renault Zoe, and the Ford Fusion Energi leading the pack. As seen in the graph above, roughly 200,000 Nissan LEAFs have been sold to date, and 100,000 Volts, making those two the clear leaders — though the Tesla Model S is close behind with 75,000 units sold.

Presumably, with the launch of the Model X and the Model 3, Tesla will claim a much greater market share, but that remains to be seen. BYD also looks likely to increase its market share notably in the coming years, based on market trends and new models. Mitsubishi and Toyota have been doing fairly well as well, though one wonders what the future holds for those two companies — the US release of the Outlander PHEV should be interesting, for instance, if it ever happens.

As far as Toyota goes, while the Prius PHEV is technically a plug-in the model, it only has 11 miles of rated all-electric range (and 6 miles on the highway), so those numbers should be taken with a caveat on that point. The company’s future plans concerning EVs appear to be rather nebulous for now — though, one wonders how long the hydrogen car charade can keep going, so maybe that’ll change soon.



With regard to where these million+ sales have occurred, there are no surprises there — the US, China, Japan, and Northern Europe lead the pack by a substantial margin. The US accounts for a bit more than a third of the total figure (363,265 units sold); China follows with about half of that share (157,354 units sold); Japan with a fair bit less than that (121,000+); and various European countries and Canada round out the top 10.

It should probably be noted here that President Obama’s supposed goal to spur 1 million EV sales in the US by the end of 2015 will not be achieved — less than half of that figure will likely have been sold by the end of the year. But maybe he misspoke and the goal was 1 million EV sales worldwide. 😉

Sales in the US will likely pick up in the coming years, though, as cheaper models (such as the Chevy Bolt, the Model 3, etc) launch. That said, until good-quality models start being offered in the sub $20,000 range, it’s unlikely that sales will see the boom that advocates would like to see, in my opinion.

It’ll be interesting to see how units do on the used car markets in the near future, though — 6 years from now, how much will a used Chevy Bolt be selling for? Will it be cheap/functional enough that someone of lesser means might be willing to give it a try rather than going with a conventional offering?

Sales in the European and Chinese markets are continuing to grow relatively fast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see China take the top spot within only a few years.

On the subject of the European markets, it has only been a couple of countries driving the majority of the growth of recent times, and much of this has been down to policy support (most especially in the UK, Norway, France, and the Netherlands).

A final note that’s probably worth making here: much of the EV sales in Germany and France to date have been of units offered by local companies — BMW and Renault, in particular. Foreign manufacturers have had a hard time gaining much of a market share in these countries, with the Tesla Model S and Nissan LEAF being exceptions.

Images via GM-Volt

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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