Plug-In Vehicle Sales Hopping, With 1 Company In Especially High Demand

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We recently published our first report focused solely on electric vehicle charging. It’s a deep dive into residential EV charging stations, public EV charging stations, multi-family building and commercial EV charging stations, EV service equipment innovations, EV charging business models, and electric vehicle adoption trends. Below is one chapter of the report.

You can read a 21-page preview of the report*, purchase the whole report for $500, or patiently read CleanTechnica to obtain all of the insights we have to share from the work.

For much more detail and background on EV sales, see EV Obsession’s Electric Car Sales page.

The pace of plug-in vehicle sales continues to ramp up, with 2017 the first year seeing more than 1 million plug-in vehicles sold globally.

More importantly, these sales are coming from a wide range of manufacturers spanning all major automotive markets and across a growing number of vehicle classes. Of our survey respondents, 30% shared that they expected to buy one plug-in vehicle in the next 12 months and another 5% noting that they expected to buy more than one plug-in vehicle in the next 12 months. 28% of respondents were on the fence and responded “Maybe.”

Plug-in Vehicle Sales Increasing Rapidly

BYD and Tesla each sold more than 100,000 vehicles in 2017 as they raced to ramp up production to meet growing demand. China, Europe, and the United States continue to lead the globe in plug-in vehicle sales, supported by a combination of tighter regulations governing emissions and incentives on plug-in vehicles. In China alone, over 600,000 electric cars were sold in 2017.

Looking at the vehicles gaining traction with consumers in the US and Europe, 46% of readers surveyed who were planning to purchase a plug-in vehicle in the next 12 months were planning to purchase a Tesla. With Tesla and the Model 3 having such pent-up demand, it should come as no surprise that Tesla comes out on top. Chevrolet came in second place at 13%, with its Bolt fully electric vehicle and Volt plug-in hybrid vehicle generating a lot of interest, followed by Nissan at 12%. The list tails off from there, with BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Kia following the top three.

Plug-in Vehicle Charging Speeds

As context for this report, a grounded understanding of plug-in vehicle charging speeds is crucial to understanding the role EVSE will play in the transition to mass adoption of plug-in vehicles moving forward. Charging speeds are split into three official levels of charging as detailed in the SAE Charging Configurations and Ratings Terminology document.

Utilizing an Alternating Current (AC) EVSE, which includes the vast majority of Level 1 and Level 2 EVSE, requires the plug-in vehicle to have an onboard charger to convert the incoming AC power to Direct Current (DC). Thankfully, plug-in vehicle manufacturers know this and have built the charger into their vehicles.

Conversely, for a vehicle to support DC charging, the manufacturer must wire the vehicle specifically to accommodate DC charging. This is typically accomplished through the addition of a separate charging port like the CHAdeMO and CCS Combo fast-charging ports. Naturally, adding a port costs extra money, so most automotive manufacturers charge extra to have the optional DC charging port included (instead of a standard-offering version of the car without the fast-charging port).


In summary, plug-in vehicles are selling well and are on track to move beyond early adopters into the early majority market thanks to efforts by China’s BYD, the USA’s Tesla, and other early EV leaders. Efforts by early movers have catapulted plug-in vehicles into the mainstream and are in the early stages of disrupting their respective markets.

This can be seen in the luxury vehicle segment in the USA, in which internal combustion sales are down for most manufacturers while Tesla is surging in the category as the dominant automotive manufacturer with respect to year-over-year sales growth. It has taken the #1 position for sales in the large luxury car class and is near the top of the large luxury SUV class.

Want to read more? Get the full report or view the 21-page report preview.

*Thanks to report sponsors and partners Important Media, EVBox, EV Obsession, Tesla Shuttle, and The Beam.

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

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