Electric Car Sales Up 300% In 2013

100% electric car sales are up about 300% in 2013 so far, while plug-in hybrid electric car sales are up about 31% for the same period.

Note that Tesla doesn’t report its sales on a monthly basis — only on a quarterly basis — so my numbers for its sales are an estimate (but a pretty confident one). Also note that Fiat doesn’t report sales of the Fiat 500e at all. The year-to-date sales increase in my spreadsheet is actually about 298% for pure electric cars, but with a good estimate of the 500e thrown in, it would increase to about 303%.

Here’s the full table, followed by my commentary on what I think are the top plug-in car stories of the month:

november electric car sales

Of course, 300% growth in 100% electric car sales is a huge story. It’s down a bit from the cumulative 2013 total reported last month, but it’s still huge. 31% is also solid year-to-date growth for plug-in hybrid electrics.

Ford’s Hybrid & Electric Boom Leveling Off

As has been the case all year, Ford’s year-to-date hybrid and electric car sales are up a great deal thanks to introduction of the Ford C-Max Hybrid, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Hybrid, and Ford Fusion Energi at the end of last year and beginning of this year. However, that advantage is on the downswing now that we’ve been catching up to the times of year when all those were introduced — in fact, Ford’s November 2013 total is lower than its November 2012 total.

GM Surviving, On The Uptrend Again

With a reverse story, Chevy Volt sales are still down for the year to date (barely), but November 2013 sales were actually considerably higher than November 2012 sales. The Volt was surely hit by increasing competition in the PHEV and pure electric car market, but its sales have actually held fairly steady and it has survived the onslaught of competition (so far).

Unfortunately, GM is yet to bring its Chevy Spark EV to more than a few markets despite the great response the car has received so far. It looks like this may be yet another compliance car after all.

Honda & Fiat — Lame Entrance, Despite Good Cars

I can’t say I have much interest at all in commenting on Honda or Fiat. Both have built some great plug-in cars — the Fiat 500e is widely acclaimed and the Honda Fit EV has excellent range and looks like a great car (the cars are currently #2 and #3 on the “most fuel efficient cars in the US” list, but in reverse order) — but they are limiting production to a very small number and only selling the cars in select markets. They are clear compliance cars.

Honda’s still pushing its conventional hybrid vehicle success over a transition to much greener (and much more awesome) plug-in car transition. Speaking of…

Toyota Still Dominates Hybrids, Inching Into Plug-ins

Of course, Toyota has long been the clear leader in conventional hybrid electric vehicles. And it is going to ride that wave for as long as possible. Its November 2013 sales were a bit below its November 2012 sales, but at about 25,000 hybrid and electric car sales per month, it tops this sales list by far month after month. Also, its hybrid and electric car sales are up nearly 8% (or about 20,000 cars) for the year to date.

In the realm of plug-in cars — which is our real focus and love — Toyota isn’t a leader but it isn’t as much of a laggard as Honda and Fiat. Its Toyota Prius PHEV saw 1,100 sales in November and over 11,100 for the year to date. Of course, I think that the great demand for Prius hybrids and the company’s ability to then up-sell customers to the PHEV is part of that, but at least it is seemingly doing so and not limiting production to just a few hundred vehicles like several other companies are doing with their plug-in cars.

Nissan Leaf Powers On

The Nissan Leaf is powering on at a great pace. The clear leader in the 100% electric car market, it has seen over 20,000 sales this year, up 141.7% over the same period last year. In November, it took the top sales spot amongst all plug-in cars, swapping places with the Chevy Volt for the 6th time this year. At 2001 sales, it was 30.15% over November 2012’s total.

Nissan is a bit supply constrained when it comes to producing the Leaf, as it has been rather continuously through 2013, so we’ll hopefully see even much bigger sales in 2014 as that gets worked out and as more people become aware of the tremendous performance benefits of electric cars.

Tesla Is Tesla… But Also Supply Constrained

Naturally, Tesla is the hot company in the plug-in car world. It is currently the only 100% electric car company mass producing a vehicle in the US. Its stock shot through the roof this year. The Model S is widely regarded as the best mass-produced car of any type in the world. And so on and so on. Based on our best estimate, its sales were up about 200% in November 2013 compared to November 2012, and its year-to-date sales were up about 1,778%.

However, Tesla has been supply constrained for months in this nascent but fast-growing industry. It is hoping to have that resolved by the second quarter of 2014 — let’s hope so! However, entering into the European and Chinese markets, its US sales are going to get even harder to estimate, so I may decide to stop including them — very unfortunate given the volume of sales it contributes and the great consumer interest in its vehicles.


Those are my main thoughts from November’s hybrid and electric car sales results. Have anything else to add?

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