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EV Sales Doubled In 2013 — Why?

The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that about twice as many electric vehicles were sold in the first half of 2013 compared to the first half of 2012. The DOE noted the very low cost of fueling an electric car versus fueling a gasmobile, and the eGallon tool it recently unveiled. “The eGallon, a quick and simple way for consumers to compare the costs of fueling electric vehicles vs. driving on gasoline, rose slightly to $1.18 from $1.14 in the latest monthly numbers, but remains far below the $3.49 cost of a gallon of gasoline,” a press release sent to me by the DOE stated.

electric cars outselling plug in electric cars

Credit: Nissan image modified by Zachary Shahan / EV Obsession

The low cost of powering a car with electricity is part of the equation, but as the electricity prices shared by the DOE show, that’s part of the equation that doesn’t change much over time — or doesn’t change very quickly. That surely doesn’t account for the 100% increase in plug-in electric vehicle sales in the first half of 2013 compared to the first half of 2012. The biggest reasons for that, I’m quite positive are:

  • Nissan Leaf production moved to the US, bringing its price down by over $6,000 and making it very affordable. Sales have skyrocketed as a result.
  • Production of the Tesla Model S, widely considered the best production car in the world, has gotten up to a noteworthy level, resulting in the deliveries of thousands of these vehicle.
  • The Chevy Volt has steadily seen strong sales. Even with the Leaf and Model S picking up sales, the Volt has sold well thanks to its excellent reviews (i.e., quality) and the gas extender that makes the range of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle comparable to that of a conventional gasoline-powered car. It has also implemented some decent price cuts.

The Key Component — Batteries

The DOE also notes the rapid drop in the price of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars: ” thanks to technology improvements and growing domestic manufacturing capacity, the cost of a battery has come down by nearly 50 percent in the last four years, and is expected to drop to $10,000 by 2015.” That has certainly been a big help, and there is a ton of optimism about the likelihood of EV batteries dropping to quite a low price.

Other EVs

Additionally, while they aren’t accounting for a large percentage of the sales, several plug-in electric cars are now on the market, adding a bit more to the total. These include: the Mitsubishi i, Ford Focus Electric, Ford C-MAX Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, Toyota Prius Plug-in PriusHonda Fit EV, and more.

EV Sales Are Looking Good

They story is very clear: In an increasing number of places and situations, buying an EV simply makes a ton more sense than buying a gasmobile.

The DOE makes one more point that I think is very interesting and worth bookmarking:

The latest numbers also show how the early years of the PEV market have seen much faster growth than the early years of the hybrid vehicle market.  Thirty months after the first hybrid was introduced, monthly sales figures were under 3,000.

By comparison, PEVs – which were first introduced in December 2010 – report nearly 9,000 cars sold in the last month.

EVs are at the early stage of their growth and development, but they’re already worth paying attention to. And if you’re in the market for a new car, i’d 100% recommend an electric vehicle (either to buy or lease).

Written By

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in as a portion of his retirement strategy. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.


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