Auto industry analysts have been parsing the numbers from the first eight months of 2014, and there are lots of reason to be cheery. Yet, for whatever reason, analysts are making a big to-do about a small downtick in total green car sales, despite the fact that EV sales are significantly up compared to the same time last year. What gives?
As Plug-in Cars notes, industry stalwarts like Edmunds have noted that combined sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles made up about 3.6% of car sales so far in 2014, just a tick below the 3.7% of total 2013 sales. But if you take traditional hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius or Ford Fusion hybrid out of the equation, things look a whole lot better.
Through the first six months of 2014, over 66,000 plug-in cars (that is to say, plug-in hybrids and EVs) were sold. Extrapolate that by the rest of the year, and plug-in car sales are on track to sell around 125,000 units or more, which would work out to be at least a 25% increase over 2013, when just shy of 100,000 plug-in cars were sold in America. All told, it’s estimated that there are 250,000 plug-in cars on American roads, about 100,000 of them in California alone.
But what’s the other half of this story? Why are Toyota Prius sales down 10% nationwide, and why are other traditional hybrids doing poorly as well? Simply put, these cars seem a bit old-hat to the cutting-edge types who want the latest and greatest thing. For the green-minded, there are now better options than only a simple hybrid, and upgrading to a plug-in or battery electric car seems to make a more profound statement. There are now legitimate contenders when it comes to energy efficiency, and almost every automaker offers some kind of plug-in car.
Of course, most of these cars are only available in a select number of plug-in friendly states. That makes the growth of EV sales that much more impressive if you ask me. Imagine what would happen if every plug-in car was available for sale nationwide? We’d be talking about being at the EV tipping point, instead of why sales seem so slow.