Nissan LEAF Takes 30% of Non-Tesla US Electric Car Market

100% Electric Vehicles

Published on January 7th, 2015 | by Zach


Nissan LEAF Takes 30% of Non-Tesla US Electric Car Market in 2014

Update: My totals (+ tables & charts) have been updated in an article about Tesla sales: Tesla Sales — Updates & Estimates

Time to wrap up reporting of 2014 electric car sales. I’ll run down the highlights below, but first, I’ve got a very important matter that I want your opinion on. Assuming Tesla doesn’t start reporting monthly US deliveries in 2015, I want to know if you want me to start estimating Tesla sales. Here’s the poll to tell me what you want:


Please, answer that one question and click “Done” before moving on!

With that out of the way, on to the 2014 vs 2013 and December 2014 vs December 2013 electric car sales figures, and my commentary about them (you can click through 4 charts in the interactive thingy below):


Most notable to me is that the Nissan LEAF completely rocked it, crushing the previous annual and December electric car sales records. It is far and away the top-selling electric car in the US and globally. Not including Tesla (since it doesn’t report its monthly or US sales), the LEAF accounted for 30% of the US electric car market in 2014. Continuing that trend, it accounted for 38% of the US market in December 2014. Thanks to Nissan for being a leader!

#2 for was the Chevy Volt, accounting for 19% of the US electric car market in 2014 and 18% in December 2014. Despite the high ranking, it was actually down in absolute and relative terms compared to December 2013 and 2013 as a whole (see the tables below). There are various factors that might have contributed to that drop: greater competition in its segment of the EV market, lack of supply on GM’s part, poor and limited advertising, customers waiting for the 2016 Chevy Volt (Volt 2.0), or other factors I’m not considering. A silver medal on the EV sales podium still isn’t bad.

#3 in December was the BMW i3 (12% of the US electric car market), the company behind Nissan and Tesla that seems most gung-ho about electric cars… and may even be more serious about them than Nissan. (Note that it wasn’t on sale the whole year, so its full-year market share was just 6%.)

For 2014 as a whole, the Toyota Prius Plug-in was #3, but that hides the fact that its sales really dropped off at the end of the year. Like the Volt, many factors (the same ones) could explain that, and we don’t really know which do. Also, the Toyota Prius Plug-in is pretty widely despised amongst electric vehicle advocates, as it only has 11 miles of electric-only range and the gasoline engine kicks in by itself for a variety of reasons. It came in #6 in the US in December, and I’d be surprised if it even holds that spot in 2015.

#4 and #5 or both December and the year as a whole were Ford’s two Energi models — the Ford Fusion Energi and Ford C-Max Energi, respectively. The Fusion Energi held 11% of the market in 2014, and the C-Max Energi held 8%. The C-Max Energi actually gained market share compared to 2013, but the Fusion Energi lost a bit. No doubt, the attractive and widely available BMW i3 ate into that a bit… as well as the C-Max Energi. Ford’s success with its Energi models is hidden a little bit by the fact that they split Ford’s PHEV sales. If you combine their sales, “Ford Energi” was actually slightly ahead of the Chevy Volt and get the silver medal.


The #7 spot was solidly held by the Smart Electric Drive. However, it was a good drop below the cars mentioned above, only claiming 4% of the market in December, and 3% for the year as a whole.

I’m quite disappointed at initial Kia Soul EV, Mercedes B-Class Electric, and Volkswagen e-Golf sales. Hopefully the companies behind those cars will be pushing them a lot more in 2015. Each of them could be a contender for a medal.

Clear compliance cars were the: Honda Accord Plug-in, Honda Fit EV, Ford Focus Electric, Toyota RAV4 EV, Chevy Spark EV, and Mitsubishi i.

Electric cars simply living in small (expensive) segments of the car market included the: BMW i8Cadillac ELRPorsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, and Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

Overall, 100%-electric car sales were up 58% in 2014 and 79% in December 2014. Plug-in hybrids were up 13% in 2014 and down 23% in December. And the grand total of electric car sales was up 29% in 2014 and 15% in December. These percentages are not at all what I would have hoped for, but at least the market is still growing. With several attractive electric cars hitting the market in 2015, and availability of several models expanding, I think 2015 will be a good and exciting year.

Here are some tables for your own happy perusal:

US Electric Car Sales 2014 - December

1 Electric Car Sales US 2014

Remember, you can compare all sorts of electric car info (price, range, efficiency, and more) on this page: Electric Cars 2015 — Prices, Efficiency, Range, Pics, More. You can also check out the info (+ a bit more) in this spreadsheet.

You can check out previous sales reports here.


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About the Author

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 and click on the relevant buttons.

  • dave

    Pretty pathetic to exclude the class act of electric cars from this table

    • liuping

      Tesla does not report monthly sales, so any reports you see elsewhere is someones “Guess”. That’s why the author has the poll at the top of the article asking if we want him to guess as well, or only report actual facts.

    • @liuping:disqus nailed it, but people did very clearly vote for me to guess. an update for 2014 is here:

      the total for the year should be quite accurate (since all of the assumptions have been provided by Elon Musk & Tesla), but the month-to-month numbers are essentially guesses.

  • ASmith

    Your data doesn’t add up. In one of your other posts “Tesla Sales Update”, you stated that 35,000 Model S vehicles were produced. However, the total sales for 2014 was 18,480. How can it be possible that Tesla doesn’t deliver 52.8% of its vehicles? You also stated that in just the 4th quarter that 9,834 deliveries (confirmed sales) took place. How can it be that 53.21% of yearly sales took place in just 3 months? Where are you getting this data from? As far as the industry knows, Tesla doesn’t give monthly sales figures. How can your data be credible? If you are going to post data, triple check the source before you post nonsensical comments.

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