What is the tipping point for plug-in cars? If you ask me, I’d have to say that the US has already hit that mark, as more than 118,000 electrified vehicles were bought or leased in 2014, a 27% increase over 2013 and the first time sales of plug-ins have hit the six-figure mark. There’s no going back now.
According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association (via Green Car Reports), 118,773 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids were sold in the United States last year. Keep in mind, though, that this is an estimation, as several automakers like Tesla, Kia, and Fiat don’t offer monthly sales updates on their EVs, making it difficult to nail down an exact number. That said, the numbers are sure enough to handily beat the approximately 93,000 plug-in sales recorded in 2013.
So, what were the best-selling plug-in cars for 2014? It should come as no surprise that the Nissan LEAF walked away with the sales crown, moving about 30,200 vehicles off of dealership lots. Next was the Chevy Volt, which saw sales tumble to just 18,805 in 2014, which can be at least partially attributed to buyers waiting for the next-gen 2016 Volt to go on sale. It is still about 5,000 sales short of last year’s mark, though.
Sitting in third place is (probably) the Tesla Model S, which would estimate delivered somewhere between 17,000 and 19,000 US sales in 2014 (from about 33,000 total sales globally). Following up on the Model S would be the Prius Plug-In, up slightly with 13,264 sales, with the Ford Fusion Energi moving over 11,500 units as well (including at least 50 cop cars). Other notable top sellers were the Ford C-Max Energi (8,433) and the BMW i3 (6,092), which rounds out a bulk of US plug-in car sales that account for approximately 105,000 of the 118,500 plug-in car sales in 2014. Just six other plug-in vehicles (Smart ForTwo ED, Ford Focus Electric, Chevy Spark EV, Cadillac ELR, Toyota RAV4 EV, and Fiat 500e) managed to break 1,000 units sold, with another 10 or so vehicles selling just a few hundred vehicles each.
All told, Americans have purchased over 300,000 plug-in cars since late 2010, and while we may not meet Obama’s goal of a million electrified vehicles by the end of 2015, we’re a lot closer to a cleaner world than we were just four years ago.