Is it a milestone in automotive history, or just an odometer moment? Who cares? Let’s celebrate! According to the latest estimates, the 100,000th plug-in vehicle was sold in the US some time this week. This total includes only “highway-capable” vehicles, not “neighborhood electric vehicles,” which number over 60,000 in California alone.
The first of the modern generation of plug-ins, a 2010 LEAF, was delivered on December 11, 2010, and the first Volt followed on December 15. In 2011, total sales were around 17,500 units, and the Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i-MiEV went on sale. In 2012, sales tripled to over 53,000 cars, as the Tesla Model S, Ford C-MAX Energi and Toyota Prius Plug-In joined the party.
Many analysts expect the total to double in 2013 to over 100,000 vehicles in the US, and a similar number in the rest of the world. BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen are all expected to launch new plug-in models in 2013.
The Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) shows the impressive growth of hybrid and plug-in sales with an attractive graph and a series of charts.
EV advocacy group Plug In America will commemorate the occasion by giving away a Clipper Creek Level 2 home charging station – the drawing is open to anyone who buys a plug-in vehicle between May 15 and Jun 15.
Some fun facts, courtesy of Plug In America:
- Over a quarter million people now drive or ride electric every day.
- In some markets, the LEAF has outsold all other Nissan models for certain sales periods.
- In April, Tesla’s Model S was the number-two model in its class, outselling the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the BMW 7 series and the Audi A8.
- Plug-in vehicle sales have grown far faster than hybrid sales did in their first few years on the market.
- The US EV fleet now offers over 2,000 megawatts of battery storage, which may play a role in grid management as renewable energy sources grow in importance.
Meanwhile, a major milestone has been reached in the press. Thanks to the recent spate of Tesla-related news, the mainstream media has published more EV-related articles this month than ever before, and for the first time in history, there hasn’t been a single mention of golf carts or granola!