By Brett Williams
December 2010 marked the launch of what I call the “post-modern”
electric-vehicle era (the original era being around the turn of the 20th
century, and the modern era beginning in the 1990s.) With the advent of plug-in hybrids and the re-commercialization of all-battery vehicles, this new era of "plug-in electric vehicles" (PEVs) is now well underway. After three years on the market (thru November 2013), roughly 160,000 light-duty PEVs have been sold in the U.S. [please see Figure 1 below and slide
4 in the presentation update now available on the UCLA Luskin Center EV Market
The overall PEV sales rate has increased exponentially, as several major models
experience growth or steady sales while new models continue to be added.
Figure 1: Three years of PEV sales
What types of electric vehicles are on the market? What is a PEV
PEVs, or electric-fuel vehicles, include all-battery and
plug-in-hybrid vehicles. The presentation includes a typology to help you sort out
what is what [slides 24–30].
15 major models are currently on the market,
including the latest release, the Porsche
Panamera S E-Hybrid. This November addition, a plug-in hybrid, brings the hybrid grand total (gasoline, plug-in,
and fuel-cell) to some 50 models
[slide 27]. Accompanied by 9 all-battery
vehicles, consumers can now choose from three-score electric-vehicle options.
What are the best-selling PEVs in the U.S.?
- By model: The U.S. fleet
consists primarily of over 50,000 Chevy
Volts, nearly 40,000 Nissan LEAFs, well over 20,000 Toyota Prius Plug-ins,
nearly 20,000 Tesla Model S’s, and several thousand Ford C-Max Energi’s and
Fusion Energi’s [Figure 2 and slides 5–6, 16]. The first two of these were the
original entrants into the post-modern PEV market, the next two mid-market
releases, and the last two relatively new additions.
Figure 2: Individual PEV model sales
- By PEV type: Four of these market-leading
vehicles are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs),
which account for 57% of the market
and total over 90,000 sales [Figures 3–4 and slides 7–8]. Because of this, and despite smaller batteries and lesser
electric capabilities per vehicle than all-battery vehicles (BEVs), PHEVs are
probably providing more total daily
electric miles and associated petroleum-displacement benefits, as discussed
in a previous blog [Does size matter?:
EVs, batteries, and electric miles].
Figures 3 and 4: BEV and PHEV sales and share
How are sales changing over time?
Figure 5: Monthly PEV sales by model
- By PEV type: On a monthly-sales
basis, BEVs dominated much of 2011, but lost significant market share late in
that year [slides 10–11]. Starting in the third quarter of 2012 and driven by
the rise in the Tesla Model S and reduction in the price of the LEAF, BEVs have
made a monthly-market-share come-back, but at a decreasing rate as 2013
progressed. The BEV monthly share
has accounted for less than 50% of
PEVs sales for several months, but November continued to apply slight pressure
on the cumulative average towards a more even split. Plug-in hybrids still hold
the monthly record of over 6,000 vehicles sold in August 2013.
- By model: At one time or
another, the Volt, LEAF, Prius Plug-in, and Model S have all been monthly
leaders [slide 14]. The Volt holds the monthly record, with 3,351 vehicles sold
in August 2013. The Volt and the LEAF hold on to over 20% each of the increasingly
competitive monthly PEV market [slide 13]. The Prius Plug-in and Model S
command well over 10% each and each of the two Ford Energi models roughly that
- At nearly 87,000, 2013 sales thru November have exceeded all
previous years combined (roughly 71,600 2010–2012) [slide 17].
- After trailing BEVs for most of 2013, plug-in hybrids now command 51% of annual PEV sales thru November.
How does this compare to hybrids when they first came out?
- Acknowledging a decade of differences, PEV sales (in 2010–2013)
continue to outpace gasoline hybrid sales (in 1999–2002) when examined from the
year of category introduction [Managing EV
Expectations and Figure 6]. In fact, year-4 PEV sales surpassed, in just 6 months, total year-4
gasoline hybrid sales. Further, in 10 months, year-4 sales of each type of PEV
(BEVs and PHEVs) individually have now exceeded total year-4 hybrid sales
Figure 6: Conventional hybrids, BEVs, and PHEVs from year of introduction