PEV sales analysis updated through May 2013
by Brett Williams
An update is now available on the UCLA Luskin Center EV Initiative's Market Dynamics  page. This presentation now includes facts and figures characterizing the U.S. sales of nearly 104,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) through May 2013.
Notable trends include:
* There are now “officially” over 100,000 PEVs on U.S. roads, based on publically available sales data. [This threshold was reached earlier if counting: the ~6+ models for which data is not easily accessible, sales from 1990–2010, and/or neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). Further, as described in the slide notes, the exact determination is also complicated by the use of approximate global Model S numbers.]
* The cumulative PEV fleet on U.S. roads is capable of using its over 2.2 million kilowatt-hours of batteries to drive over 6.5 million EPA-rated electric miles each time it recharges.
* Plug-in hybrids have exceeded the 60,000-vehicle mark.
* Over 38,000 Chevy Volts are now on U.S. roads.
* Non-Volt plug-in hybrids are becoming an important part of the market, with 36% of the plug-in-hybrid market and 21% of the PEV market overall. These vehicles require shorter charge times (e.g., 2.5–5 hours from empty to full using a standard wall outlet, or 1–2.5 hours from empty using a Level 2 charging station), lowering the real and perceived barriers to PEV adoption.
* Plug-in hybrids hold on to 58% of the cumulative PEV market, but continued sales of the MY2013 LEAF at dramatically reduced price helped keep the total monthly sales of all-battery models above that for plug-in-hybrid models.
* This was reinforced by the April-leading sales of the Tesla Model S (which are roughly estimated and increasingly not all U.S. sales). Model S sales continue to influence the sales-weighted average characteristics of all-battery EVs, which have been previously dominated by the LEAF. For example, average battery size, motor power, electric range, and vehicle price have increased, as has the all-battery revenue share of the PEV market.
* With all-battery EVs commanding the majority of sales in 2013 so far, this year looks more like 2011 than 2012, the later of which was dominated by plug-in hybrid sales.
Are EV sales really disappointing? That may be a matter of expectations (more on this in the blog entry "Managing EV Expectations"). But what are the facts so far? There are now over 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on U.S. roads. And by some measures, PEVs are off to a much better start than gasoline-only hybrids were a decade ago. U.S. PEVs represent $4 billion in gross revenues (and the Volt alone $1.5 billion). Learn more from ongoing Luskin research, to be updated monthly, characterizing PEV sales from December 2010 to the present.