Plug-In Electric Car Sales Visualized From 2011 to 2015

1 year ago by Mark Kane 12

Global Plug-in Light Vehicle Sales, 2011-2015 (source:

Global Plug-in Light Vehicle Sales, 2011-2015 (source:

Tesla Model X

Electric car market take-off

Thanks to Argonne National Laboratory (via U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy), we can take a look at the progress of plug-in electric vehicles sales globally from 2011 through 2015.

The overall volume of sales increased by around 80% in 2015 to over 565,000, compared to 2014.

Interesting is the different approaches of each of originally largest markets. In 2011 U.S., Japan and Europe began on similar level, while China was significantly behind.

Since then, U.S. market grew for awhile, but stumbled in 2015 thanks to a disturbance in the product pipeline of former best sellers (Volt/Prius PHV/LEAF) and a lack of new offerings, allowing both Europe and China (even moreso) to leap ahead; Japan also wasn’t able to sustain its sold start being even more reliant of the likes of Japanese-based plug-ins.

Strong growth is expected in 2016 in most regions, with the China leading the way, but also with the US getting back on track.  Europe overall’s growth is expected to slow, at least in relation to 2015, due to changes in some incentive situations at the country-level that caused surges in 2015 (and a subsequent drag heading into 2016)

“Although plug-in light vehicle (PEV) sales in the United States declined by 3% in 2015, sales in China more than doubled, surpassing all other countries in the number of PEVs sold. Western Europe as a whole had the second highest volume of PEV sales in 2015 and saw an increase of 80% over 2014. Though Japan and Canada had lower sales of PEVs by volume, they both had significant increases in PEV sales from the previous year. In 2011, global PEV sales were just 50,000 units. years later, global PEV sales have increased more than ten-fold to over 565,000”

Supporting Information

Global Plug-In Light Vehicle Sales, 2011-2015

Country/Region 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
China 5,202 10,699 15,004 61,984 214,283
Western Europe 14,160 40,000 71,233 102,565 184,500
United States 17,763 53,169 97,102 118,882 115,262
Japan 12,600 20,667 28,716 30,567 46,339
Canada 275 1,225 931 1,521 5,284
Total 50,000 125,760 212,986 315,519 565,668
Data compiled by Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, February 2016.

Japan data are estimated based on sales reported through August 2015.
These countries/regions account for about 95% of global PEV sales.”


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12 responses to "Plug-In Electric Car Sales Visualized From 2011 to 2015"

  1. AIP says:

    Seeing these numbers makes the Model3 reservation number even more special. Tesla managed to get reservations in 36 hrs after the presentation of the M3 three times as much as the total worldwide sales in 2015.

    Who said that consumers are not interested in electric cars?

    1. CBonville says:

      You said: “three times as much as the total worldwide sales in 2015.”

      Did you mean 1/3rd as much as total 2015 sales?

      Even this, is quite an accomplishment for 36 hours of sales for a product that will (hopefully) commence shipping in 20 months.

      1. Well, at 232,000 Reservations by about 10:26 last night, it would be about half the world wide 2015 sales, including China, and double all the USA sales for all last year!

        Also, it represents 5X the sales in Japan, or 26X the sales in Canada, or 150% of the sales in Europe!

        1. ffbj says:

          I think the word, “phenomenal”, would not be out of the question, in regard to demand.

          I would imagine you are especially gratified with this success, having been working hard in ev salt mines for so many years.

  2. Michael says:

    I don’t buy the explanation of why the US lags behind – most of those cars are available world wide. Let’s hope it doesn’t take until 2018 for that to catch up…

    1. RexxSee says:

      We see here the effect of Big Oil lobbying on politics and above this the continuous anti-marketing efforts generated by the established ICE car makers, in order to sabotage their own already inadequate BEVs… like announcing a longer ranged product 1 year in advance or improving new model by only a few %, stubbornly putting in weak chargers, build only a few thousands and selling them 2x 3x the price of comparable ICE models…

      When Tesla began to produce more cars, Nissan, Toyota and GM manage to lower theirs BEVs sales.
      “The demand is weak”, “Consumers do not want electrics” “Gas price is affecting sales” yeah, right…
      We just saw with Model 3 that the citizens are not interested in a cleaner future…

      1. RexxSee says:

        I forgot to mention the insidious disinformation spread in the media, paid by above-named Big Oil.

    2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      Fuel taxes in Europe are extra $2-3 per gallon, mostly fixed tax per liter, not percentage of price. So commodities bubble burst didn’t make their gas so cheap like it was in the US, and plugins may actually pay off for more people.

      Fuel taxes were increased recently in China. I’m not sure but think it may be extra $1/gallon. And they have ruling communist party mandate to push electric cars. Which leads to question, how many of these statistical plugins in China are really used as plugins and how many are just “checkpoint” plugins running mostly on gas or just plain fake statistics as usual in communist countries.

      1. Rob_Ger says:

        You should consider though, that electricity prices are also higher in Europe, especially in Germany, Denmark, etc.

  3. ffbj says:

    with the China (either with China, or with the Chinese).

  4. Just_Chris says:

    Was it really necessary to split out Canada in the table? If we can have Western Europe why can’t we have North America? To be honest I am not sure why Canada is included at all, with the exception of this web page, Canada is of little relevance to the ev world.

    1. Michel says:

      Tank you . But I still love my volt that run on 100% clean electrecity ( hydro and wind ) at 90 % of my driving here in Canada