America Loves Electric Vehicles – Passes 10,000 Sold For First Time In August

SEP 5 2013 BY JAY COLE 51

More And More Americans Are Switching To The Plug

More and More Americans are Switching to the Plug

Early in August when General Motors decided that now was the time to drop the price on the best selling car in the electric segment – the Chevrolet Volt – by $5,000 (to $34,995), we knew it was going to be a strong month for the car.  And by month’s end, GM’s North American President Mark Reuss let the cat out of the bag to the LA Times:

“Well, we are having a great month. We will do about 3,300 Volt sales this month”

New Pricing On The Volt Meant A New All-Time Record For EV Sales

New Pricing On The Volt Meant A New All-Time Record For EV Sales

Then as Nissan said they were seeing LEAF sales ramp up in several markets across the country and they also expected an all-time high for August, we figured a monthly record for plug-in sales in America would be set.

However, what no one saw coming was Toyota doubling their best result of the year on the Prius plug-in, and having 8 out of the 14 major models available to the US consumer hit yearly highs in total.

The end result?

Chevrolet sold an all-time record 3,351 cars, Nissan set a personal best mark of 2,420 LEAFs, and the Toyota Prius sold 1,791 plug-ins.  Just taking those three vehicle’s sales combined (7,592 cars sold) beat July’s result by 850 units.

By the time all the numbers shook out, the total plug-in sales number reached the 5 digit mark for the first time in history as more than 10,000 plug-ins were sold in the United States, obliterating the former mark of 8,559 set in December of 2012 – proving the business of electric vehicles is still the strongest automotive growth segment in America.

Actually, to be perfectly accurate – more than 11,000 vehicles were sold, as we put August 2013 total plug-in sales at 11,073 units.

2013 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers (click to enlarge) *Estimated Tesla North America numbers have been included in this graph, which include Canadian sales. Tesla Total Sales Verified Through June 2013 (as per Q2 financials) *Fiat 500e estimated based on available data

2013 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers (click to enlarge) *Estimated Tesla North America numbers have been included in this graph, which include Canadian sales. Tesla Total Sales Verified Through June 2013 (as per Q2 financials) *Fiat 500e estimated based on available data

August’s EV sales are a whopping 29% improvement over the best month ever, and 64% better than July. 

Where do we go from here?  Hopefully only higher and higher.

Editor’s NoteEvery month InsideEV’s tracks the progress and happenings of every plug-in sold in America for the current month – to see how your own favorite EV did in August (or any prior month) you can click the tab at the top of the site, or click the monthly link here.


Categories: Chevrolet, Fiat, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Sales, Smart, Tesla, Toyota


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51 Comments on "America Loves Electric Vehicles – Passes 10,000 Sold For First Time In August"

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Well this is a story that I will be repeating A LOT….

Nice one Mark!! Me too…

But according to Fox news, “nobody is buying these cars.”

Unfortunately they have a point.

Compared with other cars, the numbers are neglegable; altogether less than a fifth of F150s sold.

The numbers are increasing, there is strong growth, so there is hope.

Nobody but us “lefties”.

Also, if these sales were to remain at this level or higher the rest of the year, we’ll surpass 100,000 plug-in vehicles sold for the year. I’m not optimistic that will happen as I suspect fall/winter sales to decrease slightly. But it could.

Thinking the same thoughts David. Wonder if Fixed News will report it and wondering if we see the 100,000 mark. I keep thinking we are 5000 short but when you get in that tight of window anything can happen.

++ I hope so too

I used this article about just over an hour ago before it was even published. LOL! I hoped I would be right and now insideevs saves me! Time to send a link of this to my friends.
This is really good news, look at how those numbers are growing…

Good stuff for sure! Let’s hope the trend continues!


And thanks insideevs for your citizen journalism, leading the EV news segment 🙂

One small tip from a numbers guy: given that the numbers for Tesla S and Fiat 500e are estimates, I think you can already safely say that August sales were “about 11,000”.

Trust me, it is very tempting, but that was the numbers we came up with looking at the data on hand.

I will say this — we know the smart ED set an all-time best by a good margin, its just the Daimler exec who can/does split out the numbers for us is on a little vacation…I’ve got a pretty good feeling it is going to be more than 109 to get us past 11,000 (so we worded the title pretty carefully on this one)

/will definitely update the moment we get them

Thanks Jay for the q response. My point was that the 500e and especially the S estimates are easily 100-200 off to some direction, as we’ve learned from the past.

So saying “about 11,000” (not in your table where precise counts are nice, but in the text) is totally fine.

Fair point, (=

I’m sure the EV haters will still spin this negatively, saying something like “10k EV sales in a month? So what! The Honda Civic sold almost 40k units in August by itself! EVs are a joke!”

I am curious how the rest of the year plays out. No doubt September #’s will dip compared to Aug, but I’m thinking sales will start climbing again towards the end of the year, with people wanting to claim the tax credits when they file next year.

Yup, it’s been hilarious watching the goalposts move in the anti-EV crowd’s shifting party line… “EVs are glorified lawnmowers” oops, Volt and Leaf shut this one down “Sure, Leaf got these awards but its range is ridiculous”, oops, cue in the Tesla S a.k.a. Best Car Ever “Tesla is the next Solyndra, short it now before it’s gone forever”, we all know how that one went… “Yeah, Volt has unlimited range, but it’s too expensive and so is the Leaf”, cue in the 2013 models and their prices “EV makers are desperate, engaging in price wars”, No dummy, that’s what happens to a new tech’s 2nd wave. Leaf’s inventory being measured in hours doesn’t sound like desperation to me… “Yeah, they’re selling great but buyer beware – the resale value is in the dump”, well, nearly all of us are on a lease, and those who buy a used Leaf now for $15-20k will save some $3k each year in gas and maintenance, recuperating *the entire cost* in 5 years or so. “Well, it’s all a government-subsidy racket, you can’t beat ‘free'”, when was the last time you *really* checked the amount of subsidies for oil companies over the years?… Read more »

The way it’s looking, my nieces and nephews will be growing up breathing cleaner air. Happy days!..

Think I’m going to have to get a cake or a giant cookie and put a giant 10,000 mark on it with a car and T-Rex to celebrate in that I had been hoping someone to break the big 3000 but it’s amazing how the Chevy rocketed past that and if they sell another 700 on top then they could easily hit 4000 with in the next two months. I’m also shocked that we broke almost 4 electric car records first one first one to sell over 3000 cars Chevy Volt. All time Chevy volt sales. All time Nissan Leaf sales. The first time we broke the big 10,000.

The Plug in Prius to me was star of the show in that I though the other cars would kill it do to their price cuts but instead the pie at which they are competing in grew instead allowing everyone to gain more sales numbers.

You could do 10500 with an asterisk on the cake.

Sorry, should have said 11000 with asterisk.

Here in the Northeastern USA there have been significant incentives on the PiP for months, basically making it as cheap as a Prius liftback 3. Buyers should be getting that instead of the liftback. Maybe people are finally figuring out that you can order from a dealer in another state and get the incentive.

What is the number of cars sold per model and where does Volt fall on that scale? People that say 3,351 cars is a low number don’t realize that there are many different cars that are way lower sales volume than Volt. Corvette is one of them.

I think it’s remarkable that GM sells this many given their extreme lack of marketing.

Technical car-types I know don’t even know what Volt is all about and less about ELR. They are starting to see as McLaren, Ferrari, F1 and others hybridize their racing machines. The problem is that some of the tech that goes into Volt also makes it possible to design a 300+hp V-6!

It makes me feel great knowing my fellow man/woman has finally seen the light. We all need to breathe clean air. The day pure ICE vehicles are put to rest will be the happiest day of my life.


I’m printing this article out and bringing it to my EV station commissioning next week.

Thanks Jay and the rest of the InsideEVs staff! =^)

…thanks for the kind words Anthony, (=

Long way to go to get evs flowing like water off the showroom floor. They have moved from Novelty to Hmmmm stage in peoples’ minds. Most buyers can only afford or maybe choose to lease, so I am not convinced that they all will rebuy when their lease term is up. I want to get an erev cuv but there are very few to choose from now. Will make due with our Volt and CR-V for now.

FOX will report the presence of 10.000 communist anti-American a month is proven.

And they are right.

If you don’t buy terrorist oil, support the destruction of natural beauty or poison the air of your friends and neighbors, then you are a total American-hating commi, damn it!

Thanks for the updates – it’s fun to see these sales expanding and the segment thriving (relatively).

Can you clarify what you mean by this statement:

“… the business of electric vehicles is still the strongest automotive segment in America.”

You mean the strongest growth? And for what time frames (month over month / year over year, or ??).

Yes, I guess it should read” … the strongest automotive growth segment in America” for more clarity. /thanks

The country is starting to appreciate the joys of silently driving on dirt cheap electricity that you can fill-up at home. Nice.

Shit it’s about time.!
Look the fruits of our labor after yammering about it all this time.

Just to bring people a bit closer to reality, 10,000 or 11,000 PEVs out of ca. 1.4 million LDVs sold in August is just about 0.7%. Nice, but hardly a sign that these cars are mainstream. Have we yet reached even 5% of monthly sales when counting all EVs (which includes HEVs)? Here’s last month, when it was 3.85%:

Hey GRA, don’t take our joy away! lol Everybody here is well aware of percentage. Though far from mainstream every 10,000 puts us close to the future reality that we all seek. Even when we pass the million milestone the numbers are still small, but the bar is moving, the bar is moving, the bar is moving….

I’ll Drink to that!!

Awesome news! Who-da-thunk that a substantial price drop on these cars would make such a difference! 🙂 We should pat ourselves on the back…we have been saying this for years!

Via an inside source, smarts number is more than enough to make this 11K. If he’s right, it’s close to total sales for the past 3 months combined.

We leased our ’13 Focus EV in July. I really wish Ford would do more to advertise it. The car has some advantages over the Leaf that out sells it by 12x, it’s real shame that people don’t have a way of knowing that unless they do the research.

It seems the 80 EV mile full EV market is a tiny one. Even with heavy marketing, Nissan’s best sales month today average only 48 units per state. With the Leaf at a discounted price, sales could not even cover the marketing effort, not to mention the distribution aspect. Which means with such a small consumer market, just producing more and marketing more will just create more losses and make a bad situation worse. The two vehicles would end up splitting the tiny market the Leaf is working with at a loss for Nissan. Which is why Ford makes the Focus Electric available for order for those in the market for an EV, who do the research and would know it’s available. No wasted marketing dollars talking to consumers who are not interested in the first place. The C-Max/Fusion Energi gets the marketing dollars since that is a much larger market than for a 80 mile full EV. Similar to what Apple does with the Mac mini. Apple does not run tv ads for the device, but it’s on the Apple website for those who already want a Mac, and do the research online to see if it works for… Read more »

“Because right now, the 80 mile EV is seen as an expensive, limited range second car that works out quite well for some.”

Yeah it is seen as expensive despite the fact that it is not. Note the TCO values for Leaf vs. Versa to see the Leaf is cheaper.

$31248 Versa
$23886 Leaf

That doesn’t take into account that if you take advantage of time of use rates the EV ‘Fuel’ cost is even less than what it estimates for my area above. Also, note that is an Oregon zip code which has no state tax credit on the car itself, so a place like GA, the difference would be even more

Same thing with Volt – so many people have no idea that they aren’t as expensive as they seem. To many BS stories (especially with the Volt) sighting payback time takes forever vs some other ICE car, but they do that using calculations that simply look at MSRP instead of depreciation + financing cost. The car with the cheaper sticker always wins that scenario even when it isn’t the truly most cost effective option.

Add 182 Smart ED’s to that number—-from the SmartUsa website.

Dang they always release as soon as decided its time to sleep, lol.

All updated/put to bed now…great month for smart too. Only real dog in the mix for August was the Accord PHEV (can’t blame the i-MiEV because that was a self-inflicted wound by Mitsu)

Maybe this is the 100th monkey moment….


Congrats Ford!!

The Ford Fusion Energi also had a 47% sales increase. And the C-Max had a 43% sales increase.

August was a record month for Ford plug-in vehicles, with 1,396 sold in the US.

Which also means Ford has sold more plug-in vehicles YTD than it’s arch rival Toyota by 422 units, with 7,252 vs 6830.

Thanks Jay and Inside EV’s for providing these stats. Minor correction to this part: “Chevrolet sold an all-time record 3,351 cars,”

Actually they sold more than that — 3,453. The 3,351 number is for there just the Volt sales. But, the Spark is still a Chevy. I didn’t think about that the first time I read this — as the Volt all time record for a any plug in car is the real story for Chevy’s contribution this month.

Thanks very much for this writeup, Jay.

Wondering about those Model S numbers. We know they are estimates, but are they from company guidance for Q3 or from reported VIN numbers on the Tesla forums?

Jay, know you are as excited as I am about the figures, and that you saw it coming like I did. Can you please post your prior-year charts at bottom, like you usually do, so we can giggle over how far we’ve come from those earlier days? (We don’t all have them memorized).

Hey Christine, that might be fun too:

Good news.

We may not reach the unrealistic goal of 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015, but 500,000 plug in vehicles by 2015 sounds like a very real possibility now…

Of course the nay-sayers would call 999,999 plug-ins a failure….

Jay, big thanks to you for this monthly look at the numbers! It really feels good to see the numbers climb this way. There are a million reasons to root for electric cars of all sorts, and now there are more than ten different cars to choose from, and that is very cool!
I hope your site is getting plenty of hits and that the ad money is starting to add up!

Thanks Ziv. My weakness is a love of the numbers, we probably do too much stat-reporting for the US because of it.

As for the site, we are actually now the largest site dedicated to plug-in cars on the web…so that is pretty swell. 100% of any revenue from ads you see (at least now and for the foreseeable future) is put back into the site for more content, net servers, autoshow/trip expenses, etc. No media empire behind us to feed…we just don’t have to take the bus as much anymore, (=