December 2012 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

JAN 3 2013 BY JAY COLE 37

December of 2012 will close out as the strongest month on record for plug-in vehicle sales, as the ever-widening choices of plug-in vehicles continue to expand, and consumers look to book their 2012 federal tax credit (up to $7,500) before years end.

(last update: Friday, January 4th @ 8:55pm)

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt:  GM rebounded from a less than impressive November result to post a near-best 2,633 sales for December.

December’s result brings the Volt’s year-end total up to 23,451, triple that of 2011.

During a holiday shorted work schedule, GM’s Hamtramck facility produced 1,509 Volts (and 6 Amperas), which may adversely affect sales in the first month of 2013.  Sales PDF from GM can be found here, production PDF here.


2012 Nissan LEAF


Nissan LEAF:  In December Nissan sold 1,489 LEAFs, bringing its yearly total to just under 10,000 at 9,819.

Thanks to massive discount program (as much as $9,775 by one dealer) offered to move inventory before the announcement of a better and cheaper US-made LEAF, Nissan has been enjoying a sales resurgence of late.

In November 1,539 73-mile EVs were sold, narrowly missing the year-high of 1,579 LEAFs sold in October, which obliterated Nissan’s previous best effort of the year.



2013 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales. However, consistent SEC filings, factory reports and tweets lets us be fairly accurate.

By most estimates, Tesla had sold around 900 Model S sedans going into December, and Tesla reconfirmed as late as mid-November that it would still deliver at least 2,700-3,225 by year’s end.

However, by the start of December, it seemed fairly obviously that Tesla would not be able to achieve sales of 2,000-odd units for the month.  To improve results, Tesla then sent out emails early in the month to almost all reservation holders expecting delivery of their Model S in January (and some February) to “move up” their paperwork to log sales into December, regardless if the car did not actually get delivered in the month.

Even still, the highest VIN we seen allocated by Tesla by the technical month cutoff was around 3,100, and all the VINS are not built and delivered sequentially.  We estimate Tesla delivered (or at least quasi-delivered) around 1,500-1,800 cars in December, bringing the yearly total to about 2,400-2,700.  We will know for sure when the company reports Q4 results in a couple weeks.

Update:  Tesla reports approximately 2,650 Model S sedans sold in 2012


Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma: Like Tesla, Fisker does not report monthly sales. Fisker also is not keen to report bad news until the last possible moment…probably because they haven’t built a thing since July.

This will probably Fisker’s last month on the sales round-up chart here at InsideEVs as results are near meaningless.

Henrik Fisker last month said Fisker has sold almost 2,000 Karmas in total, and playing the “highest VIN we can find game” netted us around 2,700, which leaves about 700 still available to be sold…that is until you consider that Fisker lost 338 of those Karmas to Superstorm Sandy. making the available pool of Karmas left around 350 units, 140 of which are still in US inventory.


2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In

Toyota Prius Plug-In: In December, Toyota had another relatively strong month considering the amount of Prius-alike nameplate competing for customer’s attention.  1,361 PIPs were sold, bringing the car’s yearly total up to 12,750.







2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi: After a really (really) strong start, the plug-in hybrid Ford came down to earth a little in December, selling 971 units.

However, demand was not the issue, as Ford ‘focused’ on getting the Fusion Energi ready to go to market and production of the C-Max Energi (and thereby dealer inventories) was adversely effected.  Less than 175 were available still to be bought off dealer lots closing out the year.

In November, the C-Max Energi’s first full month on the market, Ford sold 1,259 copies.  It is also worth nothing that these 1,259 sales came almost 100% outside the state of California, the largest purchaser of plug-in vehicles in the nation.


2013 Honda Fit EV

Honda Fit EV:  Another month of lackluster interest in Honda’s all-electric car netted only 19 sales.

Since its introduction, the Honda Fit EV has been met with a huge shrugging of the shoulders by the US car buyer as the Japanese automaker has been unable to entice anymore than a handful of buyers.

To illustrate how poor sales have been for Honda, last month they set an all-time high of 26 Fit EVs sold.

Looking ahead, the Accord Plug-In should pump up the overall plug-in number for the company, as Honda said the car would go on sale starting January 15th, 2013 (in California and Oregon).

In November, Honda released more details and pricing ($39,780) on the 13 mile extended range hybrid.  At a price close to $40,000, adoption of the plug-in is expected to be fairly low.



2013 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric: Ford posted a ‘decent for the them’ result of 167 Focus Electric sales in December.

The last two months improved results are mostly thanks to an ever-widening dealer base in anticipation of selling C-Max and Fusion Energis.  In November, Ford posted its best result to date with 179 EVs sold.





Continuing to Ruin our “All Black” Motif Of EVs, the All-new 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV

Toyota RAV4 EV:  After suffering its second month of sales decreases in November, Toyota slashed the MSRP on the RAV4 EV by as much as $7,500 in hopes to both move metal and book much needed ZEV (zero emission vehicle) credits before year’s end.

However, the program was not that big of a success as Toyota ended up still only selling 52 RAV4 EVs, as compared to 32 last month.






2012 Mitsubishi i

Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Some heavier discounting during the month helped Mitsubishi to one of its better results of late, as the company sold 77 i-MiEVs this month.

In November, Mitsu broke a string of selling thirty-something i-MiEVs a month for what seemed like an eternity, as they sold 42 during the month.

To say Mitsubishi’s monthly results are (if nothing else), consistent, would be an understatement. Here are the previous seven month results: 77-42-33-33-37-36-30

Like Honda with the Accord plug-in, the new Outlander PHEV (due out mid 2013), can’t start selling soon enough to prop up Mitsubishi’s plug-in asperations.



Coming In January 2013:


2013 Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi:  Expected in dealerships late in January, the Fusion Energi offers up basically the same package as the C-Max Energi but in a larger sedan package.

The third plug-in to be offered from Ford has just been rated by the EPA at a combined 100 MPGe (92 MPGe highway, 108 MPGs city), and has an all-electric range estimated at about 20 miles.

Unlike its sibling C-Max Energi, the Fusion Energi has to be priced inline with the other 5 trim levels in the model lineup, and by that we mean at the top-end, so as not to ‘steal’ sales from itself.  Ford has set the entry level to get into the EV at $39,495.  Ouch.



2014 (yes, 2014) Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

Honda Accord Plug-In: Finally an offering a little more serious about the plug-in business hits the road for Honda this month.

Officially classed as the new year’s first ‘201’ model, the Accord PHEV doesn’t come cheap, as Honda has recently priced the sedan at a very Fusion Energi-like $38,780, markedly higher than consumer expectation for the car.

The Accord plug-in has a 13 mile all-electric range, and has been given a MPGe valuation of 115 MPGe, the highest rating of any plug-in extended range vehicle.


Categories: Chevrolet, Fisker / Karma, Ford, General, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Tesla, Toyota

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37 Comments on "December 2012 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card"

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The LEAF has got to get 1700 in December so it can pass the 10k mark for 2012 – it’s doable and hopefully will happen.

Great to see the Volt do so well without big incentives from above. It is the cornerstone of an EV market segment that, finally, will become permanent and will be fast expanding. The Volt has laid the foundation for other manufacturers to jump in with their own versions.

Let the good times roll, things are only going to get better as this growing market segment pushes EV technology to advance forward. I foresee a golden period ahead for this country thanks to what all this means for economic growth and leadership.

The LEAF didn’t get to 10,000 for the year, so no it’s not doable given the year is over.

“model-by-model list is populated as it is reported in real time by each manufacturer throughout the day” – i think stuart probably commented before Nissan reported on their numbers

Here’s a pic of a Black Rav4 EV, but it’s got a bosom buddy in it.

OK, here’s a better black Rav4. [IMG][/IMG]

not sure if the img will work

Thanks for the efforts. I see you are reporting the purchase price in some cases. Can you add two rows at the bottom of your graphic. Base price and base price with max tax credit. I think this is related to sales. A third row could be the tax credit amount — this would show/relate how the battery kWh size changes the bottom line for those it is applicable to.

Thats a pretty decent idea. Calendar is doing a roll-over, so I am probably going to do a re-work of the whole thing and that info would be a handy reference.

Well at least you didn’t put an * next to “decent” 🙂


I’m going to blame that on either:

A) fat fingers
b) small keyboard

/fixed, thanks

Thanks a lot for your monthly updates, much appreciated!

Hear! Hear!

This is the best EV news site on the entire web.

How could that possibly happen? 😉

On the Tesla numbers, I happened to be in the mall yesterday and swung by the Telsa “Gallery” near me. They wouldn’t tell me a number, but they were smiling when I asked how many cars they “delivered”. I did see on the forums somebody post paperwork compete for 32XX. Even if they only got 1500 out in Dec, that would make it #2 next to the Volt. Pretty impressive at its price point.

They mentioned there might be some sort of info released on it in the next few days. Check in on their blog, Elons twitter, or wherever else it might pop up. I’ll post back here if I turn it up.

I don’t think they are doing Q4 numbers until Feb 11th, so hopefully they will let out some news before that.

Thanks Josh, good stuff on the 32xx, highest I got confirmation on before the weekend was 3100-something. I think we are going to see a couple numbers from Tesla shortly, a ‘produced’ and a ‘delivered’ metric.

Whatever the year end number ends up being, Tesla certainly did a much better job getting cars out the door this month when their feet were to the fire.

Certainly send us a /tell if you see anything breaking. We like to get any news out the moment it happens whenever possible, (=

Seems like Tesla is playing games, which actually decreases my confidence in them as a company. Pulling up “sale” by changing paperwork dates but not delivering the car is at best misleading investors and the market. May have pumped the price a little, but its dropping back now that thruth is coming out.

This policy is not just a gimmick to post a higher sales number, it is a service to their customers who want to be able to claim their $7500 tax credit in 2012. Tesla has nothing to gain by playing games, what counts is total sales, not what day the paperwork was done.

Two minor nitpicks:
1. The Honda Fit EV is lease-only, so perhaps it’s disingenuous to use the phrase “sales”. Maybe “vehicles delivered” might be a better choice? Count me in as one “sale” Honda lost.
2. Never understood why Inside EVs is including EV-wannabe hybrids like the Volt or Toyota PIP.

The Volt is an extended range ELECTRIC VEHICLE (emphasis added) 😉

It’s not hard to see on that the majority of miles on the Volt are electric-only miles. I think it’s an electric vehicle to be embraced. It’s the gateway drug to the pure EV world for those that need zero worries about range.

Well stated. It looks like EREVs have out sold BEVs 3-1 which shows that they are the gateway to the pure EV. In 5-10 years the BEV will be dominate but I think the EREV and hybrids will be around for a long time. While my home and EV are 100% solar powered, green house thriving in the winter, pellet stove keeping me “renewably” warm, I still plan on keeping my gas lawn mower, gas weed eater, and diesel New Holland. We are several Trek episodes away from a pure solution.

It looks like December was the best month ever by nearly 20%.

Not if you total global sales figures, then pure EVs lead the way in battery electric car sales.

Perhaps Jay can add global sales totals to the reports going forward in 2013. Thanks in advance Jay.


Thats a wicked hard compiling job, and I don’t get paid enough, lol. All the countries have their own reporting dates, and ways they report. Some are easy-peasy, some are nightmare-ish.

Just as ‘of interest pieces,’ we do plan on doing several year-end recaps from countries around the world over the next week or two as the numbers roll-in. (Actually, we just published out Australia and Norway)

That’s cool, thx Jay!

Yes, I’ve tried to chase some of those numbers for Leaf and it is hopeless.

Personally, I’m interested in all plug-in cars and their success in the market. So if it has a plug, I want to know about it. I own a Leaf and a Volt. I do not consider the Volt to be a “wannabe” because it does provide a true, complete, EV experience as long as you don’t go over approx 38 miles. You could argue the PiP and the C-Max Energi are “wannabe” because they only offer a limited EV drive capability, especially the PiP. However, I believe these cars are important because they will be the cars that ultimately help society move towards the pure EV. I suspect the wannabe EVs will be outselling the true EVs for 5 to 10 years, maybe longer.

Is Mitsu PHEV out mid of this year ? reported 2014 (was that the MY ?).

When I was talking to my source a few weeks ago (who seems to know what he is talking about when it comes to Mitsu) says that the MY 2013 currently in production is not US spec/compliant (by design I guess) and that the line won’t adapt US spec until MY 2014, but not until the fall of 2013, making the earliest US deliver very, very late 2013, but more likely January or February of 2014.

…and that it is going to be priced way (way) over the market.

I think Mitsu is making the same mistake with the PHEV as they did with the i. Bring it too late to the US market to make a dent. If i had come 1 year before Leaf, they would have sold a decent number of them.

Nice summary. Does the Honda Plug-in have the electric range limitations that the PIP has? Meaning, do you get 13 EV miles regardless if you use the heat, push the pedal hard, go highway speeds etc..??


The Honda is a little more sturdy in “EV Drive” mode; that is, it can stay all-electric greater than 62mph…up to about 80. That being said, the engine will kick on if you are really pushing the car under 60 and/or are looking for much acceleration above 60. Whenever you let up on the car though, it pops right back into EV mode. ie) slowing down

If I was classing it, I wouldn’t say it is an ultra-PIP, but more of a Volt-lite.

Of interest, the Accord plug-in will re-access the battery as it regens over the minimum state of charge after initial depletion. You can also reset the state of charging using the engine to juice up the battery…which on a technical/efficiency level really makes little sense, but it is interesting…I don’t know of any other plug-in that lets you do this. This re-access ability is probably what had a hand in enabling the Accord plug-in being classed as the first SULEV 20 (less than 20 milligram) extended range hybrid.

Jay, It’s not the cough medicine making the autos appear stretched!

Nobody commented on how well Lyle’s car did next to the piP. Pretty good way to go Ford!

No Ford #’s yet?

They were a touch slow (as they frustratingly always are), its 100% complete now, (=

Energi numbers went down a bit from November – I’d have assumed they would go up – since it is best to buy these in Dec to get the tax credit quickly. May be they had supply issues – still no Energi in Seattle.

Ford sold more than they could build. Holiday shutdown didn’t help, lol. Started December with no Calif inventory and ended up with only a couple dozen. About 150 units on dealer lots nationally ending out the month.

Just put up an article breaking down Ford’s month here if you want to check it out:

The really refreshing thing about this sales summary is how long you have to scroll to get to the bottom of the list of vehicles. Only a few years ago it was LEAF vs Volt. We have SO MANY choices now and of course more to come in 2013.