A Look Back At The Plug-In Electric Cars Models Offered In The U.S.


Average sales is now at roughly 7,300 per model per year

Here is a quick look at the number of plug-in electric car models offered on the market in the U.S. in particular years since December 2010. Only mainstream models are included.

According to our data, by the end of November 2018, each year the choice is wider (including retirement of some models), although we must honestly admit that nationwide coverage is not necessarily the case for many models, so the graphic should be considered as the best case scenario for California and maybe a handful of other states.

Number of mainstream plug-in car models on the market in the U.S.

In December 2010, only two models were available – Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF, joined by Mitsubishi i-MiEV in 2011.

Since then, the market expanded to over 40 models, including many compliance or low-volume cars, that were since discontinued.

Average annual sales of plug-in cars (per model) in U.S.

Because many manufacturers put on the market compliance plug-ins to get some credits, the average sales result per model per year didn’t change much and even dipped in 2015 to just 4,300. Selling just several thousands cars per year is not a business, at least if you are not in the high-end segment.

Thankfully, in 2018 the average increased a lot thanks to the Tesla Model 3 (average of over 82,000 per year during its 17 months on the market and 114,532 in the past 11 months). Hopefully, it will be an example for other manufacturers to sell many EVs and profit on the volume.

* the results are low partially because some new models entered the market during the year, while some other were discontinued before the end of the year.

Number of mainstream plug-in car models on the market in U.S. – details

2010 – 2 (2 new)

  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Nissan LEAF

2011 – 3 (1 new)

  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV

2012 – 9 (6 new)

  • Ford C-Max Energi
  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Honda Fit EV
  • Tesla Model S
  • Toyota Prius PHV
  • Toyota RAV4 EV

2013 – 16 (7 new)

  • Cadillac ELR
  • Chevrolet Spark EV
  • Fiat 500e
  • Ford Fusion Energi
  • Honda Accord PHV
  • Porsche Panamera PHEV
  • smart ED

2014 – 22 (6 new, 2 retired during the year)

  • BMW i3
  • BMW i8
  • Mercedes B-Class ED
  • Porsche Cayenne PHEV
  • Kia Soul EV
  • Volkswagen e-Golf

Honda Fit EV, Toyota RAV4 EV retire.

2015 – 27 (7 new, 2 retired during the year)

  • Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
  • BMW X5 xDrive40e
  • Hyundai Sonata PHEV
  • Mercedes S550e
  • Porsche 918 Spyder
  • Tesla Model X
  • Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV

Honda Accord PHV, Porsche 918 Spyder retire.

2016 – 31 (6 new, 1 retired during the year)

  • BMW 330e
  • BMW 740e
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV
  • Mercedes C350e
  • Mercedes GLE 550e
  • Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius PHV retire.

2017 – 42 (12 new, 3 retired during the year)

  • BMW 530e
  • Cadillac CT6 PHV
  • Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
  • Honda Clarity Electric
  • Honda Clarity PHEV
  • Hyundai IONIQ Electric
  • Kia Optima PHV
  • MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4
  • Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Volvo XC60 T8 PHEV
  • Volvo S90 T8 PHEV

Cadillac ELR, Chevrolet Spark EV, Mitsubishi i-MiEV retire.

2018 (November) – 43 (4 new, ? retire)

  • Mercedes GLC 350e
  • Hyundai IONIQ PHEV
  • Jaguar I-PACE
  • Kia Niro PHEV

Categories: General, Sales


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5 Comments on "A Look Back At The Plug-In Electric Cars Models Offered In The U.S."

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As for the notion of the Tesla 3 being an example to other manufacturers — it doesn’t work that way. The only thing that will make the foot-dragging Legacies act the way we on this site would prefer and do something the clearly don’t want to do, is a painfully high level of lost sales. When some spreadsheet jockey at Ford can go to management and say, “You know, if we were competitive in EVs and lost some ICEv sales to our own EV sales, we’d still be better off by X $/year of revenue/profit than if we keep letting people just go buy a Tesla or Leaf or Bolt or Kona or…” then something MIGHT change. I would wager heavily that these discussions are already happening inside various Legacy companies, but the right people aren’t winning them yet. I’ve worked in very big tech companies where the ongoing battles over products and direction were fierce. The expression “blood on the walls” was commonly used to describe some meetings. (If you want to see fireworks, watch what happens when a small team of experts convinces management to kill off a very big project that’s already consumed years and millions of… Read more »

Average is a misleading indicator. Since it is not weighted in any way, the value is distorted by an extreme. In this case, that extreme is Model 3. To accurately build a true representation of the market, a straight average must be avoided. Otherwise, the number will end up feeding a narrative.

Median is the more informative value, as this real-world example points out:

The average U.S. worker today earns roughly $46,641 a year, according to data from the Social Security Administration. The median salary in the country, however, is only $30,533, which tells us that a greater number of people earn less than the average than more.

On a regular basis, that same problem comes up with vehicle pricing. The value is distorted without any context to tell us what it really represents.

Yes, agreed!

2018 retire:
Ford C-Max Energi
Ford Focus EV
Mercedes B250e

Title should read “offered in California”