Sales Growth Curve Predicts 1 Million Plug-In Electric Vehicles On U.S. Roads By 2017


One million by 2017!!!

If the current sales growth rate continues, there will be one million plug-in electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2017.

That’s according to InsideEVs contributor Mark Larsen, who created this simple graphic using InsideEVs sales data.

Will 2017 be the year when one millions EVs are on U.S. roads?  Will that milestone be achieved sooner than 2017?  Later than?  What’s your take?

Check out more of Larsen’s recent contributions to InsideEVs at the links below:

US Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales To Date – Stacked And Sliced

US Electric Vehicle Market Share – Model By Model Breakdown

Nissan LEAF Versus Chevy Volt – Cumulative Sales Graph With Exponential Curve

Cumulative Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales With Model-By-Model Breakdown For US – Behold Mount “EV”erest

*For more of Mark Larsen’s electric vehicle related works, check out his personal website here.

Categories: General, Sales


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29 Comments on "Sales Growth Curve Predicts 1 Million Plug-In Electric Vehicles On U.S. Roads By 2017"

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It might be 2017, it might be 2018. Regardless, that milestone is coming and only a few years away now. We are currently half way to the global million, so that milestone should obviously fall in the next few years. We do love to count, especially when it continues to rise.

I REALLY wish we had some way to monitor the EV conversions. For certain, that number is on the rise as well.

I have a suspicion there will be an acceleration of growth in 2016-2017 when a lot of 2nd/3rd generation vehicles start showing up.

I agree.

2017 is a very good bet at the 1 million vehicle year. But there might be 500k sales in that year alone. If you consider the potential of Volt 2.0 (plus variants), Leaf 2.0, and Model 3, they could easily capture 200k by themselves.

Very strongly agree, David.

Everything about this situation simply screams “tipping point”. Every time batteries edge down in price we inch closer to that game-changing moment. Trying to predict exactly when it will happen is hideously difficult, as it’s at least as much a matter of psychology as it is technology and brute force economics. But all the trends are moving us in the right direction for one heck of an exciting (and sometimes hair-raising) ride.

Great extrapolation Mark!

Want to take a shot at that with kdawg’s % of sales data? It would be interesting to predict 1%, 5%, and 10% sales penetration.

It looks like we could hit 1% this year if we have a strong fall. 5% could be the 2017 year and maybe 10% by 2020.

Batteries below $200 KW/h and will be the beginning of the end of ICE.

I would guess just before Federal Tax credits begin to phase out for specific models, there will be a rush of buyers increasing those sales numbers. If the Feds are smart they won’t announce an extension until after the buying frenzy is over.

Yes, and with solar installation tax breaks going bye bye, at the same time, we are probably going to see some real activity in those sectors which will probably continue unabated until the deadlines are reached.

2015 is one more year I expect a big jump in sales because of Model X and Outlander PHEV (assuming they won’t push it further).

Gen 2 Leaf, Volt and Model 3 may be short of supply, though in 2017. Also there may be a problem with the tax credit running out.

If GM would build a PHEV SUV, I think they would have a huge seller. But they would not be happy because ICE SUVs are much more profitable.

With all due respect to Mark Larsen, there is a fundamental mistake.

It is true that there is a 5% per month increase on the cumulative EV count. But, as is the nature of such things, it goes down over time.

2011 42%
2012 12%
2013 8%
2014 5%

I have spoken to Mark about this, and he does not agree with me.

This brings up an interesting point. I’d love to see this data plotted on a graph with a logarithmic y-axis. Perhaps when I find some time I’ll give it a shot.

Too bad we can’t pop images into the reply box.

Hey John,

Just drop the link/address in the comment box and magical fairies will convert it within a few minutes, (=

Well done, thanks! From the semi-log plot, it is clear that the growth rate is falling. In fact, it looks like the growth is somewhere between linear and exponential.

I suspect that, much like battery tech itself, EV growth will look more like a piece-wise linear plot with increasing slope. Each generation will bring a noticeable increase in the sales rate, but between generations it will remain linear, and this will repeat into the next decade. That’s just my guess though.

Based on these graphs. Any guess on whether my plots of Mark’s plots are more likely?

Actually, I was referring to the blue line – historical data. I gave my prediction, that it will not be a smooth curve for the next decade. Instead, we will see major jumps in rates as each progressive generation of EV and batteries hit the market.

too lazy to pursue it myself, but I think your disagreement could be heavily based upon using the 42% number of the first year?

2011 was just too strange, all players weren’t in place, availability and public fear about something so new – you can call today’s buyer an ‘early adopter’, in 2011 it was quite a gamble, MHO…

Electric vehicle sale are up 33% so far this year. Last month 34% with only 500 Teslas sold. I think we’re looking at the first part of a bell curve.

Hahaha! It is *NOT* that I disagree –or agree! It is that you have missed the entire point of the line graph. Again… if… IF… *IF*… the current growth rate (5% per month) continues, the chart simply shows the results. Period.

Will it hold steady? Well, that’s a totally different question for a totally different post. You predict the growth rate will not hold steady at the current level, but drop lower. Fine. On the other hand, others might predict that, with factories ramping up production, and more EVs entering the market, it might rise even higher. Also fine.

Such speculations aside, when all is said and done only time will tell if the current growth rate continues, falls, or rises. We’ll see what 2017 brings.

Some how I’ve failed to explain to you the difference in applying the growth rate to
1) 5% increase in sales per month
2) 5% increase in cumulative installed EVs

The latter is the type of exponential growth that only occurs in biological systems and would only be appropriate if EVs mated and produced offspring.

The former is very aggressive sales growth of a new technology.

The key thing is that both my graphs and your graphs show 5% per month increase.

Tsk. What is the first word in my graph title? YOU fail to understand that it was intended to show the number of EVs that will have acCUMULATed on our roads *IF* the current monthly growth rate of 5% continues. You keep trying to argue that there’s something wrong with an orange because it isn’t an apple.

See you in 2017.

I’m afraid John is right. You don’t get to apply the 5% to the existing total of EVs in service unless they are themselves reproducing in the wild.

Nope. Te equivocas, Francisco. Bigg’s claim that the cumulative result with a 5% growth rate “only occurs in biological systems and would only be appropriate if EVs mated and produced offspring”… is WRONG.

If last month you deposited $220,000 in a savings plan that pays 5% interest per month, how much money will you have accumulated by 2017? Surely you’re not telling me that those dollars will be “reproducing in the wild”…?!

The premise still stands: if… IF… *IF*… the current 5% growth rate holds steady, the cumulative number of EVs on our roads will amount to what the graph plots.

NOW… if you don’t think the growth percentage will continue at that rate… fine! But that’s a topic for a different post. I am not claiming that it will or won’t: I’m just showing the result -> *IF* <- it does. Math doesn't lie.

One other point, I’m not predicting anything?

I’m simply extrapolating the growth, but in the appropriate way.

Electric Car Guest Drive

With more manufacturers bringing new EVs to the market, and new models from existing OEMs, we’ll see some stepwise increases not shown in the graphs.

The Tesla Model III, for example, will put a bend in that knee.

Apart from the high cost of EVs and limited charging infrustructure another factor in slowish (or not as fast as we would wish) growth was simply limited choice. All of this is changing. Costs are coming down, charging infrastucture is improving but what is also very important is that there is more choice with Tesla, GM, VW, Audi, BMW and other companies planning to bring lots of new, different models to the market. Early adopters were often affluent treehuggers (rare breed). Tesla proved that you can make almost any driver crazy about EVs when you build the car right. Even so not everyone will buy a sedan or hatchback like LEAF. People base their choices on different criteria -some buy specific types of cars like SUVs etc, some stick to certain brands and others buy mostly cars made in their own country (especially true of the Germans). Once you cover most of these scenarios which is about to happen now it is a completely different ball game.

“~limited charging structure” WHAT! My friend, there are north of 1.5 BILLION 110V AC Outlets in North America, ALL EV’s REFUEL THIS WAY! Of course, common sense applies when hooking up in the wild. 15a dedicated circuit, etc., and always ask for permission first(wink). Off Peak, overnight home refueling, L1 110V AC, for bout a buck a day, for the 64% of stand alone home dwellers, covers 100% of their daily commuter needs, the Fed’s tell us. Add ten’s of thousands of L2 EV Filling Stations, now multiplying like rabbits, many Customer/Tenant – Loyalty/Open Wallet/Retention perks and refueling your ELectric Fueled Vehicle is a piece of cake. Here is the current list of EV Filling Stations compliment of Recargos’ Global Crowd Sourced Google Maps Locator, Plug Share- ZOOM, Zoom, zoom way in! Use on a portable device: While the Plug Share app is great it is not required. Portable device onboard browser works great after navigating to the Plug Share Website linked below. Link Goes To Plug Share Dot Com- Primary player is ChargePoint. Many ChargePoint EV Filling Stations are FREE Merchant Comp. Call the 800 number, if so, for free activation! 888-758-4389 An Early, never broadcast Chevy Volt… Read more »