The Top Two Selling EVs Have Now Logged Over One Billion Miles – Their Story So Far

FEB 25 2014 BY MARK HOVIS 19

700,000,000KM or 435,000,000 Miles

Just turned 700,000,000KM or 435,000,000 Miles

Of the top four selling EVs,  two of them post the number of miles driven and update in real time. The Nissan LEAF just turned 700,000,000KM or 435,000,000 miles. The Chevy Volt has logged 400,000,000 electric miles and 640,000,000 overall.  These two pioneering EVs have now logged over a billion miles.

Here is where they started

In both 2011 and 2012 the Chevrolet Volt ranked first in Consumer Reports’ list of owner-satisfaction based on its Annual Auto Survey, with 93% & 92% respondents saying they definitely would purchase that same vehicle again.  The Volt also won the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year,

The Chevrolet Volt Is The Domestic (US) Leader For All-Electric Miles Driven

The Chevrolet Volt Is The Domestic (US) Leader For All-Electric Miles Driven

Both the Volt and the Nissan LEAF won the “Top Safety Pick” awarded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And both received top ratings of “Good” for front, side, and rear impact crash tests, and also on rollover protection. All injury measurements except one were rated good, indicating a low risk of significant injuries in crashes according to the scale of severity employed in the IIHS’s testing.

The Volt received a five-star overall crash safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the highest-possible score. This rating was obtained with NHTSA’s New Car Assessment for MY2011.  The LEAF received the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) awarded the Leaf the highest five star car safety rating.

400,000,000 Miles

400,000,000 Miles Or Thereabouts

Editor’s Note:  The Volt and LEAF mileage numbers are compiled via online tracking of enabled cars, the actual mileages driven on pure electricity for both cars combined is assumed to be much higher than 1 billion miles.  Also of interest:  The Chevy Volt counter often runs backwards, or at the time this was written…not at all.

The Lows Along The Way

NHSTA Chevrolet Volt Fire

NHSTA Chevrolet Volt Fire

In June 2011, a fire ignited three weeks after a Volt was subjected to a 20 mph side pole impact crash test followed by a simulated post-impact rollover at the NHTSA. See #6 here. This  brought the Chevy Volt under attack and questioned whether the lithium ion battery was ready for market.  Almost immediately a series of garage fires were reported and blamed on the Volt.

At the completion of its investigation NHTSA stated that it has concluded that no discernible defect trend exists. The Volt was also later cleared in every garage incident but the media damage was done.

A Group Of "Low Battery Capacity" Nissan LEAFs Gather For A High Profile Range Test In Phoenix In 2012

A Group Of “Low Battery Capacity” Nissan LEAFs Gather For A High Profile Range Test In Phoenix In 2012

In May 2012, several U.S. LEAF owners reported seeing only 11 of 12 battery capacity bars  indicating  some battery capacity loss. As the summer progressed, more LEAFs reported loss of two, three, and a rare four battery capacity bars. Most cases were confined to regions with hot climate, such as Phoenix, Arizona and regions of Texas. In September 2012, Nissan Executive Vice President declared that there was no problem with the battery and that any customer complaints were the result of instrument problems.  As a response, a group of 12 Phoenix Leaf owners lead by EV advocate Tony Williams participated in an extensive independent test in controlled conditions. The test confirmed that the Leaf did indeed suffer from poor instruments, but also proved significant capacity loss in some cars.

In January 2013 Nissan USA announced that it will offer an extended battery warranty that would also  include 2011 and 2012 LEAFs as well.


A Billion Miles Later

LEAF Plant Smyrna TN

LEAF Plant Smyrna TN

First a report on the fires that have occurred either while stationery, driving, charging or in a collision. (crickets)

With the US reporting 90 fires per billion miles driven, remarkably neither of these pioneering EVs have produced a single fire. I consider this newsworthy. For all of the hype surrounding EVs and the potential for fires, this is big news.

Naturally at some point a fire instance will inevitably break in both these cars, but zero fires in a billion miles? This is the story so far.

In January 2013, Nissan began production in Smyrna TN. The facility is capable of producing 150,000 LEAFs annually, but is currently tooled to build just under 40,000.

With over a third of this market manufactured in the Americas and the US leading in sales, would we not expect more accolades from the media? Between Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford, and Tesla, it is possible that 100,000 EVs could be produced in the Americas this year.

Expect to see the next billion miles and millions of gallons of oil saved much sooner than the first.

Categories: Chevrolet, Nissan, Sales

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19 Comments on "The Top Two Selling EVs Have Now Logged Over One Billion Miles – Their Story So Far"

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Combined, these two plug-ins account for less than 0.5% of new vehicle sales. The fact that they have already hit 1 billion miles really drives home how much people drive these days. If only there were some way to reduce the number of miles driven…

You’re right. We need to accept things like telecommuting better. My job, for instance, could be done at home for about 75% of the time.

We also need to have better urban planning and development so people don’t have to drive so far. My job is 9 miles from my house, so I only end up putting around 6000 miles on my car every year, which includes non-work driving.

Better urban planning and public transit would make a huge difference. I intentionally chose a house that is <2 miles from where I work, but I'm in the minority. A few of my coworkers commute from about 65 miles away (130 miles round trip!). Plus people change jobs/homes so often that living close only works if both are relatively stable.

Nice summary. Very impressive for both cars when you think about dependability.
435,000,000 Miles – Are the LEAF world wide?
400,000,000 Miles – We know the Volt’s are USA only.

I still get asked by people if I’m worried about the cars catching fire. I just explain that I’m not worried because there has never been a documented case of a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt catching fire outside of a laboratory setting, and with 100,000 Leafs in the Wild and about half that many Volts, I’d say fire is a non-issue.

As Elon says, much less of a chance than the gas-powered car. I mentioned that to my wife and she was then concerned about her ICE car!

Zero fires in LEAF or Volt but 5 fires attributed to the Tesla Model S although there are far fewer vehicles sold and miles driven.

3 Tesla vehicle fires, not 5

3 accidents, 1 home charging adapter and the garage fire that no one knows the cause to and people just decided to blame Tesla for it without any proof.

Could someone post a statistic number how many ICE cars go up in flames every hour, day, or week? I think such a number is more tangible (and probably more impressive) for the public than saying there are 90 fires for every “billion” driven miles in the U.S.

People can relate to 10, 20, or 50 miles, but 1,000,000,000 miles??

Great summary Mark, thanks for putting it together!

How about : Electric vehicles. Hundreds of times less likely to be cremated in.

Interesting that since LEAF has about 100K units out in the real world and Volt has about 60K units out there in the real world. But Volt almost has as many EV miles as the LEAF….

So, on average, Volt owner must drive more EV miles than the LEAF…..

That alone shows the important need to have both higher range EREV/PHEV like the Volt as well as BEVs…

I imagine a 80 miles AER Volt or the BMW i3 REx would do more to those numbers….

Yes, it Volt drivers do indeed average more EV miles per vehicle.

it’s an impressive number for EVs. think what a better battery would do. just the savings in maintenance and oil changes is something Leaf could really be selling. Are there 100000k mile Leafs out there with no maintenance? tires?

The stock tires on the Leaf last maybe 16k-17k miles. I don’t know of any tires that last 100k, let alone 100,000k (100 million) miles! I only have 17k miles, but the only maintenance was a new set of tires.