Top 5 Electric Cars Of All-Time: Cumulative Sales

DEC 2 2018 BY MARK KANE 30

Nissan LEAF is still far ahead of all the other plug-ins.

Thanks to its introduction very early on (December 2010), relatively high volume and sales worldwide, Nissan was able to put the LEAF at the forefront of all plug-ins. The advantage in cumulative sales is so high – over 375,000 were sold so far – that even several mistakes/problems or delays didn’t knock the LEAF out of its top spot yet.

The second best-selling electric car in the world is the Tesla Model Sover 253,000! Model S is doing superb, however it will never be mainstream like the Nissan LEAF.

The next three places belong to plug-in hybrids: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (178,509), Chevrolet Volt (176,767) and BYD Qin (173,232 of PHEV & BEV). Toyota Prius PHEV misses out on the top 5.

The future of plug-in hybrids in the Top 5 is misty, as BAIC EC-Series (150,000) and Tesla Model 3 (103,000) are adding some 20,000 units a month (at least in October). On the other hand, the Chevrolet Volt will be discontinued, while Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was hit in its biggest market in UK.

  1. Nissan LEAF: 375,619
  2. Tesla Model S: 253,078 (estimated)
  3. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: 178,509
  4. Chevrolet Volt (all versions): 176,767
  5. BYD Qin (PHEV & BEV): 173,232

Source: EV Sales Blog

Categories: BYD, Chevrolet, Nissan, Sales, Tesla

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30 Comments on "Top 5 Electric Cars Of All-Time: Cumulative Sales"

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Obviously the Volt and Outlander will be pushed out and replaced by the EC-Series and Model 3 in 2019.

Qin will probably hold its ground as #5 for awhile. Maybe the Model Y or something else yet to be released will push it out.

I have always found these lists with mixed categories very confusing. One is a hybrid and the other all electric. There should be two categories just to have a clean view on the sales between the two.

For those crowd who crowed that plugins will kill electrics, this chart is a remainder that electrics are there to stay and fight it out. Already electrics have taken Top 2 positions, pretty soon they will take all of Top 5.
Let it be like this.

I disagree. You can still compare BEVs with PHEVs if you split them. I am interested in how many QINs were BEVs, and how many PHEVs etc. Also, you get to compare 10 cars instead of 5. 😀

I don’t need to haul around an extra 400 lbs of complex machinery like a gas engine, oil, water, gas. belts, etc.
Leave that out and the milage of my EV goes up.
Plug-ins are only needed in areas that are wide open spaces (no local charging and far from home)
just get a deisel

When you count the number of solar panels installed, do you only count off-grid solar and automatically disqualify any house that is grid tied or has a backup generator??? Off grid houses require large batteries to account for every eventuality, whereas grid tied solar houses can get by with a small battery and leverage backup sources for those 1% scenarios. Most solar advocates will recommend getting a grid connection even with solar because it is the practical thing to do. The same holds for electric cars. People like you who keep bashing practical, real world solutions are doing a major disservice to EV adoption.

Good point, thanks! Very elaborative argument.

Asking for separate lists is not bashing.

(Also, keeping a grid connection with a solar installation is not the same at all, since the grid is becoming renewable as well, while the combustion engine will keep burning fossils…)

Gasoline has more ethanol than the grid mix gets from wind and solar.

No reason PHEVs couldn’t convert to E-85, either. We won’t see 85% renewable in the grid mix during a new car’s typical life.

I don’t need to haul around an extra 400 lbs of complex machinery like a gas engine, oil, water, gas. belts, etc.
Leave that out and the milage of my EV goes up.
Plug-ins are only needed in areas that are wide open spaces (no local charging and far from home)
just get a diesel

Though Leaf has some 125,000 lead in sales, in terms of distance traveled, Model-S may be higher because of its range and superchargers, many take it out on long distance drives.
Leaf is driven only for a distance of 40 miles leaving another 40 miles for return trip. This would have increased to 50 + 50 for MY-2016/2017 and 75 miles for MY-2018.

Whereas Model-S can go a distance of 250 miles, 500 miles and even higher and gets charged in superchargers on the way.

Great job Tesla.
With Mr. Carlos Ghosn out of Nissan, expect Leaf sales to go down.

Volt will start the descent soon while Model-3 will start the ascent soon. Sometime next year, Model-3 will be in Top-5.
BYD Qin will also rise faster while Mitsu Outlander will grow at the current pace.
Oh I missed, BAIC EC-Series is another fast rising start which could overtake Outlander.

Overall, the electrics may take the Top-5 soon leaving the plugins behind.

You are limiting the Leaf to an out and back journey yet not applying the same to the Model S.
That makes the comparison inconclusive.
However we all know that the current Model S can go farther than the current Leaf. There really is no need to put figures in the post when using them can cause confusion.
You make a good point about Nissan. All EV fans will be watching what they do next.
The Leaf is cheaper than any current Tesla and IMHO we need more not less EV’s that are cheaper than $30K OTR.

finally, IMHO, overall sales does not interest me. ATM, every EV made is sold. There is really no surplus inventory unless there are a few Model 3’s of a certain spec around for a short while.
That is the important message to get across to ICE drivers.

He treats Model S differently because it can recharge at practical intervals on a known-good charging network and continue the trip. Only the most adventurous attempt long trips in a Leaf.

Leaf had around 3 times smaller battery than Model S. In terms of pollution created by manufacturing it, it is still much better deal for environment even if it doesn’t go on rare road trips.

If the model 3 continues at 1000 a day, it should be number 1 by the end of 2019.

That would be close. I expect Leaf to sell more than 100k (maybe even 150k?) in 2019 with introduction of a bigger battery version.

Volt is a disgusting gas car…

Maybe the Shade throwing Volt haters, should probably find a different forum to espouse their PHEV sour grapes. All PHEVs are an engineering compromise, of one sort or another. ”Tis the time of year, for some EV/PHEV acceptance and tolerance.

I can’t afford any electric car with 400km of range, but I can afford several PHEVs which will drive electric 90% of the time. You can take your PHEV hate some place else.

In the US “electric cars” include phevs. In Europe and I think everywhere elsewhere electric cars are only pure EVs. One could argue the volt has a place here but the outlander is a joke calling it an ev.

I wish this list would show at least the top 20.

So Tesla is passing the 500k mark right about now. 253k of S, 103k of 3, about 110k of X and 4k of Roadster by October plus about 25k in November sums up to 495k.

The Tesla number is not for the Model S rather Tesla as a whole. Model S + Model X + Model 3.

It is for just the Model S. See the EV Sales Blog source link at the bottom. Remember that while quick math might say Tesla has sold some ~130,000 Model S in the U.S., these numbers are for global sales.

Weird that the Prius is not in the top 5.
I see that car everywhere. But could be that these are all “regular” hybrids and not Plug ins.

Also that the Renault Zoe is not on the list, it has been around about as long as the Leaf, and is one of the best selling EVs in parts of europe.

The problem of the Zoe is that it’s only sold in Europe. Although it just have been introduced in Brazil.
It should approach “only” 130 000 units by the end of the year.

The Zoe is now in the list with 122k @ Oct 2018, right behind the BMW i3. Jose updated the list this morning.

Those are only plug-in cars (BEV, PHEV) so the standard hybrid Prius is not in this “plug-in list”

Jose Pontes just updated the list with all models/nameplates that have passed the 100K mark. Only the Prius PHEV is missing, but he mentions it is #6 (around 170k). In total only 13 have made it to 100k so far.
Check here

1 out of 5 aren’t for sale in the US. The remaining 3 out of those 4 don’t sell well in the U.S. That says something about the US buyers.