Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Tracking Electric Car Sales

2012 Coda Electric, courtesy photo.

Dave Roberts

With over forty electric car models available at dealers today, memories of the early days of modern plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales are starting to fade. A recent visualization tweeted by Mase Goslin (see link below) presents national EV sales data for the United States in an animated chart showing total sales from December 2010 to May 2019. If you’re reading Green Energy Times on paper, look for this article at to get a direct link to the chart online.

The visualization begins with the Tesla Roadster which already had 1,400 sales by December 2010 as well as the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Transit Connect, and Nissan LEAF models. By December 2011, two more models entered the market, the Fisker Karma and Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Another year went by, and we saw 2012 bring many more models including the Toyota Prius Plug-in, Tesla Model S, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Focus Electric, Toyota RAV4 EV, Honda Fit EV, and the Coda EV. A batch of entrants in 2013 included the Ford Fusion Energi, Fiat 500e, Smart ED, Chevrolet Spark, Honda Accord PHEV, and Porsche Panamera S-E.

Some of these models were only available a short amount of time. Production of a new model is a tall order for any automaker but doing so from scratch as a new entrant to the market is an especially tough business to break into as both Fisker and Coda can attest. After brief appearances in the animation, they disappear because both went bankrupt by mid-2013 after selling less than a combined 2,000 vehicles nationwide.

Tesla Model 3, courtesy photo

In the sales visualization, time goes on and by the end of 2015, we see the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt occupying the top sales positions with about 90,000 vehicles each after five years of sales. More new models continue to enter the market after that, and we see the LEAF and Volt jockeying for the top position with the Model S in a distant third place, but beginning to steadily gain on the leaders. More vehicles come in and out of the lower slots as the animation continues, and then, starting in early 2018, we see the Tesla Model 3’s meteoric rise to the top as the Model 3 hits about 188,000 sales by the end of May 2019. This well surpasses the runner-up Chevrolet Volt at 155,000. It is exciting to see the upstart Tesla making this much headway against more established automakers as they have struggled to develop and market EVs in ways that achieve higher sales. Chevrolet’s end to production of the Volt in February of this year attests to this. Recently, many automakers have announced additional EV models due to arrive in the next few years, but it will likely be some time before any other automaker comes close to overtaking Tesla’s Model 3 as the national sales leader.

The odds are good there is a new or used EV that could meet your needs the next time you’re in the market for a vehicle. Find and compare EV options on the Drive Electric Vermont website:

David Roberts is the Drive Electric Vermont coordinator. He has driven an all-electric car for the past six years and says if you must drive, drive electric.

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