The Nissan Leaf electric vehicle seems to have finally broken through. The Leaf is no longer a tiny-volume car like the rest of the battery-electric vehicles from mainstream automakers.
Sales of the Nissan Leaf now match the pace of names we all recognize as established successes. For example, the Leaf now sells at about the same rate as the Cadillac ATS and CTS sedans. Leaf sales were up by a robust 25% in 2014 over 2013. Even more important, the Leaf’s sales numbers are trending steadily upward month to month and finished strong in December. The Leaf could top 40,000 units in 2015 if this multi-year trend continues. The Leaf stands alone as the only US EV market sales success in 2014.
US Market Electric Vehicle Breakdown 2014
Tesla’s US sales were flat in 2014*. The automaker has leveled-off at about 17,500 units per year. Telsarati will point to the automaker’s international sales as the cause, or point to limited production. Both are valid reasons, but also valid for every other automaker. The Chevy Volt went backwards. The Volt’s 18,805 units were about 4,000 less than in 2013. The Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid was again the US’ fourth most popular car with a plug and its sales grew to 13,264, up about nine percent over 2013, but trending down sharply since its sales peak in May.
Looking Forward – EV Sales Predictions
The BMW i3 entered the US market this year. After its initial ramp, sales have leveled off at about 1,000 units per month. That could continue, or after the initial back-log of enthusiasts become owners sales may subside. The i8 is exciting, but with Tesla and BMW now splitting the EV sport-luxury market can it be expected to sell in volume? The Cadillac ELR will never sell well at its price point. There really are no other EVs catching fire right now. Even Mercedes’ new EV which features help from Tesla, is not selling well. The Chevy Volt is about to enter its second generation. It will feature improved EV range and a more efficient on-board gasoline-powered engine/generator. However, it is not due to enter production until 2016. Looking ahead to 2015, it seems that the Nissan Leaf is poised to extend it already wide lead sales over the rest of the US EV market.
*Tesla Sales Source: Inside EVs Monthly EV Tally