Although they have not realized initial projections, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt have sold more units in their fourth years than the Toyota Prius did in its fourth year.
Now there is also a plethora of other electric vehicles joining these big three models on the market.
Despite falling short of previous expectations, global sales of electric vehicles (EVs) actually are progressing at a much faster pace than hybrid cars did during the same stage of their deployment, paving the way for higher demand as more EV options arrive on the market this year and beyond.
During the fourth year after its introduction in 2000, the original hybrid — Toyota’s Prius — attained cumulative sales of more than 52,000 units, according to IHS Automotive, part of IHS Inc. In the fourth year after its introduction, in 2013, cumulative sales of the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle approached 100,000 units. For the Chevrolet Volt/Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), cumulative sales during the same period were almost 70,000 cars.
Altogether, the Leaf and Volt/Ampera saw more than three times the cumulative sales total for the Prius in the fourth year after introduction.
“We’re still in the early stages of the EV market,” said Ben Scott, analyst for IHS Automotive. “Most EV drivers still own their first-generation electric vehicles. Furthermore, there have been insufficient product offerings to effectively legitimize the market and show to consumers that EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles represent the way of the future. However, with EV adoption exceeding the historical precedent of hybrids, this means that the trend toward EVs is still progressing, although at a slower rate than many had expected.”
It’s true that legislation and incentives have inflated the relative sales of EVs, given that there were no such inducements available during the launch of the Toyota Prius. However, EV sales growth remains impressive compared to the Prius, which now is regarded as a successful vehicle line.
These findings are contained in the new report entitled “Grid-Connected Vehicles” from IHS Automotive.
Traffic Jam on Electric Avenue
“The original high expectations for EV sales were driven by ambitious climate-change targets in various regions,” Scott said. “Meeting these goals would require full de-carbonization of the vehicle fleet in some countries, which could only be achieved through full electrification. However, the understanding of the time scales on exactly when full electrification will happen has changed as sales have fallen short of the optimistic outlooks.”
Despite this, there have been some more positive moves in the auto industry, both in terms of vehicles on the road and EV/PHEV availability.