EV and PHEV Sales Update

Automobile sales have been gangbusters so far this year: All except EVs and PHEVs.

Sales of PHEVs in the first half of 2013 were lower than the second half of 2012.

EVs fared better.



PHEV sales

EV Sales

2013, First Half



2012, Second Half




Volt and Leaf pictures from DOE
Volt and Leaf pictures from DOE


The combined total for EVs and PHEVs for the first half of 2013 was 41,047 vehicles, which was one half of one percent, i.e., 0.52%, of all automobile sales.

Clearly the high price of EVs and PHEVs weighs heavily on potential buyers.

This is true, in spite of the $7,500 subsidy from the federal government, which is increased by additional subsidies in some states, plus other advantages, such as driving in HOV lanes.

The Chevy Volt, for example, lists for around $40,000, which, with a current GM discount of $4,000 plus the $7,500 federal subsidy results in a selling price of around $28,500. This is still around $8,000 more than the Chevy Cruz on which the Volt is based.

Every EV and PHEV owner should turn to their neighbors and thank them for helping to pay for their cars.

Buyers are also concerned about trade in value which, by one estimate, is about 20% less than for traditional vehicles.

The financial picture for the automobile companies isn’t known, except for Tesla, which reported a profit. The profit, however, included the sale of $68 million of zero-emission vehicle credits plus another $17 million from selling Greenhouse Gas emission credits.

The market for EVs is being driven by the California Air Resources Board which requires that 15% of all automakers’ California sales in 2025 come from zero emission vehicles.

With California’s large market, automobile companies are virtually compelled to offer EVs, regardless of whether they are profitable.

At the current rate, EVs and PHEVs will fall far short of president Obama’s goal of having 1,222,000 EVs and PHEVs on the road in 2015.

Here is how the Department of Energy summarized the program.


Executive Summary (DOE)

President Obama’s goal of putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 represents a key milestone toward dramatically reducing dependence on oil and ensuring that America leads in the growing electric vehicle manufacturing industry.


However, since 2010 only 112, 000 EVs and PHEVs have been sold in the United States.

Are EVs and PHEVs what people really want, or are they being foisted on the public to cut oil imports, which is no longer a valid reason with America’s oil boom, and to cut CO2 emissions?

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