EV sales had shown minor signs of life in the last quarter of 2012, only to collapse sharply in January. “Sales of the Chevrolet Volt, the Toyota Prius Plug-In and Nissan Leaf each had deep dropoffs in January from December,” Reuters says.
“Even after accounting for the fact that January is one of the slowest months of the year for auto sales, the dropoff for plug-in electric cars was considerable,” Michelle Krebs of Edmunds told the wire. According to Krebs, consumers are opting instead for less-expensive standard hybrids, rather than plug-in electric cars. OEMS blame other factors, such as limited supply, model year changeovers, or changeovers from Japanese to U.S. production, as it is the case for the Nissan LEAF. GM says January sales were down for the Volt because people bought before the end of the year to gain the 2012 tax credit. Which may have been the power behind the last quarter rise of the still tiny segment.
The chart above (data courtesy insideevs.com) tells its own story. Ford did not report January sales of the C-Max Energi and the Ford Focus Electric. Not included. The chart also does not reflect sales by Tesla and Fisker who do not report data on a consistent basis. We do not believe that this has a material impact on the general trend.