By on May 27, 2013
Select EV Sales
Company Vehicle Units Time-frame
Tesla Motors Model S. 4,900  Q1 2013
Fisker Automotive Karma  < 2,000  since inception
CODA Coda 100  since inception
BYD BYD e6 1,700 2012
Nissan Motor Leaf 62,000  since inception

Source: ABC News
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33 Comments on “Slow Moving Vehicle...”

  • avatar

    TESLA – the first EV designed for a bigassed American family. With the ability to hold up to 7 people, it offers rich people an option to their typical luxury “crossover” while allowing them to feel good about themselves – as the liberals and socialists have made them believe that they shouldn’t.

    When the Model X finally gets here, my Tesla shares will skyrocket.

    FISKER KARMA – doomed to fail from the beginning because it wasn’t big enough for your typical bigassed American family, not to mention a price tag only people like Justin Bieber could afford.

    Fortunately it offers a gasoline backup – which gives it an edge over the Model-S and Leaf.

    Make it bigger and offer a different sheetmetal design and it will sell.

    NISSAN LEAF – typical of a compact EV. Not good enough for your average bigassed American who needs a car at least the size of a Sonata. DO NOT WANT.

    Good only for your average, tiny European/Asian people who would otherwise be driving a Smart (dumb) ForTwo, Mini Cooper or Fiat500.

    • 0 avatar

      You ought to check out the demographics of who in America is making ‘bigassed’ (read large in number) families. It’s overwhelmingly the poor and lower middle class. They can’t afford Teslas.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve yet to see a study that shows a clear correlation between obesity and wealth. Or height and wealth.

        Take a football player: usually RICH, and usually very big.
        Or a basketball player.
        Or a pro wrestler.
        Or a Man vs. Food star.

        • 0 avatar

          Athletes are a vanishingly small part of the total population and a red herring for that argument.

          For studies, you might start with the WHO’s comprehensive report from 2008:

          And the study in Nature:

      • 0 avatar

        That has been true for a long time. If your remember that great TV show “All in the Family”, Archie was stuck in an elevator with a very successful black man and a poor man of Hispanic origin. Archie made a comment about his taxes being paid for these “minorities” and their huge families. The black businessman sniffed at Archie that he pays out more in tips than Archie pays in taxes, and referred to the Hispanic man as the winner in the “baby making race”…

        I was one of four kids. My father did well with his own business and was able to afford a large family. I can’t even imagine what it costs today to have a large family. I live near where BigTruck lives I believe, and if you have two kids and are not bringing in at least 100K, I just don’t know how you can survive, what with starter homes going for a minimum of $400K in areas with decent schools…

        • 0 avatar

          1) Is $100k supposed to be a large amount of money? My city’s average family income is $90k+ something. No, it’s not a small rich city. There are 900k city residents.

          2) When someone complains about personal finance, the first advice I can offer is to quit smoking. That way, they will have more money to spend elsewhere, the health care will be less bankrupt, and the rest of us will have better air to breath and more incentive to take public transit.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes $100,000 is a lot of money when the median household income is around $50K. You may live in well off small city, but averages can easily be skewed by very large salaries for companies like Microsoft, Boeing, other IT companies etc.


    • 0 avatar

      I think I will put as much intellectual effort into my reply as you put into that post.

      You are wrong and rude.

    • 0 avatar

      @BTR: I’m 6’6″ and 240 lbs; I fit in the Leaf just fine with room to spare.

  • avatar

    One more line for your chart: Ford F-Series pickups/59,030 units/last month. A little real-world perspective is useful when talking about electric car sales.

  • avatar

    USA Market
    12 months sales for Plug in vehicles for year 2011 to 2012.
    17,425 vehicles vs 52,531 vehicles
    ie 300%

    4 month sales for Plug in vehicles for Jan 12 – Apr 12 compare to Jan 13 to April 13
    10,242 vehicles vs 25,063 vehicles
    ie 250%

    a small base, but big gains

  • avatar

    I am afraid that with natural gas in North America currently selling for the BTU equivalent of $30 per barrel oil, Brent crude at $100 per barrel is, to put it mildly, unsustainable. To maintain market share Saudis have to first try $70 per barrel oil, followed by $50 (or less) per barrel oil. In that environment, EV’s will bite the dust.

    • 0 avatar

      And if energy really gets that cheap, we will waste large quantities of it, deplete the easy resources, and drive the price back up…EVs are not for everyone, but they serve a purpose for those who have them.

      • 0 avatar

        G2H, this time you are correct. The boom bust energy cycle might start up in earnest again if natural gas becomes a transport fuel.

        • 0 avatar

          My point is a little different than yours. Cheap natural gas drives down the price of mogas and diesel. All this happens in various markets and for reasons you have probably never even heard of.

          CNG for vehicles is kind of a side issue. You should be aware that a business cycle in the oil bidness (or in most mining businesses for that matter) is very long – 25 to 30 years.

          You see on the supply side of the market, you have to find the new sources, do the technology, do the politics, raise the capital, build the production facilities and then finally bring the stuff to market.

          On the demand side of the market the transportation capital stock turnover goes for 10+ years. The power generation capital stock turnover goes for 20 up to 50+ years.

    • 0 avatar

      There is no advantage in having a particular market share in oil. As long as someone is buying all you produce (true for Saudi production), your goal would be to maximize the price, not increase production in order to reduce the price.

      • 0 avatar

        Sorry, I skipped over a few steps in the analysis. I am not used to talking to car industry people many of whom appear to be almost totally ignorant of the energy business.

        The Saudis want to produce between 5 and 8 million barrels per day of oil in a global market of around 80 mmbbl/d. They and their neighborhood pals have enough capacity to set a price that will accomplish this in today’s situation.

        Back in the 1980’s Sheik Yamani lost his job because he failed to appreciate the political implications of what might happen if Saudi oil production fell too low – say well below 5 mmbbl/d. That eventuality would be that foreigners would rule Arabia. In 1990 that might well have happened, except that the OPEC customers preferred to deal with the Saudis rather than Saddam Hussein. Needless to say, the Saudi royal family was not amused. The Al Sabahs even less so.

        What is important now is the what we currently refer to as ‘fracking’. It represents in its entirely a technological breakthrough that has changed everything in the energy business in both the short and long term. It looks like it might be similar in its impact to Fritz Heber’s early 20th century invention that allowed people to extract nitrogen fertilizer from the air. Heber’s process destroyed the thriving 19th century guano trade.

        The Saudis and their Gulf State pals must take the economic measure of ‘fracking’. Their very survival (certainly in their present form as the world’s weirdest society as they set out to build in 1948) depends on it.

        I am guessing they will start with $70/bbl which their current national budget is built on. If that doesn’t work, I suspect they will go lower.

        Just wild ass speculation, but from what I have read, current ‘frackers’ talk like they operate in two dimensions. Good mining technique operates in three dimensions. The current problem with ‘fracking’ is its very rapid production decline rate. I am thinking that if you are essentially creating your own reservoir, it might make more sense to do so in a three dimensional lattice work.

        It is really possible that the Saudis and OPEC in general have been totally screwed. There is a interesting article in a recent Atlantic magazine that makes such a case. I am not saying I agree with it, but one cannot rule it out.

        Anyway, I do conclude that $100/bbl. Brent crude is not gonna last.

        • 0 avatar

          Is this the article you mention:

          What If We Never Run Out of Oil?

    • 0 avatar


      From the sales of Civic HX, your analysis is wrong.

  • avatar

    That’s what’s funny about EVs… automotive enthusiasts will all say “OMG the Leaf sucks the Tesla rules!!” when the number show the Leaf is selling 10x as much as any other entries.

    60k isn’t world-beating stuff but it’s about the same number of Maximas that are sold annually, hardly nothing.

    A compact EV makes way, way more sense to me than a $100k luxury EV. Tesla is a cool concept and I hope it succeeds but it’s basically just a novelty vehicle and the numbers bear that out.

    I’m a 30-something dad dealing with car seats, costco trips etc and I would totally consider a Leaf if the pricing and/or tax credits got a bit more competitive.

    • 0 avatar

      Why is it so hard to comprehend the difference between two simple concepts of “Q1 2013” and “since inception”?

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not, but I’m betting this is Tesla’s first “big” quarter, and their “since inception” would be <10k. Maybe I'm wrong.

        There is a limited market for $100k cars. There are only so many people who can afford them, whereas $28k compacts have a potential market of millions.

        • 0 avatar

          “There is a limited market for $100k cars. There are only so many people who can afford them, whereas $28k compacts have a potential market of millions.”

          Yet both BMW and Hyundai make money.

          I would say the instant massive torque, quite and smoothness of an EV make it a good fit for a luxury car.

        • 0 avatar

          The Leaf has been with us since December 2010, or about 2.5 years.

          If you take Leaf sales and average them by quarter, you have about 6,250. So really, the Leaf isn’t doing that much better than the Model S in numbers, and obviously in revenue Model S is doing much better.

          I seem to remember Nissan got a multi-billion dollar DOE loan for development while Tesla got less than half a billion. It seems likely that Leaf cost considerably more to develop and so from a standpoint of return on investment I would think Tesla is doing far better. I know Tesla is producing cars for roughly breakeven and I’d be surprised if the Leaf’s losses are not enormous.

          The truth is that people who are affluent enough to want an eco-statement as a car are also affluent enough to want a luxury ride. For this reason, it really makes a lot more sense to market electric cars in the same way Tesla is doing – expensive initially and then growing cheaper as costs go down. I think that is a big reason the Leaf and Volt didn’t find traction in the market. I have seen more Tesla Model Ss (two) and Fisker Karmas (two) on the road here in South Florida than Leaves (0) or Volts (1).


    • 0 avatar

      To accept a point that the model s doesn’t make sense, I’d have to think that every other expensive luxury barge doesn’t make sense. Tesla & Nissan are not competitors here, so there is little gained from comparing their cars like that.

    • 0 avatar

      There is a limited market for $400 scarves and $10k handbags, but Hermes still has a market cap of $20 billion. Exclusive pricing doesn’t mean a lower ceiling on profits.

  • avatar

    The chart is meaningless without context.

    The lousy cars don’t sell, just like any product.

    The Leaf outsold hundreds of other nameplates last year, including the Porsche 911.

  • avatar

    In the early 1970’s I used to work with a guy named Harry Perry who had recently published the lead (and famous) article in Scientific American that analyzed the prospects for electric cars.

    He personally explained the whole business to me as he saw it then. The bottom line was that EV’s would start to become a practical alternative to the internal combustion engine in the first decade of the 21st century.

    The little dude was spot on even in his timing. I think 2012 was when one of Harry’s curves crossed. That was 40 years ago.

    EV’s have about 4% of the new car market as we speak, which is in line with Harry’s 1973 projections. Someday, I really do think EV’s will dominate.

    Harry assumed no breakthroughs in either battery technology or in fossil fuel production. Imo, ‘fracking’ is a breakthrough in fossil fuel production, and this will delay the dominance of EV’s for several more decades.

    When a long-ago mentor proves to be that accurate after almost half a century, I am impressed almost beyond words. By comparison, I must say that the present day opinions of one or another feather merchant on this topic don’t mean shit to me.

    • 0 avatar

      HYBRID cars currently have a 3.34 share of the U.S. market. All plugins (including range extended such as Volt, and plug-in hybrids) have 0.56 percent of the U.S. market.


    • 0 avatar

      Bertel’s numbers are right.

      1970’s EVs were lead-acid golf carts, and ICEs were smoky 12-mpg pigs. Both have improved dramatically since then, but the value of the ICE car has gone up faster. It’s just that today’s EVs are becoming more mainstream due to their devekopment by actual car companies rather than shadetree mechanics, but they are by no means popular.

      Having the name “Nissan” on my Leaf means everything. Tesla has succeeded in part because it produced an awesome and beautiful car.

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