By on May 21, 2014

chevy volt cop car_l

Though it may appear EVs and PHEVs aren’t flying out of showrooms in comparison to Toyota Camrys and Ford F-150s, IHS Automotive says that in comparison to hybrids, the electrified offerings are faring better in their fourth year of sales.

Autoblog Green reports the research group found that in 2013, cumulative sales of the Nissan Leaf reached 100,000, while those of the Chevrolet Volt hit 70,000 in the same four-year period. Meanwhile, the first-generation Toyota Prius only managed 52,000 after four years of accumulated sales. Unlike the Prius when it first arrived, though, EVs and PHEVs have had help from federal and state tax credits, inflating sales more than where they would have been otherwise.

That said, IHS notes the market is still in the early stages of growth, with most EV/PHEV owners still in possession of their first such vehicles. Analyst Ben Scott, however, states 2014 will be the year PHEVs pull ahead of their fully electric siblings thanks to their gasoline-powered range extenders. Scott added that by 2020, the ratio between the two approaches to automotive electrification will be 55:45 in favor of the PHEV.

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57 Comments on “EVs, PHEVs Faring Better Than Hybrids In Fourth-Year Sales Comparison...”


  • avatar
    thornmark

    That picture is a giveaway. Fleet sales.

    At least for the disappointment known as the Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ya, because I’ve never seen a government labeled Prius a decade ago. /eye roll

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I see a number of Volts around and none of them wear a government livery. Everything I see with a gov’t identification has a conventional drivetrain.

      I doubt many government offices have charging stations set up.

      • 0 avatar
        mechaman

        Have to agree. I see a different Volt or Tesla at least once a week in Chicago/suburbs, and none with any government marks. Two guys come to the Mickey D’s near my place of employ near Cicero, driving a Volt, and they love the car (yes, I asked).

    • 0 avatar

      There is a lot of ullBisht surrounding sales of the Volt and other plug-in hybrids:

      #1 REMOVE THE GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES and SEE HOW WELL THEY SELL (yeah, I’m shouting)

      #2 Tell the dealers to stop selling them to one-another to make it appear they are moving.

      The Prius and Tesla Model S are the only Plug-in/Hybrid models where I actually trust the sales numbers.

      Neither one deserves or needs a subsidy or tax break or tax credit or whatever lovely name for welfare you want to call it – because they practically sell themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Damn it BigTruck ! I thought I told you to stop posting comments I agree with ! Jeeze .. just when Order had finally been restored yesterday … here you are making sense again !

        Damn ! I’ll probably have nightmares about this for the next ten days !

        Oh … but one major disagreement . It is a known fact amongst those in the know [ specifically the financial sector ] that TESLA greatly exaggerates their sales figures .. counts used and resales as new … and in fact makes claims to sales numbers that greatly exceed the numbers registered – exported and even manufactured . And FYI BT . Every TESLA S is subsidized/financed etc from manufacture to sales .. above and beyond the levels of government handouts for the VOLT

        So there . Now I feel a little bit better . Not much mind you . But a little .

      • 0 avatar
        rushn

        Err… Prius also had government subsidies from the get go. But okay, let’s ignore reality some more.

        The rest of the OUTRAGE is just that.

        And since you like you trucks, maybe the subsidies they’ve enjoyed through artificially lower priced fuel should’ve been abolished too. And then you would be smalltruckseriesrevew.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Get rid of big oil subsidies (in the forms of direct corporate welfare as well as indirect military support) first.

        ‘Til then, I hope we actually see a Model X in 2015, I could use another $7500 gimme…

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      ApAGttH & FormerFF – The gentleman [ thornmark ] said ;

      FLEET Sales !

      Which may or may not be to the government .. be it City /County/State or Federal . FLEET Sales including Rental Cars , Corporate Fleet Sales etc .

      So get your terms and definitions right there ApAGttH and FormerFF ..

      F-L-E-E-T Sales .

      And by the way . Thornmark is correct . A vast majority of EV/Hybrid sales are Fleet .

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        …Thornmark is correct . A vast majority of EV/Hybrid sales are Fleet …

        Link please to prove your claim. Can’t wait to read your sources.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          +1. Do share your source on this.

          All the LEAFS I see running around here sit in office parking lots all day, there are at least six in my office alone. I rather doubt that any company is buying LEAFs for their employees to commute in.

          If I were buying fleet cars for my employees to drive, if they were mostly doing city/suburban driving, they’d all be getting hybrids, as the total cost of ownership is lower.

        • 0 avatar

          “…Thornmark is correct . A vast majority of EV/Hybrid sales are Fleet …

          Link please to prove your claim. Can’t wait to read your sources.”

          Maybe the PICTURE UP THERE OF A CHEVY COLT SHERIFF CAR or the PICTURES OF METERMAIDS and TRAFFIC POLICE IN VOLTS AND OTHER PLUG INS might help his case???

          If not for the fact that “Sheriff” has a gun, I’d give him no respect at all. Let him try to get in a high speed pursuit with “one of us”.

          When metermaids and traffic cops are driving in their stupid, pathetic econoboxes and clog up my roads, I literally floor it and let them hear me burn past them.

          It’s not so much that I can do it, but I want them to think to themselves that I don’t respect them or their lack of a better vehicle.

          They’ve given me parking tickets for absolute ullbsiht and I’ve had enough of tax & spend liberalism.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I saw a Charger police cruiser yesterday. A vast majority of Chargers are fleet sales.

            See how dumb that argument is.

            Now don’t dispute this argument, because I’ll just start linking to pictures of Charger police cruisers as, snicker, proof that the Charger is a fleet queen.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          [citation needed]

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It’s very difficult to follow your silly comments when you write like this. Ellipses (or half-complete ellipses, anyway) don’t take the place of commas. And periods that end sentences don’t have a space before them.

        Sheesh.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The great thing about the internet is how easy you can find information.

        The Washtenaw County Volt was the first non-urban electric purchased by any governmental agency – and it was bought used. So sayeth the folks at Fleet Answers, which I’m going to trust as a source a lot more than you.

        http://www.fleetanswers.com/content/washtenaw-county-sheriffs-office-adds-chevy-volt-police-vehicle-fleet

        So this was almost certainly a lease return vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I saw a fully marked MassDOT Volt with amber lights posted at a construction site.

    • 0 avatar
      supremebrougham

      I just saw this exact car the other day sitting in front of one of the High Schools here in Ypsilanti…

  • avatar
    Rday

    Not sure exactly what this story is promoting. Seems like a non news item to me. Is this really that important a news item???

  • avatar
    wmba

    Prius sold 235,000 vehicles in the US in both 2012 and 2013. More than Leaf and Volt have sold worldwide in 4 years. So in a mere 6 years, people will buy more EVs and PHEVs, these people say. Perhaps so, but it would be a shame. There are so many externalities involved like the imminent taxation of EVs to recover some fee for road use that I truly wonder at these prognostications. I think people are only really buying these things because they figure they’re gaming the system by getting cheap or free electricity. When a wholesale change occurs, free power will disappear and the taxman will want his cut as well.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Taxation by gallons of gasoline is the problem.

      If my Leaf paid an equivalent gas tax, it would only amount to $45/year. Somehow, I’m guessing this won’t be fair enough for the tax lovers.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        122,000 Leafs and Volts equals $915,000,000 in direct federal tax subsidies to buyers. Maybe ending the subsidies would be a start to addressing lost highway funding.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I don’t know why everyone kvetches about the EV tax subsidies, when Section 179 (aka. The Hummer Tax Loophole) allows businesspeople to write off at least $25,000 from the purchase of virtually *any* consumer vehicle with a gross-weight rating of at least 6,000 lbs…and at least until the first of this year, there was an additional 50% bonus depreciation for the first year. The Hummer Tax Loophole has been going on for quite some time and in a single year, it adds up to *waaaay* more than the EV subsidies have ever cost us in total. It’s also in direct opposition to all of the fuel-economy numbers that the gov’t is pushing, because it encourages people to buy these large vehicles instead of smaller vehicles that suit them better. With Section 179, I might decide to buy a Silverado crew cab instead of the Equinox or Impala (or Malibu) that would have better served my needs. And that’s a relatively harmless example because while a Silverado could be a genuine and necessary work tool, the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL450, GMC Yukon Denali and other extravagances also are often purchased under this rule since they too meet the GVWR requirements.

          IMO, that’s a bigger nit to pick than EV tax subsidies.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Lost highway funding is a result of CAFE requirements rising some 10-15% in 4 years, not EV sales which are under 1%.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Nah, it’ll be simple. What they will do is force the EV makers to do is install a recording device either on the outlet or on the car so everytime you fill up with a kilowatt of energy you’ll get slapped with the equivalent gas tax value.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          At my house? I don’t use public chargers, or for-pay chargers.

          And as I said above, each fillup would cost me about $0.12. Hope that’s enough for you.

          • 0 avatar
            360joules

            Are you charging with 110/120 or 230/240?

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @360joules: I charge with 230/240. But as you know, the voltage makes no difference in terms of my operating cost.

          • 0 avatar
            360joules

            Yeah, I was hoping to cheap out by leasing the S and skipping the higher voltage plug. Most days I wouldn’t need more voltage but the ability to do occasional back to back 50 mile days is essential to make the economics meet my life. Sounds like at the very least I need the higher voltage plug. Can’t overcome physics. I have the garage space and enough amp service at my fuse box so total in would be $800 to buy plug & have it wired in. Now I have to calculate whether the $ works to bump up trim lines to get 6.6 KW charging. Since I’m veering/veered off topic, do you have any recommended sites for me to pose questions? Some of the sites I searched seem pretty ranty/ideological.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            If you ask a question at MyNissanLeaf.com, you’ll get an honest answer.

            Also, just because you can put 6.6 KW in your car doesn’t mean you need to. The charging station that plugs into a 240V 30 A circuit would be plenty. There’s a nice chart at http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13008

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            Plenty of “S” trims are offered with the optional ($1250) 6.6kW “Charge Package”. This keeps the MSRP under $30k.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Next step is sales will happen after people start seeing charging stations. Admitedly I live in a rural area but I have never seen one and looking at a map they are far and few.

  • avatar
    Hillman

    City use works well for the volt and other hybrids. Low mileage with a central charging system makes sense from a cost perspective. Not sure why people would comment negatively on localities choosing a car that meets their requirement.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      The only thing that makes sense when it comes to Hybrids and EVs is to leave them on the lot and buy something else . The number of years it takes to even break even financially owning an EV/Hybrid in all cases exceeds the expected life expectancy of any and all EV/Hybrids . Factor in all the problems with Li batteries etc and the only logical conclusion is obvious

      When it comes to EV/Hybrids

      Just Say No !

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Yeah, the economics don’t make sense at this point. But consider this: that can change. Quickly. All we need is a gas price spike (say, 50-75%) and the equation will flip. At that point, the hand-wringing over the money spent to create this class of vehicles will look silly. This might never happen. But if history is a guide, denying that it could is pure foolishness.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        I’m not sure why you think that. I ran a few numbers on a car I’m very familiar with, the Ford Fusion. The difference in price between the SE models is $3345 if the non-hybrid is equipped with the standard 2.5 normally aspirated four, or $2550 if equipped with the turbo four. Using 12,000 miles per year of town driving, the EPA city fuel economy number and an average gasoline price of $3.50, the payback period is 3.3 years.

        The price difference for the Camry hybrid is similar. I didn’t bother to calculate the price difference for the Accord as the base hybrid is well equipped while the base gas only model is not.

        I drive the PHEV version of the Fusion. At first I was a little skeptical of that 47 mpg city figure, but on the few intown trips I’ve made without any available battery charge, I’ve averaged 45 mpg, and that’s with a car that had less than 2500 miles, plus my car is 300 lbs heavier than is the non plug in version.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        This is always done in relationship to the assumed buyer opting for the next most efficient model on the market. Purchasing a small SUV which is not the exact same class but similar in price and general use puts them well within the scope of one and other. A Prius Plug-in is roughly 30K. A base RAV4 is 23,500 or so. Assuming $4 a gallon of gas over the life of the vehicle and 12K miles a year of mainly city driving comes out to $1000 a year. So yes, if you decide to buy a base RAV4 you have 7 years of free gas for not buying a Prius plug-in.

        The numbers used to make these arguments always assume the buyer would be buying a cheaper econobox when reality is much closer to a small SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Good point. For local fleet use, EVs or PEVs that can avoid using their ICEs make a lot of sense. However, in the same application, natural gas vehicles make even more sense, and they are cheaper. Which is why many city bus fleets are natural gas powered.

      I would imagine maintenace costs on EVs and PEVs are lower as well. My problem with PEVs is that they are a compromise. They’re not very good EVs (short range) and their not very good hybrids (pretty heavy fuel use when the battery is depleted). If people really want a car for exclusively local use (and have another no-EV for trips out of town), then EVs make sense. I still consider the Tesla an expensive toy.

      • 0 avatar
        Hillman

        Agreed on the natural gas but it is my understanding that the weight of the conversions forces them into the heavier trucks and buses route. Of course I am not a fleet manager so I am stuck using my logic which can be very wrong sometimes.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Up until earlier this year, I was thinking the same thing about PHEVs. Then I went car shopping and wound up buying one. At first, I was attracted to the simplicity of a BEV, electric motor only, and a one speed transmission, but when I did a little more investigation, the PHEV made more and more sense.

        BEVs have two main limitations: range and cold weather performance. In the cold, the amount of current available from the batteries decreases, while the demand, because of the need for cabin heat, increases. With the PHEV, it’s no problem, just run the engine for a while and use the waste heat to warm the interior. On those few trips I’ve made intown with no available battery, I’ve averaged 45 mpg. Granted, that’s according to the trip computer, which in my limited experience has been shown to be very accurate. Once the BEV portion of the high voltage battery is depleted, the car acts like the hybrid Fusion, which means that the engine is on for climbing hills and acceleration, and off for everything else. My car is about 300 lbs heavier than is the equivalent non-plug hybrid, which I would assume costs something in fuel economy. I also suspect that that penalty is somewhat ameliorated because regenerative braking can recapture the energy used to get the car up to speed that would otherwise be discarded by the friction brakes.

        I’ve taken one highway trip so far. On that trip I got 42.3 mpg, that’s with the cruise set between 70 and 75, and a modest amount of air conditioning.

        Since batteries are heavy, expensive, and bulky, ideally in a BEV you’d want to carry no more than are needed for your typical trip. Instead of carrying extra batteries for the occasional longer trip, a PHEV carries an internal combustion engine, and it’s a surprisingly good complement to the battery pack. I can go about 22 miles on my battery pack, while my commute is 28 miles. I typically need a little than one gallon per week to do just the commute and any lunch runs or errands.

        Compared to an identically equipped gasoline only Fusion, my car MSRP’s just about $7000 more, and I’m saving about $1100 per year on fuel (figuring $3.50 per gallon), so that’s a payback period of a little more than six years, without any incentives. I’m eligible for a $4007 Federal rebate, so that makes this calculation a no brainer.

        The last thing I will comment on here is that the driving experience of the electric drivetrain in city/suburban driving is so nice I would have paid more for the PHEV even if it didn’t save money. No noise, no vibration, no shifting, just smooth torque. I don’t think I could go back to a conventional drivetrain, unless I move to a rural area, which I’m not going to do.

        • 0 avatar
          grinchsmate

          Is anyone looking at installing a fuel heater in electric cars.

          I would guess a LPG heater to warm the occupants and the battery would greatly improve range for a lot less weight than a ICE.

          LPG would probably be the cheapest to implement but a petrol or diesel heater would also work.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> Is anyone looking at installing a fuel heater in electric cars.

            There may be something better. Ford and MIT are working on an advanced thermo-adsorptive battery (ATB) to provide both cooling and heating.

            http://drl.mit.edu/research.cgi?p=storage
            http://www.me.utexas.edu/~hidrovo/ATB.php
            http://articles.sae.org/12376/

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            Better yet – a heater fueled with domestically-produced ethanol – available at your local Pep Boys, or (in a pinch) your liquor cabinet. :-)

  • avatar
    KixStart

    If this was 2001, I’d be impressed that PHEVs are beating HEVs. As it is, several things distort the comparison beyond usefulness:

    – In 2000, nobody knew what a gas-electric drivetrain was.
    – The HEVs got a nearly negligible tax credit.
    – Gas prices were different.
    – Nissan, GM and everybody else had many years to study the gas-electric market and see what works (Prius G2) and what doesn’t (Prius G1, Insight 1). Toyota and Honda had no such advantage when they developed the pioneering.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I generally agree but I do have one nit…

      …- Gas prices were different…

      That is true, but fuel economy was different 12 to 15 years ago also. If you had a fullsize truck or SUV and you got 15 MPG you were doing good, real good.

      Price has gone up, while the value prop of a non-gasoline powered vehicle has gotten tougher. A number of gas and diesel powered vehicles are approaching hybrid assisted numbers now. Hybrids and electrics continue to shine in urban driving, but a number of models now equal or come darn close on the highway, and the gas is closing.

      The other thing is sales patterns clearly show, the average consumer has accepted $3.50 +/- a gallon gasoline in the United States. Finally, the United States enjoys some of the lowest prices for gas in the world now (minus Banana republics and third world Hell holes)

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    ” Toyota and Honda had no such advantage when they developed the pioneering.”

    Toyota and Honda didn’t come up with HEV’s on their own…for God’s sake take them off the pedestal you have them on. Heck, Toyota didn’t even develop the technology themselves, they stole it.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    Last numbers I saw had the Volt running a grand total of 10% fleet sales.

    The ranters against electrified cars remind me of their fathers’ rants against seat belts, crash requirements, emission controls, air bags and the other sort of “unmanly” changes to modern life. The same thinking gets one into patriotizing 14 mpg trucks hauling groceries (and ammo) home from Walmart. Can’t they understand that a portion of every gallon goes to fund Islamic extremists? Or that American troops die to defend the “right” to guzzle fuel? Apparently not.

    Whatever. My last Volt fillup was March 7th and there’s still some gas left. I did make a concession to a certain category of angry 4×4 drivers though by removing the “VOLT” letters on the back hatch. It seems that they don’t know what one is unless it’s labelled. Or it could be the Browning (firearms) emblem on the back in its place. They pretty much leave me alone now.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ditto – end of 2012 numbers indicated about 10% fleet – which is below in terms of percentage the Camry, Corolla and way below the Yaris.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      LOL, my NRA Life Member sticker is on the inside of the below-spoiler window, not easily visible unless you tailgate. Which are the sort of people I want to see it.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Speaking of subsidies, most people are quite ignorant about the degree to which the oil industry is subsidized. These subsidies take more diligence to notice than taxes on gas. For example:

    http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/05/15/Canadas-34-Billion-Fossil-Fuel-Subsidies/

    If anyone wants to avoid the cost penalty of a hybrid, they can either buy a used hybrid or an MKZ. But, many people are happy to spend extra money to get a hybrid to use less gas, not to save money, but to lower their carbon footprint. Just like some spend extra money for larger engines or feature packages because that’s where their interests lie. The twisted thing is that the more sensible choice takes so much flak in the automobile chattersphere.


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