By on October 12, 2018

2018 Nissan LEAF SL

Remember when McDonald’s used to put a running total of the “Billions Served” on its golden arches? EV makers may soon be able to do the same for their sales efforts. According to Wards Auto, total sales for plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles over the last ten years will soon reach the 1 million mark.

And, like McDonald’s, manufacturers of cars which run solely on electrons are all serving up variations on what’s essentially the same dish, but adding different ingredients here and there.

For simplicity sake, the industry publication winnowed down the timeframe in question to when the original Tesla Roadster burst onto the scene in 2008. This is not wholly unfair, given that projects like the GM EV1 were lease-only efforts when they were on the market. From that date through to the end of September 2018, nearly 957k plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles found their way into driveways and company fleets across the nation.

Unsurprisingly, Tesla makes up the lion’s share of BEV sales, given that company only peddles those types of cars. Having three models and a rabid fan base doesn’t hurt either, I’m sure. Since its launch six years ago, the company has delivered just over 132,000 examples of its slinky Model S sedan. It’s far-and-away the top seller.

Nissan, whose original frog-faced Leaf was recently restyled into something a normal person wouldn’t be embarrassed to drive, is close behind, delivering about 125,000 units.

PHEV fans have flocked to the Chevy Volt, purchasing 147,000 of the things since its launch in 2010. That is a sum outstripping even the plug-in variant of the Prius, a car whose nameplate is part of its marketing plan.

Using data compiled by the crew at InsideEVs, the Tesla Model 3 is demolishing all its BEV and PHEV competition in 2018, as least so far as outright sales are concerned, thanks to a strong push for production numbers in the second half of this year.

Tesla doesn’t release actual delivery numbers, leaving industry eggheads to make their best guess. They’re usually pretty close. The Model 3 has nearly quadruple the number of deliveries compared to its closest rival, the Prius Prime, at 78,132 units vs 20,532. All told, the American market has popped for 234,635 BEVs or PHEVs so far this year. That’s roughly 22 percent of global volume, as worldwide sales in 2018 of these machines crested the 1 million mark after the calendar flipped into October.

Like McDonald’s, there’s plenty of choice on the menu. There are a total of 42 BEVs/PHEVs on sale in the American market right now. And, like the digits on the golden arches, those sales numbers will likely go up at an increasingly rapid pace.

[Image: © 2017 Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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32 Comments on “Order Up: Nearly 1 Million Plug-ins Sold in America...”


  • avatar
    deanst

    So, 1 million out of 300 million + vehicles on the road. There’s probably more purple camrys around.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      If we’re going to break it down that way, it’s probably fair to at least look at the number of vehicles old in the same time period (5-6 years, so 85-100 million vehicles). 1% is hardly revolutionary, but it’s something. While manual transmissions might be mortibund, it’ll liely surpass the stick’s sales rate within a couple years.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “So, 1 million out of 300 million + vehicles on the road. There’s probably more purple camrys around.”

      well, that’s probably more than they’d sell of any of those cars that Internet Enthusiasts claim people would buy.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    I can’t even find one to look at in central NY. I see Teslas in Cambridge Mass. but that’s not the real world.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    If you add up all the money given to EV producers and buyers by national, state, and local governments, and then add up all the manufacturer subsidies and net financial losses incurred by Tesla, Nissan, BMW, GM, Ford, VW, FCA, etc. shareholders in producing those million plug-ins, I wonder how many $billions it cost in total to generate those sales? Then take that figure and divide it by the tons of greenhouse gasses that were eliminated versus comparable gasoline vehicles, and I would bet serious money you would find it costing several thousand dollars per ton reduction. Now compare that figure (whether it is $1,000 or $5,000 per ton) with the estimated environmental damage caused by per ton of greenhouse gas emissions (best estimates usually around $50 per ton), or the value of a ton in carbon trading schemes (usually hovering around $5 to $10 per ton), and see if anyone except government regulator or tree-huggers think it is a good investment.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have asked the same question, my guess is the figure is a multiple of billions and yes the obsessed zealots would think it is not a misallocation of capital. because ManBearPig, #Metoo, Maff is racist or something along those lines.

      Save humanity with a thermonuclear strike on the Third World. Please be that crazy Mr. President. Help me Obi Trump Kenobi, you’re our only hope.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        1st world. We’re the ones dumb enough to fall for progressive nonsense. OTOH, why waste the warheads, when self inflicted infertility, to spite ManBearPig, does the same trick cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Good questions.

      First, I don’t accept that CO2 is a threat to our existence, but all the experts do. The prevailing number is that an average car produces 4.6 metric tons of CO2 annually (5 Imperial tons).
      If we assume an 8-year service life for an EV, and a $7500 Federal subsidy, then that works out to about $185/ton of CO2.
      We’d also want to count the CO2 emissions for the power plant, which is not equivalent to an ICE, but also not zero.

      Second, carbon trading is a scam, as you know.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “If we assume an 8-year service life for an EV, and a $7500 Federal subsidy, then that works out to about $185/ton of CO2.”

        I’m not a particular EV booster, but being intellectually honest here, there’s a better way to look at that number. EVs have a chicken-and-egg problem: No charge points, no general acceptance. The point of the credit isn’t to pay to get N CO2 out of the air; the point is to prime the pump for a business ecosystem that can then have real market demand for EVs. You get Tesla more cash to build out a charging infrastructure and prove that it can be done, and by doing so you help encourage other automakers to get in the game and further consumers – down the line, after the credits are gone – to adopt the tech.

        You can argue about the long-term efficacy, or say, “Well, it would happen anyway so you’re only bumping things forward N years”, but either way it’s not just a straight up carbon-buyout.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          “The point of the credit isn’t to pay to get N CO2 out of the air; the point is to prime the pump for a business ecosystem that can then have real market demand for EVs.”

          Actually, it’s the other way around. If lawmakers intended the subsidy to only be for startups, Tesla’s customers would have been (virtually) the only recipients.

          Alternately, if they intended to apply a means test for buyers, then Tesla’s customers would have received much less than Nissan’s customers.

          As it is, the subsidy was intended to replace one ICE for one EV, which pollutes less. The pollution amount is independent of the mfr’s financial position or the buyer’s, for that matter, and therefore the subsidy is virtually flat.

          I say ‘virtually’ because in fact the subsidy assumes you have $7500 in Federal tax already, which many people do not, making the subsidy biased toward the wealthier population. Except with Nissan, the mfr simply deducted the subsidy from the list price when I leased my 12 Leaf – no means test.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “If we assume an 8-year service life for an EV,”

          With current improved battery tech, service life should be much longer than 8 years on newer EVs. Even my Leaf 1.5 still has all 12 bars and goes 10 miles (mixed 40 to 55 mph) before the 12th bar drops. I now have 73k miles. Newer chemistries are going to be even better.

          Tesloop has been driving the crap out of their Teslas and abusing their batteries. They’re starting to rack up some big numbers on their odometers.

          https://www.tesloop.com/blog/2017/8/30/tesla-model-s-hits-300k-miles-with-less-than-11k-maintenance-costs

          https://www.tesloop.com/blog/2018/7/16/tesloops-tesla-model-s-surpasses-400000-miles-643737-kilometers

          https://www.tesloop.com/blog/2018/8/2/model-x-90d-300000-miles-in-two-years

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          …The point of the credit isn’t to pay to get N CO2 out of the air; the point is to prime the pump for a business ecosystem that can then have real market demand for EVs…

          This, exactly. It is not at all uncommon for the government to “prime the pump” to help a nascent technology gain footing. Imagine if all cars were electric for decades and here comes the idea that we need to build an infrastructure to deliver explosive liquids. Do you think there would be any takers? How long would it take to develop the delivery system like we have today? Cost? All borne by the private sector? Not likely.

          Sad when government takes this idea and works backward. Example would be that you can now buy 100 watt incandescent lamps again, thanks to T-Rump. Why would anybody buy one instead of an LED lamp? You would have to be a true moron. The industry has spoken – “we have moved on”. I guess this is what you get when the Feds’ gaze is locked on the rear-view mirror.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Imagine if all vehicles were hay powered for centuries, and here comes the idea that we need to build infrastructure to deliver explosive liquids. Do you think there would be any takers? How long would it take to develop the delivery system we have today?

            To answer your question – it took about 20 years to go from gasoline in the Pharmacy to gas stations on every corner – no federal pump priming required.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            “to go from gasoline in the Pharmacy to gas stations on every corner”

            and eventually electricity at every one of those pumps to run their motors. That same infrastructure is being built upon and upgraded to support EV charging by some oil companies. Oil companies have figured out how to make money on EVs and are moving forward. Eventually, Ultrafast chargers will start showing up at gas stations eventually.

            https://www.shell.co.uk/motorist/welcome-to-shell-recharge.html

            And they’ve figured out how to make money on home and business charging:

            https://www.shell.us/business-customers/shellrechargeplus.html

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            …To answer your question – it took about 20 years to go from gasoline in the Pharmacy to gas stations on every corner – no federal pump priming required…

            Things are a bit different then they were 100 years ago. I don’t see why there would be pushback on the government “seeding” certain technologies that can help the country as a whole. (KEY – AS A WHOLE, not just the top .5%) Why no outcry for the the government providing corporate welfare? The big nut is right there. But both parties profit from that so there will be no change.

            The fossil fuel industry should embrace EVs and become part of the charging infrastructure. Diversify. Make money on it. The telcoms did it for connectivity. There is no reason Big Oil can’t be part of the new fuel source.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Hardly comparable. I mean, we’re talking orders of magnitude difference. of course people didn’t need incentives to move from horses to cars & trucks. Cars don’t get moody, apathetic, don’t leave piles of pathogen bearing crap everywhere, and don’t get sick and die. And- at the time- could run on a petroleum product which was otherwise useless.

            it’s like the change from VHS to DVD. DVD took over quickly because it was much better quality and much more convenient than tape (no rewinding!) Blu-Ray, on the other hand, had to basically be subsidized by Sony by including it in the Playstation 3.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Never mind range anxiety, its the depreciation anxiety buyers should be worried about.

  • avatar
    dbsmith1720

    So almost a million “coal-powered” range anxiety inducing vehicles is something to celebrate?

    The Tesla 3 is ugly (seen two in the wild in southern Arizona) and I don’t think Tesla will be around in 5 years as a car company. It is too difficult to be a car manufacturer over time without a LOT more money than even Musk has available.

    I really don’t like these cars.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    My Ford C-Max Energi cost $29K, loaded, but tax incentives lowered my net cost to $20,000. Today, one year later, it’s probably worth $18,000. That shows up as a huge $11K depreciation on the books, but in my personal accounting, I’m only out $2K- and I’ve probably saved half that in fuel costs.

    I plan to keep this car for years. It does everything I need a car to do. Let fuel prices spike a dollar or two, and then we’ll see about that depreciation issue.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      I don’t blame you at all for taking advantage, and I’ve driven a C-Max hybrid and was impressed, but a loaded C-Max Energi stickers for about $35K, so Ford shareholders lost at least $6K on your purchase. Then taxpayers gave you a $9,000 benefit, so all in all your “green” car cost shareholders/taxpayers $15K so you could save $1K in fuel. Would you put your pension money in such an investment?

      • 0 avatar
        forward_look

        Sticker price =/= what it costs to make a car. Also, that’s $1K per year dino juice not pumped out of the ground. Increasingly, electricity is made from wind, and cars are charged at night from base load generators that spin uselessly otherwise.

        Back of the envelope calculations aren’t the last word.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …Then taxpayers gave you a $9,000 benefit, so all in all your “green” car cost shareholders/taxpayers $15K so you could save $1K in fuel. Would you put your pension money in such an investment?…

        Not a bad argument at all, but how much does the taxpayer give to industry by giveaways on public land?

        Regarding the investment question, a few days ago you said the “97% of climate scientists” is a bullcrap number, despite it being fact checked thoroughly. Would you invest your pension in a investment product with a 97% certainty on good returns?

  • avatar
    deanst

    I think there’s an argument to be made for subsidies, but let’s be transparent. Tax the V8 buyers, and give it to the BEV buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      If you really want to be transparent, ask how much of the military budget goes towards protecting oil distribution and protecting oil producers. What’s the cost in blood and money.

      Also, it might be fair to ask: If the oil producers are the second most profitable businesses in the world (after big pharma), why do we grant them huge tax breaks.

      EVs are more efficient and production of electricity is a domestic energy issue with no reliance on foreign energy supplies.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        it’s sadly amusing to me how we’re the only country who still thinks we need a military capable of fighting WWII all over again. Unfortunately that means we have to keep looking for reasons to use it.

        when it reality, it’s little more than a huge jobs program, just one that the Republicans can bring themselves to support.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      …I think there’s an argument to be made for subsidies, but let’s be transparent. Tax the V8 buyers, and give it to the BEV buyers…

      So I’d pay a tax on the Vette, but get subsidy for my hybrid? Not sure I agree with that tax. It is safe to say that the true cost of a gallon of gas in well in excess of what we pay. Military costs are certainly not included.

      There are pretty good numbers to be had on hybrids today. I had to give up my Altima hybrid which I could nurse to 42 MPG if I really tried. 35 was typical. The new Prius I have (these are employer-provided cars) returns 70 MPG with minimal attention to mileage other than avoiding heavy acceleration. I do wish it came in an ordinary wrapper instead of that ugly design.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    Who is going to miss the gasoline tankers on the road?

    We already have power lines into every “gas” station already. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind selling you electricity and having you browse the convenience store for an hour.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    I have to drive 2200 miles in the next week and a half. I wonder how that would work with an electric.

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