Americans Buy Their 250,000th Plug-In Car

Last month was a good month for car sales in general, plug-in electrified vehicles (PEVs) in particular, and regarding this latter category, Americans bought their 250,000th.

This count includes all road-going U.S. plug-in passenger car sales since 2008 when Tesla’s Roadster was launched, to the present.

Early this year, excluding commercial vehicles, we chronicled just over 172,000 PEVs had been sold through December 2013, including 1,800 Roadsters, 1,600 Fisker Karmas, and 500 Mini Es.

As of the end of August, the U.S. market had spoken for another 78,609 plug-in cars comprised of 37,820 battery electric vehicles, and 40,789 plug-in hybrids.

That totals to 250,609, and now one week later, at about 12,000 PEVs per month, even if any counts had a small margin of error, or excluding the total of 3,900 Roadsters, Karmas and Mini Es, we’re still just over 250,000.

Tesla Roadster. Produced 2008-2012.

Tesla Roadster. Produced 2008-2012.

Of these, over 100,000 or 40 percent were sold in California according to California’s Plug-in Vehicle Collaborative.

SEE ALSO: Top 6 Plug-In Vehicle Adopting Countries

Further, it’s estimated over 160,00 of these PEVs were just three models: Chevy Volt (67,698), Nissan Leaf, (61,063), Tesla Model S, (estimated 31,650).

Last month also saw battery electric vehicles achieve their best-to-date single month of sales, at 6,483 units. August also witnessed the top-selling plug-in car, the Nissan Leaf, achieve its best all-time month with 3,186 units sold.

Chevrolet Volt. Launched Dec. 2010. Sales: 2010: 326; 2011: 7,671; 2012: 23,461; through Aug. 2014: 13,146. Total: 67,698.

Chevrolet Volt. Launched Dec. 2010. Sales: 2010: 326; 2011: 7,671; 2012: 23,461; 1013: 23,094; through Aug. 2014: 13,146. Total: 67,698 U.S. sales.

So what does the 250,000 PEV milestone mean? Objectively, it’s a solid one-quarter million cars sold in the U.S. that can run on electricity part time or full time.

It’s not really a lot of units since 2008 in a market that last year consumed 15.5 million vehicles, and year to date has bought 11.3 million, and it appears President Obama’s goal of 1 million PEVs on American roads by 2015 will be late.

But momentum is increasing along with ups and downs.

Nissan Leaf. Launched Dec 2010. Sales: 2010: 19, 2011: 9,674; 2012: 9,819; 2013: 22,610; through Aug, 2014: 18,941. Total:  61,063.

Nissan Leaf. Launched Dec 2010. Sales: 2010: 19, 2011: 9,674; 2012: 9,819; 2013: 22,610; through Aug, 2014: 18,941. Total: 61,063 U.S. sales.

The Volt is due for an update soon, and the Prius plug-in hybrid will be updated by late next year, and sooner or later we’ll hear more on the Leaf.

As newcomers are launching their first plug-ins, and others have plans yet to do so, a second wave of PEVs is due to come online in the next year or two.

SEE ALSO: Should You Buy An Electric Car?

This is happening in the face of inexpensive gasoline, and studies that show consumers yet have to catch on to the benefits of plug-in cars – let alone some who even now do not know the first thing about a Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Tesla Model S, etc.

Plug-in electrified vehicles have not taken the world by storm, but that they have much room to go is evident. No one knows the future, although some people are willing to speak with certainty as though they do.

Tesla Model S. Launched July 2012. Sales (estimated):  2012: 2,400; 2013: 18.650; through Aug. 2014: 10,600. Total: 31,650.

Tesla Model S. Launched July 2012. Sales (estimated): 2012: 2,400; 2013: 18.650; through Aug. 2014: 10,600. Total: 31,650 estimated U.S. sales.

Possibly confusing things also may be hydrogen fuel cell vehicles initially launched in California.

These include Honda’s follow-up to its pioneering FCX Clarity, and Toyota also intends to push its FCV sedan instead of throwing more weight into plug-ins. Already Hyundai is offering its Tucson FCV and Daimler and possibly others could come along in a few years also.

SEE ALSO: Plug-In Car Sales Cross Global Half-Million Mark

In favor of plug-in vehicles is they can take advantage of a readily available national electric grid, among other factors. They’ve been variously touted as a solution with far more potential than has yet been taken advantage of, and they now have a numerical head start to the tune of a quarter million and counting.

Hat Tip: Mario R. Duran