Since 2009 only half a dozen plug-in electrified vehicles (PEVs) have sold more than 25,000, and last month three more were added to the list.
The sales volumes of the BYD Qin plug-in hybrid, all-electric Renault Zoe, and all-electric BMW i3 and i3 REx are the result of regional markets for two of them, with BMW being available more broadly.
Latest sales for the aforementioned PEVs already in the club sees them significantly higher in cumulative sales since launch.
These are the Mitsubishi i-MiEV family with around 50,000, Mitsubishi Outlander at over 60,000, Prius plug-in hybrid at 71,000, Tesla Model S at 73,000, Volt/Ampera at 93,000, and Nissan Leaf with 177,000.
Whether the new 25,000 unit club members will catch up to these over 50,000- unit leaders is anyone’s guess, but it is possible. Following is a bit more on each.
BYD Qin – 27,351 sold
Sold primarily in China where it was an early success following a December 2013 launch, BYD’s plug-in hybrid has also sold a small but unavailable number in Latin America, and reports have been that it could be imported to Europe and the U.S. by the end of this year.
The Qin has been a best seller among new energy vehicles in China and just last month a substantial 3,518 units.
While no Tesla beater, it is something of a power hybrid and its automaker has staged races with conventional cars to show off its 5.9-second 0-62 mph time.
Power comes from a turbocharged 1.5-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine with 152 horsepower, 177 pounds-feet torque combined with a 148-horsepower, 184 pounds-feet electric motor. Propulsion energy is routed through a six speed auto.
The PHEV on some test cycles has been rated for 43.5 miles all-electric range and on paper compares favorably to the Chevy Volt.
Renault Zoe – 26,296 sold
Launched in December 2012, the all-electric Zoe is a cousin in the Renault-Nissan Alliance to the Nissan Leaf but smaller.
Powered by a 22-kilowatt-hour batter pack and 87 horespwer 162 pounds-feet motor, its range has been realistcically estimated at 62 miles in winter and 93 in ideal conditions.
Reviews from Europe have generally been favorable for the smartly styled car, and it’s received a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating to boot.
BMW i3 – 25,785 sold
Needing less of an introduction as it’s sold in the U.S. as well, BMW’s purpose-built EV with was launched in Germany in November 2013 and versions are available also with optional range extending engine.
Called a “Mega City Vehicle,” the car is the vanguard of more sustainable electrified vehicles to come from BMW’s i division of sustainable vehicles so ar consisting also of the i8 PHEV.
Range on the EPA cycle is 81 for the non REx i3, and 150 miles with the 647cc two-cylinder range extender on models so equipped.
The 22-kwh battery powers a 170 horsepower electric motor and extensive use of F1-derived carbon-fiber reinforced plastic help reduce cub weight and add to the high-tech factor that led Munro Associates to call it the most advanced car on the planet.
Thanks to sales tracker Mario R. Duran in compiling figures for this report.