As various nations increase demand, and automakers increase plug-in electrified vehicle (PEV) models and availability, their cumulative world-wide total sales has quietly crossed the half-million unit mark.

This is counting highway legal plug-in hybrids and all-electric passenger vehicles, since PEVs began in the modern era around 2009. It excludes motorcycles, buses and trucks. The figures also include light-duty plug-in vehicles, mainly the Renault Kangoo ZE, with over 13,000 units sold by the end of June 2014, but even without these, the milestone has been crossed.

It was actually crossed with qualifiers as described with around 505,000 estimated as of the end of May 2014. Due to some delayed sales reporting in various global markets, and accounting for potential minor error, it’s safe to say the number by end of June was closer to 525,000 – thus conservative to say 500,000 now one week into July.

After this was written, but before posting, we were informed also UCDavis has also published confirmation of the 500,000 milestone.


Of all countries, the U.S. has accounted for around 45 percent of sales since numbers started to tally in earnest in 2010. Among the top half-dozen PEV consuming countries, Japan ranks second, China third, and the Netherlands is fourth.

As reported at the beginning of this year, the U.S. had around 168,000 units sold excluding Tesla Roadsters, Fisker Karmas, and Mini Es. As of June, the count is about 227,000 PEVs sold in the U.S.

According to the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) in Germany, globally the count was at 405,000 in January.

According to Jose Pontes, who from Portugal runs EV-Sales blog, and is cited by other more-established publications and believed accurate, as of May 2014 there were close to another 101,000 PEVs sold.

As of June, while all counts are not in, it’s estimated another 20,000 or so have been sold this calendar year globally.


The world sales leader is the Nissan Leaf, which Nissan today said has sold “over 120,000” units in 35 markets across the globe. Brazil-based alternative energy enthusiast, and plug-in car statistician, Mario R. Duran, said he believes the actual count is around 122,000.

Next in line among global top-selling cars is General Motors Chevy Volt Opel/Vauxhall Ampera siblings, estimated by Duran at about 77,000.

Following this is the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, at around 60,000, and after this is Tesla’s Model S at perhaps 38,500.

Both the Toyota and Tesla were launched later than the Volt and Leaf. In the U.S. the Toyota is sold in only 15 states, whereas the others are 50-state cars.

In the U.S. the Volt remains the top seller, but its lead is slipping. As of June, GM had sold 63,167, and the second-place Leaf was at 54,858 with monthly sales this year edging out the Volt.

At the present rate of PEV sales growth, President Obama’s goal of one million PEVs on U.S. roads by 2015 will be missed, but ZSW estimates globally, one million will be on the roads by the beginning of 2016.