OK, here’s where things stand. The Volt is not first, but gen 2 could fix that.
Let’s hope that’s the way it goes.
GM has an opportunity here …
As of September 2014, the global number of plug-in electrified vehicles (PEVs) sold crested to nearly 604,000 with certain models rounding out the bulk of these.
In fact, the top-10 models from various manufacturers have accounted for 77 percent of the total at an estimated 464,956 units.
Counted are both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids by sales total with the biggest standout being three vehicles from Renault-Nissan.
SEE ALSO: Global Plug-in Car Sales Now Over 600,000
Together, their volume is just around 170,500 units or more than 28 percent of all plug-in cars sold to date.
These counts come with the help of Brazil-based plug-in car statistician Mario R. Duran, and are based on reports through September, where available.
Vehicles counted are “global” but bear in mind, some are sold in more markets than others, with a couple not sold in the world’s biggest market, the U.S., and a couple sold only in the U.S. and Canada, not elsewhere.
While this is a compilation of the top 10 in descending order, if you’re curious, we’ll list 11th-15th as well.
SEE ALSO: Should You Buy a Plug-in Hybrid?
The 11th-place BMW i3 has sold 11,676 units and is catching up to the 10th-best selling car’s 15,063 units. At present rates, BMW’s city car ought to start climbing into the top 10 soon enough.
It has outsold China’s Chery QQ3EV (11,528), Volvo S60 PHEV (11,370), Smart ED (10,000), and China’s BYD Quin PHEV (9,615).
The top 15 comprise an estimated 519,145 out of the estimated 603,932 units sold since the dawn of modern plug-in vehicles.
At this point, this should come as little surprise. There are relatively few plug-in models in the world next to the sea of internal combustion cars but that is changing.
Following are the 10 best sellers …
10. Renault Zoe, 15,063 sold
We normally hear about success of domestic models here in the U.S., but Europeans concerned with CO2 emissions are a market to be reckoned with, and since its December 2012 launch, the Renault ZOE has become the world’s 10th best seller.
A review by Auto Express pegs range at about 100 miles – down from Renault’s claim of 130. We’ll include a video too, as this car may be of interest, and less familiar than some of the others further up the ladder.
UK Pricing for the Zoe is around the same as a Renault Clio diesel, and Renault quotes 13,995 GBP including VAT ($22,400). Unique is the battery is rented on a monthly basis from Renault.
We think it would be neat if a car like this, or a next generation were to one day find its way to the U.S.
9. Renault Kangoo; 15,369 sold
Everything we just said about Renault and Europe applies to the Kangoo ZE except this is an all-electric minivan.
This one also compares to a diesel counterpart and is positioned as a small work truck.
Here are details from Renault.
8. Ford Fusion Energi; 15,611 sold
The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid should be pretty familiar to U.S. buyers.
It is the top-of-the-range for the Fusion family, and shares its full hybrid powertrain – albeit one-better, in plug-in form – with the Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ and U.S. market C-Max variants.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Ford Fusion Energi Review
The sleek looking sedan with the coupe-like silhouette is sold in the U.S. and Canada only.
7. Ford C-Max Energi; 16,377 sold
The C-Max Energi is also U.S. and Canadian only, although in Europe it comes with internal combustion powertrains.
It is Ford’s Prius fighter, and splits the difference between the Prius Liftback and Prius v wagon in size, while more powerful and faster.
SEE ALSO: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Review
It and the Fusion Energi had their EPA mpg scores clipped. The C-Max was actually reduced twice but despite all that, it is a good car for what it is and gaining a following, if not still well behind the Prius which had a 12 year head start in the U.S. market.
6. Mitsubishi i-MiEV Family; 30,501 sold
The Mitsu is the grandfather of mainstream city EVs and has been labeled also as Citreon and Peugeot variants.
It’s derived from a Japanese “kei” car and developed in 2009 after they removed the gas engine and installed all-electric powertrain.
SEE ALSO: 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Review – Video
We credit Mitsubishi for being bold enough to sell this car nationwide in the U.S. It has essentially fallen to low sales numbers, here, but is cheaper and better
than previously, and not a bad little EV, even if other more-competitive choices are now available.
5. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV; 35,188 sold
Here is the PHEV Americans are waiting for, but for now it’s only being snapped up in Europe and Japan.
Launched in Japan in January 2013, Mitsubishi says the U.S. ought to see the plug-in hybrid in 2015, and we know a number of people are anticipating it.
It will fill the bill as an SUV that gets more electric range than the Ford Energis with the utility of a light-duty family-hauling SUV.
The U.S. is the largest PEV market, and when it gets here, assuming they can keep up supply, we suspect its tally shall continue to increase all the more rapidly.
4. Tesla Model S; estimated 47,000-plus sold
This car needs no introduction, does it? Since launching it June 2012 in the U.S. Tesla is now selling it globally in 15 countries including across Europe, China, and of course the U.S. and Canada.
It starts here at $72,000 and has been a relative smash hit given its upscale price and sales volume sending it up the sales ladder In a league of cars half its price or less.
SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S Review
Model S is expected to have sold 50,000
pending full confirmation by Tesla’s third quarterly sales announcement after market close on Wednesday, November 5, 2014.
3. Toyota Prius PHEV; 65,300 sold
The Prius with a plug rests partially on the laurels of the highly effective Prius Liftback and has sold well the past few years with global sales slowing in 2014. It was launched first in Japan in January 2012, and the U.S. February 2012.
Its EV range is lower than any PHEV, but underlying it is the 50-mpg Prius and Toyota’s reliability record, resale value, and fan base.
The next Prius PHEV is believed likely to get a boost to its 11 miles EV range but won’t be here until perhaps late 2015, early 2016.
2. Chevy/Holden Volt & Opel/Vauxhall Ampera; 83,687 sold
This is perhaps the biggest U.S. alternative-energy success story and car political pundits love to bash the most all in one. The Volt is made in Detroit, and shipped to more than 12 nations.
And the count is for badge-engineered variants sold in Europe and the UK as Opel and Vauxhall, and in Australia as the Holden Volt.
Most have been sold in the U.S. – 69,082, and PHEV-absorbing Netherlands – 6,036, and Canada – 3,725, and this global count of 83,687 excludes several dozen cars as we only have records through June for four small European markets.
Top markets – note a few countries have records not through to September.
It’s sold in dribs and drabs elsewhere which is why it’s being discontinued as the Ampera, which even many Volt fans think is prettier.
Hey, here’s an idea: cancel the Volt, and introduce the Ampera to the U.S! Or never mind. GM is about to introduce the second generation in Detroit in January.
The hope is if critics ever did have ammo against it, this one will disarm them, and sales will catch up to the earlier expectations.
1. Nissan Leaf; 142,000 sold
The success of the Leaf is a testament to the bullish investments Nissan made in an all-electric car that can work for people’s needs, and an indicator that battery electric outsell plug-in hybrids globally.
Worldwide battery electric vehicles account for 356,232 of the 603,932 PEV sales, and plug-in hybrids accounts for 247,700.
SEE ALSO: 2013 Nissan Leaf Review – Video
In the world’s biggest PEV market, the U.S., the home-market Volt with 69,082 sold holds an edge and both it and the Leaf with its 63,944 sales were launched in the U.S December 2010.
The Leaf has been catching up, and the past six month’s tally is 16,638 Leafs to 10,924 Volts, but the gen-2 Volt will come before gen-2 Leaf. That may help a year from now but the Leaf is on track to catch up and pass the Volt before then.
Worldwide, the Leaf dominates by a wide margin and at present rates could very well sail past a 150,000 global milestone by November just in time for its four-year anniversary.