Listing monthly U.S. sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids gets boring. At the top is always the Nissan Leaf in a landslide, while lurking in its shadow (we’re never sure where exactly) is the Tesla Model S. Widening the focus to global electric vehicle sales is a bit more interesting.
Auto data company JATO recently registration figures for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids across the globe through September 2014. Here are the seven best-selling EVs worldwide in 2014 according to registrations. (Though there have been numerous controversies with the numbers appearing on DailyKanban.com, the order of the top seven appears bulletproof.)
7. Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid
Ford’s plug-in version of the C-Max can get 20 miles of electric range and overall economy rated at 88 miles per gallon electric equivalent (MPGe). When the battery is fully out of juice and you’re driving on gasoline only, the economy is rated at 38 miles per gallon. JATO counted 7,493 registrations of the C-Max Energi across the globe through September 2014. Ford sold 6,486 units of its C-Max plug-in stateside during that period.
6. Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid
Running the same powertrain as the C-Max plug-in, the Ford Fusion Energi gets the same economy ratings but does it in a more attractive body frame. The 95 miles per gallon equivalent in city driving has obvious appeal to drivers looking to save on long-term vehicle ownership costs, while the 81 miles per gallon on the highway doesn’t disappoint, either. Couple those specs with 20 miles of pure electric range and it’s clear Fusion Energi owners don’t need to head to the gas station much. JATO lists 10,389 registrations of the Fusion Energi through the first nine months of 2014. Ford sold 9,323 in the U.S. during that time frame.
5. Toyota Prius Plug-in
While its electric range is on the limited side (an understatement) at 11 miles, the Toyota Prius plug-in gets an overall 95 miles per gallon equivalent and a stellar 50 miles per gallon equivalent on gasoline. Customers around the globe like the combination as well as the lower sticker price than U.S.-branded plug-ins. At least 15,268 registrations of the Prius plug-in model went on the books through September 2014. Toyota quotes 11,842 sales of the model in the U.S. over the nine-month period.
4. Chevrolet Volt
JATO has global registrations for the Chevy Volt at 15,898 through September 2014. That would put the Prius plug-in within spitting distance of GM’s plug-in hybrid, depending on how many sales had yet to be registered. Regardless, the Volt is cracking the top five for vehicles with plug-in power. As far as the class is concerned, the Volt has the longest available electric range (38 miles) before gasoline starts to burn in the engine. In hybrid mode, Volts get 98 miles per gallon equivalent and 37 miles per gallon on strictly gas. Chevy sold 14,540 in the U.S. in that time period.
3. Tesla Model S
How many Teslas were sold in 2014? How many were registered? Talk about controversy. After Elon Musk said nearly every car the automaker had was sold in the first three quarters of 2014, one Merrill Lynch analyst claimed he could put his finger on 3,000 that were sitting around with no takers. Daily Kanban went so far as to say JATO had 4,000 Teslas AWOL when looking at registrations. (Of course, Daily Kanban has JATO quoting 6,147 models of the BMW i8 being registered during those months, compared to the 341 BMW sold. Oops.)
In any event, there are discrepancies, to say the least. JATO puts registered Teslas at 17,815 through September. Autoblog Green, for its part, estimated 21,821 Model S units sold in the U.S. alone over that time frame, while InsideEVs.com puts the U.S. count at 13,800 through November. Hopefully, investigators are scouring the ports of China to uncover the real truth. While they’re at it, we’re comfortable placing Tesla in third on this list.
Tesla has the segment-leading range of 208 miles in in its base 60 kWh model and 95 miles per gallon equivalent.
2. Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid
Everyone keeps saying the Outlander Plug-in hybrid (or any crossover EV) would sell like gangbusters in the U.S., and they could use this evidence to back up the argument. JATO counted 23,908 registrations of the Outlander PHEV from around the globe. Throw in what would undoubtedly be another (minimum) 10,000 bought by U.S. consumers and you a hotly coveted vehicle that Americans can’t buy.
Mitsubishi has been flashing concept models of the next-generation Outlander plug-in that will eventually come to the U.S., but don’t hold your breath. The glaring void in the plug-in SUV market will remain for the foreseeable future. For the record, the Outlander PHEV gets over 30 miles of pure electric range.
1. Nissan Leaf
There wasn’t much disputing this one. JATO counted 44,897 units of the Nissan Leaf registered around the globe during the first nine months of 2014. Sporting an electric range of 84 miles, 114 miles per gallon equivalent, and an affordable sticker price, the Leaf has hit the sweetest spot yet as far as electric vehicles are concerned. Nissan moved 21,822 Leafs in the U.S. through September 2014, which makes its global market about half in the U.S. and half everywhere else.
It has already secured the all-time record for EV sales in the U.S., so it appears the Leaf is here to stay. In fact, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn recently declared the range of an upcoming Leaf will crack 200 miles in the years ahead. Now that Leaf would really be something.