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Sales Surprise: Battery-Electric Cars Are Outselling Plug-In Hybrids

Poring over monthly sales figures for plug-in electric cars–and our six-month summary–the data points out an unexpected fact.

Did you know that pure battery-electric cars actually outsold plug-in cars that also have engines?

From January through June of this year, the combination of 9,839 Nissan Leafs, 882 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs, and approximately 9,400 Tesla Model S cars (plus 1,700-odd compliance cars and others) exceeds the total of 18,335 plug-in hybrids and Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric cars.

Slightly different six-month sales totals from the Electric Drive Transportation Association tell the same story.

EDTA reports 22,712 battery-electric cars (we presume they use different estimates for the monthly sales that Tesla doesn’t report) against the same 18,335 plug-in hybrids and range-extended electrics that we tallied.

2013 changes everything

That wasn’t what happened in 2011 or 2012.

And according to market analysts, that wasn’t how it was supposed to happen, either.

The long-held assumption has been that the limited range of battery-only electric cars would doom them to permanent second-class citizenship.


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