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Tesla leads way as electric car sales double in 2013

Sales of battery-electric and plug-in vehicles in the United States are expected to nearly double 2012’s totals, with Tesla’s Model S leading the way.

By JIM MOTAVALLI

The New York Times

A Tesla Model S electric vehicle is displayed at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013 in Tokyo.
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When the final figures for 2013 are tabulated, sales of battery-electric and plug-in vehicles in the United States are expected to nearly double 2012’s totals, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), a trade group based in Washington, D.C. Even so, that is fewer than 100,000 vehicles, in a year when the industry is on track to comfortably top 15 million sales.

There is no denying that cars with plugs are finding more buyers, a positive development in the eyes of environmentalists. Still, the high points of 2013 were sometimes offset by setbacks. For instance, tepid sales of several EV models, as well as the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, had automakers slashing prices by thousands of dollars.

At the same time, a segment star, the Tesla Model S, proved it could hold its own in the premium market, projecting sales of about 20,000 cars in the United States. The electric Tesla has been a headline-maker, outselling some gas-powered competitors. In October, Edmunds.com reported that the Model S was the “most registered” new vehicle in eight of America’s 25 wealthiest ZIP codes.
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