We regularly round up electric vehicle sales in the U.S., but it’s a big world out there. Plug-in and pure EV sales in Europe have been much stronger than U.S. totals in 2015 due to the number of available models and significantly higher gas prices abroad.
European automakers are also entering the fray, with BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes setting the tone for a new wave of plug-in EVs. Meanwhile, the old guard has been stuck in neutral. Nissan (with the Leaf), General Motors (with the Chevy Volt), and Toyota (with the Prius plug-in hybrid) have been phasing out their top-selling plug-ins as they make room for redesigned models.
It’s a transitional period for electric vehicles, to say the least. We remain two years away from what should be the start of mass consumer adoption of the segment. While the industry reboots for the next phase, we take a look at the automakers who have sold the most plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles since the start of sales through April 2015, per EV Sales.
Here are the top 10 automakers for all-time electric car sales.
The Volkswagen Group had made major strides in 2015, pulling into 10th place after a furious pace through the first four months of the year. All told, the automaker had sold just over 24,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids through its Audi, Porsche, and core brands. In the United States, only the Porsches and the VW e-Golf are on the market, but other consumers have access to the VW e-Up!, the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE, and the Audi A3 e-tron. Only the A3 e-tron is confirmed for the U.S.
9. The Geely Group
U.S. consumers may not be familiar with the Geely Group, but the foreign corporation sells compact electric cars and taxis under several brand names. With only 25,712 Evs and hybrids sold over the years, Geely has locked down ninth place on this list. For perspective, Nissan sold over 30,000 models of the Leaf EV in the U.S. in 2014 alone. In China, Geely has an electric car rental business going while the automaker has commercial vehicle EVs on sale in the European Union and U.S.
BMW stands in eighth place in all-time electric vehicle sales through April 2015 with just the i3 and i8 PHEV under its banner and 25,759 sales in the books. Like its rivals Mercedes Benz and Audi, BMW has more EVs in the pipeline, with a plug-in hybrid version of the X5 crossover planned next for the U.S. As it stands, the automaker is quickly losing ground to the Volkswagen Group.
The BYD Qin is a surprisingly fast plug-in hybrid that just set a sales record with over 4,000 models moved in China this past July. That’s quite a hefty take for an electric car, and the automaker moved over 37,000 plug-ins through April 2015. Besides the Qin, BYD, which (don’t laugh) stands for “Build Your Dreams,” also has a plug-in hybrid SUV that supposedly hits 60 miles per hour in 5.0 seconds. Take that, Elon Musk.
When Ford threw its hat into the ring with Focus Electric, Fusion Energi, and C-Max Energi, the automaker had the foundation for a solid electric car lineup before taking its foot off the pedal in the last few years. Despite the sound reputation of the Focus EV and Energi models, these cars have slumped in 2015. Ford remains in sixth place for all-time EV sellers with 48,658 units sold through April 2015. BYD is gaining fast.
Tesla managed to claw into the top five in all-time EV sales by constantly refining and upgrading its flagship Model S. Through April 2015 the automaker sold 71,363 units worldwide. Next up is the Model X, which should boost sales totals enough for Tesla to crack the top four. It will take until the mass-market Model 3 becomes available for the Fremont-based company to challenge the top dogs in the segment.
Toyota made its way into the top four without a pure EV. The Toyota Prius plug-in, the automaker group’s only electric model outside of the compliance RAV4 EV, led the charge of 76,028 units sold through April 2015. Rumors about a new Prius plug-in have been swirling for years, but so far all we know is Toyota has big plans for fuel cell electric cars instead of battery models. We won’t know how this strategy plays out for a long time, but the automaker has no plug-in cars in the works.
3. General Motors
By the looks of the specs and the few early reviews that have published, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt appears to be the next big thing on the green car market, but General Motors nailed down third place in EV sales with the success of the original Volt. Through April 2015, Chevrolet moved 95,293 copies of the Volt and Chevy Spark EV, a low-volume pure electric car available in a few U.S. markets. When the 2017 model rolls out to all 50 states in 2016, GM will threaten second place on this list.
While the much-maligned i-MiEV is the only Mitsubishi plug-in for sale in the U.S., overseas consumers have been enamored with the Outlander plug-in for years, giving the brand 100,242 sales since entering this segment. Most analysts believe Mitsubishi could have done brisk business with a plug-in utility vehicle on this market, and in 2016 they will get to test their theories when the Outlander PHEV arrives in U.S. dealerships.
Between the Renault ZOE and the Nissan Leaf (the best-selling electric vehicle of all time), the Nissan-Renault alliance is by far the leading automotive group. Through April 2015, the two companies sold 241,714 plug-in cars around the world, good enough for 28% of the entire market and more than double the totals of its nearest competitor. With the next-generation Leaf hitting dealerships in late fall, expect the automakers to pad their totals in the segment.
Source: EV Sales