With gas prices still about a dollar lower per gallon than last year’s averages, electric vehicles and hybrids have their work cut out for them with short-sighted consumers. Thankfully, the low (or free) cost of a battery charge keeps frugal and eco-friendly drivers coming back to green vehicles on the market.
In February, nearly all hybrids dropped on the sales charts when compared to their performances in 2014. Pure electric cars did better, ending with gains near 6% for the month. Notwithstanding the dismal numbers of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (2 units) and Smart Electric Drive (76 units), there were numerous bright spots when looking at the sales of plug-in vehicles last month, when sales were 14% better than the tough January 2015 report.
Here are seven cars that helped EV sales rebound in February. Thanks to InsideEVs.com for the consistently accurate figures and the excellent handling of Tesla sales estimates.
1. Ford Fusion Energi
Only four plug-in vehicles have sold over 1,000 units in 2015, and the Fusion Energi is one of them. Able to cover 20 miles on a charge and get the equivalent of 88 miles per gallon, the electrified Fusion is an economy vehicle no matter which way gas prices fluctuate. To that end, Ford delivered 603 units of the plug-in hybrid in February, 22% worse than the previous year’s numbers but a 42% gain over January sales. Only four EVs (and one PHEV) did better on the month.
2. BMW i3
If there were only one star of February EV sales, it would be the BMW i3, which sold 1,089 units for a gain of 63% over its January performance. That number was third best among all plug-ins on sale in the U.S. and trailed the segment-leading Nissan Leaf (1,198 units) and Model S (estimated 1,150 units) by just a few cars. BMW has a major success on its hands with the i3, which had never come as close to knocking the top cars off the podium as it did in February. Among the cars on U.S. roads, i3 gets the best economy, a combined 124 miles per gallon.
3. Chevrolet Spark EV
GM recently announced the Chevy Spark EV would expand its market to the East Coast, which was good news for EV consumers and the industry in general. Currently No. 2 among all cars with a combined equivalent of 119 miles per gallon, the Spark EV was one of only two pure EVs that gained in February sales year over year. Chevy delivered 119 models on the month, a gain of 68% over 2014 and a 38% improvement over January 2015.
4. Ford Focus Electric
Like the Spark EV, the Focus Electric managed to post a modest gain of 12% in February with 145 units sold, a sterling 71% better than the Ford EV did in January. After last year’s price drops, the Focus has become a good deal in a market that can be pricey. Before any state or federal rebates, Ford’s EV has a sticker price of $29,170, which would plunge below $20K in many states after adding available incentives. Drivers have 76 miles of range and economy of 105 miles per gallon to work with in a 2015 Focus Electric.
5. Tesla Model S
While several sites had higher estimates for Model S sales in February, we continue trusting InsideEVs.com after their accurate work throughout 2014. The website pegged Tesla sales at 1,150 units on the month, which would have been a shade better than January and slightly worse than the automaker delivered the previous year. That performance was good enough to make the Model S No. 2 on the list of plug-in sales for the month.
6. Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf is nearly always the best-selling electric vehicle in America and around the world, so there was little surprise when it took the top spot in February with 1,198 units sold. Still a bargain at $29,010 before receiving any tax credits, the Leaf gets the equivalent of 114 miles per gallon combined and 85 miles of range. Despite posting a decline of 16% year over year, Leaf sales rebounded 12% over the model’s January stats.
7. BMW i8
In a month when buyers of pricey plug-ins and EVs generally backed away from purchases, the BMW i8 supercar ($136,500) managed to sell 113 units for a gain of 33% over its January sales. That figure was better than the Porsche Cayenne (71 units) and the Panamera (40 units) plug-in hybrids sold combined. The i8 also bested the Kia Soul EV (48 units) by a wide margin in February, giving BMW another reason to celebrate its successful electric car program.