There are still two months of 2014 sales totals to tally, but the Nissan Leaf has already broken its own U.S. electric vehicle sales record for a year. For the 20th straight month, Leaf sales also have topped the month’s total from the previous year (in this case, October 2013). Here are the highlights from a month in EV sales, which saw two new entries — the Kia Soul EV and the Volkswagen e-Golf — hit the U.S. market. Thanks to Insideevs.com for the sales charts.
A Leaf that won’t fall
Nissan must be tired of counting how many times it has sold more Leaf models than the same month the previous year, but after October, the number has hit 20 consecutive months of year-over-year growth. More importantly, its 24,411 Leafs sold through the first 10 months of 2014 give it the record for an all-electric vehicle in the U.S., topping its previous high of 22,610 set in 2013.
Among the other top-selling plug-in vehicles, the Chevy Volt hybrid improved upon its September 2014 performance with 1,439 cars sold in October, though it was down nearly 30% year-over-year from October 2013. Word of the redesigned Chevy Volt debuting in January in Detroit will likely keep sales from spiking anytime soon. As for the Toyota Prius plug-in, sales nearly fell off the radar in October with just 479 cars sold. The hybrid approach is clearly that nameplate’s selling point.
The Germans are coming
Aside from a generally steady performance by most plug-in automakers in October, two new all-electric vehicles hit the U.S. market. The Kia Soul EV, the funky electric offering that is rated at 93 miles of range, joined the VW e-Golf on dealers’ lots in a few coastal states. Germany’s luxury brands also had good news to report.
The BMW i8, the jaw-dropping, traffic-stopping hybrid priced at $135K, sold 204 units in October, which was more than double than the Porsche Panamera S-E plug-in (97) and more than one-third better than GM’s Cadillac ELR (152). BMW also had its strongest showing yet with its all-electric i3, which sold 1,159 units to move into the top five of plug-ins on the U.S. market.
For its part, Mercedes-Benz showed its B-Class Electric Drive is gaining traction with 98 units sold in October, a 50% gain over its September sales and by far its best month since it hit the market in July 2014. The Smart Electric Drive, Daimler’s other EV on the market, slumped a bit with 150 sales on the month.
There have been many comparisons detailing the virtues of the Nissan Leaf — namely value and efficiency — and consumers continue to respond to that package for the most popular EV to ever hit U.S. roads. Whether Ford’s price drop on the Focus Electric or the entry of the e-Golf and Soul EV will change anything remains to be seen.