1 of 40 California Car Sales Were Plug-ins in Q4 2012

By · March 11, 2013

CCSE's Plug-in Prius

The California Center for Sustainable Energy manages the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.

While most media reports about the electric car market portray sales as disappointing, here’s a factoid that’s more uplifting for plug-in car fans: one out of every 40 car sales in California in Q4 2012 were plug-in electric models.

This statistic is derived from the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) based on clean vehicle rebates, as well as information from major carmakers, plus sales numbers from the California New Car Dealers Association. There were an estimated 5,800 plug-in electric cars added to California’s roads in the last three months of 2012, compared to 232,512 cars. (Total vehicle sales additionally include 138,891 units of larger vehicles, such as SUVs, pick-up trucks and vans, not included in this comparison.)

Call it semantics or spin, if you like. Regardless, the 1-in-40 number represents a start—a baseline level of plug-in cars that continues to grow. After all, only one or two car owners out of 100 are in the market for a new car at any one time, so it will take time for plug-in car adoption to increase, as consumers interested in a plug-in car replace older gas vehicles.

CCSE's Plug-in Prius

For key counties in Northern and Southern California, adoption of plug-in electric vehicle sales was more intense, likely to be much higher than 1 in 40 new car sales. This map from CCSE shows cumulative rebate numbers.

Approximately ninety percent of the new Q4-2012 plug-in cars in California were the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF or Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. Models that combine an electric motor and gas engine, such as the Volt and Prius PHEV, made up 60 percent of the sales—while pure electric cars such as the LEAF represented roughly 40 percent of sales.

CCSE is not able to provide exact numbers on a model or manufacturer basis. However, the non-profit informed PluginCars.com that it’s seen the Tesla Model S “gain a significant share of the market” from December 2012 to February 2013.


· · 4 years ago

Its great that California has a decent state rebate (In NY state I have only the federal rebate), but then they take it away with a Punitive electric rate policy.

Electricians will love the fact that to get a decent electric rate, EV drivers need to call their Electrician to install a Dedicated EV charger service meter. Better get a feeder size corresponding to the biggest EVSE you think you'd ever want (30 amp or 70 amp (40 or 80 for a 1 or 2 charger model S), (so in other words a 40, 50, or 100 amp meter circuit) since once you get their bill for the work you'll be glad you're only doing it once per house.

· · 4 years ago

This is very good new especially when you consider cars such as the Leaf are really designed for a niche market, plus the fact that the infrastructure is still in its infancy. I would say that the Leaf has made very good headway for it being a pathfinder into the electric arena. Now if they could just extend the range to 200+ miles.

· · 4 years ago

This is how They do it, in incredible India: http://jpgmag.com/photos/3521553

· · 4 years ago


You just showed an EV next to an Ambassador.... Would have been more intructive if you showed it plugged in to your EVSE or power point and put some specs with it.

· · 4 years ago


That Reva is same as the G-Wiz that was sold in UK. Funny thing is in my last visit to India I saw more Revas than Tata Nanos.

· · 4 years ago

2.5% -- not bad!

@Bill: the preconceptions you repeat about California don't connect much with reality.
First, its retail electric rates are overall lower than NY's: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/
Second, an electrician will get involved for an EVSE install irrespective of the state you live in. Also, only some utilities offer the option of a dedicated EV meter, and it isn't necessarily beneficial financially.
Last but not least, those considerations are mostly moot anyway for over half the EV and PHV drivers in CA: they already have solar, or will this year. http://energycenter.org/index.php/incentive-programs/clean-vehicle-rebat...

· · 4 years ago

@Mr. O

On another blog here many Californians were complaining that they couldn't lower their usage down to tier 1 or 2 levels no matter what they did, and when calling their particular utility, they agreed with them that almost no one can do it.

So how come Californians here are complaining about it if what I said is not true? I said 30 cents / kwh is extortion, and it was immediately agreed to, except I was told that the rate could be as high as 34 cents/ kwh.

The Shoe is Really on the other foot. I have paid between 9 and 13 cents / kwh over the past 5 years, and I live in NY state. My neighbors as close as 5 miles away (still in NY State) pay 6. In a few semi rural areas of the state, they pay 4.

So Mr. O, you usually have something worthwhile to say, but this time confusing NY City proper's 20 cents/ kwh with the whole rest of the state is spreading mis-information. Sorry, this time you struck out.

· · 4 years ago

@Mr. O.

It would be interesting to see what the typical One Meter California EV driver pays per Kwh (in other words, what tier they are in After driving their electric car).

Paul Scott, the Nissan Leaf dealer and driver I know is in tier 1, but he only uses 120 kwh per month! (He must have a hot refrigerator and 1 table lamp in his appartment). I know this because I heard him give a speech stating same.

"....Second, an electrician will get involved for an EVSE install irrespective of the state you live in...."

Try getting a quote from any electrician (I'm out of the business now but I used to do service changeouts being a Licensed Master Electrician) re: the cost of running a 40 amp branch circuit, vs. putting in a second meter trough. Both the Utility and most building inspectors around these parts insist that if an existing service is 'touched', then it has to be completely gutted and replaced with new, if its on a house (certain exceptions can be made for larger commercial installations, but we're not addressing that here). I would charge an order of magnitude increase in price, at least. I didn't mention the above to "snap my suspenders", I did it to prove to you you don't know what your are talking about. Around here, to install a separate meter for the car only would involve the much much greater expense of totally changing out a perfectly good working service and replacing it simply because the Utility insists on a Unitized Dual Meter Trough. Pacific Coast Standards are somewhat different, but the pricinpal applies.

The 16.45 cents per kwh you quote is probably without taxes. Its probably a bit higher in NYS avg, but then NYC at 20 is the tail that wags the dog. My figures I quoted include all taxes and fees. I base my comments most of the time on what I pay here in the western end of the state, and although I sympathize with downstaters, its up to them to fight their own battles, or move. State encroachment of the utility business is increasing, and not in good ways, but it is not as pernicious as California.

· · 4 years ago

Bill is right.

I am an EV owner and I live in the Bay Area. My monthly usage is around 800 KWh per month. With my EV, my usage is around 1100 KWh now. That is TIER 3 to TIER 4 charges. So, average electricity cost is about $0.22/KWh.

So, after about 6 months, I installed solar panels and now I am barely tier 2.

On E-1 electricity rate (NOT TOU/flat rate per tier), the starting price is $0.11/KWh... At Tier 3, it is $0.30/KWh...

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