Chevy Volt Sales Still Strong in June 2012, Nissan LEAF Slump Continues

By · July 03, 2012


With June 2012 now in the history books, US sales of two of the most celebrated electrified vehicles have been tallied.

Nissan reported that sales of its electric LEAF checked in at only 535 units in June 2012, compared to 510 units in May 2012; 370 units in April; and 579 units in March 2012. That's approximately one-third the 1,708 LEAFs sold in June 2011. Nissan's low volume of LEAF sales over the past handful of months is perplexing, especially considering how the automaker insists that US sales will hit 20,000 units by the end of Fiscal Year 2012 (March 31, 2013). If trends continue, Nissan's LEAF-manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee—expected to come online in December—could operate way below its capacity of 150,000 units annually.

Sales of the Chevy Volt increased a bit with General Motors reporting it sold 1,760 units in July 2012, compared to 1,680 units in May; 1,462 units in April; and a record-setting 2,289 units in March 2012. For the sake of comparison, General Motors sold only 561 Chevy Volts in June 2011.

In terms of 2012 year-to-date numbers, the tally for the Nissan LEAF now checks in at 3,148 units. Meanwhile, the 2012 YTD results for the Chevy Volt ring in at 8,817 units. Last year at this exact time, General Motors' year-to-date Volt sales stood at 2,745 units and Nissan's mark for the LEAF was 3,875 units.


· · 5 years ago

Good to see that Volt sales did not drop despite the continuing falling gas prices - another 22 cents in June to $3.38 US average. Gas is 6 months lowest - from $4.00 in April to $3.38 now - in 3 short months.

· igh (not verified) · 5 years ago

I think the main reason for the poor sales of the Leaf is the bad styling. I just ordered a Ford Focus Electric for 2K over a comparable Leaf and now will wait 2 months to get the car. Leafs are filling up the dealer lots in Bay area and going for as low as 3K below MSRP but the styling just repulsed me. Particularly the headlights look horrible. I already own a Volt and it looks really good. Styling is important as evident by the praise showered on the Tesla Model S. Nissan should learn how to design good looking cars - not just funky ones like the Cube, Leaf etc.

· decaffeinated (not verified) · 5 years ago

As I recall from the movie "The Revenge of the Electric Car", the creation of the Leaf was viewed in some quarters as a "bet the company" move by Carlos Ghosn .

If that characterization is accurate, Mr Ghosn is probably not a happy man.

· · 5 years ago

Oh... my. Once again, for the umpteenth time, these "sales" figures are likely the result of supply --not demand. To get a more accurate picture, we need to also look at the number of vehicles currently on dealers' lots (according Here's why:

8,817 (sold thru June) + 4,623 (on lots) = 13,440 Chevy Volts
Percentage sold so far this year = 66%

3,148 (sold thru June) + 1,909 (on lots) = 5,057 Nissan Leafs
Percentage sold so far this year = 62%

The difference between those percentages are practically negligible. Sales of the available vehicles actually seem to be running neck-and-neck!

Now, if readers wonder why there are fewer Leafs available than Volts, it is very likely because Nissan is now shipping a larger percentage of them to other countries (like Australia, which just opened its Leaf market), and a lower percentage to the USA, in anticipation of the Smyrna, TN, plant coming online later this year to take up the slack here.

· TFisher (not verified) · 5 years ago

I've always thought that comparing the Volt and Leaf was a bad idea, because they are in really different markets. But even given that, I always thought the Volt would outsell the Leaf because, outside of price, the Volt has actual mass market appeal.

Thanks to the styling and range limitations the Leaf wouldn't be a top seller even at half the price, while the Volt could easily be the top selling vehicle with that kind of discount.

The true comparison is Volt vs PiPrius. Volt has a huge tech/performance/styling advantage and is only about ~10% more expensive after credits. The fact that Volt looks to be handily beating PiP must be great news to GM.

· TFisher (not verified) · 5 years ago


Thats just not true. Nissan is more than capable of matching supply to demand at these levels and they are doing so. If there were 10 cars on dealer lots and Nissan sold 6 your logic would imply everything was peaches. These numbers are tiny, and Nissan has far more than enough capacity to rapidly double or quadruple these numbers without affecting global supplies.

Furthermore your explanation is so poor that even Nissan hasn't adopted it. Nissan specifically states that sales were poor because of poor marketing during the switch to the new dealer sales model. Poor "marketing" means the company is saying they weren't able to convince people to buy any.

This has been true for months now. Lack of demand forced Nissan to change its sales strategy to a dealer model, and lack of demand with the dealer model is blamed on poor marketing. Nissan dealers across the U.S. have reported extremely soft demand for Leaf compared to a year ago, and have been reporting this for months now.

· 'Nostromo' (not verified) · 5 years ago

It's nice not having to visit a gas station two, perhaps three times a week. Have had the Volt since February of '11 and I'm refueling with the frequency that the recent round of Volt commercials suggest. Trust me, it is very nice. It was not as hard to break a habit of 40 years, 'tanking-up that is, as I'd thought.

· · 5 years ago


I don't understand your arguments. Chevy has likewise sold approximately 6 out of 10 Volts available. Are their numbers equally "tiny"? Percentages are percentages: the same 2/3rd slice of the pie in this instance, despite the different size pies. Chevy's pie is larger; Nissan's is smaller.

Or do you think there is a stash of Leafs somewhere that Nissan just can't sell? I'm not sure where that would be, if not in either owners' hands or on the dealers' lots. It is simple arithmetic: you can't sell more cars than are *available*. Please explain where those Leafs are hiding.

· igh (not verified) · 5 years ago

A good indicator of soft demand is the market price of the car. In Bay area the Leaf is now easily available at 1.5K below invoice (I got 3 offers in the 35K range) for the SL. It is even
advertised in by few dealers for that price. No such luck for the Volt - you will be lucky to buy at invoice even though the base Volt is 2K more than the Leaf SL and gets 1K less rebate in CA.

· pjPA (not verified) · 5 years ago

The Volt was voted as the best engineered car on the road today by over 128,000 SAE automotive engineers... not the Leaf.

In 8 years when the Volt battery is at 70% you will still be able to drive the car cross country with no problems... or get to work gas free if your commute is about 25 miles...

in 8 years when the leaf battery is at 70% or much less because it does not have the thermal management system the Volt has .. you will be looking at taking a big loss ... a range of about 60 miles if your lucky the summer months.
...this difference is reflected in the sales.

· iletric (not verified) · 5 years ago

The numbers for the Leaf will change drastically with the 2013 model. I think people interested in the Leaf are savvy buyers and read all about what's going on with the car. Therefore, they know about the significant Leaf improvements coming to a Nissan dealer near you late this year. Come December the number will be 1000 a month again, or even more. If I was in the market to buy a Leaf, I'd wait on the sidelines as well.

· Lad (not verified) · 5 years ago

Amazing how many people are experts on-line without even driving the cars. Once you drive the Leaf, or the Volt for that matter, you will be in a better position to evaluate the car and assess if it meets your needs or not. Remember, the Leaf is a commuter and will go from 70 to 100 mile without a charge, while the Volt contains a ranger extender engine to save you from having to plan your trips.

· · 5 years ago

I'm on record in stating this emphasis on monthly sales figures doesn't do us any favors here at Plug In Cars . . . especially in this artificial "race" we have with these two particular autos, which now seems to be a wholly pointless and repetitive monthly feature story.

Brad, Eric . . . must we be tortured again similarly in another 30 days? You guys are better journalists than to have yourselves rehashing this one over and over again. The horse carcass has now been bashed to beyond the point of recognition. Let's please bury it before the stench overcomes us.

TFisher is right in that it's sort of silly to even compare how many Volts were sold to the number of Leafs, since they target a different audience. Yanquetino and ilectric are also correct in observing, respectively, that the actual percentage differences are relatively insignificant and that savy Leaf buyers are simply waiting for the improved 2013 model to hit the streets this fall.

I also do have to acknowledge what igh has said, though: that the Leaf isn't exactly the nicest looking thing to ever have rolled on four wheels. While Japanese cars, in general, have some of the best engineered drive-trains and highest build qualities in the world, a lot of them have goofy panel twists and bulges that you wouldn't think of seeing on most European or American cars.

The Leaf has that Elmer Fudd front bumper and plug hatch fascia that I've never really gotten used to. But it wouldn't take all that much to smooth it out. Instead of being inspired by a 1940s American cartoon character, as the Leaf has been here, France's Renault Zoe solves the same problem with a look borrowed from the Japan's Pokemon Pikachu.

Likewise, the rear hatch and taillights on the Leaf is one of the strangest convex amalgamations of metal and translucent plastic I've ever seen. Smoothing this out would also significantly enhance the overall looks. Leaf fans get bothered when their EVs are compared to Nissan's similarly proportioned Versa. But the Versa's hatch and taillight details look MUCH better than the Leaf's.

I've gotten used to the bug-eye headlights and the exaggerated rear quarter panels on the Leaf. Keep 'em. But work some magic on the front bumper and rear hatch, Nissan. I think your Leaf would have that much more overall appeal.

· · 5 years ago

The headline should specify that these are US sales figures only. The LEAF is a world car and have sold almost two times as many volts worldwide.

· · 5 years ago

Some excellent and insightful comments so far. I agree the LEAF vs. Volt gig is way over-played, and, as indyflick notes, it's very parochial and Ameri-centric. It's kind of amazing that in the age of the world wide web, how Ameri-centric so many web sites still are.

I also agree that the LEAF is ugly and that Nissan's overall car lineup is one of the ugliest out there, if not the ugliest. I hate bulbous cars, though, we would have bought a LEAF if not for unusual personal circumstances that are forcing us to wait another 2 years to buy a plug-in. If Nissan would redesign the LEAF as an "aero" LEAF, it would already look 100% better --

I'm not as optimistic as 'ilectric' that there will be a sudden rush to buy LEAFs in 2013, though I hope he's right. I'm a big EV advocate but the fact of the matter is that with a pure EV you're always faced with having to argue a less is more position. That's not the way technological improvements usually work -- new technologies should represent a clear advantage over older technologies. When they do, people flock to them, from cassette tapes to CDs, from CDs to iPods, etc.

EV advocates, again, I'm one of them, are still having to say "Yes, but..." to too many different things. Until more of the "yes, buts" go away -- and the Volt admittedly takes the biggest "yes, but" away with unlimited range -- pure EVs like the LEAF are going to remain a niche vehicle with comparatively low sales. The 85 kWh Tesla S Model does a great job of taking away the "yes, but" range problem, but it's still saddled with another "yes, but..." --> "yes it gets you far enough, but it's too damn expensive for all but the richest Americans".

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Benjamin Nead and indyflick +1 each.
Please expand your view or stop.

· · 5 years ago

Since everyone is saying it :) I am surprised how many people do agree that LEAF is ugly.
In my opinion too LEAF is ugly and I heard other people say it.
What was Nissan thinking? Did they ask anybody opinion? Or do they think they are the best and they have the best taste? It is a arrogant.

· · 5 years ago

@ Christof Demont
Your last two paragraphs are ready good, I completely agree with you. In fact so much, that I take them back here and sign along:

I'm not as optimistic as 'ilectric' that there will be a sudden rush to buy LEAFs in 2013, though I hope he's right. I'm a big EV advocate but the fact of the matter is that with a pure EV you're always faced with having to argue a less is more position. That's not the way technological improvements usually work -- new technologies should represent a clear advantage over older technologies. When they do, people flock to them, from cassette tapes to CDs, from CDs to iPods, etc.
EV advocates, again, I'm one of them, are still having to say "Yes, but..." to too many different things. Until more of the "yes, buts" go away -- and the Volt admittedly takes the biggest "yes, but" away with unlimited range -- pure EVs like the LEAF are going to remain a niche vehicle with comparatively low sales. The 85 kWh Tesla S Model does a great job of taking away the "yes, but" range problem, but it's still saddled with another "yes, but..." --> "yes it gets you far enough, but it's too damn expensive for all but the richest Americans".

· pjPA (not verified) · 5 years ago

The one thing not mentioned when comparing sales figures is the "Global" market... this should be compared.... what is the price of the Volt in Japan vs the price of the Leaf in the US? What would the sales figures be if we had FAIR trade and not the barriers put up by Japan Germany China and Korea against the Volt!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

and not a word from tesla. Guess they are still trying to sell stock and not cars.

· · 5 years ago

"Benjamin Nead and indyflick +1 each.Please expand your view or stop."

Well, Anonymous, I'll "expand my view" first by stating that the 'Anonymous' moniker (which, I'm guessing, is the default tag this blogging software assigns anyone who doesn't fill in a name while logging on) is self-defeating. I've lost track as to how many 'Anonymous' contributors we have here . . . some who stick around to comment regularly and some (most) who are just hit-and-run site spammers. I implore all to please call themselves anything other than 'Anonymous' on Plug In Cars . . . even if you wish to remain (dare I say it?) anonymous.

Are you the same 'Anonymous' advancing the Tesla comment? Until we have an electric car company named "Anonymous Motors" that has invested millions and has produced real and substantial state-of-the-art EV product, I'd continue hiding under an electronic rock, as you are currently doing.

Back to the topic at hand: Christof nailed it. I've seen pictures of that "Aero" Leaf before and, yes, it's a profound improvement. It still has a bit of the Elmer Fudd look to it up front, with that awkward plug hatch cover, but I can tell - even from this front quarter view - that the rear hatch has been tastefully re-sculpted. Toyota has managed to re-craft and improve the appearance of the Prius over the years. Nissan should consider doing the same with the Leaf . . . and not a moment too soon.

And, yes, the monthly regurgitation of the Volt vs. Leaf American-only sales figure story has run it's course, Brad and Eric. As others have suggested, either expand the statistics to include what's going on with the rest of the world or find another more useful topic to exploit. Including EVs that are just now showing up in the US - such as the Mitsubishi i, which is almost as prolific in Europe and Asia as the Leaf - would certainly spice things up. But if it continues to be a set of US-only sales stats, it will essentially tell us nothing and put newcomers (whole might not yet be selling at every dealership in every state) at a disadvantage.

· · 5 years ago

The EV is basically a different "mental model" for personal transportation and will take time for the public to get accustomed to and become comfortable with. You don't go "fill up" every few days, you plug in at night or while you are parked at a public location. Not better or worse, just different. But you say it won't go 300 miles and my mental model of a car says it must be able to go 300 miles. Well it doesn't actually need to and the statistics prove that. If you need to go on a long road trip with the family, you could simply rent a gasoline car. Also the QC network is being built out which effectively extends the range of the EV.

@Christof Demont-Heinrich said, "...with a pure EV you're always faced with having to argue a less is more position. That's not the way technological improvements usually work -- new technologies should represent a clear advantage over older technologies. When they do, people flock to them, from cassette tapes to CDs, from CDs to iPods, etc. "

Actually the move from CDs to iPods wasn't at all smooth because the "mental model" was so different. No longer did you purchase physical media which you played on your personal music player. The iPod model was very different. You bought individual songs from an Internet store and downloaded them to your player. It took several years for this new paradigm to be embraced. Once the new model became dominate, the old model seemed antiquated. The record stores closed their doors and the transition was complete. What do you think the chances are that we'll ever go back to the days of physical media?

I believe the time required for the majority of the public to embrace the pure EV and its new mental model will be decades, but it will happen. Plug in hybrids offer an excellent "bridge" to the future because they share some of the new mental model.

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

Yanquetino, your figures don't prove much, nor do they explain or excuse low demand of the Leaf. Even if Leaf inventory was doubled, you cannot assume demand would rise at all.

I disagree with others who want monthly sales figures to be downplayed. They are important indicators as to which direction the EV industry will be headed towards mass market success. The way it looks now, extended-range plug in EVs like the Volt are the way to go, while pure EVs like the Leaf may not.

Nissan is losing its credibility the more they make excuses for the low demand with the Leaf. I am afraid USA production is not going to help improve things. People either want it or they don't, and the voting results so far are showing they don't.

· jimmy p (not verified) · 5 years ago

I just thought I would chime in about how "UGLY" the LEAF is. I am 54 years old and my wife and I both like the design very much. My 15 year old daughter cannot wait to drive it when she gets her license and she calls it her "Batmobile". Now if a couple of 50 year olds and a teenager (along with her 9 yr old sister) love the way it looks than I do not know where you are coming from with this "ugly" moniker. Many people want different/unusual styling in their vehicles, while still being user-friendly and pragmatic. Many of Nissans cars fit this description...among them the Leaf.

· · 5 years ago

I like these montly comparaisons sales with the leaf and volt. The volt is sustainable compare to the leaf. The leaf is just a souped-up big portable computer on wheels that dosn't apply as a complete car package on real roads with real needs for mobility.

· · 5 years ago

I believe the biggest reason for the low sales volume is primarily due to Nissan's "Zero" advertising - as in there are practically zero TV ads.

Nissan never (well, almost never) displays the Leaf in any of its TV spots when it lists all the other models on sale.

Zero visibility simply means zero sales, except to the few who probably already have some knowledge of the Leaf and what kind of car it is. If the public isn't being shown the Leaf, with appropriate info about why it can make sense for an individual, that lack of visibility has a pretty obvious sales outcome. Of course, Nissan may be holding back on advertising until Smyrna is rolling out volume where demand can actually be met and customers aren't turned off by long waits for delivery. But they really need to get more advertising out there to get the public educated NOW. Leaf owners have discussed many great ideas for ads that can catch people's attention. If only Nissan would take action...

I also have to agree with everyone's comments about "ugly". It's almost as if Nissan had hired aliens to design most of their cars, as very few on planet Earth could consider them even slightly appealing. Their "concept" vehicles make me practically gag!

· · 5 years ago

As a fellow 54 year old, jimmy p, I just have to ask you if you think the "Areo" Leaf concept (shown above, in the link on Christof's post) is an improvement over what's being offered now. It's still recognizably "Leafy," after all, and I think it looks one heck of a lot better. Nissan doesn't have to throw out the baby with the bathwater. They just need to give the baby a good bath.

My favorite car for visuals? The 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder . . .

This is what Hedy Lamarr would look like if she had 4 wheels . . . no Elmer Fudd here. Note that the above one is a fiberglass body replica, with electric power. :-)

gorr . . . as usual, you've told us nothing new. Please go change the air in the tires of your 20 year old Geo Metro and get back to us later. Thanks. :-P

And EVlvr . . . read what others have already suggested. The Leaf vs.Volt sales stats in the US-only monthly reports here - as currently presented - is flawed analysis. Beyond the fact that the two vehicles are apples and oranges (one a pure EV, the other not,) there is no breakdown as to where each vehicle is available or, in the case of the "exactly one year ago" concluding sentence - where the Volt sales were declared comparatively abysmal - the fact that the car in question was all but unavailable back then. Numbers alone are meaningless unless put into context.

And . . . it's only for the U-S. Can't international sales data be obtained and tabulated in a monthly report? A country-by-country breakdown would also be informative.

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

Benjamin, the headline article stated facts, asked a few questions, but where is the 'flawed analysis' you've been critical in saying it presented? For that matter, where was any analysis. Any that I saw came out in the comments.

The USA market numbers are important enough to stand by themselves. If indeed the Leaf is doing well in other markets, it would likely buy more time for Nissan to withstand the slow demand for the Leaf in the USA. But the fact is, demand for the Leaf in the USA is way lower than Nissan management has touted will happen. Each month, sales continue to be in the mid hundreds. More and more a pattern becomes apparent that the public is not interested.

On the other hand, the Volt seems to have hit its stride. I understand in Europe, the Volt-Ampera is now #1 in EV class sales of car brands which include the Leaf.

· iletric (not verified) · 5 years ago

Leaf is pretty. It has to look different just like Prius did when it came out. I still remember everybody griping about that. Leaf has to scream purpose-built, and it does it to perfection. You notice it on the road, even at a distance. Try that with all other cars. They all look alike nowadays. I love the front look, the charging hatch, and I definitely like the rear look, partucularly at night as it lights up for breaking. I'd convert the high beams and the fogs to HIDs as they are useless as they are right now. THE CAR IS CUTE, folks! It's not a Porsche for heavens sake.

Secondly, imagine there was no Volt. What would be Leaf sales compared to? Future lease #s of Honda Fit Electric? Leaf would look supersonic there, wouldn't it? Let's compare the numbers to equals such as iMiev and Coda, please.

· · 5 years ago


It will make no difference the Leaf selling in Australia.

Australia has no EV infrastructure, no incentives to buy an EV, the leaf costs $51,500 and there are only 13 dealerships in the country selling the car.

I have only seen 2 evs in Australia both I-Mievs one in Brisbane one in Canberra. Both government cars with green advertising all over them telling us how wonderful they are while the government does everything it can to kill them dead before they have even started.

Mitsubishi predicted 4 sales of the I-Miev per month. It has been on sale for almost a year and costs $48,800. To date they have sold 38 of them with only 11 sold in the last 6 months.

I am all for EV's unfortunately the country that I live in is not. Want to buy some of the 420 million tonnes of coal we dig out of the ground every year.

· · 5 years ago


I don't think your argument about unfair competition holds up with me.

I wish I lived in America. Your cars are up to 40% cheaper than in the rest of the world. Your cars are manufactured in factories all over the world. They are built in Europe and sell at a comparable price to the rest of the cars in Europe oh except the german cars which are a lot more expensive. There are factories in Australia that sell American cars cheaper than european cars and on a par with Japanese cars.

Ok so you have restricted markets to Japan but they have been like that for the last 60 years. The Japanese consumer buys Japanest products which are exported to the rest of the world. The average japanese pays more for a Toyota in Tokyo that you pay for a Toyota in New York.

Most of the chinese are slave labourers working in sealed factories. Apple make an I phone in one of their factories for about $30. It sells in Australia for $1000 not sure how much in US. I wouldn't want to be one of those poor beggars for all the tea in China.

I don't know too much about the Koreans.

Unfair competition exists all over the world. You protect your steel workers, your car workers, your aircraft manufacturers and your farmers. I say good on you. I wish we did the same in Australia then we wouldn't just be a big hole in the ground out of which comes all our resources and not much else.

· · 5 years ago

@indyflick - apparently the Volt (Ampera) is selling well in Europe as well. I was surprised plugincars didn't pickup this story up last week.

· · 5 years ago

This news item on the web this morning . . .

. . . has a rather self-descriptive title. Pike Research is often taken to task here for being too cautious with its EV forecasts - especially when it comes to the price drops predictions for lithium batteries - so it's noteworthy, I think, that they make this pronouncement.

You are correct,EVlvr, that Eric's article we're commenting on here isn't actually analysis. But to simply write off the Leaf as a failure because of some sluggish sales through the middle of 2012 is premature analysis on your behalf.

Yes, it's true . . . we're not going to see 1 million EVs on the US road by 2015. But the Pike report seems to indicate that this could happen by 2018. Some are going to remember that "1 million EVs by 2015" comment and never let go of it. They'll remember it in 2050, when we're surrounded by electric cars and the only place you'll see an operating gasoline auto is in annual 4th of July parades.

At the risk of advancing a bit more of my own analysis and playing into the comments note here by many regarding the Leaf's questionable styling . . . remember just about 10 years ago when the Toyota Pruis was introduced into the US? As far as body shape, it was still basically a warmed-over Echo . . .

People weren't all that thrilled about the styling, but were intrigued with the propulsion system. Toyota then gave it a facelift and it really started to catch on. They also re-engineered the drivetrain along the way and, despite the fact that the new Prius (now sporting the iconic wedge shape we're all now familiar with) was larger and heavier, it got even better mileage. Sales really took off then.

I look at the current Leaf in much the same way as I do with that early Prius. Style wise, it looks a bit like the a warmed-over Versa: more interesting in some areas and a bit unfortunate in other, perhaps. One can only assume, though, that the Leaf will go through a similar genesis as was witnessed with the Prius.

The 2013 Leaf won't look any different than the the 2012. But there will be some engineering improvements (most notably, the 6.6kWh charger.) I fully expect, though, a restyling of the body for the 2014 model year and, if Nissan looks at attractive example elsewhere in their model line (various Z cars, for instance,) and the engineering advances accordingly (batteries, etc.,) sale will take off.

Then, we'll largely forget mid 2012 monthly sales figure for a single country, where some looked far too deeply into then and were ready to dig a grave for the pure EV, before it was allowed to even hit its full stride.

· hxp417 (not verified) · 5 years ago

Things are irrelevant until you can sell 10,000 per month in US, Nissan, or GM, any car makers.

There is still a long way to go.

· · 5 years ago

I owned both a Leaf and a Volt. I personally do not think that either of them are ugly but the Leaf is much more roomier inside than the Volt. Both for passengers and luggage. It is amazing how much stuff you can transport in a Leaf. They managed to do that and still have a low drag coefficient. These are the only things that matter to me. Roomy inside and efficient to drive. How the car looks is just the outcome of satisfying those design objectives. I did not buy the car to impress the neighbors.

· · 5 years ago

Unfortunately Toyota Prius Plug-in sales dropped: only 695 were sold in June. :(

From Internet: "The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid sold 695 units in June, bringing its 2012 total to 4,333 and cementing its position as second most-popular plug-in car on sale this year."

· · 5 years ago

Ford has finally start to sell Focus Electric: 89 were sold in June

From Internet: "Ford, which introduced its electric-powered version of the Focus in very limited numbers late last year, sold 89 units in June after moving just eight during the previous six months combined".

Mitsubishi sold just 33 iMeEVs.

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

While nice to see positive expectations, the Pike report is no more adept at predicting the future as I am, maybe even worse. :smile

For them to wrongly say extended range EVs will dominate in the USA but not in Europe and Asia probably is because the extended range concept is a very recent development with only one company with a model - the Volt/Ampera - that people can buy at a reasonable price. Pike obviously did not think the Ampera would do as well as it has in Europe, where in a short time it has become the top seller in the EV market segment.

Watching the trends over the past few years and especially 2012 has convinced me that extended range EVs are more appealing to the average car buyer while BEVs are not. BEVs are the ultimate endpoint, but realistically speaking we aren't close to reaching that point.

Extended range EVs are absolutely the perfect transitional pieces that will take us to that endpoint. We need to support cars like the Volt because they are what will finally lay a lasting foundation for EVs in the marketplace. Their time is now, let's encourage more and more of them, they will pave the way.

Someday is not today for the Leaf and other BEVs. Their time has not yet arrived, and unfortunately for them, their time will probably end before it will have begun.

· · 5 years ago


I agree with your sentiment that ER-EVs will likely pave the way for the world of plug-in cars. The Volt is a marvel of engineering which leverages the strengths of electric and gas in a way that the Prius could only dream of doing, while minimizing the effects of each's weaknesses. I can't comment on other markets, having never even been to Europe or Asia.

I beg to differ on your points on BEVs. You say that their time has not yet arrived. I believe that today's BEVs can fill a large market segment if only marketed appropriately. I have been to 42 of the 50 states, and everywhere I've been, there seems to be a large number of 2+ car households. I'm guessing that at least half of them would find that replacing one of those cars with a Leaf or FFE is more convenient than the car it replaces. The key, again, is marketing. And here in Syracuse, NY, I see none of it. I always stop what I'm doing when a Nissan commercial is on TV. My challenge: find the Leaf, if even in the background. I have yet to see one, even though I'm scouring the background for one. And Ford? Forget about it. I've contacted local dealers, and they didn't even know the FFE exists, let alone that I could buy one today in nearby Rochester. Let's give BEVs a fighting chance and let the (educated) consumers decide whether their time has come, rather than sitting back and deciding for ourselves.

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

@Brian S., I hold to my position that the time has not yet come for BEVs to become accepted by the masses. They will remain niche vehicles as long as their range is a fraction to that of a typical gasoline automobile.

Technological developments to improve range and decrease charging time are still needed before John Doe recognizes the virtues of owning an EV. He would never think of buying a Leaf or any other BEV made today because they all would require him to adjust to their limitations. John is too entrenched in the notion that a car serves the owner, rather than the other way around which today's BEVs require of the owner.

However - extended range EVs like the Volt solve the issue of who is in control - the car or the driver - making the all the Johns of the world suddenly becoming prospective EV buyers.

Cars like the Volt have a chance of catching on, and if they do, they will spike up momentum for improvements in battery tech which will only make pure BEVs closer to becoming something John Doe would consider buying.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I've owned my Leaf for more than a year, and it has more than 15,600 miles on it. It's a wonderful car, zippy, quiet and fun, and so smooth it's quite luxurious compared to a gas-powered car. I would not trade my car for a Volt, because the Leaf is simply more useful* and much simpler. Maintenance is very simple. There is no detectable decrease in battery capacity, and no, I've never been stranded. I never stop at a gas station because there's no need.
The wife drives a 2007 Honda CR-V, but we all (hubby, wife, two kids) prefer the Leaf because it's much nicer experience.
*During the 14.5 months I've owned the leaf, I swapped cars with the wife only 2 times total so that I could drive further round trip than the range of the car, and also this was only because there are very few electric car charging stations in certain places at the moment. There are more charging stations every month, and they're so much cleaner and cheaper to run than gas stations I think this will continue changing.
"Limited" range is only a problem if you make a big mistake, but the same is true of gas-powered cars; with a big mistake, you run out of gas and are stranded at the side of the road. It happens to a fair number of people.
Hybrids are great, but I think electric-only cars really will dominate the future. We'll see where we are in ten years...

· · 5 years ago


We will have to agree to disagree to a point. But also, I think we're setting different thresholds. I want to point out that there is a difference between EVs being "accepted by the masses" and being relegated a "niche vehicle". The former implies that EVs work for, and are accepted by, the vast majority of people. The latter implies that EVs only work for and/or are accepted by a very small percentage of people. There is obviously some middle ground here.

My point is that there is more than a small market for these cars, or rather there could be if they are marketed correctly. One of the two elements I mentioned above is the real hinderance. Today's EVs could work for a large number of people, although maybe not enough to constitute the "masses". The real challenge is getting them to be accepted by those potential customers. One way to start would be any sort of advertising (I have yet to see any mainstream ads for the Leaf).

Interesting, the Volt could potentially become a "gateway drug" for John Doe. So John decides that he will buy a Volt because "he is still in control" as you put it. After driving for 5 years, he goes to trade in for a new car. In that time, John has discovered the convenience of charging at home, and the joy driving without engine noise and exhaust, but he's frustrated because his commute is 60 miles, and the Volt just can't make it without turning on that annoying gas engine, so he starts to consider a Leaf.

· · 5 years ago

@Benjamin - I believe that it's important to simply report the numbers every month, as soon as they become available. There's intentionally very little analysis in the original post. The comments from our community of EV drivers are providing the insights as to what's really happening.

Obviously, it's way too early to make big proclamations about the long-term health of the EV market. But I think we should be clear-headed, and confront the fact that LEAF sales are disappointing. This has nothing to do with the fact that I absolutely love my own LEAF. It's the best car I've ever owned. But the sales numbers are telling us something.

· EvDriver (not verified) · 5 years ago

I've heard from people in our local EV club that some of them are waiting 2-3 months for their Leaf to show up, to me that sounds more like a supply issue then a demand issue and if you are waiting that long how are you going to convince a new car buyer to go for the Leaf?
Same kind of issues with the Volt, one friend who bought one had to ask around at the dealership to find out where they were keeping the volts, then was lead out back where they had a hand full of them, non of them reserved or sold but non of them were in plane sight, there was nothing at the dealership saying that they had the Volt there to look at, it was only possible to buy the car if you knew what dealership had it and you talked to the right person, to me that doesn't help sales!

· Bike guy (not verified) · 5 years ago

I am a leaf advocate, and will be buying one. I want to support the volt but to me it seems a cheat, Why couldnt the volt run natural gas as back up. Then no compromise.

· · 5 years ago

@Bike buy: "Why couldnt the volt run natural gas as back up. Then no compromise."

Here in upstate NY (and elsewhere, I'm sure), you cannot simply pull off the highway and find a place to fill up with natural gas like you can with gasoline. The Volt only uses this fuel on long trips, so filling up at home makes zero sense (besides, you "fill up" the battery at home). A Volt running on natural gas would be far more of a compromise than one running on gasoline. There is no more range anxiety with the Volt than with any traditional ICE car. That would absolutely not be the case if Volt ran on natural gas.

· · 5 years ago

"@Benjamin - I believe that it's important to simply report the numbers every month, as soon as they become available. There's intentionally very little analysis in the original post. The comments from our community of EV drivers are providing the insights as to what's really happening."

Fair enough, Brad. I do think it's valuable, though, to provide just a bit of context along with the numbers. We're going to start seeing some sales activity these next few months with newcomers, such as the Mitsubishi i and the Ford Focus EV. Since these cars will initially enjoy far less availability than the Leaf (few dealers and in limited number of states at first,) their numbers are going to be pathetic in comparison.
A strictly "by the numbers" roll call won't be telling the whole story.

The Leaf vs. Volt monthly roundup isn't going to change until later this year, when new models appear. The monthly numbers will probably be less static by early 2013 but, yes, the Volt and similar range extender cars (more of those are on the way, I assume) will be trumping sales of any pure EVs for quite a while.

Regarding natural gas. Yes, it burns more cleanly in the engine when compared to gasoline, Bike guy, but much of it will now be coming to us by way of fracking, which is a very energy intensive and environmentally compromised way of extracting it from the Earth's interior. No free lunch with any of the liquid or gaseous combustible fuels, I'm afraid.

Speaking of TV commercials, Brian. I happened to see this Nissan Altima one the other morning . . .

Clever, huh? But why did Nissan waste this advertising effort on a car that STILL uses gasoline? Surely someone there could have seen that such advertising would have been made to order for a car that NEVER has to visit a gas station . . . the Leaf. This was a wasted opportunity on Nissan's behalf.

· · 5 years ago

@Benjamin Nead,

Wow! That would have been too perfect for the Leaf. Does Nissan's advertising department even know about the car? How frustrating!

Oh, and by the way, I spotted a commercial with a Leaf in it! Trouble is, you have to know the Leaf already to spot it because they only show a close-up of someone closing the charge port door. Oh, and they strategically filmed it so that you can't see what's behind the door. It's part of a fast-paced montage at the end of the commercial and does nothing to advertise the car itself. It simply acknowledges that it is a Nissan.

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