Electric vehicles saw one of their best months of sales ever in June 2013, according to a new report from Autoweek. The report uses numbers from the Electrification Coalition, a nonprofit group of industry leaders, battery manufacturers, and automakers that promotes the use of electric vehicles on a mass scale. According to the group’s figures, almost 9,000 electric plug-in vehicles were sold in the U.S. in June, topping off a two-and-a-half year surge that saw the sale of over 110,000 cars throughout the country.
Specifically, Tesla closed up 8.4 percent of the luxury market in the first half of 2013, beating out sales by the Mercedes-Benz S-class, the Audi A8, the BMW 7 series, and virtually every other competitor. That’s in line with Tesla’s earlier report that it beat out every competitor in the first quarter of 2013, turning a profit for the first time in its ten-year history. Back in November, Tesla’s Model S roadster won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award for 2013, and in May Consumer Reports said the car “comes close” to being “the best car ever.” Nissan’s Leaf is also enjoying success in cornering 3.3 percent of the subcompact market.
In fact, sales of electric-battery-only vehicles beat out hybrid cars completely in the first half of 2013. According to Green Car Report’s figures, 9,839 Nissan Leafs, 882 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs, approximately 9,400 Tesla Model S cars, and 1,700 or so other compliance cars, nosed past the total of 18,335 plug-in hybrids and Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric cars. The six-month sales figures from the Electric Drive Transportation Association were a little different, but reached the same basic conclusion. Most of the action came from the explosion in Tesla sales, which — while its second-quarter report won’t be released until August — put it well on track to flout analysts’ expectations and hit its stated goal of 20,000 sales a year.
Now, as Autoweek points out, there are still hurdles for electric vehicles to clear, including high battery costs and the regional limitations imposed by the nationwide lack of infrastructure and charging stations. But the geographically piecemeal spread of car sales is also arguably by design, modeled off of the Electrification Coalition’s recommendation to spread car sales in tandem with infrastructure construction — through “deployment communities” — one local area at a time.
These deployment communities would create clusters of infrastructure for electric cars the size of cities or entire counties, which would enjoy incentives designed to allow each element of an electrified transportation system to be deployed simultaneously. These deployment communities would allow electric vehicles to spread beyond traditional early adopters, and help drive economies of scale in car manufacturing.
The fact that sales of electric cars are currently stronger than hybrid sales show that consumers are not as concerned about “range anxiety” as they once were, easing the transition away from carbon-based combustion engines.