Nissan Leaf Set An Electric Car Sales Record In 2014

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Americans bought more than 30,000 Nissan Leafs in 2014, a yearly sales record that’s never before been reached by an electric plug-in vehicle.

In all, 30,200 Nissan Leafs were sold in the U.S. last year, a 33.6 percent increase over the number sold in 2013. That’s a small chunk of the approximately 1.3 million total vehicles sold by Nissan in 2014, but it’s still the highest number of plug-in electric vehicles sold in the U.S. in any one year so far.

The Leaf’s record isn’t totally surprising: the electric vehicle also set a record for plug-in electric car sales in 2013, and Nissan also reported breaking its own sales record for Leafs in September 2014, compared to the previous year’s period.

The Leaf also hit a monthly sales record of more than 3,000 cars four times in 2014, and it’s one of a few electric cars — joined by the Chevrolet Volt and Tesla Model S — that manage to regularly sell 1,000 units or more each month in the U.S.

Nissan Leafs have an estimated range of 84 miles on a single charge, and start at around $22,000 after a $7,500 federal tax credit. That price makes them one of the more affordable electric cars on the market, but Tesla — which has historically carried a luxury car price tag — is also planning on entering the lower-price electric car market with its Model III, which will reportedly cost $35,000.

Nissan has also been experimenting with new ways to use the Leaf’s battery. In 2013, Nissan created a “Vehicle-to-Building” technology that allows buildings to draw power from Nissan Leafs that are connected to them during peak electric demand hours, while still being able to provide power to the vehicles during off-peak hours.

The U.S. isn’t the only country that’s seen gains in electric vehicle sales in recent years. Norway, too, saw electric vehicle sales increase by 302 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, and Germany and the U.K. also experienced increases over the same period.