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Nissan LEAF dominates plug-in sales for 2014 so far

The Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in the world and the United States and so far in 2014 it has beaten all comers off the sales floor. Also of note is how it compares to gasoline-powered Versa sales.

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Sales figures are in from most of the major electric vehicle and plug-in electric makers. Those that have not yet reported (namely Ford and Daimler Smart) are historically unlikely to see numbers anywhere near high enough to change the April sales chart for plug-ins.

The Nissan LEAF continues its dominance over the others, with a reported 2,088 units moved in April 2014, a full 347 units more than second-place Toyota Prius PHEV (read about it here) and 540 units more than often-rival Chevrolet Volt. This despite sales gains by both competitors and losses by the LEAF.

Several plug-in sales were down for April, with March numbers for the LEAF totaling 2,507, but many other offerings also saw drops - the Model S sold 500 units fewer in April than in March and the Chevrolet Spark EV dropped to under 100 units again.

Looking at the numbers shows that the real winners in plug-in sales are Nissan, Tesla, and Toyota, all of which are moving solid numbers of vehicles. When Ford releases its sales figures, it may join that list, though none of its plug-ins have beaten the 1,000 units per month mark.

Chevrolet would be included, since Volt sales are relatively steady in growth, but abysmal numbers for the Spark EV and Cadillac ELR drag that down - neither car has broached the 100 unit mark in monthly sales more than once this year.

Nissan LEAF sales, in particular, are doing well with year-on-year growth holding steady in an upward trend. So far for 2014, more than 7,200 LEAFs have been sold in the U.S. compared to this same time last year when there were just 5,400 units sold thus far. That's a 32 percent growth rate year-on-year using current year-to-date numbers and comparables from last year.

What is very interesting, however, is to point out the total LEAF sales for April 2014 versus total Nissan Versa sales for the same month. The Versa saw 10,481 units sold as compared to the LEAF's 2,088. That means LEAF sales are nearly 20 percent of its most comparable gasoline counterpart. That's not insignificant.

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7th_son (not verified)    May 4, 2014 - 9:49AM

Just what overloaded freeways need...dead electric cars. How does one survive major traffic gridlock on a 110 degree day in an electric car...answer?...let the air conditioning run down your battery hoping for a break in gridlock before your electric friction toy dies...BTW...the gridlock may very well have been caused by a another dead electric up the road...I wonder if we will ever see electric tow trucks...I predict that electrics will be banned from major arteries if their numbers grow to the point where they become a problem for traffic flow...or charging stations every 100 feet(you know...with a 100 foot extension cord inside and a credit card slot on the outside)

js (not verified)    May 6, 2014 - 8:56AM

In reply to by 7th_son (not verified)

You have no idea what you're talking about.

I drive a 2011 Leaf, in Austin, TX. Hot days are not an issue.

Idling gas cars running out of gas in a traffic jam happens a lot more often (judging from the cars I see stalled on the side of the road, or perhaps they've just overheated).

Gas engines waste more energy idling than the Leaf's AC uses, even when it's 110 outside. On a 45 mile round trip (my commute 3 days a week), the amount of energy used by my AC is a tiny fraction of what's used to propel the car. An HOUR of running the AC typically uses about the same amount of energy my car needs to go 4-5 miles (at 65+ mph, the energy use for moving the car goes way down as speeds slow down).