The cold January sales dip hit both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt last month, but when compared 2014 to 2013's first-month-of-the-year sales totals, one of the two early plug-in vehicles obviously came out on top.

The top Leaf market also shifted away from Atlanta for the first time in months.

Last year, the Leaf sold just 650 units in January, but it managed to move 1,252 last month, a 92.6-percent increase over 2013 but a big drop from the 2,529 sold in December 2013. Paige Presley over at Nissan told AutoblogGreen that the Leaf has now broken sales records for 11 months straight and that, "we see unique seasonality with some December pull-ahead demand based on federal and state tax incentives." The number one Leaf market also shifted away from Atlanta for the first time in months, moving back to San Francisco. That change could be short-lived. "We had some inventory constraint issues early in the month in Atlanta with end-of-year demand depleting stock," Presley said. "By the time we resolved that, the weather hampered sales."

There was not as much good news on the Chevrolet front. Last month, the Volt sold 918 units, down from 1,140 in January 2013 and 2,392 in December 2013. It also marks the first time the Volt has sold in the three-digit range since January 2012, when it sold 603 copies. That string of solid months means that the plug-in hybrid has a roughly 12,000-unit lead over the EV since the two cars brought plug-in vehicles back to the mass market all the way back in December 2010. We will have our full report of January's green car sales up soon.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sure wish they made a Volt Wagon.
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Year Ago
      (Sigh) Now that there are more than 15 EV / EREV models available , isn't it about time ABG stopped this invented, but meaningless, rivalry between Volt and Leaf ? Part of the problem is that during the salad days of the " Green Boom ", enthusiasts had unrealistically high expectations of EV technology. Many saw EV's as the vanguard of a wider revolutionary ideology, that would sweep away the established economic structure. Intoxicated by apocalyptic vision of an immediate depletion of fossil fuels and the uneconomic fuel prices, advocates confidently told each other conspiracy theories, and admired their ideology, through rose tinted spectacles. But reality dawned, (as reality does), and the exciting, taxpayer funded, 'green boom' party ended. Although a few of the core Utopian party-goers still yearned for the heady days, the majority of the revellers, got sober and realised that the '' revolutionaries" were defined by what they were against, with only a vague ill-conceived concept of what they supported ! The fiercely competitive fossil fuel industry, didn't just roll over and die ! With massive research resources, they invested in new technology, with the result that, in the last two years, fossil fuels have become more plentiful, and prices more stable, than any time in the last 45 years. But even if it's a slower process, the future of EV technology is still bright. Although Tesla may grab the headlines and attract an army of fans, other, equally important applications of EV technology are being achieved across a wide range of otherwise ICE powered machines. Investment in EV ESD research is increasing, and producing potentially amazing results. EV/EREV model numbers from major OEM's are steadily increasing. The technical limitations of EV's are slowly, but surely, being resolved with research and more investment. But most important, Joe Pulic is become aware of the potential ways that EV technology can improve his life, and his children's lives. Not a revolution, but a sustainable evolution !
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marco Polo
        The stink alone from ten year old light duty vehicles will some day be treated as second hand cigarette smoke is today. It is only a matter of time. You can't be repelled by a smoke filled room and yet be walking your dog down the street and smell the stench of nasty exhaust from old vehicles and say that is except-able and second hand smoke from a cigarette is not. The public is sticking it's head in the sand when it come to the nasty smell coming out of old vehicles. They are far more offensive than second hand smoke from a cigarette. Perhaps the auto industry has much better lobbyist than the cigarette industry did. The autos are out doors but man do they stink.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          10 year old vehicles don't smell right now. They did 10 years ago though. And in the future, 10 year old vehicles will smell even less. It's weird. You stop at a light behind a 60s/70s muscle car, a Beetle or an old Diesel and you really smell it instantly. If you live in an area with vapor recovery you don't even smell gas at the pump either. It's amazing how much this stuff has advanced.
          mycommentemail
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          I bike to work in an urban area and while I often cannot smell the exhaust, I can taste it and feel the effects if I'm riding hard. I sometimes wonder if I'm doing more damage to myself by breathing in these fumes while exercising than any benefits I get from riding. This $h1t cannot go away fast enough.
      mycommentemail
      • 1 Year Ago
      "It also marks the first time the Vol has sold in the three-digit range " Ha ha. I see what you did there. Three digit range... Three letters. Funny.
      danfred311
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ugly boring overpriced one competing with ugly boring overpriced two. We really need some better offers.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        Ugly overpriced #3 is on the way, the i3. And it's selling like hotcakes so far.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        They're coming. As Marco has said, it's an evolution, not a revolution. Not yet at least. I'm also hoping that someone figures out there is a demand for a hyper-efficient vehicle. In the meantime I'll have to live with the fact that at least there are finally EV's on the road proving their strength.
      Scott R
      • 1 Year Ago
      Was in for service with my Volt and the sales guy that handles all of their Volt sales said that basically blew through all of the inventory in December and he had almost no units on hand to sell in January (SF Bay Area). When you look at these numbers, keep in mind that GM and Nissan have different agendas for when to push units out the door.
      Dave D
      • 1 Year Ago
      We also had an ice storm that whacked all business in Atlanta for about 3-4 days which didn't help either. We'll be back on top next month!!! LOL
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Interesting. I was thinking that PHEVs would start to pick up the pace as we move from the early-adopter market to more mainstream buyers. Then again, my thesis may not be wrong . . . perhaps when you add in all the Ford Fusion Energi, Ford C-Max Energi, Plug-In Prius cars, and other PHEVs there is an uptick in PHEVs.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        The Energi pricing upcharge is horrifying. As standalone models they might have sold better, but with the hybrids available so much less, it's a tough sell.
          Ryan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          It is worth it though. There is a time and place to save money, I am really cheap. But, the plug-in model is much better than the hybrid one since you can drive without needing gas for weeks at a time around town.
      Koenigsegg
      • 1 Year Ago
      people are spending their money on that ugly thing over the Volt? How's it even a choice? You look at the leaf and its hideous, you look at the Volt and its aggressive/very good looking.... why isn't the choice obvious? Oh because most people have sh*t taste in cars, and would rather have 30 extra electric miles being limited over 300 gas miles? Lol
        Ziv
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Koenigsegg
        Don't ask. It's a religious thing and if you aren't a believer it won't make sense.
        mycommentemail
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Koenigsegg
        Man, I have yet to see a single post by you that isn't full of bile and spite. What exactly happened to you that made you into this unhappy, unloved sourpuss husk of a human?
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      LEAF sold crazy-well in my area at the end of last year. This was helped by the 2014s appearing right then as well as people wanting to buy just before the end of the year so as to get the refund more proximate to their purchase. A lot of Volts sold too, but it my area I think the LEAF outsold it 2:1, just going by what cars appeared at the public chargers.
        Hunter Smith
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        Two things, vehicles at chargers could be sold at virtually any time. Some Volt owners might just charge at home since they have an ICE backup once their charge runs out.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Hunter Smith
          CoolWaters: By far PHEV/EREV drivers are more likely to use these chargers than EV drivers. They quickly succumb to "range extender anxiety" and realize they'd rather get free juice from these chargers than buy gas. And with their short electric ranges, they have to charge at work to use electricity on the way home. While EV drivers, even virtually all LEAF drivers, can get home with what is remaining in their pack after driving in.
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Hunter Smith
          But, there's less pressure for a Volt user to use a public charger, as they've got a gas backup that automatically kicks in. And with it's 40 miles of electric range, which cover's most peoples needs that's not any real need for a public charger for the volt.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Hunter Smith
          These chargers are free. Ask such, little things like "I already got enough juice at home" doesn't deter people from using them. Heck, they are also closer to the entrance so EV/PHEV users are doubly likely to take one, even if they do have an ICE RE.
          MTN RANGER
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Hunter Smith
          As a Volt owner, I try to avoid using gas. I have to when I'm on long distance trips. I use public charging almost everyday.
        Hunter Smith
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        My point is you can't make the kind of conclusion you made(2:1 sales) based on your observation of charging habits.
          Ziv
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Hunter Smith
          Rotation, I do the same kind of "analysis" in northern Virginia and the Volt is a bit more common than the Leaf but not by much. The Volt:Leaf:PiP:Tesla ratio here is about 10:9:8:2. We have a lot more PiP at chargers than you would guess. I am pretty good at spotting everything but the PiP in traffic and the commuter ratio seems to be similar
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Hunter Smith
          I just did. I can't understand why someone else goes out of their way to tell me I'm wrong. It's better info than most people have. What's wrong with sharing it?
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Hunter Smith
          Ziv: There used to be a large fraction of PiPs, mainly because they have to charge every time given their short range. But PiP sales have gotten pretty flat lately around here. The FIAT 500e may pass it soon.
      Hunter Smith
      • 1 Year Ago
      These vehicles are still selling in very small numbers after 3 years on the market, combined they are just over 45k for the year in a market of 15.6 Million vehicles. Both vehicles are quite affordable and claim to be able to meet most consumers needs. The Volt's sales were essentially flat and the Leaf virtually caught up to the Volt after selling less than 10k last year. This appears to be a real niche market(less than 1% even when you add the Model S & all other PHEVs). It's going to take a really compelling vehicle to change this. Maybe Tesla's Model E will be that vehicle. But that's 3+ years away.
        offib
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hunter Smith
        Slow down! "45k"? Over 96,000 were sold in 2013. They are obviously not going to take a large fraction out of the 15.6 million cars and trucks sold. There are only 16 plug-ins for sale in the US. Many compliance cars, a few that are in a couple of states but not nationwide, and just a handful throughout the US. That's compared to a couple of hundred different models sold in the US. It's irrelevant to compare all sales of 13 - 16 plug-ins to the whole market of hundreds! Secondly, the Volt did not sell "less than 10k last year". They sold 1.9% less or a smidge under 400 units in 2013 compared to 2012. That's utterly minor, that's because they had a strong sales from Autumn and the Hamtramck production line didn't keep up with demand, leaving stocks empty. The US is well on its way to selling more than 100,000 units this year. It's possible to see 200,000 or 250,000 units later this year. Every year, there's always a surprise or a newcomer that pushes total sales even further. Why? We know that Nissan is no longer hampered by production, a result seen by a record selling month of over 2500 in December. The Model S will soon see 800 units built per week (though a good portion will be sold abroad). Ford reduced the price of their C-Max Energi, Fusion Energi and their Focus EV even further. The i-MiEV will return with a much reduced price in April, they will also introduce the Outlander PHEV in 2015, production crippled by popularity in Japan and Europe. Tesla will introduce the Model X in late 2014 or early 2015. German manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen/Audi will be seen late in the year. VIA Motors can sell a maximum of 10,000 per year. Smart will sell their ForTwo ED in more states now that more can be produced to satisfy demand in Europe and the US. All Smart cared about was 10% of the cars sold being electric. That's what most automakers care about. What percentage of their cars does it make and what percentage of the Plug-In Market does it capture. That's most of a concern for Mitsubishi and Smart. Comparing that to total sales for all cars and trucks is rather wrong, misleading. Yet still, it's only been literally 3 years since there were only very low sales of the LEAF, Volt and Tesla Roadster in 2011. The EV market is still in its infancy, compared to several decades for internal combustion engines.
          TurboFroggy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @offib
          In addition, sales are low because production numbers are low. Nissan cannot get enough of the materials needed to produce the Leaf in large numbers. Tesla has the same issue at the moment, where they cannot produce cars fast enough. Don't confuse low sales with low production. You cannot have high sales without high production. For example, Chevy has over 145K Silverado's in stock nationwide, but barely 2800 Volts. Cars that are not in stock cannot be sold. Plug-in vehicle sales have been doubling every year for the last 2 years, increased production and models for sale will allow that to double again this year.
          pmpjunkie01
          • 1 Year Ago
          @offib
          @Hunter: show me another model with a 92.6% increase in sales please, I'm curious.
          Hunter Smith
          • 1 Year Ago
          @offib
          I was referring to the Volt and Leaf in reference to the 45k number, the article was about those two vehicles specifically. The number I have for total EV and PHEV is 91,452, close to yours and statistically insignificant. All in, those numbers are still less than 1% of new vehicle sales. How is that misleading or irrelevant? It's the truth. What surprise model appeared and sold well in 2011? 2012? 2013? I'm sure sales will pass 100k in 2014 with the introduction of the Model X. I suspect Model S sales might break 20k in the US. But that's nowhere close to getting to 200-250k vehicles in 2014. You should reread my comment. I said "The Volt's sales were essentially flat and the Leaf virtually caught up to the Volt after selling less than 10k last year". There's a reason there aren't a lot of EV models in the US, the ones that do exist aren't selling well, save for the Tesla Model S. Both the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt expected sales to be 40-50k per year in their 2nd year of production, they're approximately half that. Selling 20-25k units per year isn't a big seller for a mass market vehicle. That's great sales for an expensive luxury car like the Model S.
        Hunter Smith
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hunter Smith
        pmpjunkie1 - How do you get a 92% sales increase? By having really low sales to begin with.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hunter Smith
        Sales for these two vehicles are flat, but almost a dozen more vehicles entered the market, so the market is still expanding. Gotta give it some time.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Yes, the biggest factor in the increase in availability of these cars is the California EV mandate. By far the biggest factor. But note that the mandate cannot actually force sales. And yet people are buying these cars that are on offer. So there is some hope.
          Hunter Smith
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          You're right, the two best selling models have hit a plateau. But why are manufacturers entering the market? Look no further than California's EV Mandate. Automakers are in the business of selling cars and making money. If the customer wants it powered by gas, that's what they'll build. Diesel? We'll build some of those. Hybrid? Got you covered. Electric? They're all sticking their toes in the water but are really worried about being mandated to sell cars that consumers won't buy. Today's technology simply requires too many compromises is you're talking about a mass market vehicle. You can have 80-100 mile range or a PHEV for $25+k. But you can't have a 250-300 mile range EV for anywhere near that price and you won't be able to buy such a vehicle for years to come.
        jeff
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hunter Smith
        That is a very typical early adoption curve. However the growth will be exponential, not linear...
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hunter Smith
        The Volt is really a $40,000 car when you add options. Those are good numbers for this price range.
          elctrNmbliT
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          It would be difficult to get to $40k with the Volt. You would have to buy every single option they have including all cargo management items, custom floor mats, window shades, car cover, etc. Getting the premium package with the most expensive wheels with both safety enhancement packages gets you to about $38,200. After the federal tax rebate you would end up with a loaded Volt for $30,700. But you are correct that those are good numbers for this price range.
          MTN RANGER
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Plus they are already discounting the 2014 models. I see some nicely optioned ones going for $34k before the tax credit.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Month to Month analysis = Reading Tea Leaves
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