56,000 electric vehicles sold in 2012; Chevy Volt is top-selling model

Nearly 56,000 electric vehicles were sold in the United States in 2012, up 216 percent from the 17,600 sold in 2011.

That’s according to a research note released Wednesday by Aaron Chew at the Maxim Group, who looked at total EV sales for both battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) models. Though the year-to-year growth is welcome news, the sales were lower than the targets many auto makers had set.

The top selling model of 2012 was the Chevy Volt, which delivered 23,641 units for the year; GM had set a goal of 45K for the year.

The Prius PHEV came in second with 12,376 units; Toyota had set a goal of 16K for the year.

The Nissan Leaf came in third with just 9,819 units for 2012, missing its 20K target by more than half. In an effort to jump-start sales, Nissan recently announced a price cut for the Leaf for 2013 to just $28,800 before state and federal tax credits.

Chu also estimates that Tesla Motors delivered roughly 1,500 units of the Model S sedan in December, assuming a weekly production run of 400 cars a week.

Nissan sold just 1,489 units in the month of December. If Chu’s estimates are right, and Tesla delivered roughly 1,500 units of the Model S, then Tesla – that Silicon Valley upstart – may possibly beat Nissan for the month.

Dana Hull Dana Hull (208 Posts)

Dana Hull covers clean technology and energy policy for the San Jose Mercury News. She often writes about electric vehicles, the smart grid, the solar industry and California energy policy, from RPS goals to Gov. Jerry Brown's big dreams for distributed generation.