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Electric cars enjoyed one of the best months of sales in June 2013

Fri, 26 Jul 2013

If you think you've been seeing more Teslas and Nissan Leafs on the streets, it's not your imagination -- there really are more of them on our roads.

Just in the month of June of this year, almost 9,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the U.S. This adds to more than 110,000 plug-in electric vehicles that have been sold in this country in the last two and a half years, the Electrification Coalition reports. The Electrification Coalition is a nonprofit group composed of business leaders and industries, from battery manufacturers to automakers, and promotes the use of electric vehicles on a mass scale.

Tesla has been one of the biggest winners of the growing tide of electric cars, and managed to capture 8.4 percent of the luxury market in the first six months of 2013. Sales of Tesla cars have beaten virtually all of their competitors, including the Mercedes-Benz S-class, the Audi A8, and the BMW 7 series. Those are impressive statistics indeed, and not something we could have predicted even just a couple years ago.

The Nissan Leaf has also had a great deal of success, capturing 3.3 percent of the subcompact market. The Electrification Coalition has also pointed out that electric cars have not only the awards from various automotive publications, but have also enjoyed some of the highest customer-satisfaction ratings of any passenger cars. In addition, the Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt continue to receive high marks from major consumer-ratings publications.

Jay Ramey
The Fisker Karma was just starting to appear in places other than California, like this example we saw in Montreal.

However, some barriers remain, including infrastructure and the inevitable regional spread of charging stations. Even though Nissan has just started production of the Leaf in Smyrna, Tenn., that doesn't mean that Leaf owners will be able to find public electric charging stations as easily in Tennessee as they are in California. The cost of batteries is still higher than a lot of us would like to see. And speaking of charging stations, finding one is still only half the problem, as there are several plug standards out there. So there are still some standardization steps that need to happen when it comes to various electric cars.

Part of the regional spread of electric-car infrastructure is actually by design, as policymakers have generally implemented the Electrification Coalition's recommendation to establish electric vehicle deployment communities in defined geographic areas. 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.

By Jay Ramey