According to the US Department of Energy electric car sales hit a new monthly high of 11,363 total vehicles sold in the US, breaking the previous record (in June) of a monthly high of 8,742. That’s quite a leap in sales, and it’s certainly a big leap from July’s 7,442 units. The Department of Energy has an interactive chart that lets people play with the chart to see how the sales break down by type of electric car and monthly sales, which can be illuminating.
Even a quick glance at the chart shows that the two break out sellers that drove the chart to its new highs last month were the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf. Volt sales almost doubled from one month to the next, and the Leaf’s sales jumped roughly 50%.
What caused these leaps?
The Chevy Volt dropped in price recently almost $5,000, which could have helped spur sales. Certainly it seems the vehicle is getting closer to a price point that catches people’s interests (combined with the Federal $7,500 tax break), or at least the $299 lease has gotten people’s attention. The Nissan Leaf announced a $199 lease program that got attention, though it’s surprising that the Leaf didn’t see the same sort of leap in sales that the Volt did. The Toyota Prius PHEV more than doubled in sales, and the Tesla Model S jumped slightly. Seeing as that the Tesla doesn’t have a low lease program, it looks like some of the increase in sales last month is reflected across the entire group of cars. More awareness, less range anxiety, or something.
Surprisingly, other cars with $199 lease options have not seen the attention that the Leaf, Prius or Tesla have. The poor Chevy Spark is still off to a slow, slow start.
Electric cars still have a long mountain to climb, though. Despite getting over 10,000 in sales for the past time and hitting a record in monthly sales, fossil fuel powered cars hit a lot of somewhere around 700,000 units a month in the heart of the depression, and have risen back to close to pre-recession highs of 1.5 million units a month.