Report: Plug-in Sales Increased 84% in 2013

By Kelsey Mays  on January 6, 2014

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In January 2013, Nissan cut the starting price of its Leaf EV by $6,400. Shoppers responded and Leaf sales more than doubled by year's end. For the segment, 2013 sales for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles increased 84 percent, according to Ward's Automotive data reported by the Detroit News.

Shoppers bought more than 96,000 plug-in cars in 2013 — 47,600 EVs and nearly 49,000 plug-in hybrids, the Detroit News reports. Meanwhile, traditional non-plug-in hybrid sales increased by 15.3 percent, reaching nearly 490,000 new-car sales in 2013.

Automakers cut prices on "nearly all" plug-in hybrids and EVs to jump-start low demand, the newspaper said. Still, it didn't work for all players. In August, GM slashed $5,000 off the starting price of its Chevrolet Volt, but sales ended the year down 1.6 percent, which iswell below former GM CEO Dan Akerson's 2011 annual production goal of 60,000 Volts.

Combined, hybrids and plug-in cars accounted for only about 4 percent of all 2013 new-car sales, but that represents a steady increase over recent years, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association. In 2012, EDTA says hybrids and plug-ins accounted for 3.4 percent of all new-car sales; it was just 2.2 percent in 2011.

We reached out to Ward's for more data but didn't receive a response.

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Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price.  Email Kelsey