• Electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid sales up 84 percent last year
  • Sales of fully electric vehicles up a whopping 241 percent
  • Increased sales mainly due to new models, lower prices 

While there may not be an electric vehicle on every block just yet, sales figures show that shoppers are rapidly embracing EV technology. Sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids increased by a whopping 84 percent last year to more than 96,000 units -- a figure split almost evenly between plug-in hybrids and fully electric models. 

According to sales statistics from automakers, around 49,000 vehicles sold in 2013 were plug-in hybrids -- cars such as the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-In. That figure represents a 27 percent increase over 2012. Meanwhile, automakers sold just over 47,000 fully electric models in 2013 -- a 241 percent increase over 2012. While cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric account for some of that figure, much of the increase is likely due to the runaway popularity of Tesla's fully electric Model S luxury sedan. 

It wasn't only plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles that shoppers were buying in increasing quantities last year. Hybrid car sales jumped by more than 15 percent to nearly 500,000 units -- a huge figure for a market largely dominated by one brand. Toyota accounted for around 60 percent of all hybrid sales last year thanks to popular models such as the Prius, Camry Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid

So why are fuel-efficient cars increasing in popularity so rapidly? One major reason is that more models are available. Several brands released new electric or plug-in models this year, including the FIAT 500e, the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid and the aforementioned Tesla Model S. In addition, several brands lowered the prices of their EV or plug-in vehicles -- a strategy that led to more sales for popular models such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. 

While it remains to be seen whether shoppers will keep buying electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in 2014, our guess is that sales will continue to rise -- even in the face of dropping gas prices. The reason is that still more EVs will hit the market this year, and shoppers are gradually embracing electric vehicle technology as it becomes more common. 

What it means to you: According to sales figures, a growing number of shoppers continue to buy electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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