2013, or Year Three for the Modern Age of Electric Cars, has been full of new EV launches and landmarks, so let's look at some of them:
Tesla Model S Tops Norway Car Ranking
We knew this would come eventually, but few expected to be so soon, and it wasn´t a freak event, because the Nissan Leaf also topped Norway's chart in October and in November the Outlander PHEV did it in the Netherlands.
Global Sales Continue to Grow
After a shaky start, EV sales have increased greatly in the second half of the year, with global sales expected to arrive near the 200.000 units barrier, 40% more than a year ago.
EV Heaven Starts with an "N"
"N" for Norway and "N" for Netherlands. Both were already ahead of the curve regarding plug-ins, but this year their respective EV Shares grew significantly, with Norway going from 3,12% in 2012 to 5,43% in November '13 and the Netherlands now at 3,50%, up from 1,10% in '12.
Other markets to grow significantly their EV Shares were Iceland (0,21% in '12 Vs 0,88% right now) and Hong Kong (0,42% in '13 Vs 0,21% last year), on the other hand, plug-ins had setbacks in Spain, Ireland and Israel, if the first two can be attributed to problems in their economies, the case of Israel has to do with the Better Place failure, also one of the events of the year.
Tesla Keeps on Growing
Despite costing twice as more as the average electric car, the California-based manufacturer is among the best-selling brands in the market (20k units this year) AND it still has production constraints, 2014 will be an important chapter in Tesla's history because not only it will finally have a global distribution network, but it will also double production capacity of the Model S and introduce the Model X, a crossover that many has been expecting impatiently...
Outlander PHEV Ups and Downs
This year has been a Roller Coaster Ride for Mitsubishi, after a great start for the Outlander PHEV in the beginning of the year, leading the Japanese EV market in March, the battery problems that came after put it on a several months production drought that could have hurt their career forever.
Fortunately for Mitsubishi, consumers didn't runaway
Volvo V60 Plug-In Hits the Jackpot
Europeans love Station Wagons just like they love diesel engines, so Volvo put 2+2 together and in the end of 2012 came up with the V60 Plug-In Hybrid.
At first it was just another step (Like the C30 Electric was before) in the future electrification of their lineup, but then reservations started to arrive and they didn't stopped pouring in, even when production passed from 1.000 to 5.000 units, then the swedish carmaker realized the hit they had on their hands and started to sell it across Europe with good results.
Now they are talking in 10.000 units for 2014 and a new XC90 Plug-in by the end of the year...
Quo Vadis, Zoe?
Renault had big hopes for its Zoe, wanting to make it a sort of Euro-Taste-Leaf and hoping it would lead plug-in sales in the Old Continent.
Despite a promising first half of the year, as new competition joined the race and sales started to grow in the summer, Zoe's sales started to suffer, in November it was just #5 in Europe, the next months should see the BMW i3 and VW e-Up! gaining traction, and i suspect that the french hatch sales will be on the menu of those two...
The Germans are Coming!
Until recently, German manufacturers had a pretty conservative approach towards Electric Cars and Alternative Fuels in general, with the only production EV being the french-german Smart Fortwo ED, and even this had limited availability.
This year things changed, first Smart increased production of its electric version and actually started to sell it willingly, then Porsche (Panamera S E-Hybrid), BMW (i3) and VW (e-Up!) recently introduced their first production models, and with more to come next year (BMW i8, VW e-Golf, Audi A3 e-tron, MB B-Class ED, Porsche 918...), it looks that german carmakers will catch up other EV makers fast.
China still waiting in the sidelines
With all the energy and pollution problems that the largest world economy has, one could expect that EV's would be a priority, only high import taxes, little consumer interest and domestic EV offer with limited appeal left the chinese plug-in market pretty much like last year, with sales hovering around 10.000 units/year and the little Chery QQ3 EV as the undisputed leader with half of the market.
The new additions (Roewe E50, Springo EV) were flops, selling little more than a hundred units, while the promised gamechanger BYD Qin was successively postponed and went on sale just a few days ago. Could 2014 be any different? Let's hope so.
New Gen Hypercars grow a Plug
With the McLaren P1 in Geneva and Porsche 918 in Frankfurt ready for production, a new trend started to emerge in SportsCarLand: Electrification.
Besides the two above, there's also the hybrid Ferrari LaFerrari
The reason for this? Yes, there is the matter of fuel consumption, but perhaps most importantly, it's a new way to increase power and a technological achievement that puts them ahead of the competition.