The silent electric automobile was initially viewed with derision. But it has now overtaken its rival, the plug-in hybrid automobile – and this in the USA, home of the gas guzzler.
In the first half of 2013, a total of 20,121 fully electric automobiles were sold in the United States (9,839 Nissan Leafs, 882 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs and around 9,400 Tesla Model S). In the same time period, 18,335 vehicles with plug-in hybrid drive found new owners.
Naturally, the situation can still change in the course of this year, above all with the expected arrival of new plug-in hybrids. As of this month, the Fiat 500e is available in the States, with the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid to follow in autumn and the Cadillac ELR before the end of the year.
This month, the Nissan–Renault alliance has in fact even more to celebrate. Its 100,000th electric automobile has left the production line, with the result that the partners have now sold more battery powered automobiles than all their competitors together.
Which of the two green auto camps – electric or plug-in hybrid – will sell more models by the end of the year remains to be seen. But this is ultimately of secondary importance. The crucial point is the evident sea change in the green perception of the automobile buyer.