FINAL UPDATE: Plug-In Electric Car Sales Continue Rise In 2014, To 118,500 Page 2

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Frame from 2014 Cadillac ELR video on YouTube, with actor Neil McDonough

Frame from 2014 Cadillac ELR video on YouTube, with actor Neil McDonough

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The Cadillac ELR added 118 sales, closing out calendar 2014 at 1,310 sales, far lower than the 2,000 to 5,000 that GM had hoped to deliver in its first full year.

Virtually every analyst attributed those low sales to a sticker price set at $76,000 including delivery--perhaps $20,000 higher than most expected for the Volt-derived two-door luxury range-extended electric coupe.

The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, however, continues to sell more than most expected, though its December sales of just 31 were its lowest month this year.

Still, a total of 879 plug-in Panameras is respectable--and more than the discontinued Panamera Hybrid ever logged.

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, 2014 Paris Auto Show

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, 2014 Paris Auto Show

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The plug-in big luxury sedan has now been joined in the Porsche lineup by a Cayenne S E-Hybrid plug-in SUV as well. It added 55 sales last month, for a total of exactly 100 sold in the two months it was on sale last year.

The strikingly designed BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupe is finished 2014 with strong sales, given its six-figure price, of 158 deliveries.

That brings its total volume last year to 555 over the four months it's been on sale in the U.S.

As for all-electric models, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV logged a sad 12 sales, bringing its 2014 total to just 196. The smallest four-seat electric car sold in the States, the i-MiEV just never found its footing.

The folks at Mitsubishi are undoubtedly waiting with baited breath for the arrival of the 2016 Outlander Plug-In Hybrid--now postponed, again, to the second quarter of 2016.

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive - First Drive, May 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive - First Drive, May 2014

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The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive saw 326 sales in December, bringing its 2014 total over just six months to 774 deliveries.

We'll be very curious to see if numbers above 200 or 300 are sustained, or if they'll fall back down to the two-figure monthly totals of the first four months on sale.

The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive ended December with 351 sales, for a substantial 2014 total of 2,594--putting it ahead of some far larger and more prestigious makes.

Thus far, its maker has refused to release sales data for the Kia Soul EV that went on sale in October.

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012

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Compliance cars

Finally, there are the four or five vehicles deemed to be compliance cars, or those built solely to meet California's zero-emission vehicle sales mandate.

They are customarily available only in California and a handful of other markets, and are built in limited quantities.

MORE: Electric Cars: Some Are Real, Most Are Only 'Compliance Cars'--We Name Names (May 2012)

Among the compliance cars, the Honda Fit EV logged 32 deliveries in December, to finish the year at 407 electric Fit subcompacts leased.

Since leasing began in July 2012, a total of 1,069 Fit EVs have been delivered--nearing the 1,100 Honda had said at the start it would offer in the U.S.

The Toyota RAV4 EV too is reaching its limit of 2,600 vehicles; the 37 deliveries in December brought it to 1,184 for the year, but 2,472 cumulative sales.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV introduction, 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV introduction, 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

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The Chevrolet Spark EV logged a whopping December with 131 deliveries, its second-best month ever, for a total last year of 1,145 electric minicars sold.

The last of the four compliance cars on which sales are reported is arguably the Ford Focus Electric, whose deliveries fell to their lowest level since January 2013.

Just 53 of the electric Focuses found homes in December, for a total last year of 1,964--not much up on the 1,738 sold in 2013.

While the electric Focus is at least nominally sold in a few locations outside the California-rules states, it sells only in compliance numbers.

2015 Ford Focus Electric

2015 Ford Focus Electric

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The continuing low sales support the thesis that Ford has little investment in the vehicle beyond the very minimum it needs to meet its California compliance requirements.

As such we group it with the rest of the vehicles whose makers only reluctantly offer them to stay legal in a very large and important market.

Certainly Ford's demonstrated lack of interest in the car indicates it's not serious about battery-electric vehicles.

The fifth and final such car is the Fiat 500e, but its maker has refused to break out sales for the electric minicar since it went on sale in 2013.

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