Plug-In Electric Car Sales For 2015 Fall Slightly From 2014

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2015 Tesla Model S P85D - 'Chiseled by man and nature'  [photo: George Parrott]

2015 Tesla Model S P85D - 'Chiseled by man and nature' [photo: George Parrott]

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The U.S. new-vehicle market set a new record last year, with deliveries of new passenger cars and light trucks totaling 17.39 million.

The previous record of 17.35 million was set in 2000.

But battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles saw their totals fall slightly, from about 120,000 in 2014 to roughly 115,000 last year.

DON'T MISS: Plug-In Electric Car Sales Continue Rise In 2014, To 118,500 (Jan 2015)

As always, the numbers are somewhat approximate, given the handful of automakers who refuse to say how many plug-in vehicles they delivered in the U.S.

That number includes Tesla Motors, which gives only global deliveries by quarter. It also includes sales data for the Fiat 500e compliance car and the limited-distribution Kia Soul EV.

Unlike some other outlets, Green Car Reports doesn't blend data from third-party sources with manufacturer-supplied delivery figures.

2016 Tesla Model X with 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport, photographed by owner Bonnie Norman

2016 Tesla Model X with 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport, photographed by owner Bonnie Norman

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From the top, Tesla likely delivered 25,000 to 26,000 Model S electric luxury sedans in the U.S. last year. The company has said only that its total 2015 deliveries were 50,557.

Its long-delayed Model X electric SUV also squeaked into production, with 208 delivered during the last quarter of the year.

All of the highest-volume plug-in cars saw sales decline last year over the comparable 2014 figures, largely due to the known timing of upgraded 2016 models coming late last year.

ALSO SEE: Plug-In Electric Car Sales For 2013 Near Double Previous Year's (Jan 2014)

Chevrolet delivered 15,393 Volts last year, against 18,805 Volts during 2014. The all-new 2016 Volt, with a range boosted to 53 miles from the previous model's 38 miles, went on sale this past September.

It received rave reviews and won numerous awards (one of them being the Green Car Reports 2016 Best Car To Buy award).

Sales of the Cadillac ELR range-extended luxury coupe fell to 1,024 last year, against 1,310 the previous year.

GM's Pam Fletcher and Josh Tavel accept Green Car Reports 2016 Best Car To Buy award for 2016 Volt

GM's Pam Fletcher and Josh Tavel accept Green Car Reports 2016 Best Car To Buy award for 2016 Volt

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The Chevrolet Spark EV battery-electric minicar, however, more than doubled its sales to 2,629 last year from 1,145 in 2014.

Insiders have suggested that with the green light given to the 200-mile 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which goes into production late this year, Chevy's interest in marketing and promoting the small battery-electric hatchback was renewed.

With a huge spike in Spark EV sales in April through June last year, the little car logged sales that may surpass GM's compliance needs under California's zero-emission vehicle rules.

MORE: Chevrolet Volt: Green Car Reports' Best Car To Buy 2016

Nissan, meanwhile, saw its Leaf sales in the U.S. plummet from a record 30,200 during 2014 to just 17,269 last year.

News of a longer-range Leaf for 2016 was discussed during large parts of last year, and Georgia terminated its $5,000 income-tax credit for buying an electric car.

Those factors, and probably the continued fall in retail gasoline prices, meant that sales of the five-year-old Leaf model slumped.

2016 Nissan Leaf

2016 Nissan Leaf

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The 107-mile versions of the 2016 Nissan Leaf are now reaching dealerships, but the all-new second-generation Leaf isn't expected to arrive until the 2018 model year.

That gives the current Leaf just this year to boost its sales, as it may be affected by the launch of the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV roughly a year hence.

The only other plug-in model with U.S. sales in excess of 10,000 units last year was the BMW i3, in both its battery-electric and range-extended REx versions.


 
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