During the past two years, plug-in hybrid and extended range electric vehicles like the Toyota Prius Plug-In and Chevy Volt were beating battery electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV in sales volume. That changed for the first time in the first half of 2013, with battery EVs beating plug-in hybrids by thousands of units.

Green Car Reports estimated that pure electric vehicles reached approximately 20,939 units sold in the first six months of 2013 versus 18,335 plug-in hybrids and extended range Chevy Volts during that time. Electric Drive Transportation Association gave battery electric vehicles an even higher number – 22,712 sold in the first six months and the same number for the competing category as cited by Green Car Reports – 18,335. That may have something to do with estimates made on Tesla Model S sales figures, since Tesla Motors hasn't been supplying that data.

What's the difference between 2013 and previous sales figures? The Tesla Model S is the obvious answer; see AutoblogGreen's June sales figures to compare the numbers – 9,304 units sold in the first six months of this year versus zero during that time period in 2012. While it's a lot more expensive than the Nissan Leaf and and other pure EVs, Telsa has been persuasive through its "revolutionary" financing option and strong guaranteed resale values.

Nissan has played a part in the shift toward battery electrics through its aggressive pricing and financing packages this year; price wars have helped other pure EVs like the Honda Fit EV grow sales figures. The Leaf's discounts are mainly a byproduct of Nissan moving production of the Leaf from Japan to its Smyrna, TN, plant, which lowered its manufacturing costs and its sticker price. Leaf sales jumped three fold from a year ago – 9,839 units sold in the first half of 2013 versus 3,148 in the first six months of 2012, according to AutoblogGreen sales figures.

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