A Nissan Leaf.
Nissan USA
A Nissan Leaf.

America passed a milestone on Monday, according to electric-vehicle advocacy group Plug-In America. That’s when the 100,000th EV was sold in the U.S., the group estimates.

From Plug-In America board member Barry Woods’ blog:

Based on the average US household size, this means that over a quarter million people are now being exposed regularly to the benefits of electric transportation.  The vehicles themselves are reaching an even greater number of people simply by being on the road — perhaps as many as 1 million or more people per day. While much work remains to be done, 100,000 vehicles means that we are ever closer to the tipping point for electric transportation.

And like an EV driver who passes a gas station — and just keeps on driving — the nation is expected to sail past this milestone and keep on snapping up ever more of these clean-running cars. From Treehugger:

In 2011, the first full year with the current crop of plug-ins on the market, fewer than 20,000 were sold. In 2012, that number tripled to over 50,000. And it’s currently expected that more than 100,000 plug-ins will be sold in 2013 alone. Not a bad growth rate for a technology that is still maturing (like personal computers in the 1980s or cellphones in the 1990s).

How good is business for the nation’s electric-auto makers and sellers? A press release from Plug-In America says that the all-electric Nissan Leaf has been outselling all other Nissan models in some markets this year, and that Tesla’s Model S sedan is outselling the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the BMW 7 series, and the Audi A8. For another sign of the health of the EV market, check out Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s tweet from Monday:

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/336596441705349120

That’s about Tesla repaying a federal loan nine years before it comes due. From Bloomberg:

Loans for Tesla, Ford, Nissan and Fisker were all awarded from a program created under President George W. Bush in 2007 and implemented by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Tesla plans to use $452.4 million to pay off its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan, with interest, the company said in a statement. … Based on the $25.4 million already paid to the Energy Department, taxpayers may see as much as a $12.8 million profit, based on company filings.

Despite some major hiccups, the electric-vehicle industry is now really starting to rev its engines.