Volt and Prius Surpassed the Leaf in 2012 Sales image

Last year, GM’s Chevrolet Volt and Toyota’s Prius managed to outsell Nissan’s Leaf for the first time.

Chevrolet managed to more than triple sales for its Volt to 30,090 units last year, becoming the best-selling plug-in vehicle, followed by Toyota Prius with 27,181 units, both surpassing the 2011 leader, Nissan Leaf, which sold only 25,435 units. Sales of the plug-in and electric vehicles more than doubled in 2012, and analysts expect an increase of 89% to 225,000 units in 2013.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who predicted EVs will account for at least 10% of total auto sales by 2020, struggled to attract customers for the Leaf, but the model did not even reach half the company’s sales target for 2012.

“The lower sales compared to prior forecasts are a disappointment to auto manufacturers and more significantly to their battery suppliers,” Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, wrote in the report.

The market which accounted the most of global sales of EVs was the US with 46%, followed by Japan and Europe with 23% each, while China was the only market which dropped. Nissan announced this week it will put its COO as direct responsible for the company’s electric-vehicle business.