2016 US EV Market Report: Six New Models, Four “Unplugged”

4 months ago by Cody Osborne 24

Historical EV Market Share By Manufacturer

Industry Summary

2015 and 2016 were “pause and reload” years for the EV industry. During last year some second generation plug-ins have started to enter the market, while at the same time some original first generation offerings have stuck around (but experienced waning sales). The US market now stands at 26 plug-in models available as of January 30th 2017.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV was the highest profile new EV offering in 2016 on the US market (InsideEVs/George B)

In 2016 we saw a net gain of two new models for the industry segment.

The Germans lead with four new entries, while only one all-new American and one Japanese plug-in launched; the BMW 330e & 740e, Mercedes GLE 550 & C350e, Chevrolet Bolt EV, and the Toyota Prius Prime respectively.

Of the four models phased out (production ended several quarters past), we had two Japanese models, and two American made EVs:  the Honda Accord PHV, Toyota Prius Plug-In, Chevrolet Spark EV, and the Cadillac ELR respectively.

And while the number of models overall may have been somewhat of a ”wash,”  the relative sales increases looked more like a tidal wave, with the EV segment growing by 37% year over year.

2015 Summary and 2016 Analysis

When we compare 2016 to 2015, the news is much more industry positive, as total vehicle sales rose 42,940 units (to 159,141 units overall).  The 2016 growth rate of 37% more closely follows the industry growth of past years.

Domestic automakers gained 9.06% US market share to a dominant 63.71% of total sales this year, while Asian and European makes collectively surrendered over 9% share this year, -losing 6.25% and -2.81% respectively.

When one looks historically at Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota’s sales, you have to go back to 2011 to find a lower yearly sales total than 2016’s 21,303 collective sales.  In 2012, the trio sold over 23,000 units, in 2013 they sold over 35,000 units and in 2014 these three makes sold 43,660 vehicles. The sales decline among Asian offerings would have looked even worse if it weren’t for the climbing sales of Hyundai and Kia, with a combined 3% overall market share, and nearly 5,000 units sold in 2016.

Looking Forward  

The “next” LEAF is said by Nissan to be debuting “shortly” – which can only boost sales whenever it arrives!

2017 is looking to be an even bigger sales year for the EV segment of the auto industry, as sales of many of the top makes look to increase this year.

General Motors and Tesla have seen existing models sell incredibly well, and their new model introductions (Chevy Bolt EV and Model 3) will only serve to “feed the fire” more.  Also on the domestic front, Chrysler looks to join the party with the Pacifica PHEV minivan – reviews have been great and its“volt sized” battery should assure good performance all around. It remains to be seen how many dealers are eager to sell the PHEV van, but it’s almost guaranteed to be well received in California, Oregon and other “EV hotbeds.”

European models are likely to have a quiet year this year, as there are very few models scheduled to rock the market. As of 2017 though, they lead the industry with 16 different models on the market, but only two are pure/all-electric EVs.

Toyota is looking to have a great year ahead judging by the encouraging launch numbers of the Prius Prime so far. The $4000 tax credit and $28,000 starting price are very competitive and more than offsets the price premium for the plug in hardware. And Nissan will most likely join the party, however there is much speculation as to what, how much and when we will see Nissan’s “Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family sedan” (the LEAF).  At the same time, Hyundai adds the competent IONIQ electric later this month, as well as the IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid later this Summer.

Could sales hit 200,000 this year, or will that happen next year?

That remains to be seen, and is partially dependent on significant deliveries of Tesaa’s Model 3. Last week we heard that Tesla is starting pilot production of the 3 on February 20th, so we could see full production ramping up before the end of summer, and strong fall and winter sales thereafter. If so, then we are sure to see growth in 2017 exceed 2016. Here’s to hoping!

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24 responses to "2016 US EV Market Report: Six New Models, Four “Unplugged”"

  1. Get Real says:

    Wow, those trend lines really show how Nissan crater edge their original leadership by sitting on their 1st generation Leaf (now greatly wilted).

    And conversely shows the rise of the “All In” Tesla approach has given them the lead with the ability to really dominate going forward with the Model 3.

    The Tesla haters, shills and shorters aren’t going to like this!

    1. ffbj says:

      It’s true as we have, and many others, pointed out, ad nauseum with phrases such as a house divided against itself…a man cannot serve two masters etc…

    2. Nix says:

      The graph is a bit deceptive, in that it is really showing Big Fish in a Little Pond syndrome at the beginning.

      Of course GM and Nissan had huge market shares early on, when most of the EV’s listed in the 2016 Sales Totals simply weren’t for sale back then.

      I don’t think it subtracts anything from Nissan or GM that they won the race to be early to market, and they inevitably lost percent of market share when other companies finally started releasing more models.

      That’s just how the math works, and short of those two staying the only companies offering EV’s, that market share was going to have to come down no matter what GM or Nissan did. That’s simply mathematically unavoidable. Even if GM and Nissan sales were to constantly rise every month, their market share would shrink as more car companies also start sales. I hope that makes sense.

      ———————————–

      Tesla’s market share is similarly due to the fact that they have until recently been completely all alone in the 200+ mile range luxury market.

      What we are essentially seeing is two very different markets being graphed together, like passenger car sales and light duty truck sales being put into the same graph. Tesla simply hasn’t had a direct competitor in their market sector for the time shown in this graph. They are still Big Fish in Little Pond too.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “The graph is a bit deceptive, in that it is really showing Big Fish in a Little Pond syndrome at the beginning.

        “Of course GM and Nissan had huge market shares early on, when most of the EV’s listed in the 2016 Sales Totals simply weren’t for sale back then.”

        Indeed. I’d far rather see the same data graphed against total automobile sales for each year, not just PEV (Plug-in EV) sales. Even though the entire graph would show just fractions of 1%, I think that would be far more informative regarding how successful (or not) the various PEV makers have been as the market has grown.

  2. ffbj says:

    Bolt gets tapped by Motorweek as most
    eco-friendly car of the year.

    1. ffbj says:

      The Pacifica, the gas one, got the best minivan, and they mentioned the coming hybrid, so that bodes well for sales there. These were the viewer choice awards.
      …and Bolt gets car of the year too, overall winner. Congrats to Chevy.

        1. ffbj says:

          here’s the vid:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjHtL-PiN3Q

          It’s a multiple post because I posted as I watched the show.

      1. speculawyer says:

        I’m hoping the Pacifica PHEV sells big. That would be quite the turnaround for FCA in plug-ins.

        1. Rich says:

          It would be great if Chrysler would start manufacturing them. Use Edmonds to search for inventory and there’s only 4 in the USA. The same 4 that’s been there for weeks.

          1. ricegf says:

            We were planning to buy one last fall, but have given up. We’re thinking perhaps a pre-owned Model S 85 with the rear-facing kid seats instead. The superchargers appear to cover every road trip we’d expect to take on it.

  3. speculawyer says:

    Am I the only one that has a hard time reading that chart? It is a nice chart but I have a hard time seeing which line is which maker. Maybe the lines are a bit thin.

    Or maybe it is my red-green colorblindness. 🙁

    1. ffbj says:

      No wonder: Starting in 2011.
      Top Left Nissan, a green line
      Middle Left GM, a red line
      Bottom Left, Toyota a dark red line

      Starting 2013 Toyota purple line above the
      VW/Audi a dark pink line.
      Then at the bottom a Hyundai, lime green line

    2. Ziv says:

      Spec, I had trouble reading the chart as well, until I realized that the key on the right shows the order of the car makers for the final year (2016) results. I.e. Tesla, GM, Ford, Nissan and BMW are 1st through 5th for the 2016 and they are in that order in the key so it makes it easier to read the chart from right to left rather than from left to right.
      Kind of counter-intuitive to read the results going back in time, but it works better using a chart of this type.

      1. Cody Osborne says:

        Unfortunately Jay couldn’t embed the modified chart I included with my report. But I agree, the lines and colors are confusing as so many makes have changed positions over the last few years.
        Here’s a link, at the modified chart: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8eoxngR78JCZE1GYWRRdjN2MkU/view?usp=sharing

        1. Jay Cole says:

          New cleaner chart now embed @ story top, (=

  4. Warren says:

    Should show worldwide sales too, Nissan is doing better than one would think in that context.

    1. Cody Osborne says:

      It’s difficult to find comprehensive worldwide sales data for each make and model. Not to mention you then have to add up all those sales numbers for each model.
      Ultimately I would love to expand on this report and put in data for Europe and Japan, where LEAF sells in greater volume.

      1. JP White says:

        Despite the difficulty you perceive, others are hard at work compiling such statistics.

        Nissan were the 4th ranked manufacturer of EV’s in 2016 worldwide behind BYD, Tesla and BMW.

        http://insideevs.com/world-ev-sales-hit-record-103000-deliveries-in-december-almost-800000-for-2016/

        1. Cody Osborne says:

          This is one point on the chart, do we have all this data broken down by model for the last five years for every EV sold worldwide? This article is fun for me, I don’t get paid to research and report worldwide data. I do this in my spare time and to provide a concise report for that community. Even just the US data took a lot of time to input, manipulate and report.

          I’ll be happy to do more work for you guys, but please appreciate the hard work it took to get here. In fact I am committed now to trying to expand and do more. Would you like to help?

  5. M3-reserved; Bolt TBD - IONIQ? says:

    Pacific PHEV is nice. Still like the Odyssey interior and getting tired of waiting with my 2004 Ody. Shes’ getting some old legs and only a local hauler now.

  6. MaartenV-nl says:

    Sales volume growth for 2017 will depend on four cars IMHO.
    All the other cars can grow a bit without much impact compared to these four.

    The GM-Bolt, deliveries have started and I am optimistic.
    I guess 30k < actual cars < 50k will be sold.

    The Toyota Prius Prime is a bit harder to predict, but 25k < actual cars < 60k because Toyota has a large hybrid customer base.

    Tesla Model 3 is the first wildcard. After the 1/4/2017 Gigafactory presentation I feel confident that production will start begin 2017Q3 and deliveries in late 2017Q3. After that it is anybody's guess. Ramp up to 8k per week between late 2017Q4 and early 2018Q2. For 2017 a total in the range 10k < actual cars < 60k looks not too optimistic to me.

    Nissan Leaf II is the second wildcard. With a range over 200 miles, ProPilot and a price likely below the GM-Bolt it is a very attractive offering and the Nissan dealer network is (a bit) used to selling BEV. The question is when Nissan follows its announcement at CES2017 with the actual launch? Anything between 0k < actual cars < 80k seems possible.

    I think 250k for 2017 is the low end of the likely sales. The upper limit can be as high as 400k.

    And if 2017 is not the big breakthrough year, 2018 surely will be.

  7. BenG says:

    Breaking 200k plug-ins sold in the US in 2017 is a gimme I think. That would be only 25% growth over 2016.

    2017 is the first full year that plug-ins have reached price parity with non-plug-ins after the federal tax credit. I.e. the Prius Prime is cheaper after tax credit than the base Prius. And the Leaf, after tax credit and $10k rebate available in multiple states, is one of the most affordable cars you can buy.

    I expect 50+% growth over 2016, which would be 240+k plug-ins sold in 2017

  8. David E. says:

    I drive a 2016 (2nd generation) Chevy Volt, purchased 14 months ago, using it pretty much as a pure electric: 11,000 miles, and I’ve used only one tank of gas so far (in part because the car insists on occasional ICE run-time and has a warning about the gas in the tank getting stale after 11 months!). I ordered a Bolt for later in the year (my son will get my car).
    The article neglects one important issue, that the $7500 Federal tax credit will be phased out once companies pass the 200,000 unit mark. Here’s the info:

    http://insideevs.com/us-federal-7500-ev-credit-expiry-date-by-automaker-estimates/

    and the bad news for Tesla Model 3 buyers:

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/06/autos/tesla-model-3-tax-credit/

    Unless the POTUS surprises everyone and raises the limit from 200K, this will add a lot to the cost of electric cars.

    Personally, I believe in the EV model, which has likely passed the “tipping point” and will lead us away from ICE/fossil fuel use. That’s good for the environment (including paving the way to renewables), the economy, and national security, IMHO. Given the level of federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, I favor the continued support of the EV industry.

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