August Best Selling Month Ever For EVs; Chevy Volt To Be First Plug-In To Pass 3,000 Mark

4 years ago by Jay Cole 65

2014 Chevrolet Volt Sets The Sales Bar At An All-Time High For EVs In August

2014 Chevrolet Volt Sets The Sales Bar At An All-Time High For EVs In August

The high water mark for plug-in sales in the US is 8,559 vehicles, which was set this past December – give or take a hundred units (depending on the vagueries of how you break down monthly sales for the Tesla Model S in Q4 of 2012).

Sales Result To Beat?  December of 2012

Sales Result To Beat – December of 2012

2013 Nissan LEAF - Next Green Car Small Family Winner For This Year

2013 Nissan LEAF – Next Green Car Small Family Winner For This Year

Whatever the exact number was for Decemeber, it is going to fall in August, as many of the major players are expected to put out some large numbers this month.

One of the expected leaders for August, will be the 2013 Nissan LEAF, a model that has been unexpectedly bottlenecked getting new production to the right dealers in the right configurations.

While Nissan sold a little more than 1,800 units last month (1,864), after putting up 2,225 the month prior, Brendan Jones, director of electric vehicle infrastructure strategy for Nissan North America, said that he expected the LEAF to shoot past the 2,000 benchmark once Nissan got on track – we figure August is likely to be that month, and a 1,000+ unit increase over December 2012 maybe en route.

However, the real story for August will be the Chevrolet Volt!

In Its First Month On Sale, The 2014 Chevrolet Volt Becomes The First Electric Vehicle In History To Sell More Than 3,000 Units In A Month

In Its First Month On Sale, The 2014 Chevrolet Volt Becomes The First Electric Vehicle In History To Sell More Than 3,000 Units In A Month

With a $5,000 price slash in the MSRP of the 2014 edition – down to $34,995, and some barn-storming deals on the 9,000 odd 2013 Volts that Chevrolet entered the summer season with, the Volt will set an all-time record for any plug-in vehicle sold in any month, in any country.

How many will they sell?  It is hard to say precisely (that info will come next Wednesday), but after selling a little under 1,788 in July, it will be more than 3,000 – the first such occasion to be celebrated by any electric vehicle in history.

Already the single month record holder, having sold 2,961 Volts in October of 2012, Mark Reuss, who is the boss of all things General Motors in North America said Tuesday that the Volt will set a new record in August, and given there is still days left on the selling calendar…it is probably going to be a very strong beat.

With Chevy and Nissan combining to sell near 6,000 EVs by themselves (with the upside potential to sell even more if the cards fall right) – and Tesla having produced more than 2,000 Model S sedans in August with about half going to US residents, the remaining 11 plug-in vehicles will only have to sell about 1,500 units at most to set the new monthly sales record.

(Of interest, those ‘other 11’ plug-in vehicles have yet to not reach 1,500 units sold in any given month in 2013, with 2,400 sold between them just last month – lead in July by the Toyota Prius plug-in at 817 units)

So, it is not a question of will August be the best month ever…but by how much.  And that is good news for the industry overall.

UPDATE:  Reuss to LA Times “Well, we are having a great month. We will do about 3,300 Volt sales this month. Our previous best was 2,800.”  It should also be noted 5 selling days were left in the month when that statement was made – so he is taking a stab at the number.

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65 responses to "August Best Selling Month Ever For EVs; Chevy Volt To Be First Plug-In To Pass 3,000 Mark"

  1. David Murray says:

    This is indeed great news! I just hope these numbers are sustainable. I am sort of afraid a lot of people had been holding back on a Volt, waiting for the price to drop. So when it happened, all those waiting people finally jumped on it. I hope I’m wrong, though. I hope the Volt continues to sell over 3,000 per month from this point on.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      There’s no doubt that if they can truly bring the price down they’ll set a bucket-load.

      I’m not afraid that people are holding back for lower prices, I’m glad. What I really don’t want to see is manufacturers able to position PHEVs and BEVs as premium vehicles. I want them to be mainstream, price-sensitive vehicles.

      1. kdawg says:

        One good thing about getting more of them on the road is the Volt is its best salesman. The more people that know others with Volts, the more they sell.

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          The Volt was the first ever plug in car that I saw driving on the open highway under it’s own power.

  2. Nelson says:

    People are beginning to realize they can be driving gas free 80% of the time in a Volt for only $27,450.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

    1. Fred says:

      You can drive gas free 100% of the time for $21,300 in a roomier car w better visibility that seats 5

      1. NN99 says:

        Only if the limited range fits your life. I am not at all anti-EV. I own a Volt, and I had a converted Prius prior to that. I would’ve owned a Model S… But couldn’t afford it. Those were my options, the Leaf was not an option. I have regular long drives ( as many others do) and renting is also not an option for me. So while its great that there are those that can get by with a shorter range. Not all can. I have a 77% EV avg. That’s with local being almost 100% EV, but not completely. The Volt fits me ( and many others) the best. At least for under $50k. If I had the $80k + , the Model S would be best.
        My point of course is that not everyone is the same as you.

        1. Plug1n Volt says:

          I drive almost 100% EV in my ’12 Volt. Last time I used gas to drive was over 24,000 miles ago. I’m at 99.6% EV over the lifespan of my Volt. Som I do not find the 35-50 mile range limiting at all as I do a lot of local driving (1,800 miles/month avg).

        2. OppChg says:

          I’m not anti-EV either, just a realist Volt owner who doesn’t want to have 2 cars when one will do. Even the much lauded Model S still has that elephant in the room known as range anxiety and its related charging inconveniences. I recently took two long trips in my Volt, one to Vermont (420 miles) and one to New Hampshire (530 miles). There is hardly a Level 2 station up there, much less any superchargers for probably decades to come. In a Model S, I would be struggling to recover teh range needed to make these trips with many extra hours of charging and waiting. In the Volt, I simply plugged in to regular outlets overnight and wherever else was convenient…and got 71 mpg and 69 mpg for the trips respectively. Yes, if I was rich, I too would own an (85 kWh loaded) Model S…but I would STILL also own an amazing Chevy Volt for the reasons above that are not going away any time soon.

      2. Broc says:

        Hey Mr. Grumpy why so bitter?

        Your Leaf is nice too and it had its bump in sales after its price drop. So is your Leaf your only car, or do you other x % in something that has an ICE? If so you are not 100% electric at whatever price you paid, hate to break it to you. If you are 100% electric and never drive (or have someone drive you in an ICE car) then my hats off to you, but everyone I know with a Leaf either has a 2nd car that isn’t an EV, or uses zipcar and/or traditional rentals to take them where the Leaf can’t.

        I rarely carry 5 people in a 2 row car, and that was the case even when I drove a large Buick like boat. So if cramming 3 in back is fun for you more power to you, but I could care less about that feature. Obviously neither could the thousands of people who have bought Volts — a group that happens to have the highest owner satisfaction. Is it your mission to inform them that there car does not have a 5th seat? Fred — that is kind of weird.

        I’ve driven both the Volt and Leaf. I like them both, but neither are perfect. I think it is great that costs are going down, and think it is getting realistic to have one of each. The more people buy any kind of plug in, the more likely it is that we’ll continue to see improvements in our choices for plug in vehicles, home charging station costs, and public charging station access.

        If you like your Leaf, and want to see it improve in future generations, reports like this are a GOOD thing.

        Best of luck!

      3. Audi RS5 says:

        you forgot to mention you’ll be in a weird ugly non cool car as when your in a volt your in a cool good looking futuristic car

        1. Audi RS5 says:

          and the smart electric is better than the leaf

        2. Electrohacker says:

          the volt is ******* UGLY

          1. Benjamin says:

            And so what looks good to you, some german POS?

  3. GeorgeS says:

    Jay,
    What is the source for Mark Reuss’s statement??

    1. Jay Cole says:

      It was during a reporter event for the Malibu yesterday in California

      1. Taser54 says:

        Hmmm. I thought Reuss Stated that “It will be a record” without further elaboration, but couldn’t that just mean a record August (greater than 2841)?

        1. Jay Cole says:

          It was only a brief add-on, so it could be taken that way I suppose. Still, Reuss would have been working from numbers a day or two earlier, meaning at least 5-6 selling days still yet to be added to the August total.

          I think if it was going to be so close as to ‘just’ crest that august number of 2,841 factoring in the remaining sales dates, but still so slight as to possibly miss 3K…he probably wouldn’t have said it all for fear of still coming up short, being so close. My impression is the record has already been passed…and its going to be a strong beat.

          ..but as they say, we will see, (=

  4. Mark H says:

    For those of us watching the grass grow (and I am one) this is what makes our day.

    “With Chevy and Nissan combining to sell near 6,000 EVs by themselves (with the upside potential to sell even more if the cards fall right) – and Tesla having produced more than 2,000 Model S sedans in August with about half going to US residents, the remaining 11 plug-in vehicles will only have to sell about 1,500 units at most to set the new monthly sales record.”

    11 plug-in vehicles need to sell about 1,500 to break an new monthly record and 2900+ EVs to make the 10,000 EV month! It is possible that Ford and Toyota “could” make 2000. So 900 EVs over the remaining 6 EVs. Sadly, we are probably still short of that mark but that record too will fall soon and we get a glimpse of just how close. IMO we are a t least going to see the 9000 month for the first time.

    And what has gotten into our fearless leader to post them all in red? lol I love it!

    1. Brian says:

      Red is the new black I suppose

      1. Jay Cole says:

        /changing it up

        …I think everyone still knows that black plug-in vehicles not only have more range, but they are faster, (=

        1. Ziv says:

          Wait! I have had it on good authority that the red Volts are faster! LOL! They do look faster, anyway. I still like my Cyber Gray better though, the black panels look better with Cyber than they do with red.

    2. Ocean Railroader says:

      9000 cars sounds like the average number of cars that would visit a large Gas Station in a day. I also know of a gas station where they do sell anywhere from 10,000 gallons to 25,000 gallons of fuel in a day.

  5. Bloggin says:

    For the Volt it’s always been about the price. Same with the Leaf, drop the price and sales spike. The plug-in hybrid is the best of both worlds. 40 miles of EV range and over 300 hybrid miles. No range anxiety, no need for a backup car.

    The Prius plug-in should sit about 500 units for August. They moved 1,300 units last Dec when the lease price dropped to match the regular Prius liftback. Now it’s back to $459/mo, or about $100 more than the $367/mo(including down) for the C-MAX Energi. So I expect to see a spike in C-MAX Energi sales for August.

  6. garrytman says:

    Just checked cars.com and the count for all of the 2013s is down to 4500 and if I remember correctly coming into August it was close to 9000. Looks like a very good month for Volt sales.

    1. Fred says:

      It was 7057 August 1st, so no, not 9000.

  7. Schmeltz says:

    Well, there’s a little good news for a change on the plug-in front. Maybe that will relieve the log jam a little that has accumulated at dealerships. And to see a sales surge of a vehicle that has been on the market for 3 years already with little in the way of changes, is encouraging. Good news, and we’ll take it!

    1. Brian says:

      $5000 off the price tag is hardly “little in the way of changes”. It’s all about the money! We (the EV community at large) have been saying for years that prices will come down pretty quickly, and now they are. The results speak for themselves!

      1. Schmeltz says:

        When I said “little in the way of changes” I was implying to the car mechanically or design wise. But I agree with you that yes, a $5000 price cut is indeed a big change otherwise.

  8. Assaf says:

    Ugh Jay, please don’t jynx the numbers… I’m just as happy to wait till Tuesday and be pleasantly surprised 😉

  9. BrainKnot says:

    If Gm would only add the Voltec drivetrain to the Buick Encore, then 10,000 unit a month would be non-news

    1. Ted Fredrick says:

      I certainly would buy a electric Encore

    2. David Murray says:

      To each their own.. I would rather drive a PiP than a Buick Encore, voltec or otherwise.

  10. GuyMan says:

    And toss in gas prices starting to spike up with concerns around Syria – If gas pushes back up against the $4 mark, that’s going to start moving alot of EV metal, IMHO – Once that happens, and more and more folks become “independant” from oil prices, and then publize that fact – That’s really, going to help push things into the mainsteam..

    We’ve had gas prices spikes in the past, and lots of folks bitch, and perhaps buy a yaris or a cruze – but we’ve never HAD a serious gas price spike, and had thousands of EV’s on lots to choose from. That sort of combination, along with “local reporters” talking about “how to become imune to gas prices, with those new fangled EV or EREV cars” should really help getting EV’s beyond the early adopters. Toss in low electric rates (due to low NG pricing and more NG used to generate electricity), and I’m seeing a “perfect storm” to really start a serious sales ramp.. (I hope)..

    I’m mildly curious what the MAX EVE montly PRODUCTION rate is, assuming everyone was selling all they could (Ford, Nissan, Toyota, GM) as Telsa is already sold out, I’m guessing Nissan and GM have the most capacity – Is the “max production” capacity in the 10K or 20K range/month across the industry?

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      If things fail apart in the Middle East like they are most likely they won’t be able to build Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs fast enough to keep up with demand. If gas goes back up to $4.00 a gallon or we have a price jump of $0.50 in one day I will run down to the dealership and buy a Electric Car.

      If Nissan or Chevy has any one watching the Middle East I would order they get production up as fast as possible in that in the next few months they could possibly be gas shortages and gas lines. In fact EV’s could be used as a weapon ageist the Middle Counties trying to use oil to control us or in case the terrorists and rioting blow apart the oil fields.

      The idea would be to do a idea called counter flooding in the way you save a sinking ship by flooding other sections of it to stabilize it. Such as the number of EV’s rise you can move gas shipments away from the cities that have the highest numbers of EV’s and number of charging stations and send it to the cities that don’t have EV’s. The existing EV’s on the roads in these cities will help more people get out of the gas lines and also cut down on gas use which means they can move the gas shipments to places where they are needed. But in order of this plan of using Counter Flooding with EV’s in order for this plan to work Chevy and especially Nissan must raise EV’s production into at least a 5000 or depending on how bad it gets 10,000 cars eatch a month or more to counter act the damage we are going to suffer when the Middle East oil starts falling apart.

      1. Assaf says:

        Middle East oil falling apart is still not part of the likely scenarios right now.

        Syria doesn’t produce oil. It is situated away from the Gulf and its ability to directly disrupt oil is limited.
        Iran has a new moderate president, unlikely to get into trouble with the West regardless of what the West does.
        Iraq’s and Iraqi Kurdistan oil fields are the only ones reasonably close to Syria, but the leadership of both regions is no friend to either of the sides in the Syrian civil war.
        All the rest of the oil-producing Gulf countries are still tightly controlled by West-friendly dictatorships.

        That said, an oil price hike of some sort is likely. This is the nature of the market. If I was Nissan/GM, I’d be ramping up production anyway since EVs sales are accelerating, and perhaps be a bit more aggressive than usual. But not go out on a limb due to some oil-shortage speculation.

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          There was a book on the oil in the Middle East called Twilight in the Desert

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Simmons it talks about how several of the Middle East’s largest oil fields are dying in that they have been producing millions of barrels of oil a day from the 1940’s and 1950’s and how the oil is starting to decline.
          Twilight in the Desert talks about how Sandi Arabia gets 80% of it’s oil money from one super giant oil field named Ghawar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghawar Such as if Ghawar where to decline by 20% to 30% it alone could raise oil prices.

    2. Assaf says:

      GuyMan,

      Good point about the next gas-price spike being a field experiment of sorts for the EV’s current market potential.

      I wouldn’t count on help from the press though. With few exceptions, they have been pretty reliable in finding reasons to diss the EV.

      As to your capacity question, perhaps someone more knowledgeable could answer. I know that Volt’s potential capacity still exceeds the demand. Don’t know the numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they can crank out some 100k units/year if the demand is there.
      OTOH, as the article states Nissan is still struggling to keep up with demand, so their US plant capacity can’t be much beyond 30k Leafs/year right now. Theoretically it was built for 100k, so here’s hoping.

      Tesla seems pretty solid at 20-25k S/year, with quite a few going overseas at the moment but long-term the majority probably staying in the US. They say their 2014 capacity will be more like 40k.

      PiPrius capacity can probably exceed all these numbers, but they are not very motivated about plug-ins at the moment, are they?

      All the rest are chump change by comparison, with quite a few sitting on the fence not yet decided whether to take EV production seriously (Honda and Fiat, even Ford, come to mind). Of course, changing their motivation structure *would* be part and parcel of that field experiment…

      1. Assaf says:

        Long story short: within about a half-year or so, the entire plug-in production field can probably put out cars at the rate of >=300k cars/year for the US market, if the demand and motivation are both there. That’s >3x the current sales rate.

  11. MDEV says:

    I guess they could increase production but the problem is battery suppliers keeping up the demand

    1. Assaf says:

      Good point! This probably means that PHEVs are easier to produce quickly at high volumes than BEVs.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        I remember reading that Chevy has the ability to build 50,000 of them a year if they needed to. At the old prices before the price cut they did things like send the workers home on weeks on end and shut down the factory for repairs do to demand being very slow compared to production. But now that we have this start to happen maybe the sleeping giant that is the Chevy Volt Factory will wake up and start making tons of EVs.

    2. Ocean Railroader says:

      They had a story that the batteries are really slowing down Nissan Leaf production http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2013/08/22/nissan-leaf-production-to-increase-battery-production-playing-catchup/#.Uh967T-ztOI What really bugs me about this is they said they are only going to raise production by 500 from 2000 to 2500 a month. They also said in the story that it takes six months for the Leaf Battery cells to age to the right Temp at the factory before they can put them into a Nissan Leaf. They should get their act together in that things are about to fall apart in the Middle East and $5.00 dollar a gallon gas is coming. What they should really do is raise Nissan Leaf production to 4000 to 6000 a month instead of only by a extra 500 a month. In that once things start falling apart in the Middle East they won’t be able to build them fast enough.

    3. Rick says:

      There are lots of battery makers, and plenty of lithium in the world. There may be supply bottlenecks from time to time as demand increases, but I don’t see a problem with battery supply.

      1. Assaf says:

        Yeah, in the long term you are probably right.

        But in the short term an EV battery pack, at least for a market leader like the Leaf, is a precision product with extremely high stakes in case of failure. I don’t think they can quickly plug-and-play cells from a new vendor. They will have to thoroughly vet them first.

      2. Spec says:

        Yep . . . in the long run this will REDUCE battery prices because there will be investment, the supply chains will build up, there will be more people working on improving the efficiency of the battery material supply chain, etc.

      3. Tom A. says:

        If Elon Musk’s concerns are to be relied upon, cell supply is going to be the limiting factor for a long time. Just Tesla demand alone with the intro of GenIII (plus existing MS and MX production) will eclipse the entire world’s manufacturing capacity of the 18650 form factor cells!

        I think a number of manufacturers are further encouraged to go the plug-in hybrid route because there’s useful EV range but doesn’t require as many cells per vehicle, even compared to their sub-100 mile compliance EVs.

        1. Tom A. says:

          “the entire world’s _current_ manufacturing capacity”

      4. Just_chris says:

        Lots of lithium and lots of battery manufactuers but each electric car has about 1000 times the capacity of a laptop so 100k leafs in three years is the same as adding 100 million laptop sales in 3 years. A big ask for 1 company.

        I think GM will make 30-36k volts this year, just like they said they would, deals and prices will be adjusted to meet that number. If they get to the end of the year and they have made that many cars and sold less, they have a problem. If they don’t have any production problems and they sell all the cars without too much trouble next years production will be as high as they can get it and we’ll play the same game again. I am yet to be convinced that we have reached the lower end of the price band on any ev and still think everything is being held up by supply.

  12. Spec says:

    So what is Fox news going do? I suppose they’ll just say “Well . . . they are now losing an additional $5000 per car selling these Obama Government Motor cars that will cause divorces!”

    1. Electrohacker says:

      GM didnt pay back its loan, its on record

      1. Tom A. says:

        As far as I know, GM never received a gov’t loan…certainly not from the ATVM program from the DOE. They were not on sound financial footing, so they didn’t evey qualify.

        Ford ($5.1B), Nissan ($1.1B), Fisker ($529M) and Tesla ($465M) did receive loans from that program. Fisker only got half before their funds were frozen. The rest have either been paid back in full (Tesla) or are in no serious danger of being paid back (Ford, Nissan).

      2. Tom A. says:

        I believe you are referring to the bailout…that’s a whole different ballgame.

      3. FactChecker says:

        Hey hacker, GM’s “loan” was mostly a stock purchase. Which GM has been buying back. So just what “…on record” are you talking about??? (This first report is over a year old, and GM has bought back considerably more of their stock since then, as evidenced by the second report…) http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2012/08/29/automakers-report-card-who-still-owes-taxpayers-money-the-answer-might-surprise-you/ AND http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324461604578189071250022486.html

  13. Will says:

    Well this is very good news and I’m happy to be a part of this statistic. I took delivery of my new Volt 10 days ago and so far I couldn’t be happier. I’m not surprised at all with the surge in sales given the price drop on the 2014s and the hot lease deals on the remaining 2013s.

  14. Electrohacker says:

    good luck when the battery goes dead. and remember you’re driving a coal powered car

    1. Driverguy01 says:

      Are you for real? You have got a lot to learn!

    2. Tom A. says:

      Me thinks we’ve found a troll…

      1. OppChg says:

        I make friends with Troll. 😉

    3. OppChg says:

      Can you clarify your comment?

      If by “when the battery goes dead”, you mean the charge gets low, well the Volt switches on a gasoline engine and becomes a ~40 mpg hybrid. However if you meant the battery has a failure, well the Volt’s battery has an 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty (10 years or 150k miles in California and a few other states) so it would be a while before that would possibly (but unlikely to suddenly) happen.

      As for “driving a coal powered car”, yes, if someone lives in one of about only a dozen or so US States (and does not own a home photovoltaic “solar” system) such as West Virginia (97% coal) or even Minnesota (just 52% coal) then anything electrical they plug in including their Chevy Volt would be powered mostly by coal. However, this means that by far in MOST states, MOST electric power is NOT coming from coal. So I think what you meant to say was “remember you’re driving a mostly not coal powered car.”

      Thanks for participating in the comments section, we enjoy helping others learn more about our electric vehicles, and people like you can play a big part in it! 🙂

      1. Nathanael says:

        New York: car powered mostly y hydro
        Ontario: car powered mostly by hydro
        Washington State: car powered mostly by hydro
        Iowa: car powered mostly by wind
        Hawaii: cheaper to put solar panels on your house than to buy from the grid

        et cetera

        There are a few states which have way too much coal in their electrical grids. If you’re living there, get a home solar system.

    4. N22Tango says:

      You need to do a lot more homework. My Volt runs off of these here in Central Texas, where we are the wind turbine capitol of the world… http://www.ipernity.com/doc/305025/20861479

      I’m about to hit 18,000 miles, and have only used 7.2 gallons of gas in the entire 15 months since driving my 2012 Volt off the dealership lot.

      $400 billion of American wealth is exported to OPEC nations. Nobody knows how much taxpayers spend to keep a military presence near the middle east to keep the Gulf of Hormuz open to tankers shipping crude oil to our shores.

      And if OPEC sticks it to America again, as they did in 1974 and 1979, you’ll be stuck in long gas lines going for blocks and probably paying in excess of $5 per gallon (if the station doesn’t run dry, as many did in 1979…) And I’ll be driving my Volt for about 3 cents per mile, on electric, from wind turbines where I buy American made energy at 12 cents per kilowatt hour.

      1. N22Tango says:

        Opps, that post was directed at “ElectroHacker” and here is the link to my energy usage as evidence… http://www.voltstats.net/Stats/Details/1791

  15. MrEnergyCzar says:

    Oil is $110, Syria, sales will rise as gas stays high…

    MrEnergyCzar

  16. Martin T says:

    Excellent News….
    Go Volt ! You good thing.