December 2015 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

11 months ago by Jay Cole 59

September's Results Won't Surpass The All-Time Best Set In August - But Still Very Strong

December EV Sales Put A Positive (And Record) Finish To An Uneventful 2015

2015 has come to a close, and while the year overall was fairly bleak for EV sales in the United States, the sales momentum that started in November (up an adjusted 19%) picked up steam in December.

Faraday Future Revealed Its FFZERO Concept Recently In Las Vegas - Perhaps We Wil See Them In The Sales Report In ~2018

Faraday Future Revealed Its FFZERO Concept Recently In Las Vegas – Perhaps We Wil See Them In The Sales Report In ~2018

For December an estimated 13,699 plug-ins were sold, which we can report is also an all-time record for the US.

The previous high was set in December of 2014, when an estimated ~13,038 plug-ins were sold.

Mostly responsible for the gains were the Tesla Model S,  but it was the BMW offerings (i3, i8 and new X5) that showed the massive gains necessary to push the numbers over the top.

Notable disappoints for the month was the longer range 2016 LEAF, which failed to give much of a boost (~300 units over November) to Nissan EV sales, and the Chevy Volt, which while it also set a new record for 2015 (@2,114), it was less than a 200 point improvement from November, and just its 9th best month to date.

Given the lackluster full year results for plug-in sales in America in 2015, and the introduction of many long-anticipated models, we expect 2016 to be a much improved environment in which to sell EVs

Also interest this month:

*- the Hyundai Sonata PHV sees its first full month on the market, albeit with very tight inventory (one of our staff members had to drive more than 500 miles to acquire one just after Christmas – so it is not exactly “well-stocked” at this point)

*- Tesla delivered production/general population Model X SUVs for the first time in December, ~199 worth of them

*- the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron continues to have difficulty arriving on dealer showroom floors for the 3rd month in a row, despite physical inventory actually in the country – Update: the brand finally was certified for sale and moved 49 copies in the last few days of the year.

*-BMW blew the doors of expectations, with the i8 and X5 PHEV obliterating past sales levels

Separately, Toyota sold 15 more fuel cell Mirais, bringing its 3 month/2015 total to 72.

Last update: Wednesday, January 20th @ 9:32 PM

Below Chart: A individual run-down of each vehicle’s monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers.

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

Additionally, waaaaaay down at the bottom of the story is both the 2015 YTD chart as well as the complete 2014 results.

 

Below: Individual sales reports on each plug-in brand for the US

 

2014 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt: Demand for the 2016 Volt was high in December, and GM sold almost all they had available – it was just too bad they didn’t have more.

During December, 2,114 were moved, which was a 42% increase from a year ago. (full recap here)

GM ends the year having sold 15,393 Volts in total, off some 18% from 2014.  However, we do expect the plug-in Chevy to set new record in 2016 with the new 53 mile edition.

Previously in November, the arrival of the all-new 2016 Volt pushed sales almost 50% higher in November as GM sold 1,980 Volts.

The 2016 edition was thought to only available in 11 US states and Canada (although we have seen some volume in Virginia too), before production will be turned in a couple months, and a new, slightly improved 2017 edition will be introduced – with that model going into production in February.  However, December saw GM also offer the car in Mexico.

2016 Chevrolet Volt availability states: California, Oregon, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire

 

 

2014 Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF:  Previously in November, the good news was that the new 2016 edition LEAF with 30 kWh batteries and 107 mile ranges arrived!   The bad news was that they just arrived in the last week of the month – and we had hoped for a much improved result in the last month of the year.

The bad news for December is…that with a full month of sales (and some inventory to actually sell), the gains were minimal, with Nissan selling a disappointing 1,347.

It is still early, but the American public may be saying they are unwilling to pay the ~$5,000 premium with the SV/SL trim levels to net the extra 23 miles of range over the base model.

Overall for 2015, Nissan closes the year off some 43% in total, selling 17.269 LEAFs this year, versus an all-time best of 30,200 in 2014.

For December, inventories of the 2016 model LEAF steadily climbed throughout the month, nearing the 2,000-mark at one time before pulling back over the Holidays.  At current pace it would take perhaps only a couple more months to spread inventory out evenly across the county.

Separately (and ultimately more importantly) in November we got a look at Nissan’s new IDS Concept from Japan – which was basically a ‘nod and a wink’ to the new e-technology that will be found in the next generation LEAF.

The IDS Concept houses a 60 kWh NMC battery pack good for more than 200 miles (320 km) of real world/EPA driving.

 

 

2014 Cadillac ELR

2014 Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR: 

December was a pleasant surprise for GM with the Cadillac ELR, as the company sold a year’s best 135 copies. Hopefully this represents a new sales level for the slighted updated plug-in Caddy.

Overall for the year 1,024 were moved, which was off 22% from the 1,310 sold in 2014.

Going forward, dealer acceptance of the 2016 ELR may hinder sales as much as anything, after getting burned with a far too high MSRP on previous model year (2014) pricing.

Despite the 2016 edition being available for several months, there is still only about ~150 units on Caddy dealer lots, so it seems as though (at least for now) the sales fate of the ELR will be range-bound (no pun intended).

The 2016 ELR does gain some performance over the 2014 model (0-60mph comes up in 6.4 seconds – 1.5 seconds than the older model), despite still using the 17.1 kWh battery found in the current Chevrolet Volt. The Cadillac also gets a $9,000 MSRP haircut (now starting at $65,995), which should help it move a little more product.

It is our opinion that the 2016 model year ELR was born out of the desire by GM to get a little more value from the outgoing ‘gen 1’ Voltec line, and the company will produce an undisclosed amount of ELRs this summer before turning off production and discontinuing the model indefinitely. 2016 Cadillac ELR production is now underway.

 

 

2015 BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3: 

After reaching the highest of highs in September, and a near-low in November (with just 723 cars sold) it was hard to judge where December might end up.

Fortunately, BMW was on the very high end of expectations, and posted its second best ever result, with 1,422 sales in December!

Those “highest of highs in September” we mentioned?  1,710 sales – which not only set a year high, but an all-time high – crushing the 1,159 sold in October of 2014.

In truth, 2015 in general has been a bit of a roller coaster for sales on the plug-in BMW, with a sales spread of almost 1,300 between the highs and lows.

For the full year, the i3 has now sold 11,024 cars, which means it becomes the 6th plug-in to have reached the 5-digit mark next month (Volt, LEAF, Prius PHV, Model S, Fusion Energi). In 2014, BMW sold 6,092 i3s, good for the 7th best overall spot for plug-in sales in America…not bad considering it was only available for 7 full months in the US.

The inventory situation looks fairly decent to end out the year with north of 2,000 on hand on average during December.

 

 

 

 

2014 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales (apparently because the public can’t handle the concept of regional allocations and delivery lead times)… so we never know for sure what the monthly numbers total up to until Tesla’s quarterly (or annual) updates add more clarity, but we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening.

To come to an estimated monthly, number, we don’t simply take the quarterly estimate given by Tesla and divide it by 3 and hope it all works out…it just doesn’t work like that in the real world.

We simply report from the data we accumulate ourselves, the first hand accounts available from the factory and from the community itself when available – and the number is what it is. So far that has worked out pretty well, with no quarter being off by more than 300 units versus information Tesla has reported publically, and for the full year results last year we came within 100 units with our net estimate of 17,300.

That being said, we only estimate this number because Tesla does not, and to not put a number on Model S sales would be to paint an even more inaccurate overall picture of EV sales. Despite our fairly accurate track record, we are not analysts, portfolio managers and we do not own any positions in Tesla the company.

Tesla reported that in the 4th quarter of 2015 it delivered ~17,400 all-electric vehicles, on its way to selling ~50,480 EVs in total, hitting the lower portion of its 50,000-52,000 full year guidance.

Of that amount, we estimate that 3,600 of them where Model S sedans delivered in North America in December.

Overall, the Model S per quarter worldwide looks like this:

  • Q1 – 10,045
  • Q2 – 11,532
  • Q3 – 11,597 
  • Q4 – 17,192 

(A total of 214 Model Xs were also sold in 2015)

Internationally, we haven’t seen the numbers yet, but like last month projecting strength to Scandinavia, we see a ton (technical term) of deliveries into the region, and to Denmark specifically again.  Update (January 7th): Denmark logged a huge 1,248 deliveries of the Model S in December

 

 

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X: Like the Model S, Tesla does not itself report Model X sales, so we do our best – with all the data at our disposal to estimate monthly results for North America as best we can (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S)

With all the fanfare one would expect from Tesla Motors and its CEO Elon Musk, the much anticipated/oft delayed Model X arrived in September, with a big launch party – of which you can check out the full video of (as well as newly released details/specs) here.

After delivering the first 6 copies of the Model X in September, and a handful in October and November, Tesla heated things up a bit in December, delivering an estimated 199 copies during the month, and exactly 208 in Q4 – ending the year with 214 sold.

Tesla noted that production was ramping exponentially during December, and the company produced 238 in the last full week of production in 2015.  Overall, 507 were built during the year.

 

Also of interest: Tesla priced the Model X 70D in November from $80,000.   The entry level X comes with 5 seats and a range of 220 miles, with a 0-60 time of 6 seconds (full details here).  Tesla also opened orders to the public for the X, as the company is just now winding through releasing configuration/order screens for those who have reservations on file.  Tesla says first deliveries of the 70D should start in mid to late 2016.

 

 

 

Volvo XC90 T8 PHV

Volvo XC90 T8 PHV

Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV:

The first (and widely anticipated) plug-in offering from Volvo to be offered in the US arrived late in August on a technical basis, selling 4 copies.

That being said, we are pretty sure these 4 logged sales (as well as the single sale in October) was a result of US summer test drives being given to potential customers…and not actual ownership deliveries.

However, full retail deliveries were finally underway in December, and the plug-in Volvo had a decent starting month – selling 74 copies.

The Volvo XC90 T8 (details) plug-in is rated at 394 hp, and gets 14 miles of estimated range (0-12 in pure all-electric mode) via a 9.2 kWh battery, and is the first to offer a standard 240v/120v dual charging cord set.

Pricing starts at $68,100 in the US.

It will be interesting to see how much demand their is for the first extended range PHEV in America, as Volvo already under-estimate demand for the XC90 plug-in by a factor of 5 in Europe.

 

 

 

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevrolet SPARK EV:  

For November, despite no 2016s in inventory, GM continued to find older 2015 Spark EVs (somewhere), and sold a solid 166 copies.

Thankfully the 2016 edition has finally arrived in December – not a lot has landed, but somewhere close to 100 units are available heading into January.

The result?  Enough stock to sell a further 153 Spark EVs in December.

For the first 11 months of 2015, 2,629 have been sold, which is more than double than the total sold in 2014 (1,145)…we will give the little Chevy the “most improved sales” trophy for 2015.

Earlier in the Spring, GM also confirmed the Spark EV would live on (in first generation trim) for one more year while waiting on the Chevrolet Bolt to arrive in 2017, however the Spark EV is only build in South Korea and production is sporadic at best.

What triggered all the sales of earlier in the year (and demand still today)? A MSRP price cut on the Spark EV to $25,995, and a new aggressive lease deal at $139 per month.

 

 

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:  

We spoke to an Audi representative in October they said sales were just “some days off” from starting -CARB had some other thoughts.

Apparently they should have said some weeks (or months) off, because we seen no evidence of the car’s physical arrive until year’s end. – but the A3 e-trons arrival is upon us, as Audi can now legally sell them in the US.

Update: Despite only being able to sell the A3 e-tron for the last couple days of 2016, Audi managed to move 49 of them

Originally, the cars were scheduled by Audi as a week 43 arrival (October 19 through 26), but the certificiation problem of new PHEVs in California isn’t always the easiest thing (ask Mitsubishi with the Outlander PHEV).

Part of the reason for the high expectations for the A3 e-tron is the low price. $37,900 gets you the Audi badge, 8.8 kWh of battery – good for 22-odd miles of real world driving…and federal credit of $4,158, which is significant because this brings the e-tron package down to within $2,800 of the base MSRP of the A3.

Part of the reason for the high expectations for the A3 e-tron is the low price. $37,900 gets you the Audi badge, 8.8 kWh of battery – good for 22-odd miles of real world driving…and federal credit of $4,158, which is significant because this brings the e-tron package down to within $2,800 of the base MSRP of the A3.

Check out our own early/pre-delivery review on the Audi A3 e-tron here.

 

 

Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi:

For the first time in 2015 Ford has eclipsed the 1,000 mark with one of its plug-in vehicles.

And as one would expect, the vehicle to set a new 2015-high for Ford is the Fusion Energi with 1,058 moved.

Looking at the inventory and it is easy to see why (and how) so many Fusion plug-ins have sold; entering 2016, the Fusion Energi is the “most stocked” EV in the US at around ~5,000 copies.

For the year (through November), 9,750 Fusion Energis have now been sold, which was off by about 15%, however the model is showing a lot more strength of late than it was a year ago.  The 2016 outlook for sales is pretty strong for the extended range Ford.

The Fusion Energi basically offers the same package as the C-Max Energi, but in a larger sedan package. The third plug-in to be offered from Ford has been rated by the EPA at a combined 88 MPGe and has an electric range of 19 miles.

 

 

2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In

Toyota Prius Plug-In:  

Whoosh – is the sound of Prius PHV sales as the remaining inventory circles the drain.

It is all over. See you in 2017.

For December, with no remaining inventory left, an woeful 22 were sold, which closes out a pretty awful 2015 as just 4,191 were sold, off almost 70% from the 13,164 in 2014.

Previously in November Toyota set a 45 month low with just 44 copies sold, down almost 90% from a year ago.   It is easy to spot the wind-down trend at play here.

Despite a US consumer that would easy buy 800-1,200 copies a month, production of the current car ended in June and Toyota didn’t build any extra stock to sell.

Again, we have to note – 2015 results are not a reflection on the demand, there just is no cars left to buy.

Although a next generation Prius PHV is confirmed, delays in the ‘regular’ Prius have pushed the plug-in version’s introduction as far off as the second half of 2016 as a 2017 model car. This means we are in the midst of a ~14 month gap (with zero production) and there will be no newly produced cars to sell over that period.

Our prediction, regardless of what the plug-in Prius sells to end out the year, there isn’t any left for November through all of 2016 – and even low volume cars like the Focus Electric are going to clean its ‘sales clock’ next year – which is a shame, because the demand to still move 1,000 a month has never waned with the US public, only Toyota’s desire to sell them.

 

 

Mercedes S550 Plug-In Hybrid

Mercedes S550 Plug-In Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid:  

When it comes to plug-in luxury, there is a new boss in town! Having just arrived in late July, the Mercedes S550 presents a level of refinement previously unseen in the EV segment for the US.

Mercedes set a new “best ever” month for the S550H with 35 copies sold in December, giving the model 112 sales for the year.

For November, 21 S550s were sold.

UPDATE: Despite the S550 PHV’s recent arrival in the US, the new 2016s are here!  The only issue with that for consumers might be that they are unchanged in every way but pricing.  The 2016 retails higher – at $95,650

Despite its huge footprint, and pretty heavy weight (just north of 5,000lbs), the electric motor and turbo 6 cylinder still manage to zip the Mercedes to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds, while giving the car 24 MPG in the city and 30 on the highway.

Range is rated at 12+ miles with the Prius-like “electric + gas” tag, meaning you have to drive with a certain light-footedness to get the 20 miles on just electricity. The S550 has a 8 kWh battery on board, so expect about a $4,700 federal tax credit with your purchase.

 

 

2016 Hyundai Sonata PHEV ... in black

2016 Hyundai Sonata PHEV (… in black)

Hyundai Sonata PHV:  

We didn’t expect to see the plug-in Sonata arrive in the US until the very last couple weeks of the year, yet there it was at a dealership we passed by in late November.

There wasn’t a lot of depth to the inventory in November (something which was rectified somewhat in December, ending the month with near 400 units), but was good news nonetheless.

Currently Hyundai has not decided whether not to break out plug-in hybrid sales, so until then we will have to estimate the number as best we can from inventory levels and rebate data as it is available.

For December, we estimate 145 Sonata PHEVs were delivered.

The Sonata PHV should be a decent seller in the US as it offers an attractive mid-size PHEV value.  The Hyundai has been rated at 27 miles of range and pricing starts at $34,600.

With $4,919 dollar worth of federal credit also on the table thanks to the car’s 9.8 kWh battery, the effective $29,681 price-point (+dst) is acceptable; however, when factored into a lease, it makes the plug-in version of Sonata almost as inexpensive as the petrol version.

 

 

 

 

Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf:

When the dieselgate scandal hit, it raised a lot of questions for the future of the VW Group. Would diesels be wound down? Would the EV program be pulled back? How would consumer sales be affected.

For EVs, VW’s emission problems were a blessing in disguise. VW quickly, and more closely, embraced the technology during the month…and put lots of deep discounts on all its models to try and prop up sales/offset the bad press.

For December, a record 609 e-Golfs were sold, after moving a strong 472 copies in November.

Looking at the strong European sales, and the large amount of EVs VW is selling from such a limited inventory in the US, the company has served notice that they won’t be relegated to the small volume compliance category of EV sales.

Heading into January, sales may perhaps be strained early in the year, as new inventory seems to have bottle-necked somewhere in the chain; only about 400 e-Golfs enter 2016 available to be sold.

Adding to the demand in the US, the company introduced a new, less expensive SE trim level which is arriving now. The new trim level brings the base starting price of the e-Golf down to $29,815.

How high could sales go? Still fairly hard to say without a deeper inventory allocation, but sometime hitting 4 digits doesn’t seem hard to fathom today – at least when (and if) inventory levels get high enough to support that many sales.

The e-Golf has been rated at 83 miles by the EPA and carries a 24.2 kWh LEAF-like (base) battery.

 

 

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi:

Usually the C-Max Energi mimics the sales performance of its sister-car Fusion Energi.  Unfortunately, that trend broke in December as the Fusion moved higher, and the C-Max lower.

For December, 579 copies were sold – the model’s worst showing since April (553).

Previously in November, 639 copies were sold.  Truthfully, the C-Max Energi seems to have found a range band of between 500 and 700 units now, and it seems likely to stay inside those limits for all months not January and February going forward.

We should note that unlike its sister car the Fusion Energi, the C-Max Energi has a limited ceiling for sales as the inventory is much more tightly controlled to about 1/3 that of the Fusion.  Entering 2016, about ~1,400 were in stock – still a respectable amount.

For 2015, 7,591 C-Max Energis have been sold, which lagged 2014 when Ford sold 8,433.

In 2013, the high water mark for the C-Max Energi was set in October as 1,092 plug-ins sold. It still would not surprise us to see the C-Max Energi live only as long as it takes to introduce a Focus Energi.

 

 

 

 

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED: 

Hurting B-Class ED sales this fall was a “stop sale” order, while a new update was patched to all cars (sold or not) to avoid a serious engine shutdown issue (details).

Thankfully, that seems to now be behind Mercedes in December and sales rebounded slightly to 97 units sold, after moving just 41 in November.

Despite the recent hiccup, 2015 was a bit of a let down in our minds for the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive as it seems like stocking the current year’s inventory was always a problem for Daimler.

December does snap a 8 month down skid of sales for the B-Class ED, but barely 100 are available to be bought entering 2016…so we will go ahead and mark down January as another disappointing sales month ahead of time.

Can the electric B-Class ultimately compete with natural rival BMW (with the i3)? It still seems highly unlikely…at least for this generation.

During September we also heard news (via a normally very reliable source) that Mercedes was about to get serious with the B-Class ED, giving it an estimated 300 mile (NEDC) ~225 mile EPA range upgrade in next generation trim, while also removing the Tesla drivetrain/components to bring costs down. It seems as though the B-Class ED may be one of the “ones to watch” heading into the 2nd generation wars in a couple year’s time.

 

 

BMW i8 Finally Arrives In US In August!

BMW i8

BMW i8:

When it comes to the i8, and like the recently revealed i8 Vision Future Interaction car, BMW blew the doors off previous sales records.

For December, 656 i8s were sold.  Once again – six hundred and fifty six i8s.

How high is that? The old record was just 217 units, so to say this result was unexpected would be a massive understatement.  Last month, just 118 were sold.

For 2015, BMW has now sold 2,265 i8s. A more than respectable amount, given the 6-figure price-point.

December continued to see national i8 inventories expand (as unlike the Cadillac ELR and Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid, BMW dealers are anxious to keep copies of the flashy plug-ins on display in their showrooms), and by the time 2016 came around ~700 were in stock – also an all-time high.

 

 

 

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid:

The Panamera S e-Hybrid seems not able to recover from the arrival of sister SUV, the Cayenne S e-Hybrid.

For December after falling sales for months, the Panamera S e-Hybrid screamed for mercy, selling just 16 copies – its worst result since debuting in 2013

Basically, the upcoming refresh probably can’t come soon enough.

The high mark for sales on the Panamera was set in the first month of the year, with an amazing 141 sold. The advent of the Cayenne plug-in means that this level will never be seen again.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid has a combined 416 hp output (333 hp electric) and can get north of 60 mph in about 5 seconds, with a top speed of 167 mph. Pricing starts at $99,000. Also of interest, the S E-Hybrid is currently available at all Porsche dealers nationwide – a rare thing these days.

 

 

 

2015 Porsche Cayenne S e-Hrybrid

2015 Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid

Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid:

While the Panamera S e-Hybrid struggles to prove viability, the Cayenne plug-in continues to put more butts in the seats.

For December 137 were sold, besting the all-time high set in October of this year (125).

The S e-Hybrid had consistently outsold its Panamera plug-in cousin by more than a 2-to-1 ratio entering this fall, but it appears those numbers are more likely to change to 5-to-1 in 2016.

We had expected this summer, that as more inventory of the Cayenne plug-in arrived, more sales to be realized by Porsche. Unfortunately, the old “allocation chestnut” card has seemingly been played by Porsche and/or its dealers and national inventories have hovered between 200-250 for quite some time now.

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Fiat 500e

2014 Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e:  

When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we have another Tesla on our hands here (as in they don’t report sales).

Chrysler/Fiat has been giving us a bit of the stonewall treatment when it comes to reporting 500e sales.

UPDATE: In the past (2014), InsideEVs had used data from a 3rd party data collection site, however upon inspection of those numbers, they were found to be materially short from rebates claimed on the car. Historical sales have since been updated to more accurately reflect the 500es true sales, and we will continue to report an estimated number based on more accurate data points.

After a fairly strong start in the Fall, sales of the Fiat 500e seem to have eased up slightly in the last two months of the year, despite new depth of 2016 stock.

For December, we estimate 265 more 500es were sold – although we only currently have data to work with into the 3rd week ahead of Christmas and are extrapolating the last dozen or so selling days, so this estimate could change by some amount in mid January.

The all-time high water mark was an estimated 1,310 estimated sales of the 500e in March.

 

 

 

 

2012 Mitsubishi I (2014s incoming)

Mitsubishi i-MiEV:  

For December Mitsubishi sold 9 copies.  

/yawn

This marks the 5th month in a row Mitsu has failed to reach the double digit level for sales of its city EV.

In November previous, just 4 were moved.

And despite the low numbers, yes – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is still on sale in the US…as an ongoing product.

In wider news: 2016s are here! 2016s are here!

Unfortunately not that many. A quick check around the US by ourselves at December’s end only returned about 70, 2016 copies. Long story short, sales are terrible, dealers don’t really want themthey want the new Outlander PHEV, but have to wait until September of next year (yupe, it got pushed back again) to get serious about plug-ins.

For its part, Mitsu says it will continue to sell cars the way it always has, which is by relying on customers coming into dealerships and practically demanding a car.

 

 

BMW X5 xDrive40e

x5 xDrive40e

BMW X5 xDrive40e: 

Up, up and away.

Proving that everyone loves an SUV (at least in America), the BMW X5 xDRIVE40e (which we will now just call the X5 plug-in…because its easier) sold a massive 607 copies in December in just its second full month on the market.

Previously in November 167 were sold.

Looking at the potential for future sales, almost 1,000 copies are on hand (6th most of any plug-in) to sell into 2016, so we expect some decent numbers going forward.

Can the X5 plug-in break into the top the “top 5” sellers in the US in 2016?  A couple of months ago we probably would have said that was highly unlikely, but ~10,000 sales in 2016 doesn’t seem so foreign today.

Check out our first drive review of the 13 mile AER BMW x5 xDrive40e here.

 

 

 

 

 

As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

2014 smart ED – As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

SMART ForTwo Electric Drive:

Despite having a model lineup that is half-convertible, smart has had a sales resurgence for 2015 in the past two months.

After selling 178 copies in November, smart did one better with the ED in December…literally, at 179 plug-ins sold.

December’s result was the best for 2015, although far short of the all-time record set in December of 2014 when 351 were sold.

The smart Ed ends 2015 with 1,387 sold – good for the 13th on the top selling plug-ins list for America.

The smart ED is the first plug-in for America to be offered with a “battery rental” option, which brings the cost of the Smart ED down to $19,990, but adds a $80 month battery rental payment, as well as includes a wider (and longer) battery warranty. Check out all the specs, options and pricing here. The 2-seat Smart electric car gets 68 miles of range from a 17.6 kWh battery.

 

 

2014 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric:  

/yawn

The Ford Focus is one of the longest available electric cars on the US market – December marks the EV’s 45th month to log sales in America, yet it never strays more than ~100 units from selling 150 copies per month.

It seems almost impossible…yet there it is…the Focus Electric, selling 100ish cars month in and month out.

For December Ford sold 96 copies of the Focus Electric, so if anything one could say the trend is actually going in the wrong direction, as before November (when 93 were sold, despite a new ad spot), Ford had sold over 100 copies 9 months in a row.

What can we tell you about the malaise Ford finds itself in with the Focus Electric?

The model has sold between 53 and 198 sales per month in 42 of the past 43 months.  With just one of those months passing the 200 level (August 2014 -264)

 

 

 

 

2015 Kia Soul EV Went On Sale In Mid-October

its worst result since July.  Last month in October, 109 were sold. 2015 Kia Soul EV Went On Sale In Mid-October

Kia SOUL EV:  

In December Kia sold 95 Soul EVs, after selling just 83 in November – which was its worst result since July.

The 2015 high was set in October,  but we have to temper our excitement for the achievement as that was only 109 units, and quite frankly, it should be doing much, much better.

Hey Kia, maybe its time to ship a few more copies to the US?

But we wouldn’t get our hopes up – production of the Soul EV is extremely tight with demands, and the car is sought out everywhere in the world it is sold (perhaps with the exception of Germany – where it is excessively exported to customers in other regions who want it – after picking up valuable EU emission credits)

A note on the Kia numbers: Kia has decided to not split out data on the Soul EV from the regular petrol version, despite several attempts by ourselves to convince them it would be a good idea to do that. As Kia is one of the OEMs we don’t have a strong relationship with, we defer to our friends at HybridCars.com to provide the sales info.

The cute-ute from Hyundai/Kia has a more than decent 93 miles of range (with more 103 miles of range in the city), and a price tag of $33,700 (full details, specs and picture can be found here). We expect the advent of the Kia Optima plug-in and an unnamed Hyundai all-electric sedan to be introduced over the next 12 months or so to signal the end of the Soul EV by 2017.

 

 

2014 (yes, 2014) Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

2014 Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

Honda Accord Plug-In:

For November, Honda “got back on track” with the Accord PHV…and by that we mean they sold a copy.  As in one.

They followed this impressive result by selling – another one in December.

For the two month’s prior to November and December, none were sold…so moral victory there we suppose.

Honda closes out the year with 64 sold, far from the 449 moved in 2014.

Basically, there is absolutely no demand for the extended range Accord. By the way, did you know Honda had a plug-in hybrid to sell? Few seem to. In fact, it has been on sale now for 34 months – debuting in January of 2013.

Well they do sell them….and for just $17,675 dollars more than the base Accord sedan you too can enjoy up to 13 miles of electric driving…provided you don’t accelerate too hard, or drive to fast. So, to say Accord PHEV sales are flat in the US would be an understatement.

UPDATE (July): Honda has finally put the Accord PHV out to pasture! Yes the 10th oldest plug-in brand in America (and arguably the least successful) is done. Honda has said there will be no future Accord PHV model, as the company will now focus on making both a fully electric and PHEV car that are more commercially viable (as opposed to being more of compliance plays).

Points to Honda for finally coming around to electric vehicles!

Editor’s note: The Honda Accord PHV will be taken off the update list in 2016. Also during October 1 Fit EV was sold (which slots into the ‘other’ category on our chart)

 

 

Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 (OTHER):  

Ok, we hear you! People always ask us, “why don’t you report on the 918 Spyder?”

Honestly, it didn’t fit our traditional mantra of reporting only “mass produced EVs for America“…especially as we already know the total number of sales to come for America.

Only 918 of the super exotic plug-in will be build over several years, and they are already all sold out, with exactly 297 destined to come to the US.

After selling 2 copies in November, Porsche delivered zero during December, with the 2015 high coming in the warm summer month of July – 40 units delivered then.

Check out Top Gear’s video review of the car that can go from 0 to 62 mph in 2.3 seconds…and plug-in, here.

 

 

BELOW: Chart of 2015 results so far, as well as 2014 year end results:

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals from Earnings Report (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers, Q2 7,579 total-approx reported International registrations, Q3 7,785 total deliveries ~ 3,900 US, Q4 via 55% net NA deliveries from 31,655 total) ** Update: Fiat 500e data estimated via incentive data

2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals from Earnings Report (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers, Q2 7,579 total-approx reported International registrations, Q3 7,785 total deliveries ~ 3,900 US, Q4 via 55% net NA deliveries from 31,655 total) ** Update: Fiat 500e data estimated via incentive data

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59 responses to "December 2015 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card"

  1. Benz says:

    Cadillac ELR in 2015: 1,024

    The price is probably too high, right?

    1. R.S says:

      Just look at the BMW i8, luxury plug in hybrid, with twice the price tag, but outsells the ERL 2:1. Ether the ERL just is a particularly bad car, or wishing not to sell something actually works. We can call that the Cadillac christmas miracle.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        It is ELR.

        ELR isn’t good enough for its price. It is too slow.

  2. Alan says:

    Tesla shifted 13,500 model S around the rest of the world, did any country in particular do well ?

    China ? Norway ?

    1. Alan says:

      * in Q4 !

      1. suresh says:

        its ~ 17.2k-1.9k-3.2k-3.6k around the world. i am suprised they sold more in eu/china than us.

        1. Benz says:

          The total number of European Tesla Model S deliveries in Q4 2015 will be about 5,000 (I think).

  3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Looking at the incomplete data and extropolating, at 10:28 AM on Tuesday, Jan 5, I’d estimate that the total North American 2015 sales probably won’t exceed 15,000, or at least won’t exceed that figure by much. Last year, as counted by InsideEVs, the total was over 123,000. So that’s roughly a 6.5% drop from last year.

    I’m not at all happy that my estimate at the beginning of the year, of a modest 10-15% increase, has turned out to be significantly too optimistic. 🙁

    Well, here’s hoping that 2016 will see a return to increasing sales! But frankly I don’t expect much of an increase until 2017, when those nominally “200 mile” EVs will finally hit the market.

    The EV revolution is turning out to be a life-long exercise in patience… and I’m no longer a young grasshopper. I had no idea, when I first started hoping to see gasmobiles become obsolete, at the age of 20 or so, that I’d still be waiting 40 years later. *sigh*

    1. Speculawyer says:

      It is a tough year.
      1) Oil prices crashed.
      2) Osborne effect from improved models: The Volt transitioned to a new model at the end ofthe year. The LEAF transitioned to a bigger battery pack at the end of the year.
      3) Osborne effect from upcoming cars: And lots of hype about the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, and other upcoming cars.

      Lucky that the drop was that small.

      1. ffbj says:

        A speed bump. A really big nasty one where it scrapes the undercarriage. Good to see you commenting again. I missed your succinct, lucid, commentary.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I wrote:

      “I’d estimate that the total North American 2015 sales probably won’t exceed 15,000…”

      Edit: That should be 115,000.

      *sigh*

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      A day later…

      Well! Turns out the year’s total is about 1500 units higher than my estimate yesterday. What a pleasant surprise!

      InsideEVs’ total for 2015 is 116,548; compared to last year’s 123,049, that’s a 5.28% drop. Still bad, but not quite as bad.

  4. Three Electrics says:

    Sales are down, but Tesla continues to crush it. Their growth in this market is terribly impressive–and all without the X.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Well, they had their backs to the wall and had to push hard to get close to their projected numbers.

    2. ffbj says:

      Yes, well. They have a monopoly on the high end electric car line. In other words if you want a high end ev you buy a Tesla. Though I am impressed with their efforts at getting the vehicles out the door.

    3. islandboy says:

      “Tesla continues to crush it”. Yup, most emphatically. I wanted to find out how Tesla was doing in it’s price segment of the market so I did some searching and came up with an article titled, “The 10 Most Popular Cars Americans Are Buying Over $70,000”. According to that article the most popular car on the list is the Mercedes S Class, having sold 10,580 (up to the end of the third quarter?). The funny thing is that according to the data on this site, Tesla had sold 17,000 units over the same period.

      I did some more analysis of the numbers and here are some interesting points regarding the Model S.

      It sold more units than the bottom five of the cars on the list combined!

      It sold more than the two models of Porsche that made the list combined,

      It sold more units than BMW’s 6 and 7 Series combined (number 5 and 6 on the list)

      It sold more than the two Mercedes models that made the top ten combined.

      This makes me wonder if the title of the article should have read, “The 10 Most Popular Cars Americans Are Buying Over $70,000, That Are Not A Tesla Model S“. At 50,000 sold worldwide, that is 50,000 premium priced sedans from other manufacturers that were NOT sold, in a segment where 50,000 is a big number. Cause for concern among the other players?

  5. RexxSee says:

    Only 12 out of 27 models are All electrics.
    Please InsideEVs, separated them from the hybrids, or at least give BEVs another color so we can see where is the real progress.

    Seeing lame AER hybrids figure in this chart is not productive at all.

    1. David Murray says:

      I disagree. If it has a plug on it, I’m interested to see the sales figures.

      1. RexxSee says:

        I disagree with your disagreement, i wrote to separate them or highlight them, not erase them.

      2. That list will be very large in 2 years.

    2. R.S says:

      Thats a good idea. With more and more plug in hybrids, as well as some new EVs, this list will become bigger and bigger and I’m not really interested in how many X5 hybrids are sold. But I would distinguish between more than 50 mile and below 50 mile cars, because the i3 Rex is more interesting than the Kia Soul, although its a Hybrid .

    3. ModernMarvelFan says:

      If you seperate them, the total numbers are even lower for BEVs.

      1. Dave says:

        Seconded – use different colours for BEVs and hybrids. Eventually if/when there are too many models, you can separate the huge table into two tables.

  6. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Here comes with first YOY sales drop of PEVs…

    “gas price don’t impact sales”. Yeah, right…

    Luckily, Tesla is holding up the flagship line.

    Why doesn’t Tesla drop? Because most people who buy Model S don’t care about the price of gasoline or how much the car cost relatively to other gas models. Also, Tesla Model S is just better all around. Unlike most of other PEVs which are heavily depending on “ownership cost” to sell the car.

    1. ffbj says:

      Right. Now OPEC is saying that personal transportation will still be dominated by the ice for 50 years. I find a bit myopic, but things are not changing as fast as many would have hoped.

    2. Mutwin Kraus says:

      Looks to me like most of the losses were from Leaf and Volt sales and without the refresh (or if it had happened earlier) it could have easily been an Up year.

  7. Gene Baker says:

    First, Jay thanks for being such a great proponent of the EV/HEV sales. I don’t think anyone could have put such a positive spin on the monthly 2015 sales numbers. You always seemed to find the bright spot.

    Second, I don’t think the innovations in EV technology will continue to be driven out of the US. Other countries like China, India and the rest of Western Europe will start making huge strides in battery technology and EV Car design. They are in for the long game. US business and politics still favor the short game. Once other countries start adopting and selling huge numbers of electric vehicles, US companies will see the writing on the wall and jump in with both feet.

    You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” – Winston Churchill

    Third – After four years of selling EV Charging Stations for Sema, ChargePoint and now AV I am still selling to decision makers that do not own EVs. It is a tough sell to non EV owners. This is such a dynamic market it changes daily. We are all still trying to figure it out. The top selling EV in 2020 may not even be a traditional car. And if it is a traditional car, can it fully charge at home? Will commercial stations even be necessary. Maybe 110v outlets is all we’ll really need in 2025. The problem is that none of us really know.

    4. The entire human transportation model is changing before our eyes. The new generation of drivers take Uber, Lyft etc without hesitation. The car sharing and self driving car models cars will drag Americans(kicking and screaming) into the EV market. In ten years very few cars will be sold directly to their owners.

    1. Robb Stark says:

      Tesla Motors is an American Co that is all about the long game. And bringing the West Europeans into the 21st century kicking and screaming.

  8. Roger says:

    Very interesting…

    the “old” BMW i3 in december is ranked 3rd, in front of the “new” Leaf sliding in 4th place

    1. David Murray says:

      I’m not sure the reason for booming i3 sales. But I’m pretty sure the new Leaf is just not available most places. If you look at the previous article talking about Leaf sales, most everyone commenting is saying there are no 2016 models available at their dealer.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        2 year leasing deals?

  9. Bill says:

    That’s what I was thinking. The i3 outsold the new 30kWh LEAF? I guess AER isn’t all that matters.

    1. David Murray says:

      If I were to buy an i3, it would definitely be the Rex. So the AER is plenty good for a PHEV, in fact you could argue that it is the best AER of any PHEV. I don’t think I would be that interested in a BEV version of the i3. The range would be an issue with that one, especially considering the lack of CCS charging stations in Texas.

  10. Huhu says:

    Tesla shipped 17400 cars worldwide in Q4.

    The worldwide total numbers will present a much better picture if other plug-in cars that are not being sold in the US can somehow be included, especially the EV brands being sold in China.

  11. fred says:

    “656 i8s were sold” . Are you sure that isnt a typo ?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      …seems like it should be doesn’t it Fred? But it is not, (=

    2. mustang_sallad says:

      Yes, that’s really amazing. I’d like to see a comparison of the i8 to other cars in its class. I suppose that’s a bit of a hard match to make, as I feel like it competes with lower end Lamborghinis and Ferraris and those are a bit more expensive. How about a comparison of sales of all vehicles with gullwing doors? I feel like the i8 is actually a bargain for a vehicle with as much visual flare as it has.

  12. evnow says:

    For those not following closely – Leaf ’16 sales are unlikely to be good because Nissan lease prices are currently terrible. A lot of people including me, are holding on. Not going to pay $500 a month for a 2 yr SV lease. This is not about the slight price increase (if that) on ’16, but very high lease prices.

    1. David Murray says:

      Or simple lack of inventory of the new 30Kwh version. It doesn’t seem to be in stock at most dealers.

      1. dRanger says:

        “it doesn’t seem to be in stock…” Or “we forgot to wash it” or “Our charger is blocked” or “Our EV specialist has locked himself in the bathroom” or…well, we get the picture.

      2. ModernMarvelFan says:

        as of now, cars.com reports that there are 1474 2016 LEAF where about 421 are SV and 242 are SL, 744 are S. 67 are unknown…

        So, it looks like Nissan didn’t allocate enough of those so called 30kWh versions.

        Maybe Nissan isn’t interested in selling the new LEAF? =)

  13. Benjamin says:

    Audi e-tron fianlly got certified by CARB on 12/30/2015!

    1. Pete Bauer says:

      So Audi e-tron is still arriving. I don’t know why it takes lot of time for big companies like VW.

      1. Benjamin says:

        Delivery started beginning January. I’m picking up my this Friday 1/8.

  14. Pete Bauer says:

    Tesla is #1 (Champion) in Dec and also YTD-2015. So Sweet.

    Nice to see i3 sell 1422 and i8 sell a whooping 656 units.

    2015 sales may not match 2014.
    Primary Reason: Expecting Volt Gen-2 and Leaf with extended range.
    Secondary Reason: Low gas prices.

    Definitely 2016 should be better with Model-X and many other models in the market.

    So VW sells eGolf @ 30K (including destination charge). Andy they sold 609 units, this shows that if the price is reduced, EVs sell well.
    eGolf @ 109 cu. ft. interior space is bigger than Focus-EV at 105 cu. ft and also has longer range and more fuel efficiency.

  15. Excoriator says:

    “Definitely 2016 should be better with Model-X and many other models in the market.”

    Despite there being about a fifth more models available at the end of 2015 than at the beginning, ev sales actually FELL in 2015.

    That this happened during a boom year for conventional cars is further evidence that the electric car’s day has come – and gone!

    1. Pete Bauer says:

      Only in USA, the EV sales fell and that too because of expectation of Volt Gen-2 and Leaf with higher range. Still selling 95% as much as 2014 with a ultra low gas price is great.

      Meanwhile Chinese market has tripled while Europe has increased by at least 50%.

      So the market for EV’s have come and its going to increase.

      1. Excoriator says:

        Early adopters means early abondoners it seems. I don’t believe the reason sales fell in America was because people were waiting for the new model. I think it’s because all the enthusiasts who could afford one have now got one.

        I think Toyota didn’t sell many Mirais was because there is a lack of infrastructure. When more hydrogen stations appear then hydrogen will take over. They are much better vehicles than battery cars.

  16. Pete Bauer says:

    Toyota Mirai – FCV sold only 15 units in Dec-2015. So it ends the year with < 100 units in the first 3 months of sales.

    While Model-X rises decently even with a innovative falcon wings.

    What is Toyota's answer to EVs.

  17. PJ says:

    Where do you get your worldwide ev numbers from? Your numbers seem to be just off from ev sales blog numbers. Also can you make a list of all the new plug-ins that are expected to land in 2016. That would be really helpful.

  18. Pete Bauer says:

    BMW X5 Plugin sold 607 units and thats a lot. Many models broke their records like Fusion, Panamera, eGolf, i8 and that’s what pushed Dec-2015 to the highest.

    Welcome Volvo XC90 to this segment with sales of 74 units.

    Hyundai has revealed the sales of Sonata Hybrid. If they did not reveal for Sonata Plugin, then the sales of that model will be very low.

    May be they have not delivered the units to all the dealers. If its 145, then its very good for the 2nd month of sales.

    1. Benjamin says:

      Those XC90s are not the T8 plug-ins. I think those are regular ICE XC90s. According a local Southern CA Volvo dealer: “The 2016 XC90T8 Plug-in Hybrid delivery has been delayed to Feb-March 2016.”

  19. Pete Bauer says:

    Look at the sales from Netherlands.
    Mind boggling at 15,908 units.

    http://ev-sales.blogspot.com/

  20. Pete Bauer says:

    In the last 3 months, the sales increased compared to the similar months of 2014 mainly because of the new models like Volt-2, Model-X and increased sales from Model-S.

    Thanks for posting the sales of Mirai separately, after all that car also runs on motor. But its sales has decreased every month. People must be frustrated by lack of hydrogen fueling stations.

  21. Benjamin says:

    Are you sure that the Volvo X90 T8 plug-in hybrids are for sale in the US? It hasn’t received certification from CARB, not on EPA’s fueleconomy.gov website, and they’re not in inventory of Volvo dealers (at least in CA).

    Sure those sales are not for regular XC90s?

  22. Benjamin says:

    Ok, those Volvo XC90 T8 numbers are definitely wrong. I just spoke to a Volvo salesman here in CA. Here’s what he had to say, “The 2016 XC90T8 Plug-in Hybrid delivery has been delayed to Feb-March 2016.”

  23. jdbob says:

    I wonder if the low U.S. inventory of the C-Max Energi has anything to do with the year-end rush in Netherlands before the tax law changes. Ford sold 538 C-Max Energi in December in the Netherlands, out of a total of 1229 units for the year.

  24. Jean-François says:

    Jay, GCR reports 49 Audi A3 etron in December, can you confirm this?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Yes, it is right…we had though they put up a zero, but Audi got CA certification to sell on the 30th of December and popped out a bunch.

      /guess we should have updated the charts to reflect, lol…fixed, (=