EV Market Up By 25% For April In US, Toyota Prius Prime #1 For First Time

3 weeks ago by Mark Kane 50

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – April 2017

Plug-in electric vehicle sales in the U.S. increased at a decent pace of 24.9% in April, while the segment overall has expanded for 19 consecutive months (see full report).

With ~13,151 new plug-ins sold, market share amounted 0.92% for the month.

Even better results are noted year-to-date. After four months of growth, the market is up 43% with an estimated 54,693 new plug-ins on US roads.

Of note:  While plug-in vehicles posted strong gains in April, we should mentioned that the traditional auto industry took a bit of a hit in April, off 4.7% overall, while passenger cars decresed 11.1%

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – April 2017

The best selling plug-in car in April, and for the first time in its relatively short history, was the Toyota Prius Prime (1,819), which managed to slightly exceed the Chevrolet Volt (1,809)!

The 1,819 plug-in Toyota sales brings the total Primes on the road up to 8,587 since the model was introduced in mid-November.  Breaking the numbers down further, the Prime took 18.7% of the total Prius family, despite being virtually out-of-stock at dealers for the month; meaning the sales ceiling for the Prime is yet likely much higher than April’s result.

U.S. Toyota Prius Prime Sales – April 2017

Another new, and promising model, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, has yet to show the strength of the Prime, but at 1,292 deliveries, set a personal best last month.

U.S. Chevrolet Bolt EV Sales – April 2017

Graph below: Here is the updated “Top 10 sellers list” for U.S.; of which, the Chevrolet Volt re-took the first overall slot, as the Tesla Model S took its normal “first month of the quarter” off.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – April 2017

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52 responses to "EV Market Up By 25% For April In US, Toyota Prius Prime #1 For First Time"

  1. acevolt says:

    What is really amazing is the BMW i3 can’t even beat the Fiat 500, a car FCA doesn’t even want to sell!

    1. mx says:

      Put average selling price in the chart, and you’ll get your answer.

      1. mx says:

        Also, BMW inventory looks constrained.

      2. philip d says:

        Yeah. Explains the virtual tie between the Bolt and the 7 year old Leaf half the range.

    2. unlucky says:

      The 500e is available at ridiculous giveaway prices.

      At times you can get into one for under $80/month lease with zero down.

      1. menorman says:

        Yep, best I’ve seen is $50/month with $0 down for a lease that is eligible for a $2500 rebate here in CA.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          The Fiat 500e is probably the only ev that you can get for free right now in CA so i’m surprised its numbers are that low.

          1. unlucky says:

            They limit supply. Also every FIAT dealer in Santa Clara County (San Jose) closed and that’s where a lot of EVs are sold/leased. You can still get one at a Chrysler dealer but it took time for people to discover this.

          2. Tom says:

            They are losing gobs of money on each one and its only function is to meet compliance. It’s a bad car so in order to get it out the door they have to give it away. But they are not going to build a single vehicle more than is absolutely necessary

    3. David Murray says:

      Fiat doesn’t care about making a profit on that car. They just need the CARB credits.

  2. Seuthès says:

    It’s look like a story that you know before it’s write. The Chevrolet Volt is a good, car, but Chevrolet seems have no willing to sell it.
    Toyota has the willing to sell their Prime, so taking the lead is logic.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      There are no evidence to support that stupid claim.

      Toyota doesn’t really want to sell the Prime any more than the Chevy wants to sell the Volt.

      Chevy is making a plenty of inventory for dealers to sell and Toyota isn’t. So, which one wants to sell?

      Prime is only selling because there are plenty of former stupid Prius owners that are willing to go with Prime but will never look at anything that has a Chevy logo regardless how much better Volt is.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Just because you’re bitter over GM’s failure to properly market the Volt EV, and Chevy dealers’ failure to attempt to sell it, doesn’t give you the right to label Prius buyers as “stupid”.

        Bottom line here: Chevy dealers aren’t selling the Bolt EV despite plenty of inventory, and Toyota dealers are managing to sell pretty much every Prius Prime they can get their hands on.

        Clearly, willingness to sell a model matters even more than inventory.

        Go Toyota!

        1. unlucky says:

          You two are seriously running afoul of the “you can say anything you want about me as long as you get my name right” principle.

          The poster didn’t complain about the Bolt, he complained about the Volt. You two then manage to complain about the Volt not selling even though it is and Chevy not wanting to sell the “Volt EV” which doesn’t exist.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            I stayed on topic with Volt vs. Prime. It is him who is often clueless about most topic that likes to spin the story and starts with personal attacks.

            My attack was directly at a Prime buying decision maker.

            1. unlucky says:

              Okay. Sorry. I couldn’t tell. It does look a bit like Pushy took the opportunity to sharpen an axe about the Bolt when really you were talking about the Volt.

        2. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Just because you don’t know crap or ever owned EV, it doesn’t give you any more credibility to spew crap all over here about your stupid assertions.

          1. It is about Volt vs. Prime, not your half arse change from Volt to Bolt as you have done.

          2. Some Chevy dealers don’t want to sell just as some Toyota dealers don’t care to sell. At the end of the day, it is buyers who ultimately make a decision on the purchase. Most Prime buyers are previous Prius or Toyota owners. Not the same for Volt buyers.

          3. Prime barely over took Volt for 1 month of the sales. In that EXACT SAME month, Bolt is the #1 BEV seller in the country.

          4. Maybe you should learn some facts before you try to start another flame war with me. We certainly all know how it was just few months ago with your constant personal attacks. To remind you again, my principle has always been, you throw the rock, I dump the entire dump truck on your face!

          1. john1701a says:

            >> Most Prime buyers are previous Prius or Toyota owners. Not the same for Volt buyers.

            That fundamental shortcoming of Volt not appealing to GM’s own customers was supposed to be dealt with by gen-2. That didn’t happen. GM continues to struggle.

            Toyota halted gen-1 Prius plug-in, limiting it to just the initial 15 states after having recognized was the market truly wanted. Gen-2 stayed true to being affordable while delivering upon need to appeal to their own showroom shoppers.

            The goal is to replace traditional product-lines with high-efficiency choices, not conquest sales.

            1. unlucky says:

              Look at the graphs above. GM isn’t struggling with the Volt.

            2. ModernMarvelFan says:

              “That fundamental shortcoming of Volt not appealing to GM’s own customers was supposed to be dealt with by gen-2.”

              Ever heard of conquest sales?

              Appealing to one’s own base is how GM lost most of its customer base so it lost the world’s #1 title. Eventually its own base gets old and dies off..

              Toyota is now known to be old and boring and that is why it is struggling to keep young buyers. That is why its CEO just came out and took offense that Toyota is “boring”.

      2. john1701a says:

        >> Toyota doesn’t really want to sell the Prime

        Japan, Europe, and United States rollout all within a 6-month span.

        That’s quite an effort, undeniable evidence of wanting to sell.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          They did the same with their other compliance car, Mirai.

  3. CCIE says:

    My understanding is that the Prius Prime is pulling many of it’s sales by cannibalizing sales of the standard Prius. That makes sense, it should be an easy upsell for previous Prius owners.

    But, as many people have said several times before, it’s not a great PHEV. Limited battery range, relies on the engine at moderate speeds under heavy acceleration even with a full battery, only seats 4, and it’s slow.

    People should really do their own research and at least test drive the Volt before buying a PP. It’s a superior PHEV and the actual selling price, along with the larger tax credit, make pricing in line with the PP.

    1. BenG says:

      You can get a new Volt for $22,600? That is full retail on a base model Prime minus $4500. I guess you can, that’s just a discount of about $3,000 from retail for the Volt, if you can use the full $7500 tax credit.

      Some people can’t use the full $7500, while many more can use the full $4500.

      Toyota will crank up the volume on the Prime with the 2018 model I bet. Then you’ll find discount below retail on them too. They are going to sell a ton of these things toward the end of the year.

      I agree the Prime is overly weak sauce with it’s anemic electric motor, but for people who are being converted from regular hybrid Priuses it’s a big step toward full electrification, and if you have a relatively short commute and don’t drive aggressively then you’ll be able to be effectively all electric.

      The Prius is designed for mass production and profitable sales at a price substantially lower than the Volt. The Prime is better positioned to maintain sales as the tax credit is phased out in coming years. They just need to tweak the suspension and structure to add the 5th seat back in.

      I personally don’t buy new cars because the depreciation hit is too big. I let another owner take that pain and I buy it after about 4 years. That got me a cherry 2012 Volt Premium for $14,000 last summer when the original purchaser probably paid about $45,000.

      1. Kdawg says:

        Once people get a taste of EV driving, they will want more AER.

        So it will be interesting to see if Toyota upsizes the battery & traction motors for their next plugin, sort of like they did from the PiP to the PP.

        If they don’t, these first time PP owners may migrate to other brands.

        1. BenG says:

          I sure hope so, and soon. It is an embarrassingly slow car.

      2. CCIE says:

        Buying a gently-used, low mileage, Gen1 Volt would definitely be a better idea than buying a new Prius Prime. Great car at a bargain price. But, some people only buy new.

        1. blandman says:

          I completely agree. In the Bay Area, one can get a 2014 Volt in the $11-14k range. I have a 2013 C-Max Energi and would consider a swap given the Gen1 Volt’s longer EV range for my daily commute.

        2. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          The Volt’s back seat is really cramped for passengers who aren’t vertically challenged. Ask me how I know. Sales would be much better if only GM moved it up a class size.

      3. CCIE says:

        And, someone who doesn’t make enough to have $7500 in federal tax liability shouldn’t be blowing money on a new car. Let alone one with an MSRP over $20k.

        1. BenG says:

          Yeah, I agree, but a surprising number of people in the world seem perfectly comfortable paying $350+/month for their cars while having virtually no financial assets other than a decent job. $22,600 after rebate is a pretty affordable car.

          It’s cool that the Volt is in the low twenties, too, after rebate and discounts. Though I think a lot of people in the market for a new car in the low twenties might not be able to use the full credit, whether you approve or not. Retirees who have good assets but not much income, for example.

    2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      Prime is some $6,000 cheaper before US income tax incentive, that is going to expire.
      You may point to this or that advantage for these $6,000, but when it comes to actually putting $6,000 on the table, many of real world buyers would say … with it, I don’t really need these extra few miles of range or acceleration that is useless in bumper to bumper traffic. Prime takes very little fuel anyway even if you go over electric range and has extra auto steering assistance, some auto-braking, and brand reputation for reliability. It just has more value for non-enthusiasts if they don’t need 5th seat. And no, this one doesn’t start engine so easily as old generation Prius plugin before battery is depleted – there are 4 or so modes and default mode should be EV only up to 84 mph.

      1. CCIE says:

        As someone else pointed out above, the higher tax credit and normal GM discounting make the two cars about the same price. If someone can’t wait for the tax credit, that’s a different issue (and rather sad), but I guess that’s why leases exist.

        The tax credit still does still exist, and I’m comparing the two cars today. If GM can’t compete when it expires, I’ll re-evaluate. Though, I’m betting they’ll lower their prices to make up much of the difference. Plus, the Volt is a better PHEV and worth some extra amount.

        I test drove the Prius Prime. It was in “normal” mode as far as I know. Above about 35mph the engine would start if you hit the accelerator hard. Even with that help from the engine, the car was slow.

        There is no excuse for any properly designed PHEV to start the ICE when battery power is available. I would also hit GM on this for ERDTT in the Volt. But, that only applies at very cold temperatures.

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          ‘It was in “normal” mode as far as I know. Above about 35mph the engine would start if you hit the accelerator hard.’

          There is not such thing as “normal” mode. You can set any mode once you turn Prime on, even recharging battery from ICE. Default is EV mode, and people complain that it rather gets sluggish at high speeds at highway instead of turning on engine, and there is NO WAY to change default other than press button every time you turn on a car. I would assume that your salesman probably pushed a button or battery was depleted and that is all.

          Whatever is better or more important, it is matter of preferences. As you may note, Prime gets popular even in the US despite Volt’s advantages for EV enthusiasts. Outside the US, where US tax income credit is not available, and Volt may be not available at all, it wins hands down, as it is designed to make sense even without incentives and outside enthusiast niche.

        2. john1701a says:

          >> I test drove the Prius Prime. It was in “normal” mode as far as I know. Above about 35mph the engine would start if you hit the accelerator hard.

          You must have switched it out of EV mode.

          The mistake many people make is switching over to EV-Auto mode. That takes you out of EV mode and informs the system to use the engine in times of demand.

          3,850 miles on my Prime now. EV has been pure every time… hard acceleration… high speed cruising… hill climbing… all electricity.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “And no, this one doesn’t start engine so easily as old generation Prius plugin before battery is depleted – there are 4 or so modes and default mode should be EV only up to 84 mph.”

        I don’t understand why anyone who knows much about EVs would make this claim. It’s very obvious the Prius Prime doesn’t have a large enough battery pack to perform as well in EV-only mode as in gas-burning mode. The Volt is the only true “switch-hitter” among PHEVs, and anything with a smaller battery pack in proportion to its size is going to have to kick in the gas generator to help out under heavy acceleration above 30-35 MPH… which is exactly what actual Prius Prime drivers report.

        The really puzzling thing is just how often, and under how many different circumstances, the Prius Prime kicks in the gas generator for assist. It may be better than the first Prius Plug-in, but not by much!

        But it’s no surprise the Prius Prime is selling so well. After all, Toyota dealers actually want to sell it!

        https://electrek.co/2017/02/27/review-2017-prius-prime/

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          “After all, Toyota dealers actually want to sell it!”

          There is nothing in your reference showed anything about the dealer is trying to sell the Prime.

          The owner is already a former Prius and PIP owner. Toyota is barely trying to keep its previous owner.

          I know plenty of Chevy dealers in California that are actively trying to sell the Volt. At the end of the day, it is about potential owners.

          There are far more larger “loyal and sometimes stupid and illogical” former Prius owner base to choose from as potential Prime buyer than Chevy’s approach of “conquest buyer” for Volt.

          Currently, there are no Cruze hybrid or other hybrid cars for Chevy buyers to “migrate” from. So, that was set in decades of lack of offering from GM. But it has NOTHING to do with GM not wanting to sell the Volt.

          GM have always wanted to sell more than 45K Volt per year, somehow they are always missing at least 21K buyers.

          With people like you who keep spewing crap, no wonder why at least 21K buyers are missing.

          1. unlucky says:

            In my area (which is unusual) when a Chevy dealer puts on a TV ad and features 4 or 5 models, the Volt is included. They love to sell Volts around here. And they do sell a lot of them.

            I wish I could say it was the case nationwide but surely it isn’t. I can only hope that perhaps it will be that way in the rest of the country some time soon, just as this area changed perhaps the rest of the country can follow behind.

            And just to add it’s clear in this area that Toyota dealers want to sell Prius Prime too. The regular Prius has been a huge disappointment around here and the Prime has not followed suit. They are selling rapidly as they come on the lot (they are in short supply).

        2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Pu-pu,

          There are plenty of people driving Prius now and they know much better than some Tesla stock pumpers from Electrec who have material interest in trashing all competitors.
          You would better check some first-hand sources like priuschat.com if you can’t drive yourself. You look very silly ignoring real life experience in preference of some Tesla Pravda infomercials.

          https://priuschat.com/threads/any-way-to-get-ev-auto-to-stick-after-power-cycle.176306/

          1. john1701a says:

            > You look very silly ignoring real life experience

            I have 3,850 miles on my Prime. EV mode for merging onto a busy 55 mph country road from a dead stop at a stop-sign works fine. It’s part of my commute home. There simply hasn’t been a need for EV-Auto.

            So, what exactly is your claim?

        3. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          Poo-Poo said:
          “I don’t understand why anyone who knows much about EVs would make this claim. It’s very obvious the Prius Prime doesn’t have a large enough battery pack to perform as well in EV-only mode as in gas-burning mode.”

          “The really puzzling thing is just how often, and under how many different circumstances, the Prius Prime kicks in the gas generator for assist. It may be better than the first Prius Plug-in, but not by much!”

          Once again Poo-Poo is spreading misinformation, FUD, and bulls**t. Everything he said in his post is false, an absolute lie. Just like the Volt, the Prime stays in EV mode under heavy acceleration and the ICE doesn’t kick on. Just like the Volt, in cold weather the Prime’s ICE may start if the temperature is below a certain threshold. Poo-Poo has never driven a Prime (or probably any EV for that matter) yet he is thinks he has an informed opinion and dismisses the real life experience of actual Prime and EV owners. The must be a paid shill for Tesla or a long investor trying to pump up his Tesla stock. Sad.

    3. john1701a says:

      >> relies on the engine at moderate speeds under heavy acceleration even with a full battery

      Not true. You’ve been misinformed.

      Many of the early reviews didn’t realize EV mode wasn’t engaged using EV-Auto. So, the engine started.

      EV mode allows you to drop the pedal to the floor and accelerate to 84 mph using only electricity.

  4. wbrignardello says:

    thinking about prime but 2016 prius eco 8000 miles 70.0 miles per gallon

  5. floydboy says:

    The Model 3 will likely get EVs past the 1% mark.

  6. Nix says:

    I wonder if Toyota would have duplicated their same hybrid huge market dominance with PHEV’s, if Toyota would have put this out way back in 2012?

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      I certainly agree that if Prime was offered back in 2012, it would have easily sold at least 2x as many on the shear Prius name alone.

      Combined with $4.50/gallon gas peak which helped to push Prius into #1 California model sales in 2012/2013/2014, Prime would have totally take off.

      Of course, another “sinister look” would be that PIP and Prime were both ONLY introduced to game the California Green HOV lane stickers. Both launch perfectly timed with the introduction and removal of the cap on green HOV sticker. PIP program also ended perfectly with the initial halting/capping of the green HOV sticker program.

  7. David says:

    I wish Chevy would offer a Bolt that is two feet longer, for cargo space.

    Call it the Bolt II. There is a serious dearth of larger vehicles on this list (Relatively affordable ones I mean).

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Agreed. A bigger Bolt would have been nice.

      Combined with a Voltec Equinox on top of it would be even better!

      At some point, the buyers need to show some interest. IF the sales continue to lag, it would be hard to make a case to the GM corporate finance team to show that there is a sustained demand for “GM PEVs”.

    2. BenG says:

      Yeah, a Bolt Wagon would be sweet. Two additional feet might be overkill, though. 1 foot would make a big difference.

    3. BenG says:

      Yeah, and if you stretch the wheelbase to get that extra length then you can also stretch the battery pack and offer a higher capacity battery.

      And/or you could make room for a second electric motor to drive the rear wheels improving performance and efficiency.

      Stretch it, add 4 wheel drive, bump battery capacity, bump ride height … you then have a great compact SUV. Of course the price will go up, but if they were at work designing this now, then by the time it moved to production the cost of batteries will be lower.

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