GM To Be First Automaker To Sell 100,000 Plug-in Cars In U.S. – 2016 A Record Year?

1 year ago by Mark Kane 62

GM plug-in electric car sales in U.S. – December 2015

GM plug-in electric car sales in U.S. – December 2015

2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt

Here is another look at General Motors’ plug-in electric car sales in the U.S., which mostly consist of Chevrolet Volts.

If we include Chevrolet Spark EV and Cadillac ELR, it turns out that not much changed in the last four years. General volume has been decreasing slowly from the 23,639 unit peak in 2013.

With the new 2016 Volt, a new Cadillac plug-in hybrid, and the late 2016 launch of an all-new Bolt EV (and hopefully still available Chevrolet Spark EV), there’s no doubt that the year 2016 will be GM’s best ever for plug-in electric car sales.

In early 2016 (~February/March), GM will become the first manufacturer to cross 100,000 plug-in car sales in the U.S. This is good news for sure, but it also reminds us that some automakers will be on the back half of the journey to the 200,000 mark, after which the federal tax credit will not be available unless an extension is put in place (for the manufacturers that hits the cap).

GM plug-in electric car sales in U.S. – December 2015

GM plug-in electric car sales in U.S. – December 2015

Sales recovery compared to the previous year was already detected in the last three months:

GM plug-in electric car sales in U.S. – December 2015

GM plug-in electric car sales in U.S. – December 2015

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62 responses to "GM To Be First Automaker To Sell 100,000 Plug-in Cars In U.S. – 2016 A Record Year?"

  1. David Murray says:

    Yeah, that really sucks how the tax credit rewards those late to the market.

    1. KUD says:

      +1

      They should change it to 1 Million no matter who the manufacturer is.

      1. R.S says:

        +1
        That is a very good idea. GM will be punished in the future, for selling less profitable cars, compared to their future plug ins, today.

      2. Rick Danger says:

        Agree totally.

        1. Sting777 says:

          GM, Nissan and Tesla Trailblaze, FORD does nothing, and becomes the future benefactor. That’s economic backwards.

          FORD is lucky it’s got loyal customers though, had it a Real CEO with Brains, it could DOULBE if not Triple it’s sale of hybrid and plug-ins.

          Really, it’s time for a New Modern CEO.

          1. Brian Swanson says:

            That is pure FUD… Ford sold 18,923 EV/PHEV’s last year.. Chevy 19,046..

    2. EV AZ says:

      1st thing that I want to say is Hats off to GM for bringing a top selling plug in to market!!

      Yes, Tax credit needs to be extended or modified. Perhaps change the verbiage to define first million cars sold regardless of the mfg. The overall funding will stay the same and it will reward those mfg’s that pushed the technology!

      RAV4 EV
      5kw PV
      NPNS

    3. Ziv says:

      I think adding 50,000 credits to the first 2 or 3 manufacturers to reach 200,000 would be a good way to reward the early leader companies.
      Conversely, they could just shut all the credits to all the car makers off after the first manufacturer drops to $1875.
      It won’t happen until 2018 or 2019 at the earliest. If electric cars can’t make it on their own by then, maybe they shouldn’t make it at all.
      Remember that the credit for GM electric cars won’t drop to $3750 until 3 to 6 months AFTER GM sells its 200,000th electric car.
      Given the fact that we still only have 1550 Volts in the entire US inventory, it may take several months for GM to start selling Volts in decent numbers. We ain’t gonna hit 200,000 soon.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        Ooooh, that is a clever idea. The rewards the early entrants while not changing the situation for everyone else.

      2. kdawg says:

        “If electric cars can’t make it on their own by then, maybe they shouldn’t make it at all.”
        ——-
        That’s a pretty glum outlook. How about we put a carbon tax on oil then more would flock to EVs for economic reasons. Just throwing that out there.

        1. Sting777 says:

          EV’s will be cheaper to manufacture then ICE in a few years, then would be a good time to remove the tax credits, when you see 50% of the auto market going EV’s.

          In other words when the SOCIAL GOOD is achieved.

          1. super390 says:

            That’s what most people don’t understand. EVs could become cheaper to build than ICE. Part of the savings is cheaper batteries, part of it is economies of scale. But another part we can only vaguely glimpse is that future EVs might be built differently than any current cars. Materials & structural design might become very different without engines in the way.

            1. Realist says:

              Actually, the main reason BEVs are cheaper to society – even now – has nothing to do with cost of manufacture, and everything to do with operating costs.

              Just the cost of energy consumed over the average vehicles lifetime more than offsets the increased production cost. From there on in, it’s all pure profit from society’s point of view. Polluting the air has very real costs that are hard to quantify accurately and therefore usually just ignored. But we know they are significant.

              EVs are the way forward mainly because they are three to four times as energy efficient as ICEs. Secondarily, but still very important, they are compatible with switching to renewables. Third, they don’t harm everyone’s airways as much (even when running on power from old coal plants).

              All too often it is forgotten that cars sold today will be on the road 15 years from now. Te basis for comparison with ICEs should be the expected energy mix on which the car will be operating in its lifetime – not the mix in place the moment the car is registered for the first time.

      3. ClarksonCote says:

        Jay seems to think that Congress will sunset the credits once the first manufacturer reaches 200,000.

        I sure hope he’s right, for all the reasons people have stated here. 🙂

        1. Ziv says:

          By the time we see a car maker sell their 200,000th electric car, the MSRP’s will be a lot lower than they are now and the price of gasoline will be considerably higher.
          So it might be a good time to sunset them. The credits will have achieved their goal and electric cars will be a mainstream choice, with or without the credit.

      4. George says:

        I am considering buying a 2016 EL OR. It does not seem General Motors will hit the 200,000 number by the end of this year. Is that your opinion I would still like to take advantage of the $7500 credit.

        George

    4. Speculawyer says:

      Indeed. What they should do is reset the counter back to zero for all of the carmakers such that the early entrants are not penalized.

    5. Mr. X says:

      Not really as GM will have experience and supposedly a leg up in R&D, unlike what’s happening at Nissan.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Why would you need R&D when you can just buy it from LG? =)

    6. Philip d says:

      They should have added a sunset clause that is triggered immediately once the first 2 automakers crossed the threshold.

      It could be either a time-frame of a couple of years or a reduced number like 50,000K or both.

      That would keep sandbaggers like Toyota from jumping in at the last minute and poaching with a subpar product that outsells the other more established trailblazer automakers due to a $7,500 lower price and millions in a branding blitz.

      There are plenty of consumers out there that still don’t understand and are unfamiliar with EVs and what makes a good EV. It could be very harmful to the cause if the image of EVs are tarnished by half-baked latecomers who take advantage of this loophole.

  2. SparkEV says:

    Considering SparkEV was only in 2 states until mid 2015 and constantly sold out, it’s not surprising it didn’t do much. But if SparkEV had been available widely, it could’ve eaten significantly into tax credit, maybe even eat most of it before first Bolt comes off the assembly line. Then Bolt would be priced $7.5K more than Tesla (or even more), making it uncompetitive. That’s what I wrote in my blog few months ago about SparkEV not being a compliance car.

    http://sparkev.blogspot.com/2015/11/sparkev-you-are-not-compliance-car.html

    Unfortunately, I think the situation will get worse for SparkEV. Bolt will be popular among Leaf, i3, egolf, etc. Then to save tax credit, Chevy is likely to cut SparkEV and ELR that’ll eat into tax credit.

    Another could be that Tesla Model3 kicks butt (and I hope it does!) and people don’t buy Bolt from Osboune effect (I hope people still buy Bolt). Chevy may continue with SparkEV, or they may decide to pull out of all EV efforts. Their unwillingness to invest in fast charger (even to produce and lease/sell) is a sign that they’re not all-in in EV.

    Crystal ball is very hazy, but seems darker for SparkEV. It might become collector’s car after all. 🙁

    1. SparkEV says:

      By the way, I have to nip this bud. No one here would say it, but some say tax credit is government subsidy. Yeah, and so is mortgage interest tax deduction that’s been in place since “like forever”, which is far larger than EV subsidy. You don’t see many crying about that. IMO, reducing one’s taxes is a great thing, especially when it can reduce digging holes in the ground.

      If anything, EV tax subsidy should be extended forever and expanded to roll over to following years so even the low income (poor, retirees) can take advantage of it.

      1. Nick says:

        Change it to a time of sale credit.

        Boom, easier for the poor.

      2. Sting777 says:

        EVERY STEP of the Oil and Fracking Production Process has a Tax Credit or special treatment.

        1. Ziv says:

          As well they should! Cheap abundant energy is the fuel of a strong economy. Keep the tax credits for renewables in place as well so that we can steadily transition away from coal, oil and natural gas, but don’t think it will happen within a short time. What we really need is a lot more nuclear power plants, but that common sense approach probably won’t happen.

          1. Speculawyer says:

            I am fine with nuclear power but the main reason why nuclear power is flailing is not because of opposition from environmentalists, it is because of opposition from Wall Street. Nuclear plants are hugely expensive and tend to go over budget on a regular basis. Onshore wind is much cheaper.

            To get nuclear rolling, I think we really need a carbon tax. That would help incentivize nuclear over natural gas (and stick a stake in the heart of coal).

  3. Mister G says:

    The problem with federal tax credit is that Republicans control US Congress and they will not extend it. BIG OIL OWNS REPUBLICANS

    1. Sting777 says:

      So VOTE.

    2. Walt says:

      Since automation is taking away so many jobs, I’d like my local representative replaced by a computer program. The logic in the program could reflect the preferences of my community. It would be a lot cheaper than having a human representative and would not be influenced by big money.

      1. super390 says:

        But those preferences have to be established in a legitimate, legally-binding way before they can be programmed into a computer. So we might as well have those issues voted directly on by the public. What computers might do is logically determine the language on the ballot, or which issues should even get on the ballot. Those are the powers that are used to manipulate democracy.

  4. Fred says:

    Sounds like a GM propaganda piece.

    With the new Volt, Spark and Bolt 2016 will be a banner year???

    The Bolt is not coming out until year end so its not going to help this year. Spark compliance car sold in minimal quantities. ELR is an embarrassment. We’ll see how well the Volt will sell.

    So far Nissan LEAF has outsold the Chevy Volt in cumulative US sales. Its far ahead of the Volt in world wide sales.

    However the LEAF is setting up for a really bad year so GM might reclaim the lead. But this article sounds like a GM ad.

    1. scottf200 says:

      Haha … follow this link for several for Nissan in the past few years … http://insideevs.com/tag/nissan/

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “So far Nissan LEAF has outsold the Chevy Volt in cumulative US sales”

      Barely…

      2016 will turn the tide.

      With GA tax incentives ended last year, LEAF won’t beat Volt in sales anymore.

  5. Brian palfreyman says:

    Mark Kane
    in this GM vehicle genre. I would love to see an article on sparkle (Eric belmers volt) as he arrives at 300,000 miles on his 2012 Volt. Specifically as it relates to TCO. A dollar total for all maintenance or repairs would be quite a shock I think. Also a very detailed account of what if any repairs were neede, like his front wheel bearing, how many sets of tires etc.

  6. Alex says:

    For me only BEV count, Renault-Nissan is just near 300.000 sales worldwide. Ghosn is a real forward looking CEO and will beat GM in 2017 with EVs today top secret ;-).

    1. JeremyK says:

      “For me only BEV count”
      Disagree…Volt drivers log nearly as many eV miles as Leaf and Tesla owners.

      1. Ziv says:

        Jeremy is right, every EREV is a huge step in the right direction. EREV’s cost $30k less a $7.5k credit for a net price of around $23k and you end up with a full utility, no compromise car. For the same price you can get a Leaf which is a short range limited utility car. Or you can spend nearly 3 times as much to get a full utility Tesla S.
        Until the Bolt and the III are selling in large numbers with 200+ mile AER with net prices at or below $30k, BEV’s are second best or over priced (for the vast majority of car buyers) cars.

      2. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Exactly, an EV miles is an EV miles or a gas mile prevented.

        Purist attitude is why some EV supporters are still considered as “nutjobs” by the mainstream society.

    2. Peter O'Brien says:

      Volt owners are so defensive. You didn’t say that all drivers should only drive BEVs. You just said that you only want to have a BEV. I understand how you feel. I really don’t want to have a gas engine in my BEV but I understand that you have to do what works for you. We are all on the same team. We all want to use less oil.

  7. Rebel44 says:

    Increase VW penalty for cheating by $7.5B and use that to pay for tax credit of first 1M cars of manufacturers who go over the original limit.

    1. Rich says:

      I’ll see your 7.5 billion and raise you 7.5 billion. I would love to see VW fined 15 billion and it used to fund the tax credit.

      1. Someone out there says:

        Or use it to finance a nation-wide fast charging network.

  8. DonC says:

    More interesting was the reveal that IIRC the Volt is the #1 selling Chevy car in San Francisco and the #3 selling car in California.

    1. Sting777 says:

      WOW.

    2. Speculawyer says:

      The San Francisco thing does not surprise me but the #3 in California does. Way to go Volt!

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Be careful.

        He said “car”, that excludes Chevy trucks, SUV and Crossovers… I assume it also excludes “fleet sales” in California.

        With the new Malibu Hybrid, new Cruze coming, there might be some competition.

  9. ffbj says:

    I remember the old argument that the grid can’t handle electric cars. It seems that meme has turned out, as most suspected to be untrue. I wonder how the grid is holding up in Norway where ev uptake is much faster.

    Many of the other meme’s against evs are also falling by the wayside:
    1. Take too long to charge.
    2. Not enough charging infrastructure.
    3. Evs are not all that clean.

  10. Benz says:

    How many Chevrolet Volt deliveries will there be in the US in 2016?

    1. Ziv says:

      I would bet it will be somewhere between 24,000 and 36,000. I am hoping for the higher figure but the lower one is more likely, given the way GM slow footed the production of the Gen II Volt.

      1. kdawg says:

        There’s also a lot of options out there now. Hopefully more & more people start actually shopping plug-ins vs gassers.

        1. Benz says:

          This 2016 second generation Chevrolet Volt looks much better than the first generation Chevrolet Volt. It will attract more “first time Plug-In buyers”, I think.

    2. mr. M says:

      Something between 1.000-35.000. Depending on if GM shuts down all plant tomorrow or build some more.

    3. Philip d says:

      It’s very hard to make a good guess at this point until we see how well the 2017 roll out is handled. Apparently production is starting mid February for the 2017 but it’s hard to say what kind of ramp up they will achieve in those first months.

      I would assume that they will be in full production for the 2017 since the 2016 was used to ramp up but for some reason if production isn’t full tilt until late Spring or Summer then it might be in the mid to low 20’s. I would love to see them hit 30K.

    4. Boraski says:

      I suspect GM will try to sell just enough Volts to beat the Leaf as the most sold plug-in by the time the Bolt comes out. They don’t want to sell too many because they want to have as many credits as possible for the Bolt. When they hit 200k, they will try to surge sales of both for 6 months while the max $7500 credit is still available, unless the terms of the tax credit get adjusted by then.

      1. Ziv says:

        That is a very logical approach to selling EREV’s/BEV’s. And I think GM may agree with you 100% since they are still not building the Gen II Volt in any significant numbers.
        When was the first Gen II delivered?
        3 months ago. How many Gen II Volts are there in US inventory right now? 1200.
        There are more than 2,000 Chevy dealers in the US, there isn’t even 1 Gen II Volt per dealer.
        Chevy doesn’t want to sell you a Volt. Not yet, anyway. If they wanted to sell Volts they would build Volts.

  11. Bill Howland says:

    Congrats to GM for making plenty of EV’s. You’d think FORD would also be near them seeing as they have sold many ENERGI products, albeit with smallish batteries.

  12. Elroy says:

    How many LEAFs have been sold in the US so far?

    1. Ken says:

      I calculate 89,572 Leafs sold in the US based on inside evs calculations. Thats not far behind GM and thats for just one car model not three. The Leaf is a great car, ive bought 3 so far! 2 2012 models and a 2015. Ill be in line to buy a E-NV200 too when its available here.

      1. Alex says:

        I think Ghosn just waits until 2017 and then will fit in 40 – 60 kWh. I live in Europe and drove the e-NV200 from a friend, it’s great like a Leaf, has more power from 0-30 because transmission is shorter and i like it because outside dimensions are not to big but inside huge.

      2. Jeremy says:

        I’ve leased 2 Leafs so far; a 2013 and a 2014. I had a level 2 charger installed and it helped a lot with range issues.

  13. martinwinlow says:

    You mean ‘plug-in *hybrids*, of course. MW

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “You mean ‘plug-in *hybrids*, of course. MW”

      Stop this stupid crap…

      The title says “Plugin cars”.

      Also, even with PHEV, the “EV” part is still there.

      BEV purist are almost as bad as conservative EV haters…