January 2016 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

5 months ago by Jay Cole 39

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

January EV Sales Continue Recent Record Setting Trend

While 2015 overall was a bit of disappointment when it came to plug-in sales in the United States, it was not surprising. We had expressed heading into 2015 that extraordinary market forces would be working to hold sales at bay for most of the calendar year…that is, until the tides changed in the Fall.  And when they did sales will soar higher for the indefinite future.

2016 Will Be A Breakout Year For EV Sales In The US

2016 Will Be A Breakout Year For EV Sales In The US

And sure enough, for the last 3 months of 2015, new year-over-year highs were made, with both November and December setting new monthly records.

Adding in January’s results, we can now make that three monthly records in a row (despite BMW’s best effort to sink the ship with abysmal results).

For January, an estimated 6,291 plug-in sales were made.

Given January is the toughest month to sell EVs in the US (given the weather and the resetting of the $7,500 federal state credit clock), 2016 looks show  a strong improvement over 2015.

New entries from Tesla (Model X), BMW (X5 PHEV), Audi (A3 e-tron), Hyundai (Sonata PHV) all added “plus” sales in a new market segment this year that could not be accessed a year ago.

Also of interest this month:

*- GM set a new personal record for sales in January, although some supply issues may pop up in late February as a new model year (2017) production just got underway on Monday

*- while Nissan managed to get the 30 kWh version of the Nissan LEAF to a ~third of its dealers in December, the company decided to make the financing deals about as unattractive as possible for anxious buyers (causing a sales implosion).  Nissan did a little better on the deals and the inventory in January, but not enough to stop its sales skid

*-  the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron and Hyundai Sonata PHV both find themselves with some fairly deep inventory despite just debuting last month; can the duo be the surprise hit in the PHEV passenger car segment for 2016?  We think so.

*- in December BMW blew the doors of expectations, with the i8 and X5 PHEV obliterating past sales levels and the BMW i3 coming close…in January the exact opposite of “blowing the doors off” happened for the i3 and i8

As a sidenote: 26 Toyota Mirais were also sold in January.

Last update: Tuesday, February 3rd @ 12:11 PM

Below Chart: A individual run-down of each vehicle’s monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers.  Additionally, waaaaaay down at the bottom of the story is both the 2016 YTD chart as well as the complete 2015 results.

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

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

 

Nest Generation, 2016 Chevrolet Volt

Next Generation, 2016 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt: For January, GM took down old sales records (at least at the consumer level for retail sales), notching 996 sales during the month (full monthly report here).

Just as in the December prior, demand for the 2016 Volt was high, and GM sold much of what they had available – it was just too bad they didn’t have more. December notched 2,114 sales, which was a 42% increase from a year ago.

However, January also saw inventory staying low, and we suspect that GM is about out of reserve copies of the 2016 edition to fill in at dealers in initial roll-out states (past the ~1,400 that sit on lots today).

Production of the new, slightly improved 2017 edition Volt (that is finally) available nationwide) kicked off this week in Michigan.   However, this means that demand will certainly outstrip supply until new inventory spreads across the US, which will happen probably sometime around ~April.

GM ended 2015 having sold 15,393 Volts in total, off some 18% from 2014.  However, we do expect the plug-in Chevy to set records in 2016 with the new 53 mile edition.

 

 

 

Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF:  Nissan logged another month to forget as some deeper 2016 inventory of the new longer range model could not halt the sales skid of the LEAF in the US, just 751 were sold.

Previously, Nissan sold a disappointing 1,347 units in December.

On the plus side for the new year, inventories of the new 2016 edition did increase markedly heading into February (to about ~2,200 units) and we expect them to continue to grow (and get spread out more evenly across the country) from here.  We should note that of the existing 2016 inventory only about 1,200 units of are the longer range variety…and Nissan has only managed to get out ~2,000 copies of the 30 kWh cars in total since its arrival in late 2015.

Nissan also quickly broke the near-MSRP pricing in January, offering deeper discounts and more attractive leasing options.

Overall last year, Nissan closed the year off some 43% in total, selling 17,269 LEAFs this year, versus an all-time best of 30,200 in 2014.  The only direct for sales in 2016 one would think would be up.

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

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR: For January, 67 ELRs were sold, off 27% from a year ago.  Considering historical sales levels, this was a decent result for Caddy all things considered.

Previously in December GM had a decent sales surprise with the Cadillac ELR, as the company sold a year’s best 135 copies.

Overall for 2015, 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.

 

 

 

2015 BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3:

Apparently January was the “end of the world” when it comes to plug-in sales for BMW, as somehow…and we aren’t even sure how this is possible, the company sold just 182 copies.

Curiously, when explaining the entire brand’s 4.7% sales decrease in January (18,082 to 18,981), BMW CEO Ludwig Willisch said, “January suffered a bit from the strong storms that froze large parts of the country”.

Apparently, those “strong storms” mostly hit the parts of dealer lots containing the i3 and i8, as the two combined for just 214 sales, down 1,864 units from last month, and down from 775 sold a year ago.

January’s terrible result came right after one of the model’s best, selling 1,422 sales in December.  It appears the up and down seesaw we saw develope late in 2015 will continue into 2016 – only in a much larger way.

For 2015, BMW sold 11,024 i3s, which made it the 6th plug-in to have reached the 5-digit mark in 2015 (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.

Despite the lack of sales, the inventory situation looks fairly decent entering February with north of ~1,300 on hand today.

 

 

 

 

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 publicly.

Revisions to prior estimates: 2015 chart was adjusted 498 units to compensate for confirmed full year numbers after Q4 report.  2014 chart was adjusted 611 units to compensate for full year numbers.

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 sold a record number of Model S sedans in Q4, some 17,192 of them, which put the company on its way to selling ~50,480 EVs in total, hitting the lower portion of its 50,000-52,000 full year guidance.

To do that it was all hands on deck to build and deliver all the North America cars from mid-November on, as well as to ramp up Model X production…and to basically ignore most international production until it was so late in the year that no more US deliveries could be squeezed in.  An internationally bound Model S was a rare bird to see coming off the line between the 2nd week of November and Christmas.

But by the last week of December and the first 3 weeks or so of January, it was time for Tesla to find its international groove again…at least if they wanted those cars eventually counted for Q1 deliveries in March.

US production was not abandoned completely over this time, but odds are if you ordered a Model S from the middle of December on, Tesla was now telling you to expect your car in late February or March. Pretty much the same as if you ordered your car today (late March).

This means US sales this month were mostly comprised of “we tried, but just missed the end of quarter deadline” January deliveries (for any number of reasons), with a spattering of inventory and random production deliveries thrown in.

We estimate 850 Model S sedans were delivered in January, and even at that, we might be a touch optimistic.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

For January, despite production kicking off for non-Signature edition models of the X mid-month (more on that later), no actual regular production SUVs were delivered during the month – only Signature editions (and some further referral winner Founder’s editions) went out, and only for the United States.

Thankfully, with a good bulk of knowledge on hand for early Signature holders in the US, this makes estimating deliveries fairly straight forward.  We peg that number at 370 Model X deliveries for January.

Getting back to that “regular” Model X production, it seems that Tesla is currently only green-lighting Model X orders for P90D’s with premium interior options at this point (ludicrous option or not seems irrelevant).  Given the production patterns we expect these regular Model X’s to start arriving to customer’s driveways mid-February.

 

 

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 company then followed that up with 226 sold in the first full month on the market.  While this result doesn’t surprise us too much after watching the model sell well in Europe last year, we think many in the US will be pleasantly surprised with the plug-in XC90.

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

Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevrolet SPARK EV:  With the 2016 edition finally arriving in December, the Spark EV was once again free to sell at a more appropriate level to demand.

For January 139 were moved, which was up 62% from a year ago. Previously in December a strong 152 were moved in the first month of 2016 availability.

The new 2016 inventory also continued to grow in January, we now head into February with about ~300 available to be purchased (and who knows how many more penned up waiting to find a dealer-home).

Earlier last year, GM confirmed the Spark EV would live on (in first generation trim) for one more year (2016) 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.

In 2015, Gm sold 2,629 Spark EVs in the US, impressive considering the improvement over 2014 numbers, when 1,145 were moved.

 

 

 

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron: 

We have always felt that the A3 e-tron had a real shot to be the “dark horse” surprise seller of 2016, and in the plug-ins first full month on the market, it did not disappoint.

For January, an impressive 327 were sold.

Originally, the plug-in Audi was scheduled to arrive as a week 43 arrival (October 19 through 26), but a certification problem with California regulators kept a growing inventory penned up until the very last week of the year.

Despite only 2-3 selling days of availability in December, Audi still managed to deliver 49 of them.

Part of the reason for those 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: 

As expected, the Fusion Energi (as well as 90% of all other plug-ins) pulled back in January.  For the month 581 were sold, which is actually a fairly respectable amount given the selling season.

Previously in December, Ford set a year high with the Fusion Energi, selling 1,058.

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

For 2015, 9,750 Fusion Energis were sold, which was off by about 15% from 2014, 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.

Toyota is lucky that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is still officially on the market, because otherwise the Prius PHV would find itself at the very bottom of the plug-in sales charts for 2016.

For January, just 10 were sold.  The reason?  There isn’t any left.

In 2015, just 4,191 were sold, which was off almost 70% from the 13,164 in 2014.  We would like to note this was not a reflection of US demand for the car, as we feel they would easily buy 800-1,200 copies a month, it is simply the fact production of the current car ended this past summer – and Toyota messed up making a seamless transition to the next generation model as it did for the regular hybrid.

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 late in 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 going forward, is there isn’t any left for all of 2016 – and every low volume plug-in will clean the Prius PHV’s ‘sales clock‘ this year until the company makes up some slight ground at year’s end – which is a shame, because the demand to move a good volume 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

When it comes to plug-in luxury, there is a new boss in town! Having arrived in late Summer of 2015, the Mercedes S550 presents a level of refinement previously unseen in the EV segment for the US.

After setting a new “best ever” month for the S550H with 35 copies sold in December, Mercedes still managed to sell a (relatively speaking) decent amount in January – a further 19 copies.

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, but was good news nonetheless.

 

In January, Hyundai sold ~175 copies of the Sonata plug-in, indicating it will be a strong player in the EV space for 2016.

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

Volkswagen e-Golf:

The plug-in VW sold a very strong 328 copies in January, and the EV looks to be making a statement that it will not be lumped in with the “compliance” cars in the US.

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.

 

 

 

 

Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi:

Overall C-Max sales in the US have been fairly woeful since Ford launched the car…and the C-Max Energi pays the price for lack of interest.

The 350 C-Max Energis sold was more than a third of the total C-Max family (987 units).

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

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.  Heading into February, 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

Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED (or B250e now if you will): 

The Mercedes B-Class, now officially known as the B250e for 2016, trudged along into January, selling 58 copies.

The B-Class has a bit of a rough go since its entry to the US.  The original model year (2014) was extremely short, the 2015 edition came late and without much fanfare or inventory, and the 2016 edition recently was hit with a stop sale  (which has now been resolved) order in Fall.

It appears now that Mercedes has decided to make the B-Class a limited offering in the US until a new, longer range model arrives in the future (more on that below), as national inventories struggle to stay above the 3 -digit level.

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:  

What a difference a month makes!  And not in a good way.

After selling an almost unfathomable 656 i8s in December, sales plummeted a zillion-percent (technical term) to just 32 in January.

How did this happen?  Was it the new calendar year?  The bad weather?  Did BMW salespeople refuse to let potential i8 buyers in the showroom? Who can tell…lets just hope the situation rectifies itself next month.

As for that December figure of 656, that was a new record.

The old record was just 217 units, so to say this result was unexpected would be a massive understatement.

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

Despite the extremely low January sales result, one can’t put the blame on inventory issues as, if anything, i8 depth grew in the first month of 2016.  Heading into February about ~800 copies are available to be purchased – pretty close to a new all-time high.

 

 

 

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

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 January, after falling sales for months, the Panamera S e-Hybrid finally rebounded somewhat, selling 27 copies.  A light improvement over the 16 sold last month.

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

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).

More amazingly, January BEAT December, and set another all-time record…truthfully, we are unsure how such a thing could have happened.  But it did.

For January 145 Cayenne’s with plugs sold.  Awesome.

And while the e-drivetrain/abilities of the Cayenne and Panamara are very similar, Porsche customers have spoken – they want the Cayenne, as sales of the plug-in SUV outnumber the sedan usually by a ratio of about 5-to-1.

 

 

 

 

2014 Fiat 500e

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 fell as the end of the year approached, and despite a growing inventory situation, which was a bit odd.

For January, we estimate 275 all-electric Fiats were sold.  Also, of interest inventories of the 2016 edition have now hit record highs with ~1,000 now on hand.

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

 

 

 

 

BMW X5 xDrive40e

x5 xDrive40e

BMW X5 xDrive40e:  

Showing that the demand in December was no fluke, BMW managed to sell another 181 copies of the X5 plug-in for January – a decent accomplishment given the hurdles of selling EVs in the first month of the year.

Earlier 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.

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

Can the X5 plug-in break into the top the “top” 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

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

SMART ForTwo

Despite having a model lineup that is half-convertible, smart had a sales resurgence in the last two month of 2015.

Unfortunately, that did not continue into January, as the 2 seat EV slumped to 48 sales during the month.

In December and November smart sold 179 and 178 copies (respectively).  December’s result was also 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.

 

 

Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric:  

/yawn

The Ford Focus is one of the longest available electric cars on the US market – January marked the EV’s 46th 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 January, given the month is the weakest of the year for EV sales, the Focus EV was at the low end of its eternal selling range, moving 66 copies.

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 43 of the past 44 months.  With just one of those months passing the 200 level ever (August 2014 -264)

 

 

 

 

2015 Kia Soul EV Went On Sale In Mid-October

Kia Soul EV

Kia SOUL EV:  

Kia seems to be emulating the Focus Electric with the plug-in Soul EV…and that is not a good thing.

Never straying far from 100 units in its first full year on the market, Kia moved 81 in January.

Previously 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.

 

 

BELOW: Chart of 2016 results so far, as well as 2015 year end results:

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat 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 Dat

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – Tesla Full Year Model S/X Numbers Confirmed Q4-2015, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

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39 responses to "January 2016 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card"

  1. David Murray says:

    I guess the Audi A3 Etron is off to a good start.

    1. Dan says:

      The e-Golf and the A3 look like twin sisters with 327 and 328 each. Great start to the year.

    2. tostik says:

      Audi’s a great company, whose cars have great numbers. But just wait, the XC90 T8 is about to go well above the 226 sales they had in Jan. 😀

  2. Bonaire says:

    Memo to manufacturers:

    Please make a PiHV / EREV CUV.

    The list is chock-full of 4-door sedans. How much hammer and chisel does it take to put an existing drivetrain into a slightly larger frame?

    1. J says:

      They all have them sitting in the warehouse. Low gas prices and obscene margins on suvs are holding them down. Watch how fast they are announced and appear after the outlander phev shows up.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        “Watch how fast they are announced and appear after the outlander phev shows up.”

        My conspiracy theory lives. 😉

    2. Automotive Industry says:

      Sorry some paperwork got mixed up. Europe got all the SUVs and you got all the small hatchbacks, we are deeply sorry and we are going to change it as soon as the gas prices go up.

  3. R.S says:

    Its nice to see that the ERL hasn’t lost its customer base, people that get lost in the last corner of a Cadillac dealership, find a car and befriend it over time. Once they are rescued 50% of them decides to take the car home, which is often happier than the person to get out of that place. So I’ve heard…

    1. R.S says:

      Those and the people that want to have the futuristic technology of last generations Volt combined with the almost one and a half decade old tradition of building Audis, or BMWs.

  4. Tim F. says:

    It may be time to update some of the images such as the Volt.

    1. David Murray says:

      I was about to mention the same thing.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        You guys are definitely right! It is high time to move out the 2015/older Volt.

        …thankfully, the 2016s are still sold in black!

        1. Just_chris says:

          Some of the images appear to have gotten mixed up, very entertaining.

          1. Jay Cole says:

            We aim to please, (=

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              Why is Volt 3rd on the list when it wins the Jan sales list?

              Or are you waiting for all the Jan sales to come before before “re-sort” the list?

              1. Jay Cole says:

                Yupe, we generally resort after all the data is in (which will be tomorrow afternoon)…right now it is in “last year’s” result form.

  5. Jean-François says:

    Is it me or it seems like an horrible month?

    1. David Murray says:

      It isn’t just you..

    2. buu says:

      unless Ford’s numbers are very low it will be better than 2015

  6. Boukman says:

    With the announcement of the Bolt, people have finally realised how overpriced the i3 really is.

    1. David Murray says:

      Perhaps.. But there are many other possible factors. Considering how many BMW sold the previous month, inventory and incentives might have been low. And there’s the tax thing. Oh, and the announcement that the i3 itself will be getting a bigger battery in a few months. And the huge storm in January, etc.

  7. R.S says:

    Two things.

    First: I don’t get the order of the cars below. Should it be alphabetical? Or by release date? Or by sales volume?

    Second: You forgot the iMiev in the list below.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey R.S.,

      Point 1:
      The order of the list is “bizarro-fabulous” – which we do just to make everyone lose their minds trying to figure out what highly scientific sorting formula is happening.

      Actually, you are kind hit of onto why it is set the way it is…the top 5 on the list are historically the numbers we have first (and also happen to be 5 of the most popular nameplates). We figured going alphabetical and having a few blank reports at the top of the list for the first day, and then also having Nissan/Tesla way down the list was not worth the trade-off. I have no good explanation how they rest are sorted or why.

      Point 2:
      Just to keep the list mildly-manageable, and not 5,000 words every month, the “recap” section only contain write-ups on those brands we expect to sell at least ~100 copies in a year.

      So for this year, the Mitsu i-MiEV, Honda Accord PHV and the Porsche 918 Spyder have been removed.

      We still itemize the Mitsu on the sales list itself individually, as it is still in planned production/orders going forward…all others go into the dreaded “other category” when they drop of the recap page, with likes of the RAV4 EV, Honda Fit EV, etc.

      1. Automotive Industry says:

        Ok that explains it. But you could try to sort it a little. You could, for example, put all the Fords (under a Ford topic, if you want to be very reader friendly). The same applies of course for Chevy, Tesla(were you do that already) and BMW. If I am searching for a car, the best method today is just scrolling up and down until I find it by accident.

        I get the iMiev, I just thought you forgot to include it.

  8. GRA says:

    Be interesting to see a state by state sales breakdown, as I expect the Volt and other PHEVs will show a considerable % drop in California compared to past results, owing to running out of green stickers in mid-December and (to date) no increase.

    If we were taking ~40% of the national sales before, it’s probably dropped considerably since then, and unless the sticker allocation’s increased again our share will probably remain lower than previously. That perk is worth more than the state rebate for the income demographic who are buying/leasing the cars.

  9. kompot says:

    Can you guys make a line in the middle to separate BEVs and PHEVs? I’m sure that BEV numbers are what people are interested in. Also can you make something like this for Canadian sales? Ussualy we get only some kind of article with the sales mixed within. Its not easy to compare Canadian sales with different brands, years, monts….etc. You guys doing great work. Thank you

    1. David Murray says:

      I’m probably more interested in PHEV numbers than BEV.

    2. SparkEV says:

      As Jay wrote before,

  10. bro1999 says:

    BMW i sales….ouch. Guess they blew their wad last month. I wonder if incentives changed that killed sales. Or maybe it was the Bolt. :p

  11. Bonaire says:

    Last year, from the beginning of the year, I predicted a near flat year – saying 2015 would probably rise 5% over 2014. Well, it was below 2014 to end the year.

    I will come out and say because of gas prices and limited new model changes for the year, I have to give this year a maximum 5% annual YoY growth over 2015. Meaning – we will come close to the 2014 sales levels of Plug ins.

    The loss of the sales volume of Plug-in Prius (mainly for green stickering in CA) and the loss of substantial GA incentives along with general stagnation of some models (wondering how many new versions of Model S will come out this year to cause trade-ins)… I just think that the new Volt and Leaf are not enough to spur a large up-trend.

    Max YoY growth for 2016 just looks to be “flattish to 2014 sales volume” right now. No CUVs or trucks or other interesting models are here yet. No Nissan e-NV200 in the USA. No Mitsubishi Outlander PiHV yet. Those two alone would be good sellers.

    1. David Murray says:

      You may be right. There are probably a lot of people holding out for Bolt or Model 3. Plus even the i3 is suffering some from the osborne effect since everyone knows it is getting a battery upgrade sometime in the next 6 months. The C-Max has one foot in the grave already. And neither energi car seems to be getting a battery upgrade. There are a lot of new models this year but most are compliance cars or at least low-volume vehicles. So I’m not sure how far the new Volt and Tesla can carry the overall sales numbers.

    2. Excoriator says:

      I think you are very optimistic. Given that in 2015 a number of new models appeared, yet sales went down, there is no reason to suppose they will rise this year either.

      A flat year would be optimistic. A rise is VERY optimistic.

  12. SparkEV says:

    Fiat is truly an enigma. For a car that their CEO says people shouldn’t buy and that they lose $14K per car, they’re still selling hard, even 1000 in inventory. I wonder if Sergio was using reverse psychology to sell EV.

  13. Rick Bronson says:

    No one has correct info on Tesla’s sales.

    WSJ reports Model-S sales of 1,850 and Model-X of 350.

    http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html

    Hybridcars.com has different figure.

    Good to see Model-X, Volvo XC90, Audi A3 giving the much needed boost.

    Probably after high sales in Dec, the dealers were not stuffed with the inventory. Besides many in Northern states may not have ventured into buying a car.
    Hope Feb should be much better.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      It is true the Tesla numbers are estimated, but the WSJ (via MotorIntelligence) is just wrong…there is no way it could be that high, there are several ways to track/benchmark the deliveries, and the ground numbers just aren’t there for January. If they rely on some state registrations, there is the potential for issues as Tesla will record sales made on the last days in December…in December (when there was tons), whereas the registration data for those end days will actually filter into January.

      Often what you see from overall vehicle tracking sites is an basic estimate for the quarter for Tesla and then divided by 3 for the monthly breakdown (because its intensive/complicated to track such a small OEM, that doesn’t factor into the big picture so much…whereas all we care about, and talk about all day, is EVs). Any reverse adjustments by these analyst are just made as needed at the end of the quarter. Last time we had to make a correction to our numbers was in 2013, and it was only for a couple hundred units.

      Our business really isn’t pegging auto sales (it is reporting on EVs)…the best day ever will be when Tesla finally reports sales. But I will say we were within ~100 units over the course of 12 months a year ago on the S, about ~300 the year before when it all washed out and we got year-end numbers.

      Could we be off? Sure. But since the S debuted in the summer of 2012, no quarter has been out ~300 units. Given that, I would suggest the likelihood we are off by 1,000 units in a single month (as compared to WSJ/MI) is very unlikely. That and the sales environment for January is just terrible, couple that with the way Tesla ramps US deliveries/volume at year end and then flips to international production – and it just makes sense that the numbers are low in January.

  14. Rick Bronson says:

    Nissan has sold 2,500 + Leafs in Japan in Jan-2016. Hope they will repeat this in USA in the coming months.

    Nice to see Model-X vaulting to #5 place in no time.

  15. JP says:

    When reporting “Electric Vehicle” sales all the hybrids such as the Volt, Volvo, etc. should not be included. They are no more EV’s than they are ICE’s, especially since they will all travel longer distances using the ICE than the electric motor. It looks as if there are only 10 actual EV’s on the list.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Long time JP, (=

      Anyway, no plans to remove or split out PHEVs. Maybe someday when the market is mature and much, much larger we can discern between the two and/or have separate lists…but that is a long way off.

      PHEVs is the gateway to plugging in, and into BEVs in the future as the tech advances. The stats are pretty staggering, once you plug in once, the re-buy/loyalty rate is north of 90%.

      A decade or so from now when the standard for all-electrics is north of 200 miles, many of the PHEV sales you see today will pay off with BEV purchases…while many others will still be enjoying what a plug-in can do in an ICE, as the process repeats.

      /symbiotic relationship

  16. Zantetskuen says:

    Do you have a breakdown for 2015 by model for the whole world? Does anyone have a link for that?

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