July 2013 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card
After registering 4 consecutive months in the 7,000-8,000 units sold range, plug-in sales held steady around 7,800 units in July. During the month both Chevrolet and Nissan did put up some lower than expected numbers .
For July and looking into August, the burning questions are:
- how will the 2014 model year Chevrolet Volt shape up
- when will Tesla hit their stride selling the Model S in Europe
- the Fiat 500e is a ‘hot item,’ but will they built to demand?…or just enough to fufil compliance regulations
- can Nissan and Chevrolet regain June glory as July lags
Below you can find the results for your own favorite plug-in vehicle, plus a look behind the numbers as well.
NOTE: This scorecard is published as soon as the first automaker reports every month, and is populated/updated throughout the day as soon as more data is available.
(last update: Tuesday November 5th, 10:43 pm – adjustment on Tesla numbers as per Q3 reporting showing higher domestic sales)
Chevrolet Volt: Chevy had a tough month, selling 910 fewer Volts in July than June. In total 1,788 Volts were sold.
For the first 7 months of the year, 11,643 sales have been made, which is 9% better than at this point last year.
Looking ahead, if prior year’s performance is a good indicator of future results, than GM is poised to have some big numbers in their future. In 2012 GM sold 12,795 Volts in the last 5 months of the year…that is more than 2,550 per month.
In June, 2,698 extended range EVs were sold by General Motors, which was easily the best result for 2013.
Production of the 2013 model year Volt ceased about 4 weeks ago, and while we can’t tell the status of 2014 production at GM’s Hamtramck facility (or anywhere else – as GM has decided to be the only OEM to not report such data), we did speak to Michelle Malcho at Chevrolet Communication about the price announcement on the 2014 model (after it being twice delayed previous), and she told us that:
“We will announce pricing mid to late August for the 2014 Volt.”
Perhaps an overbuild on the 2013 model year has left GM waiting a little longer than usual to introduce the new 2014 model to the line, as most industry experts are expecting a reduction in the MSRP. GM currently still has more then 120 days inventory on 2013 Volts.
Nissan LEAF: For July, Nissan actually took a little bit of a step back as 1,864 LEAFs were sold.
July’s result is the lowest monthly tally since the new 2013 LEAF went on sale in March. Up until this point sales had ranged between 1,937 and 2,236.
However, if you are comparing year over year results, July still showed a massive up 372% increase over last year. Year-to-date sales now site at 11,703, which is an improvement of 230% over 2012.
Despite some lower monthly results, nationwide inventories of the Nissan LEAF actually fell in July as well by about 300 electric cars…so there is obviously still some supply issues being felt.
Of interest: Nissan passed the 30,000 units sold level for the United States in the first week of July.
As for the future, Nissan expects bigger and bigger things for the LEAF as more cars get shipped (and more entry level S Models which have been in very short supply). Brendan Jones, director of electric vehicle infrastructure strategy for Nissan North America, has said she expects sales to shoot past the 2,000-ish unit average in the coming months.
Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales…so we never know for 100% what the numbers are until their quarterly updates. Tesla’s Q2 financials confirmed the first 6 months sales at a level of 10,050 units.
From here on out all Tesla sales get an asterisk until production at Tesla’s Fremont factory can facilitate worldwide demand.
As we mentioned last month (and even though this sales report card is strict US-based), we will now attempt to track sales both in North America and the RoW (rest of world) each month.
That being said, Tesla’s US order are completely caught up for the most part, and with that job accomplished just in time to start working on Europe orders, the company promptly….took a week off to start July.
Much like after Q4 2012, Tesla reportedly gave most of it workers a week off at the end of this quarter. And when production resumed in the second week of the month, the cars being built were of the Signature 85 kWh Performance variety for Europe (think Norway/Switzerland) before getting back into split US/Euro production.
UPDATE (Nov 5th, 2013): As per Q3 financials it appears Tesla logged the vast majority of all Model S sales in the US in July – numbers have been adjusted accordingly.
Also of interest, there seems to be some longer than expected delays getting the cars to Europe and sold. This may be due to some transportation problems, homologation issues, or the fact that Model S sedans not heading to Norway or Switzerland are build mostly complete…then are partially disassembled (batteries, wheels, etc), only to be reassembled at their Tilburg factory to achieve a lower import duty. (We should hear more/get some clarification on the European status during Tesla’s quarterly update)
US Sales – 1,800
Europe/Rest of World - 0
(*) Model S sales estimates are given representative of North American sales, which include Canada.
Chevrolet SPARK EV: With its first full month now in the books, we can report that sales of the Spark EV remain a little on the low side, with 103 sold in July.
In its first month on the market, sales of the Chevy Spark EV checked in at 27 units. (Full story here)
The Spark EV has a 82 mile range (EPA rated) and has just recently been priced by GM at a competitive $27,495, about $1,400 less than the new entry level, S Model LEAF offered by Nissan. A $199/month lease is also available from launch.
Reviews (like this one) of the little electric Chevy has widely been positive since the car has been available for testing…we guess it has something to do with the 400 lb-ft of torque on tap – nothing like having some acceleration in a affordable EV past 50 mph.
While we feel there will be sufficient demand to crush the likes of the Mitsu i-Miev and compliance cars from other Japanese rivals on a sales basis, the car has enough limitations that it will not approach sales levels seen from Nissan with the LEAF.
Still, we believe GM would be happy to see Chevy dealers move any 3-digit amount each month. Why not more? Well, it appears GM just isn’t importing all that many of them from South Korea as of now. Perhaps if demand stays high they will up production for the US.
Fisker Karma: Like Tesla, Fisker does not report monthly sales.
Congratulations to Fisker on its 1 year anniversary of having not built a single Karma…yet not going bankrupt.
After selling about 5 cars in June from a slowly dwindling inventory, the pace reached “glacial status” with what appears to be 2 cars sold in July
The California start-up has about 52 plug-in luxury cars yet to be sold…although we are secretly hoping they just go bankrupt so we can stop reporting them. Although getting bought out by a Chinese company would also constitute some news of interest and would suit us fine as well.
Honda Fit EV: With inventory levels depleted after last month’s results, Honda still managed to sell 63 Fit EVs.
Jul also marks the 1 year anniversary of the Fit EV on the US market…which means we can also give out some meaningless year-over-year numbers. Honda was up 764% (against 7 sales in July of 2012)
Last month, of being mocked by InsideEVs for anemic sales, Honda slashed the price of its lease cost on the Fit EV in June (a lease is still the only way you can acquire one)
The result was that in June Honda sold 208 Fit EVs, which is 32 more than they sold in the first 11 months the car was on sale.
Gone is the $389/month payment. In its place is a $259 deal. (all the details here)
But that isn’t what has cause the Fit EV to instantly be a near-sellout in California, its the addition of a “no mileage” cap on the lease as it is estimated that 1 in 4 would-be EV owners drive more than the 12,000 miles that most current leases cap out at.
Before June, the Fit EV was truly the least exciting car to report on. There was never any new “news” on the car, and no one wanted to buy one. As an example of this, check out the first five month’s results - 8, 15, 23, 22, 15.
We imagine the other OEMs have not let the Honda Fit EV lease success in June go unnoticed, and we also imagine that some more creative lease deals in regards to the mileage allowances on other plug-in vehicles will be coming shortly.
SMART ForTwo Electric Drive: In talking to the smart representative today, we learned that for July, 58 smart EDs (Electric Drives) were sold, binging the total amount sold in the first 2.5 months up to 173.
Previously in June, the smart ED’s second month available inside the United States, 53 were sold…which was pretty much exactly in-line with expectations.
The first smart ED in the US was sold on May 15th, and was delivered in California. And despite only a few selling days in that first month, smart sold 60 copies.
Also during June, we had a chance for a little sit down with smart boss Mark Webster to talk about “all things smart ED.”
During the interview Mr. Webster said he expected the smart to stay around the 60 units per month sold (bang on the money again this month)until it goes nation-wide in October. Mark also confirmed there will be a “next generation” of smart EDs when the entire platform gets a upgrade next year.
The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive sets a couple new benchmarks in the electric vehicle segment.
A new “lowest price” EV price tag, starting at $25,000 before federal credits (the Smart qualifies for the full $7,500 btw), but also is the first full production electric vehicle in the US to come as a Cabrio. Drop top fun begins at $28,000.
The EV is also 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 Fusion Energi: For July 407 Fusion Energis where sold which was just 9 shy of the all-time high set in May.
In the month prior, Fusion Energi sales checked in at 390 units for June.
Inventory on Ford’s mid-size EV crested 3,000 units for the first time in its history in July, and we think represents a target level achieverd for Ford. Going forward a sales level of about 500 units per month is likely the norm.
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 just been rated by the EPA at a combined 100 MPGe (92 MPGe highway, 108 MPGs city), and has an all-electric range of 21 miles.
Unlike the C-Max Energi, the Fusion Energi has been priced in-line (and above) the other 5 Fusion trim levels in the model lineup, so as not to ‘steal’ sales from itself. This has resulted in a starting MSRP of $39,495, which we still feel is a bit steep.
Toyota Prius Plug-In: A big welcome back to Toyota’s plug-in this month as 817 were sold.
While most of the other plug-in players were having a summertime stall, Toyota managed to improve on the previous month’s result by 40% (June 2013 – 584 units)
Overall, Toyota has now sold 5,031 Prius plug-ins, which is ‘just a whicker’ below this time last year when they had sold 5,035.
Going forward, it is going to be near impossible to keep up with last year, as Toyota never sold less than a 1,000 cars in any of the last 5 months of 2012, with 7,715 plug-ins getting sold between August and December. Good for an average of 1,543.
Relatively speaking, sales have been low for the Prius Plug-In with Toyota after its initial launch, with no significant issues or inventory shortages, the other plug-in competition in the marketplace seem to have eroded the electric Toyota’s base.
Last year Toyota sold 12,750 plug-in Prii in the 10 months it was available, it currently appears that number will not be matched in 2013, which would make the plug-in Prius the first EV sold in the US to lose sales year over year. Not a great distinction to have.
Ford C-Max Energi: 433 plug-in C-Max hatches were sold in July, the 5th month in a row Ford produced a number in the 400s.
However, not doing any favors to sales in July, Ford issued a recall/stop order on C-Max vehicles without a Panorama roof installed (a $1,195 option), as “affected vehicles were built with insufficient interior head impact protection at the roof/B-pillar area”
…so July could have been higher. They year high was set in March at 494 units.
Expectations for the C-Max from Ford were certainly much higher than what has been achieved so far this year, and it appears there is simply not enough of a price savings over cross-town rival Chevy Volt, or stable-mate Fusion Energi. We would not be surprised to see some heavier pricing incentives to be offer in the second half of the year, and/or a lower MSRP being offered on the 2014 late this year.
Ford Focus Electric: The expansion of the Ford plug-in dealer network to include the Fusion and C-Max Energi line has certainly been a boost to the Focus Electric.
For July, 150 Focus EVs were sold, marking 9 out of the 10 last months selling in triple digits. The electric Ford could not manage any results in the triple digits before the arrival of the C-Max Energi expanded the dealership footprint.
Yet, determined to correct that sales rut of 100ish a month, Ford slashed 2014 model year pricing by $4,000…down to $35,200, letting their customers and the industry know they were in the business of selling electric cars for more than just their compliance value. We expect bigger and better things (sales-wise) from Ford from here on out.
Back-pat moment of the month, comes in quoting ourselves just 31 days ago:
“Although we will note that there is a rumor (still unverified) of a price cut and/or a new entry level Focus Electric coming in the near future. We asked Ford to comment on the speculation and we got a big helping of “we don’t comment on that sort of thing.”
Toyota RAV4 EV: July was a rebound month for the RAV4 EV with Toyota selling a rather remarkable 109 units, making July the second best month for the RAV4 EV in terms of sales in 2013.
Despite some impressive credentials. Namely, an all-electric SUV with more than 100 miles of range (officially 103 miles), and more zip than any other EV out there without a Tesla badge on it…Californians just don’t seem interested.
For June only 42 RAV4 EVs, half of May’s result, and a third of March’s 133 sold when Toyota first put $10,000 in bonus cash on the hood.
Like the question we asked last month, “what will July bring?” We are left asking the same question of August. Percentage-wise, no vehicle is more volatile than the Toyota sport utility vehicle.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV: 46 is the number of i-MiEVs sold in July, which is less than a handful of units over what Mitsubishi managed to sell in June.
For June Mitsubishi sold only 39 units, giving them 882 sold for the year, which is already far ahead of the 588 sold in 2012.
Despite some massive sales improvements in 2013 over 2012, make no mistake, this is a sell-off, not a resurgence; further underlined by the fact that Mitsubishi offered up to $10,000 off the MSRP on the i-MiEV in April.
It is worth noting that no 2013 model year i-MiEVs ever made it to the US, and that only about 80 of the cars now remain on dealer lots going into August.
Tired of always reporting that there was “no word” on the future existence of the i-MiEV in the US, we exclusively got a hold of someone at Mitsubishi USA on the status of the little Japanese kei car – and while there might not be a next generation for the US, there will be another model year coming…at some point.
“We will continue to sell i-MiEVs in the U.S. and are in midst of determining the timing to introduce a new MY vehicle. We will most likely receive the upgraded features that became available in Canada for 13MY such as the two mode cable for 120V charging which will reduce the charge time from 22hrs (8AMP) to 14hrs (12AMP).“
Still, with no timeline on the next i-MiEV, we think it is a fair assumption to say that the next Mitsubishi plug-in to arrive in the US will liklely be the extended range Outlander PHEV, which we learned has shifted from an expected arrival date of January of 2014 to ”during calendar year 2014” – which sounds a lot less close than it did last month.
Honda Accord Plug-In:
Each month we ask ourselves the same questions: Does Honda want to sell these? Why do they bring them to the US at all? A $40,000 mid-size Honda sedan is just not something Americans want…and they no it, with little to no inventory available.
Simply put, this should have been an offering from Acura.
Still, we have to report the results. For July, Honda sold 54 of their plug-in Accords, bringing the year to date total up to 254.
So, with the Honda Fit EV is selling decently enough (when they choose to stock them), the Accord plug-in looks to take over the crown of “most anemic” selling plug-in car in the US, with 42 sold in June.
Previous to June, Honda managed to sell only 58 units in May. Which on a technical level was an improvement over the 55 sold in April. A even 200 were sold in the first half.
Officially classed as the new year’s first ’2014′ model, the Accord PHEV doesn’t come cheap, as Honda has recently priced the sedan at a very Fusion Energi-like $38,780, markedly higher than consumer expectations for the car. We expect Honda to revisits incentive on the car in the near future.
The Accord plug-in has a 13 mile all-electric range, and has been given a MPGe valuation of 115 MPGe, the highest rating of any plug-in extended range vehicle.
Fiat 500e: When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we may have another Tesla on our hands here (they don’t), or at the very least, another Ford (they make us work).
Chrysler/Fiat, which has been notoriously anti-EV is also giving us a bit of the stonewall treatment when it comes to reporting 500e sales. We spoke to a Chrysler representative about giving us the 411 on electric Fiat sales, and he responded thusly:
“We haven’t been breaking out sales of the various Fiat 500 models. That may change down the road, but for now we’re just reporting 500 and 500L sales…”
That being said, we will continue to pound the pavement looking for the exact number, and thanks to a untimely recall/repair, we can peg sales at about 150 units in July (as 270 total customers were contacted in mid-August about the problem)
The first Fiat 500e went out to a California customer July 15th of this month, and Fiatsler’s answer to CARB compliance requirements has been well received.
Want proof of that? The company said the car has already approached a near-sold out status for 2013, thanks mostly in part to a $199 lease offer.
However, the reality (and fine print) on that deal have left most would-be 500e leases more than a little upset, as Fiat expects their own dealers to contribute back to Chrysler Financial to get the monthly price down to $199.
And with a “sold-out” car on their hands that everyone wants…they are not so keen to do that. Reports of over $100 in mark-ups and ‘extra added options’ have somewhat sullied what would have been a flawless launch and fulfillment of CARB requirements.
The 500e’s 24 kWh lithium battery has been rated by the EPA to produce 87 miles of all electric range, and MPGe efficiency in the city is pegged at 122, and 108 on the highway, for a combined 116 MPGe figure.
Fiat has also announced this month that they will be providing 12 free days* of car rentals per year to purchasers of the EV, for when longer trips are required…at least for the first three years.
If any car threatens the success of the Chevrolet Spark EV from GM, it is the Fiat 500e.
January of 2014 is expected to see the debut of the 35 mile extended range Cadillac ELR.
After the ELR, a foot race of sorts will occur between the all-new, purpose built BMW i3 (all the details on that can be found here), and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – a 25(ish) mile extended range SUV that was originally expected in January, but now is expected in the Spring of 2014.