June 2013 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card
A solid month of plug-in sales in May continued into June, as the month set a new year-high at 7,892 plug-ins sold. Of those sales, 4,169 (52%) were plug-in hybrids, reversing an earlier trend of more fully electric vehicles being sold each month.
Previously, in May, 7,554 EVs were sold – with 57% of those (4,345) being of the fully electric variety.
For June, the highlights include:
- Tesla shifting production allocation from the US to Europe
- Chevrolet gets great results thanks to a deep-discount program on the Volt, as well sells the first copies of the Spark EV during the month
- Nissan keep recent momentum on the LEAF rolling
- New Fit EV leasing/unlimited mileage deal pays off big-time
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: Wednesday, July 3rd, 5:40 pm)
Chevrolet Volt: 2,698 extended range EVs were sold by General Motors, easily the best result for 2013.
For the year, GM has now sold 9,855 cars versus 8,817 through the first six months of last year; an increase of about 12%
June’s result was helped in a big way thanks to incentive, as, GM continued to put cash on the hood. For all 2013 Chevrolet Volt in inventory customers received at least $4,000 of the MSRP when buying the car.
Also of interest was what didn’t come – a 2014 model year trim and pricing announcement. With production on the 2013 now idled at GM’s Hamtramck facility until July 15th, we should be learning how much the Volt’s price will be cut for 2014 soon. (It has to be reduced right? We think so)
Last month also marked the first month that GM did not report production figures at their plants (an industry standard practice), but thanks to ‘boots on the ground’ we can tell you that production was way down in June in Michigan on the Volt, and national inventories on the car dropped by about 1,500 units during the month. The company still does have an over-stock position on the car with about 120 days inventory.
Also of interest, GM has discontinued (as of June 30th, 2013) its ChevroletVoltage.com social media website that supports the Volt after 4 years of operation.
Nissan LEAF: For the second time in as many months Nissan came within a whisker of beating their all-time high result for LEAFs sold in a month.
For June, Nissan sold 2,225 LEAFs….just 11 shy of March’s record 2,236 result. This month was also an improvement of 316% over a year ago’s result.
Overall, Nissan has now sold 9,839 EVs in 2013, as compared to 3,148 in 2012. A 213% increase.
In June Nissan also finally bucked the trend of losing the battle to keep a consistent inventory level of LEAFs at dealerships across the country. That being said, the victory was marginal at best with about 500 units being added from coast to coast.
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, but May was the ‘end of the line’ for sky-high US volumes.
Tesla has now ran through its reservation/backlog for US order and has turned its attention to Euro deliveries in the second half of the month (and basically the rest of the year)…promising to fill all early Euro reservations by year’s end.
So what does that mean to US sales and overall production? Some Euro spec line changes are likely slowing things up a little, and many cars now about to leave the factory in the US that will not be registered here.
For June we estimate Tesla sold 1,350 (updated to reflect California registrations) Model S sedans in North America. How did we come to this conclusion? Some past precedent, financial records and a little common sense:
- Knowing that if Tesla would struggle in any month to meet their weekly production goals, it would be June and July
- The fact that a notice to shareholders foretold the company’s revenues would likely take a hit of about 500 units (likely due to the changeover and long shipping/regulation delays on cars now heading to Europe)
- Then there is also the fact the company said they expected to sell 4,500 units in Q2.
One might note that for April and May combined we estimated that Tesla had already sold 3,700 units, so why still the high cumulative estimate when including June? That is way more than the 4,500 Tesla predicts? Past precedent – Tesla has a vested interest in keeping its market cap high – look no further than the $1 billion dollars it raised in late May… they didn’t pay that DoE loan off from profits, they paid it off in market sentiment.
So, if you think Tesla is going to come up short on its 4,500 estimate for Q2 sales, then we have a really good investment deal for you in Florida real estate right now.
Note: We realize these lower US Tesla numbers (while they fill international commitments) are going to drive many readers batty, so next month we will start to strip out Model S sales regionally as well. /don’t shoot the messenger…and stop sending me emails, (=
Updated: August 7th, as per Q2 results our sales estimates were off by about 200 units for the quarter, so results have be adjusted to fit in line with actual results realized after going to print. We’d also like to note that, as predicted, Tesla easily flew past that “low bar” estimate of 4,500 they put out for themselves in Q2.
(*) Model S sales estimates are given representative of North American sales, which include Canada.
Chevrolet SPARK EV: While GM put out Chevy Volt numbers directly on Tuesday, they did not break out the Spark EV results. We contacted a GM rep directly to run down Spark EV results.
In its first month on the market, sales of the Chevy Spark EV checked in at 27 units. (Full story here)
It should be noted that the Spark EV was only available for a brief time (approx. 2 weeks) in June and that it’s only sold right now in California.
The first Spark EVs arrived at California dealerships with about 2 weeks left on the month, giving the US consumers a look at GM’s first new plug-in offering in the US since the Chevy Volt went on sale in late 2010.
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.
While we feel there will be sufficient demand to crush the likes of the Ford Focus Electric, Mitsu i-Miev and compliance cars from other Japanese rivals on a sales basis, but the car has enough limitations that it will not approach sales levels seen from Nissan with the LEAF.
Fisker Karma: Like Tesla, Fisker does not report monthly sales.
But unlike Tesla, they really don’t make or sell any cars anymore, as the company has reached their 1 year anniversary of having not built a single Karma.
The number 1 is also a fun number, because that appears to be almost how many cars were actually sold during the month as dealers slowly bring the price down on remaining inventories. Judging by remaining inventories, it appears at though Fisker sold about five 2012 Karmas during the month.
About 54 plug-in range luxury collectible still remain to be sold…then we can finally stop reporting on them every month. /huZZAh
Also of interest, about a year ago when things were a lot rosier for Fisker, the movie Paranoia with Harrison Ford started principal shooting, and (we imagine) Fisker paid to promote its Karma front and center in the film (and its trailer). Unfortunately, the film is just being promoted now (and opens next month), so we don’t see the California start-up getting a lot of return on that product placement.
Honda Fit EV: Tired of being mocked by InsideEVs for anemic sales, Honda slashed the price of its lease cost on the Fit EV – a lease is still the only way you can acquire one.
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 this month, 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 the smart ED’s second month available inside the United States, 53 were sold…pretty much exactly in-line with expectations.
Earlier on May 15th, the US plug-in family expanded by one as the first Smart ForTwo electric drive was delivered in California. And despite only a few selling days in May, and few available cars 60 Smart EDs were.
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 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:
Fusion Energi sales checked in at 390 units in June, which is roughly par for the course for Ford’s plug-in sedan.
Previously in May, Ford reported that sales of the Fusion Energi hit an all-time high of 416 units in May.
Since the Fusion Energi’s launch, Ford had seen increased sales in each and every month since the car went on sale…that is until now; so the 400-odd range maybe the level the plug-in settles out at.
A look back reveals that the company sold 119 in February, 295 in March and 365 in April.
After inventory levels jump a little in May to over 2,000 units, the level evened out and stayed basically the same at about 2,500 cars in June, so the car is now relatively well represented on dealership lots. We still expect once demand has caught up to the plug-in Ford sedan they will sell about 500-750 units a month going forward.
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:
Sales of Toyota’s plug-in Prius fell off a bit with a relatively low figure of 584 units sold in June. This brings the YTD total to 4,214, which is still below the pace of last year (4,347) at this same point in time.
Previous to June, the Prius Plug-In sales ended the month of May at a relatively strong mark of 678 units.
Relatively speaking, sales have been fairly low for the Prius Plug-In with Toyota after its initial launch, as they sold only 599 units in April. That number was an all-time low for Prius Plug-In for sales in a single month since it launched back in March 2012.
With no significant issues or inventory shortages, the other plug-in competition in the marketplace looks to be eroding 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:
C-Max Energi sales came in at 455 units in June, which is 5 more than the total sold in May and 5 up on Fusion Energi sales this month.
Prior to this month, Ford says C-Max Energi sales checked in at 450 units in May.
Heading into this month, sales on the C-Max Energi were pretty flat, actually really flat as Ford sold 411 copies in April, after selling 494 the month prior. Before June’s result the Ford had sold between 334 and 494 copies for the first 5 months, a narrow range to be sure.
After a strong start in 2012, Ford’s much heralded Michigan assembly facility (MAP) just could not get the ball rolling in the first quarter, leaving dealers very short on C-Max plug-ins to sell.
It was thought that when new inventory arrived the sales would bounce back, but after an increase of about 25% in May, and a consistent level of near 2,500 cars in stock in June, it just has not materialized.
Despite a slow start, we still expect the C-Max Energi to fight the Toyota Prius plug-in for 4th place overall for sales in the United States.
Ford Focus Electric:
The Focus Electric is still struggling to get out of the 100s. Sales in June came in at 177 units, or 20 better than in May.
Previously, in May, Ford Focus Electric sales remained steady as usual, as Ford sold 157 of the electric Foci.
Also recent results show that while the Focus Electric is not a big player in the all-electric EV game, it is a consistent one, as 147 Focus EVs were also sold in April, with another 180 in March.
Don’t look for Ford to do much better (or worse) than the past few months as the company is not expecting 2013 sales of the model to improve by very much overall, despite a tripling of the dealership base that is able to sell the plug-in car.
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: Our apologies on being a day late reporting on the RAV4 EV this month, we have no excuse really. In June, Toyota sold 44 copies of their all-electric SUC.
Previously in May, Toyota sold 84 RAV4 EVS
This continues a trend of violent sales swings for the compliance-built Toyota RAV 4 EV. And if you ask us what lies in store for the plug-in next month, we would be hard pressed to give an accurate forecast.
Though March was a “stellar” month with 133 RAV EVs sold, April wasn’t, as sales got halved. Toyota reported selling only 70 units of the RAV4 EV in April 2013.
So, what will July bring? It is one of those rare times when we have absolutely no clue.
What we do know is that earlier this year, Toyota decided to get serious in a attempt to move the over 2,000 units that will be required by CARB compliance over the next few years, and introduced a deep discount incentive, which in some cases amounted to $10,000 off the RAV4 EV, as well as 0% financing. That discount, as well as federal and state incentives means that consumers in California were getting a total of $20,000 of the Toyota’s MSRP price of $49,800.
Those programs seem to have been successful (in a round-about/random) way, as the first 6 months of 2013 sales have more than doubled that of that last 4 months of 2012.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV: For June Mitsubishi sold only 39 units, giving them 882 sold for the year, which is well 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.
…like this Mitsu i-MiEV that was offered for sale in Maryland at $18,655.
The first two months of the year will now remain the US high-water mark until (and if) Mitsubishi decided to bring to invontry across the pond. In February, Mitsu sold 337 i-MiEVs after moving 257 off dealer lots in January, a massive improvement over anything prior in 2012. To put that volume in context, Mitsubishi has had sold more i-MiEVs (752) in the first four months of 2013, than all of last year (588). $69/month leases can do that for you.
Mitsu is now down to less than 120 2012 model year i-MiEVs, and as one might notice, there is still no 2013 model year available in the US. (but you can still check out what you are missing here, as the car is sold elsewhere in the world)
Given that there is only a month or two left on the calendar before 2014 model year cars start to show up at all the dealerships, we think its fair to say no 2013 i-MiEVs will ever be sold in the US.
With no announcements either way on the future of the I-MiEV, we think it is a fair assumption to say that the next Mitsubishi plug-in to arrive will be the hot-selling (in the rest of the world) extended range Outlander PHEV in January of 2014.
Honda Accord Plug-In: Now that the Honda Fit EV is selling well, 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 have now been sold since the vehicle first when on sale.
Looking to move some inventory of the Accord PHEV, Honda made the car available as a lease offering in Japan for the first time this month. Even at that, Honda says they do not expect to sell very many at home (the Accord is a very large car for that market).
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.
Coming In July
Fiat 500e: Fiatsler’s answer to CARB compliance requirements has been slated to go on sale this summer, and in a shock to many, they priced it right.
Want proof of that? The company says the car has already approached a near-sold out status for 2013 already.
The very capable, and good looking, Fiat EV has a sticker price of $32,500, but more importantly has a lease offer of $199 month, with $999 down. (Almost 3 in 4 electric cars in the United States are leased thanks to the government’s $7,500 instant rebate given on leases)
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 in July.
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