June Plug-In EV Sales Grow, As Wider Auto Market Struggles

2 days ago by Jay Cole 48

The Tesla Model S took the overall sales lead in June, but for possibly the first time it was overshadowed by another EV – the Tesla Model 3, which arrives on July 28th

It’s a good time to be in the plug-in vehicle business, as EV sales rose for the 21st consecutive month* in the United States in June…and once again, the gains were fairly significant.

That same could not be said of the wider automotive market, as many automakers posted losses for the month (Hyundai was off 19%, GM 5%, Ford 5%, Chrysler 8%).  Overall, auto sales were off 3% for June 2017.

For the month an estimated total of 17,182 plug-ins where sold, which was up 16% from the 14,863 moved a year ago.

Through the first 6 months of 2017, deliveries stand at 89,285, up 37% year-over-year.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV set a personal best for sales in June (shown here in autonomous drive testing trim)

With that said, many in the EV world were looking past June’s results, as Tesla announced that the Model 3 would be arriving this month, at a launch party on July 28th, where the first 30 copies would be delivered.

And while the 30 Model 3 deliveries planned for July won’t move the sales needle more than a rounding error, Elon Musk tweeted he expected up to 1,500 sold in September, and about 20,000 more to be built in December alone…so the “Model 3 bump” is definitely en route.

Add in the second half addition of the new 2018 Nissan LEAF, deeper Toyota Prius Prime inventory and the Chevrolet Bolt EV rolling out nationally in mid-August, and H2 2017 results will certainly dwarf the almost 90,000 plug-ins sold over the first 6 months.

Getting back to June’s results, Tesla once again took the overall sales lead (thanks to June being the third month of the fiscal quarter), and we estimate just enough Model S sedans were sold to reclaim the overall top selling plug-in spot from the Chevrolet Volt during the month.

With that said, next month (July) has always been a strong month for Volt sales (not so much for the Model S), so the 53 mile, extended range Chevy should have no trouble taking back the pole position as America’s most bought plug-in, at least for the next couple months.

The wider question is if either the Model S or Volt can hold off the Prius Prime, once Toyota catches its breath on Japanese production of the PHV, and turns its attention to filling runaway demand for the car in the US.

Deeper inventory of the Chevrolet Bolt EV in June, also meant a new 2017/all-time high for the 238 mile EV, with over 1,600 sales during the month.

The MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Plug-In Hybrid … or MCSECA4PHEV for short (?) arrived in the US on June 24th

Also of note:  Arriving exactly as announced and on time (June 24th), the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Plug-In Hybrid (details) became the 36th mass produced, plug-in vehicle to log a sale in the US this year.   How will it ultimately sell? Fairly well we suspect (200-300 copies per month potentially) – provided it is stocked appropriately by BMW across the country.

Surprise/outstanding performance of the month has to go to a couple of BMW iPerformance vehicles, as both the BMW 330e and the X5 40e sold almost 500 copies each – 2017 highs for both models.  The BMW 530e also set a new 2017 high in its second full month on the market (239).

With the addition of the MINI PHV (see what we did there?), the BMW Group now has 7 unique plug-in offerings on the US market, and finished as the #3 volume producer in June for the first time.

2017 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** FCA/Hyundai-Kia Do Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data (Thanks to HybridCars for assist on Kia data)

Other Statistical Points of Interest from June 2017

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 4,550
  2. General Motors – 3,415
  3. BMW Group – 1,876
  4. Ford – 1,753
  5. Toyota – 1,619
  6. Nissan – 1,506
  7. FCA* – 850
  8. VW Group – 751

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In June*

  1. PHEV – 9,056 -52.7%
  2. BEV – 8,123 47.3%

(*) estimated

New Year Highs Set In June By Model (previous 2017 high in brackets)

  • Chevrolet Bolt EV – 1,642 (1,566)
  • Nissan LEAF – 1,506 (1,478)
  • BMW 330e – 496 (475)
  • BMW X5 xDrive 40e – 488 (433)
  • Porsche Cayenne S E Hybrid – 195 (185)
  • BMW 530e – 239 (147)
  • Volvo XC90 T8 – 202 (146)
  • Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid -20 (16)
  • MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Plug-In Hybrid – 10 (new model)

The full monthly recap by individual plug-in (all-time) can be found on our Monthly Scorecard here.

*On year of monthly sales improvements: We know someone is going to look at the chart and say, “hey, only ~11,467 sales were made in May of 2016, when 11,540 were logged in 2015!  What gives InsideEVs?”  What gives is – through an odd scheduling quirk, only 24 selling days were reported in May 2016 (versus 26 in 2015

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48 responses to "June Plug-In EV Sales Grow, As Wider Auto Market Struggles"

  1. Tom says:

    BMW is quietly building worldwide momentum. Also I see that Hyundai is increasing supply and struggling a bit to keep up. Their new cars are a hit.
    http://insideevs.com/hyundai-boosts-ioniq-electric-production-by-50/

    1. Michael Will says:

      They announced the Hyundai Ioniq electric and had a few out for glowing reviews, but didn’t follow up on providing them for sale outside of zev states. Almost as if they were announced as fully available cars but in reality just produced for compliance car use. But maybe they are all just battery supply constrained, that is why tesla built their own gigafactory with Panasonic.

      1. Tom says:

        Seems to be a combination of both. First electric vehicle they’ve made so it is better to be somewhat cautious. Better to recall a couple thousand vehicles (like Chrysler) when something pops up than rushing headlong in and ending up with a nightmare on your hands if something goes wrong. But also the article seems to indicate a battery constraint in which then it is obvious to pull back on full BEV because you can build 20 hybrids for the battery supply of one BEV.

        1. WadeTyhon says:

          It is early, but I am disappointed in the Ioniq sales to date. I understand that it is performing well in South Korea. And selling better in Europe than the first few months of sales in the USA. I know sales will at least break 100 a month here… and potentially could be much better.

          But I was hoping and expecting sales of the Kia Soul EV and Sonata PHEV to increase also. So far they really haven’t. Maybe the Ioniq Electric or PHEV will finally be Hyundai/Kia’s breakout EV hit in the US.

          1. Asak says:

            Well, you can’t sell a car that doesn’t exist for sale. I don’t think the issue is with the car, it’s just the lack of availability.

            1. WadeTyhon says:

              I agree, the car would sell pretty well if they made it available here in significant numbers. I just don’t know that they will ever do so based on the Soul EV and Sonata PHEV numbers.

      2. Matthew Fabb says:

        In Europe there is a 4 to 6 month wait time for a new Hyundai Ioniq electric. So there are certainly restrained in production right now.

        However, strangely enough Hyundai more models of the Ioniq electric in Canada in the month of May than in the US (108 in Canada versus 75). For some reason more units were allocated to Canada. That number is also artificially low as there are a number of Canadians I’ve talked to online who put down a deposit in May but have yet received their car. Hyundai just aren’t making enough of them to keep up with the demand.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Could it be a currency exchange issue? Perhaps the U.S. Dollar is stronger against the S. Korean Won than the Canadian Dollar is?

          1. vdiv says:

            Could be… Make it in the US then if they are serious, like Nissan has. Also if importing things from S. Korea is expensive then how is Chevy swimming in inventory with the largely Korean Bolt EV?

    2. Nada says:

      Hyundai could apparently peoduce more as it is reportedly not a battery supply issue acording to pushevs which makes me think they simply are selling more than they want to already…
      Still no new eGolf here but they are selling more than 3x of the new one in tiny Norway than the old one here but the EU is a big market for VW and not the US…
      Ford used to be my favorite company but now all they want to sell is F150s…

  2. GeorgeS says:

    What i want to know is why Tesla had a shortage of 100kwh packs. Was it a problem with making enough cells at the giga factory?

    1. Jelloslug says:

      Tesla does not make those cells at the Giga factory.

      1. georgeS says:

        Dah,
        slaps forehead.

    2. Dave86 says:

      Is there a difference between the cells used in the 100kwh pack and other packs (like the 75kwh)?

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Good question. I don’t know if we’ll get an answer. Tesla and Panasonic are pretty tight-lipped about the exact chemistry in the 18650 battery cells, and how often that has been changed.

        Tesla may be slightly more forthcoming about the details of the 2170 Gigafactory battery cells, but even there I don’t expect them to update us every time Panasonic tweaks the chemistry.

  3. WadeTyhon says:

    BMW, GM, and Tesla continue to be leaders. And they’re growing the EV market.

    Tesla for obvious reasons. Even modest Model 3 deliveries for 2017 will be fantastic.

    GM should about double their plug-in total over last year.

    BMW has more options than any other car brand. Yes, the range is short, but most of these are likely first time hybrid or plug-in buyers. They can choose the body style that suits their needs. The strong Prime sales are great to see also, but I would think many of them are already coming from very efficient hybrid vehicles. The BMW plug-ins make a bigger impact.

    Nissan and Ford are treading water, but the new Leaf should generate some needed excitement. Looking forward to the Model 3 and new Leaf launches this fall!

    1. William says:

      I wonder which month (Aug.-Oct.) the Tesla Model 3 deliveries will tip the approximate PHEV (52.7%) / BEV (47.3%) balance into the 50% + BEV advantage? And, how long will it take the Toyota Prius Prime, to ramp up its sales, to bring the PHEV/ BEV balance discrepancy, back to the existing level of low single % digits, where it has been slightly fluctuating for more than a few months.

      1. Asak says:

        Assuming Tesla actually can sell even 10K per month it will be hard for the Prius to bring the numbers back into balance unless the plug-in takes over the entire sales of the family.

        1. Reddy says:

          Toyota could do it if they WANT. They could convert their entire vehicle line (not just Prius) to PHEV, but they won’t until gov’t or market mandate. However, yes absolutely the PiP is a gateway to full BEV. A neighbor of mine kept telling me how great the PiP was, then 2 yrs later gets a use i3.

          1. mx says:

            Yeah, the i3 is just 500% better then a Prius Prime.
            Toyota should not be selling even 1 Prime Advanced, if you cross shopped with the i3.

            Lease for Lease the i3 lease is cheaper and the car is by far like driving 10 years in the future.

      2. WadeTyhon says:

        Well for Model 3, we can expect ~30 in july, ~100 in August and ~1500 in September according to Musk. So the Model 3 will not make a noticeable impact until at least september. I’m thinking October or November is when it will start to significantly shift the scales.

        And in order to maximize the number of Model 3 buyers who qualify for the tax credit, I don’t think Tesla will produce much more than 30,000 units max between September and December for the US. Even without Model 3, Tesla will have likely surpassed 160,000 lifetime EVs by the end of the year. I think they want to limit production this year so that they do not hit 200,000k units until early Q1 2018.

        So I am not positive that BEVs will outsell PHEVs for the year overall. But I am certain they will outsell them in November and December.

        And in summer 2018, GM will come up on 200k as well. They will likely boost Bolt production and increase incentives or lower the price during this time.

        Next year the Bolt, the new Leaf, and most importantly the Model 3, will blow PHEV sales away I think.

  4. Terry says:

    These different prius I have been seeing on the road seems to be a slow vehicle when I am passing them with an older Volt. I would think by now toyota would have the prius to keep up with the older Volt. Every time I take off with the Volt next to prius the prius can not stay with the Volt

  5. Warren says:

    Yes. The good news is that overall vehicle sales are down, and plugins are trending up.
    Autonomous taxis can’t come too soon.

  6. Jean-François Morissette says:

    One thing I am not sure to understand is the difference in sales for some model between Canada and USA.

    First that comes to mind is the new Ioniq EV, that had 108 sales in May in Canada for is 1st full month. Why would it sell better than evn the California market alone? The Ioniq is a great car, it should be a good fit for many people.

    The new Focus EV had 50 sales in Canada in May, it should be able to sell something like 500 in USA, I can’t believe there is not a market for that!

    Or what about the Volvo XC90 T8, which is selling like around 50-60 per month in Canada, but just between 100-200 in a market 10x bigger? What do you guys think of that?

    1. reader says:

      Try buying an Ioniq in US. It’s only theoretically available in CA, and there haven’t been any in dealerships at all for almost all of last months. The few that pop up get snapped up quick. They are very very supply limited right now, as apparently unexpectedly strong domestic demand in Korea gobbles up all production.

  7. Jean-François Morissette says:

    Oh and what about the new EGolf, it is arriving right now in Canada, but not in the US?

    1. David S. says:

      The http://insideevs.com/monthly-plug-in-sales-scorecard/ says it’s arriving in the U.S. in July too

  8. Just_Chris says:

    Two boring middle aged EV nerds are sitting in a bar one turns to the other and says

    “The strangest thing just happened to me, I drove my new plugin Pacifica hybrid to the mall across town. There was this girl there, she was beautiful. She said that she has been looking all her life for a man who cares enough about the planet to buy an electric vehicle but who wasn’t too much of a perfectionist to insist on a pure electric drive train. She then took her cloths off and we made love in the back of the mini-van. I drove home and told my wife and she understood completely, after all boys will be boys”

    The second EV nerd stops and thinks for a while then says:

    “BULL S***! nobody has ever been able to drive a plugin Pacifica hybrid all the way across town, admit it how far did you get this time before you had to phone the tow truck”

  9. David Cary says:

    As I look down the list, I am struck by the fact that I have never seen a Bolt but I see the other top sellers regularly. Well – duh it isn’t available here.

    The Bolt is doing quite well in its limited market. Most likely the number one seller in CA and other states it is available in.

    That is pretty good for a visually small (bordering on tiny) car. Imagine the new Leaf with similar range, similar cost, and a visually normal size (and possible looking) car…. And then imagine that available in 50 states.

    There is probably a bias towards imports in people who care about the environment and EVs. Tesla doesn’t count of course.

    I could see 5000 Leaf sales pretty easily. The Model 3 will eat into this of course. I know for us the 3 and the Leaf 2.0 are on our horizon. We were in SF and saw a Bolt – not an option. Ioniq hopefully will be an option.

    1. theflew says:

      I don’t understand people that say the Bolt is tiny. It’s no smaller than the Chevy Trax or Buick Encore. It’s wheelbase is actually 3 inches longer than those. Maybe GM should have artificially made the hood longer to add a frunk and extend the rear by 6 inches to add some overhang. It would have looked more conventional.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I’ve never sat in one, but all the reports say that the Bolt EV has devoted a lot more of its length to passenger space than most cars. So it may look small on the outside, but it’s surprisingly roomy inside as far as head room and leg room goes. But they also say it’s tall and skinny, so not a lot of hip room, which is another reason why you’ll see arguments about whether it’s roomy or not. If you’re a “wide-bodied” person 🙂 then you might find it cramped, but if you’re tall and not overweight you might well find it surprisingly roomy.

        Arguments over how “big” the Bolt EV is, both inside and out, really underscores just how much people’s impressions are subjective rather than objective.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          So go see one! I did just that last weekend and saw the Bolt and Volt side by side…it’s not a fair fight design wise for the Bolt. The dealer has 2 Volts and about 15 Bolts and did not want to negotiate at all on the Volt because “they sell fast anyway”. These ev manufacturers need to wake up and make the car design more appealing and less dorky looking …no wonder Tesla S is the best sold ev in US even with its ridiculously high price.

  10. MeHow says:

    Nissian Leaf sales are still growing! Is Nissian giving even bigger discounts? If yes, than the strong Leaf sales show, that 200+ range isn’t really necessary for a big part of car buyers. My daily commute to work is only 4 miles, I probably make only 3 trips a year that are more than 70 miles. I haven’t bought an EV yet, because I cannot charge a car at home (I live in an no-garage apartament) nor at work.

    1. leafowner says:

      They sold like 1500 in the US……What that tells me is that RANGE DOES MATTER — if not they would have sold way more with such heavy discounts.

    2. theflew says:

      Yes there is a lot of money on the table to buy a Leaf. In Ohio you can get $17.5k off ($7.5k federal and $10k Nissan/AEP Ohio). Right now Leafs are selling because of deep discounting. This is something Tesla has to watch. If the Model 3 doesn’t have perfect execution I guarantee GM will just lower the price of the Bolt $3k to $5k without a second thought.

  11. Chris O says:

    Growth but still very much at the bottom of the S curve. Model 3 should change that.

  12. MTN Ranger says:

    Off topic regarding US numbers, but I’m in Iceland right now and saw 2 Leafs, 1 eGolf, and 1 Tesla today.

  13. Bill Howland says:

    I would expect European EV sales to be far better than North American sales, due to the better incentives given in some countries, plus the astronomic cost of Gasoline or Diesel fuel.

    Even though the electricity is usually significantly also more expensive, it is no where near the ICE fuel cost.

    Whereas in North America there are plenty of locales where it is always cheaper to drive an ICE. For instance, Sven’s Volt.

  14. Bob Nan says:

    8 models have set their high in June with 1 new model. Hope this repeats in the coming months.

    July is first full month for Mini Cooper and partial month for Model-3.

  15. leafowner says:

    Will the model 3 be the highest selling EV in 2018? It has a chance…..

    1. buu says:

      it would require almost ideal ramp up, unlikely.
      My guess: Prime, S, Volt, X, 3, Bolt

    2. Zach says:

      If it isn’t something will have gone wrong. 20000 in December ramped to 40000 by the end of the year.

    3. Mark.ca says:

      Absolutely, the others don’t really stand a chance as they are all capped at about 30k/year due to production or demand….maybe the prius can crawl above that.

    4. leafowner says:

      buu – If what Musk says is true- there is a good chance they exceed 30k units this year. I don’t see any vehicle clearly hitting 30k. Prime has a shot if they can bring more inventory into the US or maybe the Volt if they do any discounting …. but the 3 has a really good shot if they stay on schedule. No doubt they will be #1 in 2018.

  16. Benjamin says:

    Yikes! The Mini Countryman PHEV is not eligible for CA HOV stickers and EPA estimate is 12 mile EV range.The heavier BMW 530e and 530e xDrive has better EPA range of 16 and 15 EV miles and also eligible for CA HOV sticker. Apparently the ICE in the Mini PHEV is not TZEV.

  17. JeffP says:

    I read a prediction that total US car sales for 2017 will be 16.5 million. That means plug-in sales have to top 165,000 for the year to gain a 1% market share. It certainly looks like that is doable, and then some.

  18. Josh Bryant says:

    Since I was curious, I calculated the June market share % for plug-ins…

    17,182 / 1,474,970 = 1.16%

    This is really the most important sales number

    Great month!!!

    1. Herr Holle says:

      Thanks Josh, that was exactly the number I just was looking for. I agree that this is an at least equally important number compared to the absolute number of sales, and maybe Jay could regularly include it in his monthly Report?
      If anyone is interested: In Germany, Plug-In market share has been hovering constantly around 1.2% for the first five months of 2017, and rose to 1.43% in June mostly due to the Renault Zoe, and the Smarts arriving in considerable numbers. Market here is supply-limited with 9months+ waiting time for Ioniq, Bolt, and the electric Smart(s). VW has supposedly reduced planned delivery of Golf EV for technical issues.

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