Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard
AUGUST 2016 CAR SALES will be reported On Thursday, September 1st, 2016 beginning with the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt sales at 6:30-7:30PT (9:30-10:30 AM ET). Full reporting will wrap up on Friday, September 2nd, 2016 with Ford rounding things out in the early afternoon.
Every month InsideEVs tracks all the plug-in sales for the United States by auto maker and brand. Below, readers can find all the historical sales charts for the “current generation” of electric vehicles, as well as a synopsis of the current month’s sales happenings by specific EV below the charts..
Individual reports/recaps below of plug-in vehicles sales for the current month are available below charts.
July 2016 Plug-In Sales Recap
Plug-in electric vehicle sales have set a sales record in every month so far in 2016*, but something special has been happening over the past two months – year-over-year comps have been destroyed.
For July, some ~13,432 plug-ins were sold, the 4th best result for any month of EV sales in the US (all of which have been logged over the past 8 months). Year over year, sales have never been stronger, as a 50% gain is noted versus July of 2015.
Previously in June, EV sales set the all-time record in the US (for any month), with ~15,040 plug-ins moved, an increase of 45% from the year prior (details).
We would also be remiss this month to not mention that the Chevrolet Volt became the first plug-in vehicle model in the US to pass 100,000 cars sold. GM needed to move just 1,442 in July to accomplish the milestone – and they blew past it, setting its own all-time monthly record for July with 2,406 sales.
GM on the achievement:
“How much of an impact do 100,000 Volts out on the road make? As it turns out, quite a bit. Since sales of the Chevrolet Volt began, owners have driven almost 1.5 billion miles in EV mode of a total 2.5 billion cumulative miles. Based on an average new car fuel economy of 25.3 miles per gallon, Volt drivers have saved nearly 58 million gallons of fuel. That is enough gasoline to fill more than 87 competition-size swimming pools.”
Surprise of the month? BMW sold 1,479 i3s – the 2nd best all-time monthly result! How did they do it, especially with a new improved 33 kWh version on the horizon? Who knows…but there it is.
Also of interest this month:
*- the race between the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF for top selling plug-in in the US has seen the Chevy pull so far ahead that it is more than likely the Volt will end the year on top – regardless of what tricks Nissan has up its sleeve for the aging first generation car. Entering August, the Volt had a tidy 100,964 to 96,447 lead over the LEAF.
*- the refreshed, more efficient 2017 Fusion Energi arrived in late May and promptly set a new year high with 1,700 copies sold in June. Ford followed up this result by selling a still impressive 1,341 copies in July, while the Fusion Energi’s cousin – the C-Max Energi, set a new year high with over 750 sales
*- Tesla’s inability to close “end of Q2” deliveries meant some 5,150 EVs were in transit on July 1st. Bad news for Tesla on their most recent quarterly report…but good news for July sales as the company delivered close to 3,000 EVs during the month
*- while not classically defined as an EV (and it doesn’t plug-in), the fuel cell Mirai sold 52 copies in July
Last update: Tuesday, August 8th, @10:10 AM
*On year of monthly sales improvements: We know someone is going to look at the chart and say, “hey, only ~11,423 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 2016 (versus 26 in 2015)
Below Chart: A individual run-down of each vehicle’s monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers. (Previous year’s monthly results can be found on our fixed Scorecard page here)
Individual Plug-In Model Sales Run-Down:
Make that a hundred thousand sold!
Thanks to 2,406 sales in July (details) – a new monthly record for Chevy, the Volt was the first plug-in vehicle to cross the 100,000 sold threshold in the US.
In fact, they were almost the first to cross 101,000 as the all-time total now stands at 100,964, almost 5,000 ahead of closest rival, the Nissan LEAF (96,447).
July’s record month was a 83% improvement over July of 2015, when 1,313 copies of the 1st generation model were moved. The first true comps versus its 2nd generation self arrives in October (2,035 sold).
Part of the sales issues earlier in the year could be pointed at the inventory situation. At launch (and for the next ~6 months) of the car’s release, dealer stock has been fairly low, and not well spread out over the country.
That is no longer the case, as inventory has been making a steady climb over the past 90 days, and sits decently north of 5,000 vehicles available to be sold throughout the US. With deeper stock available in more places, we anticipate sales of the Volt to increase in the second half of 2016.
Nissan LEAF: NO DATA TO REPORT YET
It is no secret Nissan is struggling with the LEAF in the US.
In July, just 1,063 were sold (details), bringing the year to date total up to 6,856, off 38% from the 10,990 moved through the first 7 months of 2015.
Looking at year-over-year comps, sales were only off 9.5%, but that isn’t really good news…all that means is we have now completed a full year of poor sales for the EV.
With new battery options upcoming and an all-new, next generation LEAF set to debut in the not-so-distant future, it appears Nissan is actively managing existing inventory lower in the US.
During July average stocked inventory fell to a 2016 low around ~2,500 units, and the “new” 30 kWh version (also know as the SV/SL trims) fell to about half of the total. Basically it is impossible for Nissan to perform much better than it has of late.
Well, that is just about it for the Cadillac ELR, as an exhausted inventory has nothing much left to give.
For July, just 15 of the premium version of the 1st generation Volt were sold in the US, bringing the total for 2016 up to 511 copies.
Previously in June, Cadillac managed to find and sell 94 ELRs. Simply put, with less and less ELRs in stock to sell, GM sells ‘less and less’ of them.
As for those dwindling inventory supplies, they now won’t last long as GM discontinued ELR production at its Hamtramck, Michigan facility in February and the sell-off has been on ever since. Between dealers and what is in GM’s pen we count maybe ~100 copies left at best before the car is gone forever. The ELR will shortly be replaced with the much larger CT6 plug-in sedan (details)
Overall for 2015, 1,024 were moved, which was off 22% from the 1,310 sold in 2014.
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 original, first generation 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.
Before reading this next bit, you may want to be seated.
After a dreadful sales start to the year (selling just 814 copies in the first 3 months), and around ~600-700 the last couple months, BMW sold 1,479 copies of the i3 in July!
How did this happen? How did BMW turn sales around on the i3? We aren’t quite sure (although we imagine dealer level discounts were somewhat in play).
Regardless, July’s result was the 2nd best all-time month showing since the car first went on sale in May of 2014 (September of 2015 is still the high-water mark for i3 sales in the US at 1,710).
For the year through June, 4,359 i3s have been sold, off 19% from the 5391 moved in 2015. How large was the gain in July? Last month, YTD sales were off 45%.
Soon BMW i3 sales should go even higher, as battery upgrade from today’s 22 kWh model moves to 33 kWh (details), giving the EV an all-electric range of 114 miles.
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.
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 (see below)
Revisions/disclaimer to accuracy of prior estimates: The 2015 Model S sales chart was adjusted (one time – after the completion of the full year of estimates) by 498 units to compensate for confirmed full year numbers. 2014 sales chart was adjusted (one time – again after the end of the full year of estimates) 611 units to compensate for full year numbers. While past success is no guarantee of future results, InsideEVs is quite proud of its sales tracking for the Model S over the years.
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.
June ended with the typical nightmare-bizarro delivery show we have come to expect from Tesla, in its rush to hit end of quarter results…which for Q2 they did not (details), as the company left some 5,150 completed customer cars “in transit” on June 30th.
Then as the calendar flipped to July, and with a US holiday falling on the first Monday of the month, everything seemed to return to “Andy of Mayberry” speed (think anti-Ludicrous) early in the new quarter – at least when it came to the push to deliver physical cars to customers.
As mentioned in last month’s recap, a late June focus on producing the latest entry to the Model S lineup – entry level 60 kWh cars, turned into a swell of base cars being delivered by mid-month. Put another way, if you went online and ordered a 60 kWh Model S 4 weeks ago…it is more than likely already on your driveway today.
As to those “in transit” cars, a good whack (as well as a lot of current/recent production) are now heading out internationally it would seem – look for a much better result in places “not the US” in Q3 and Q4 as the focus shifts away from just getting domestic production of the Model X running smoothly while making as many regional deliveries as possible in the US in Q2.
It is always tricky to split out sales by the trim level (and on a regional basis), but we would eat our hat if we learned that Tesla didn’t deliver more than 50% of July’s cars in the 60 kWh version.
For July, we estimate that 2,150 Model S sedans were delivered.
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)
Historical accuracy/Sales Update (July 3rd): Tesla recorded lower than expected worldwide sales for Q2 (details), but we have to note that all but a handful of Model X deliveries was made in North America. For the quarter Tesla reported 4,625 Model X deliveries…and not to brag but, our estimated scorecard got within ~55 units of the actual number. In Q1 we where within ~200 units.
Tesla has some pretty steep production goals needed to be met to hit full year estimates (pegged at around 80,000 units of the Model S & X overall), and quite honestly, the company has yet to consistently prove it is all that great at being able to produce the X in volume for any length of time…whether that be by design or by inability.
For July, it was back to sleepy time in America for the X, as the focus was back on the “we can make and deliver that in 21 days” Model S and too long ignored international production/deliveries.
While it is too early to tell for sure, it appears as though Tesla is determined to post a “beat” for sales expectations for Q3, and they are likely going to accomplish it on the back of prioritizing Model S production, especially with the 60 kWh version.
Only a fraction of June’s total deliveries were repeated in July, we estimate that 750 Model X SUVs were delivered during the month.
Also of note: after intentionally managing production to deliver almost no Model X SUVs internationally in Q1/Q2, expect to see the first real wave of them to hit in the very near future, and to play a much larger role in those ‘total year sales expectations’ in Q4.
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV:
The first (and widely anticipated) plug-in offering from Volvo to be offered in the US arrived late December, and the company posted 226 sales in its first full month in January.
Since then, the XC90 plug-in has found a consistent selling range in the ‘100s’
For July, that number was 178 copies, after previously moving 166 in June.
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 there is for the first extended range PHEV in America once it really gets its footing (and some decent inventory), as Volvo already under-estimate demand for the XC90 plug-in by a factor of 5 in 2015 for Europe.
Chevrolet SPARK EV:
The advent of a new “geared-to-income” EV rebate program in California this Spring lead to the monthly lease cost of the Chevy Spark EV to fall to….zero.
Yes, that is right, if you make under 3x the federal poverty limit (35k, or 73k for a family income for 4) – go find a dealer willing to knock off about $1,000 bucks and you get a free EV.
As one might expect under that program, Spark EV got a lot of notice and sales shot shortly thereafter.
However, the issue heading into the summer …is that the CVRP funding as been temporarily cut-off thanks to some political posturing (details). How would people feel about paying full retail for the tiny all-electric Chevy out of the gate and “waiting” on California’s IOU for the kickback?
Apparently in July, they were ok with it, as 333 were sold.
In 2015, GM sold 2,629 Spark EVs in the US, impressive considering the improvement over 2014 numbers, when 1,145 were moved.
The latest offering to hit the US plug-in market is the new BMW 330e, the plug-in hybrid version of the company’s high selling 3 series offering.
The 330e (from $44,695 including DST), physically arrived in April in a token amount, but it will take some months yet for inventory of consequence to arrive as the model has proven exceptionally (and unexpectedly) popular in Europe.
For July some improvement was noted (as again this month – no inventory), with 81 sales logged. Previously June, 26 plug-in 3-series cars were sold by BMW, after moving 67 in May.
Ultimately, whenever BMW is able to build inventory (which is a big problem at the moment with high worldwide demand), we expect the 330e to easily be able to see 500+ units per month.
For now, the best BMW has been able to stock of the 330e on average in the first few months since launch is about~100 units of inventory, a number that is not increasing. We expect to not see those higher inventory numbers (or sales) arrive until the 2017 model year is introduced in the Fall.
As for the specs, the final EPA ‘real world’ range rating of just 14 all-electric miles (via a 7.6 Kwh battery – 5.7 usable) was a disappointment for some hoping for a number closer to 20, but with a 75 mph top speed in “Max eDrive”, it is a capable offering (featuring a 2 liter turbo inline 4) and should satisfy the traditional BMW crowd and be a strong seller.
The electric motor develops 87 hp with maximum peak torque of 184 lb-ft, when combined with the petrol engine, the total output jumps to 248 hp, with a peak torque of 310 lb-ft, allowing a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph.
Check out the BMW 330e’s online configurator here.
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 7 months on the market, it has not not disappointed. If it wasn’t for the BMW X5 plug-in, we would give it that title today.
After setting a new all-time record in May with 361 sales, Audi managed to almost eclipse that number in July, but came up just short…still selling a very respectable 349 copies.
Overall, almost 2,300 copies have been sold…a not insignificant contribution to the US plug-in vehicle sales scene. That said, Audi is still certainly not in the “big boys” category for EV sales, but also is definitely not in the “also rans” either.
Audi has also been proving the statement “you need to stock it, to sell it“, as sales have grown stronger with inventory levels; for July about ~1,200 units on average where on had to be sold. Look for a big 2nd half of 2016 (relatively speaking) for the plug-in Audi.
Part of the reason for strong sales for the A3 e-tron is also the (relatively) 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.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED (B250e):
Perhaps it has because the bar has been continually lowered for the B-Class ED (now actually named the B250e), but the 50 sold in July seems like a reasonable amount vs demand for city EVs these days.
Previously in June 44 were sold, while 49 were moved in May.
pril notched 56 and 66 were moved in March.
The B-Class has a bit of a rough go since its entry to the US. The original model year run (2014) was extremely short, the 2015 edition came late and without much fanfare or inventory, and the 2016 edition was hit early with a stop sale (which has now been resolved) then was cut-off at the knees with a lack of a “stock inventory” program by Mercedes.
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).
Last Fall 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.
Ford Fusion Energi:
Did the US consumer warm up to the refreshed, longer range 2017 Ford Fusion Energi (details) in June?
You bet they did, as Ford crushed previous results, setting a new multi-year high previously selling 1,700 copies of its (now) 21 mile, extended range EV!
For July, the momentum continue to roll for Ford, with a still impressive result of 1,341 Fusion Energis sold.
The past two months sales has done enough to keep the Ford decently in front of a surging Model X for 3rd place on the plug-in ‘best sellers’ list in America.
Looking at the inventory and it is easy to see why (and how) so many Fusion plug-ins have sold over the first few months of the year; the Fusion Energi has often won the crown for the “most stocked” EV in the US.
Were it not for the recent surge in Chevy Volt inventory, it would still lead the pack…although the total available volume has fallen over the past two month, but still at a solid ~3,300 or so average in July.
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.
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 late 2016 as the all-new Toyota Prius Prime hits the market (full details).
Toyota is just 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.
After setting a 2016 high for Prius PHV sales in June …at just 11 units, sales regressed to 4 cars in July (we really aren’t sure where these last stragglers are coming from actually).
Overall 46 have moved in 2016, off just a scant 99% from the 3,474 sold in the first 5 months of 2015.
That being said, if the Prius Prime actually arrives with some time left in 2016, the company could still end the year with several thousand sales on the book, as the new 22 mile Prius plug-in is expected to compete for the sales crown in 2017.
However, in June we tracked down Toyota’s plant information and found out the Prius Prime enters retail production this September…so our new hunch is that it will not be available in any depth in America until closer to Christmas.
Some industry insiders think upwards of 50,000 could be sold during its first full year on the market in 2017…provided that Toyota decides to fully stock it (but we think they will).
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.
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 with the new Prime – 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-Benz GLE 550e:
With all the fanfare of…well, absolutely nothing, the first GLE 550es quietly slipped on to Mercedes dealer lots in June.
We contacted Daimler on the GLE 550e’s status in the US, as well as how many the company sold in the plug-in SUV’s debut months (June & July)…which turned out to be 19 in June, and 30 in July.
And it turns out the GLE 550e is available only as a special request factory order (by your local dealer, or by customer order)…and is not a “stock program” (think Ford Focus EV for a handy reference as to what this means).
Normally the sales recap would not be the place to go over the particulars of what a plug-in can do – but 99.9% of readers probably didn’t even know it existed until we mentioned it, so here goes…
Price: from $65,550
Engine: 3.0 L turbo, combined with electric motor puts out 436 hp
Acceleration: 0-60 in 5.3 seconds
All electric range: 10 miles (12 blended) – 42 MPGe
/now you know
Mercedes-Benz S 550h:
When it comes to plug-in luxury, there is a new boss in town! Having arrived in 2015, the Mercedes S550 presents a level of refinement previously unseen in the EV segment for the US.
That said, the “new boss” comes at a heft price, and only by special order.
In July, only a single S550 H was sold…so not a lot.
Previously in June, 4 550 Hs were sold, just besting May’s 3. You get the idea, its not a “big seller” for Mercedes.
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.
Currently, 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.
NEW for 2017: The 550 H will be getting a new, larger battery – up to 13.3 kWh (details), which should give the massive tourer about ~20 miles of real world/EPA range. The plug-in luxury car will also be the first vehicle to offer a factory-installed wireless charging option in 2017, Mercedes notes this option will be made available on all new plug-in offerings in the future.
Hyundai Sonata PHV:
January was the first month the Sonata plug-in was even decently stocked, and Hyundai sold an estimated ~175 copies of the Sonata plug-in, foreshadowing that it will be a strong player in the EV space for 2016.
Since then sales have been steady, but July was a breakout month of sorts for the plug-in Hyundai, as we estimate sales at 375 cars during the month – a new 2016 high.
(As always, Hyundai is not keen to split out a specific number themselves, so we have to go by what rebate and dealer information there is to go on).
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.
The only question now is if Hyundai will inventory it like sister-company Kia with the Soul EV (as in hardly at all). During July about 350-odd showroom copies were on hand on average in limited states – although the car is available by customer order in all 50 states, which could push sales abnormally higher than would be expected with present inventory levels.
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’s e-Golf had a comeback month of sorts as 344 copies were sold in July, a new high for 2016, and about 10% better than a year ago.
Overall sales for 2016 are also about even against last year (1,799 vs 1,831).
Previously in June, Volkswagen sold 248 all-electric Golfs, 269 copies were moved in May.
We should note that these sales levels are not too bad considering a recently announced range upgrade coming mid-year for the 2017 edition (December/January-ish) – which has served to pretty much keep demand in check until that car’s arrival.
As mentioned, some sales help is on the way, as Volkswagen will have a first mover advantage of some sort upgrading the range on today’s e-Golf; the company said in May that a new longer range e-Golf will be in production by year’s end. The 2017 plug-in VW (details) will now feature a 35.8 kWh battery, increasing range to ~124 miles.
124 miles is a fairly significant number compared to today’s city EVs, but it still short of the like of the Chevrolet Bolt EV (200+ miles) which arrives in December, the new LEAF in early 2017, and the Tesla Model 3 (215+ miles) in late Summer of next year.
We expect with the release of this 2017 edition, inventories will deepen considerably in the US…along with sales.
The current 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:
If it wasn’t for the impressive results of the Ford Fusion Energi, we probably would look at C-Max Energi results a lot differently.
However this month it is hard to not notice when a new multi-year was set. In total, 755 C-Max Energis were sold in July, the best result since August of 2014.
Previously in June 630 were sold – a solid effort, and at the time, was the new 2016 high. The C-Max Energi now ranks as the 7th best selling plug-in for the US, just behind the BMW i3 – which passed the Ford this month with an incredible multi-year high of its own.
Still, it would not surprise us to see the C-Max Energi live only as long as it takes to introduce a Focus Energi, or another more capable PHEV (a casualty of the standard hybrids failure to compete well with the like of the Toyota Prius). But that won’t be happening in 2017 as Ford has confirmed the 2017 C-Max Energi will head into production this November – hopefully with some improved specs akin to its sister Fusion Energi.
Given the Fusion Energi’s recent all-electric and MPG upgrades (see details above under the Fusion Energi recap), we expect the C-Max Energi to get a similar boost at that time.
When it comes to sales, the BMW i8 (like its cousin i3) had a pretty rough start to the year. In fact it was terrible.
However, the company has found more buyers for their performance as 2016 has progressed.
For July, 166 i8s were sold, near identical to the 169 moved in June.
Heading into August, the inventory situation continues to be strong, as it seems every BMW dealer really enjoys having a a couple i8s in stock (one for the showroom window, and one to drive around him/herself). About ~450 are currently available for sale.
The all-time high sales mark for the BMW i8 came in December, when an unbelievable 656 were sold…perhaps it was the expensive ‘go to’ gift of the Holiday Season for that special someone? The old record was just 217 units, so to say this Christmas 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.
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…which is quite frankly a superior offering when it comes to “bang for the luxury buck”.
In July, 21 were sold – sad faces all around for the plug-n Porsche. In June, things were a touch better with 22 sales.
Basically, the upcoming refresh probably can’t come soon enough – and it comes this Fall.
The high mark for sales on the Panamera was set in the very first month it went on sale, with an amazing 141 sold in January of 2014.
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.
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. In July, the decent sales trend continued, as 148 Cayanne PHEVs were sold.
Amazingly, the Porsche has only strengthened sales since December (traditionally the easiest month to sell a vehicle with a plug).
There has even been enough demand of late for Porsche to introduce a premium “platinum edition” of the plug-in Cayenne.
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.
Even Porsche seems to have noticed, as inventory of the plug-in SUV has only increased through the past few month, averaging close to ~400 units of late.
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: After initially have some issues getting data on the plug-in Fiat, more registration and rebate data is now available. That being said, the number is estimated. Historically, the average margin of error per month has been about ~40 units in those moments when some confirmed data leaks out (usually from a recall).
So far in 2016, the Fiat 500e has remained a consistent performer, although the model itself has proven somewhat unreliable…at least if you go by national recalls (and fairly serious ones at that) – the 500e recently netted its 3rd such notice in June, due to a power inverter module that can experience voltage spike, which in turn can cause the propulsion system to shutdown at speed, which Chrysler says can “increase the risk of a crash”.
Despite all that, the 500e remains the most popular compliance EV that many can buy, we estimate 425 copies were sold in July.. For July, inventories of the 500e also ballooned to around 800 in stock on average (and at not a heck of a lot of participating dealerships).
The all-time high-water mark was around ~1,310 sales of the 500e in March of 2015.
BMW X5 xDrive40e:
Showing that early success was no fluke (and that a plug-in hybrid can actually sell this year with a BMW badge on the front), BMW sold a very strong 649 copies of the plug-in X5 in June, just a whisker off the all-time record set in April when 655 were moved.
This month’s result keeps the X5 plug-in solidly inside the “top 10” best sellers for the US. In June, the BMW SUV passed the Fiat 500e for 8th best overall. Who would have guessed?
Looking at the potential for future sales, BMW held a level of about 1,200 cars throughout July and into August – which near an all-time high, so we expect some decent numbers going forward.
Can the X5 plug-in break into the top the “top 7” sellers in the US in 2016, passing its sister-car the i3? A couple of months ago we probably would have said that was highly unlikely, but now, who knows, sale could take off even higher from here.
Check out our first drive review of the 13 mile AER BMW x5 xDrive40e here.
SMART ForTwo ED:
Daimler had been experiencing a slight rebound in sales for its 2 seat all-electric smart car, but that ended in June as sales reached a near-low for 2016 with just 53 sales.
However, July did see a light rebound as 62 were moved.
Previously in May 75 were sold, representing the year’s high.
With the summer upon us, our expectation for the little plug-in smart was a decent sales rebound…perhaps not its to former glory, but definitely returning to the 150-200 sales per month level.
Can it get there, not so far – and there is only 1 or 2 most of the season…we do know a little more dealer inventory would certainly go along way; however like the B250e from sister company Mercedes-Benz, Daimler may have tapped the brakes on production ahead of a generational upgrade.
The all-time record for sales in one month was set in December of 2014 when 351 were sold. The smart Ed ended 2015 with 1,387 sold – good for the 13th on the top selling plug-ins list for America.
Ford Focus Electric:
Do we really have to keep reporting on individual month’s sales for the Focus Electric? Every month is practically a carbon copy of the last…serious.
Another month, another nap for those interesting in following the sales progress of Ford’s first all-electric offering.
The Ford Focus is one of the longest available electric cars on the US market – and July marked the EV’s 52nd month to log sales in America, yet it never strays more than ~100 units from selling 150 copies per month. Seriously – never more than 100. It seems almost impossible…yet there it is…the Focus Electric, selling 100ish cars month in and month out.
In May, we though that 54 sold was “the boringest sales story ever to be told”, but we were wrong…as Ford managed to sell the exact same number in June 54. For July, things turned around and got “super exciting” as 58 were moved. HuZZah!
The model has sold between 53 and 198 sales per month in 49 of the past 50 months. With just one of those months passing the 200 level ever (August 2014 -264)
Ford has announced some time ago that a longer range, 100 mile 2017 Focus Electric would arrive later in 2016…which is good, but we still suspect won’t do much to help push sales any higher, as the entire industry BEV segment seems to be going through a product upgrade cycle.
Still, we were curious as to when these new Focus EVs actually might show up, and it appears that retail production for the US kicks off the second week of November…meaning next-to-nothing of the new product will actually be sold in 2016, and we’ll have to wait until 2017 to see if the longer range Ford EV gains more market acceptance.
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 the 100 unit mark during in its first full year on the market, Kia sold 179 copies in June – a number we probably should be celebrating, as it a new all-time record; but we just can’t do it, as the car’s potential is so much higher.
Previously, Kia moved 134 Soul EVs in June.
Hey Kia, maybe its time to ship a few more copies to the US?
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 the upcoming 110-mile Hyundai IONIQ Electric to signal the end of the Soul EV by 2017.
OTHERS: Plug-in vehicles that have ended sales/production are included in our chart under this heading. They include (but are not limited to) the Honda Fit EV, Toyota RAV4 EV, Honda Accord PHV, Porsche 918 Spyder