November 2016 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card
It appears as though plug-in electric vehicle sales will go out with a bang in 2016, as November posted another big leap forward in EV ownership in the US.
For the month an estimated 13,337 plug-in vehicles were sold, which was up 32.4% from a year ago.
Overall for the year, some 133,854 EVs have now been sold, up 31% from last year’s results through November (~102,310). The 2016 result also best the previous high water mark for full year results (2014 – 122,438)
November is also the 14th consecutive month* of record gains for plug-in sales in America. For the year, around 132,000 sales have been made through November, not only surpassing 2015’s total, but posting a 30%+ gain year-over-year.
Interestingly, the sales gains came without Tesla’s help in November, as the company was still focused on getting production back online after tooling its Fremont, CA assembly line to equip “full self-driving hardware” on all its EVs, in preparation for the day (possibly coming in 2018) when its cars would achieve full Level 5 autonomy.
Fortunately for Tesla, and for December’s outlook for EV sales in the US, by month’s end Tesla appeared to be once again running at full steam, and was sitting on a mountain of produced/in production EVs – now headed out to US consumers.
As mentioned, the rest of the industry came to play in November, as the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Energi, Nissan LEAF, Audi A3 e-tron all set new 2016 highs, while the Toyota Prius Prime (25 miles AER/54 MPG plug-in hybrid from $27,960 – details) set the new record for most EV sales for a new model in a debut month with 781 deliveries logged in November.
Looking ahead to December, Tesla looks to put up one of its all-time best results, the Prius Prime gets its first full month on the market, and of course the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, with 238 miles of all-electric range from $37,495 (details) arrives.
Separately, the Toyota Mirai sold 105 copies in November, bringing its 2016 YTD total to 918.
*On year of monthly sales improvements: We know someone is going to look at the chart and say, “hey, only ~11,447 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)
Last update: Friday, December 2nd, 2016 2:40 PM
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:
The production of the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV (and its announced 238 mile range) got underway in October, and as such cast a fairly large shadow over the best selling plug-in of all-time for the US – despite the Volt’s sales resurgence of late.
After becoming the first plug-in vehicle to cross the 100,000 sold threshold in the US in July (selling more than 2,400 copies), the Volt has continued to be a strong seller.
For November, GM set a new 2016 high (and 2nd generation best) for sales, notching 2,531 deliveries for the month, up 28% over a year ago.
November deliveries also gave the Volt the sales title for the month, for the second month in a row. Previously in October, GM moved 2,191 copies of the Volt.
For the year to day, 21,048 Volts have sold vs 13,279 last year, a gain of 58.5%. In order to best its all-time best yearly result (23,464 in 2012), GM will need to sell just over 2,400 copies in December.
It is no secret Nissan is struggling with the first generation LEAF in the US as it ages into a much needed upgrade shortly.
Yet despite that, the LEAF has set back-to-back 2016 highs in sales in October and November, and logged 3 consecutive months of gains.
This month’s result – 1,457 is now the new high water mark for the year, after selling 1,412 copies in October.
How rare have sales improvements been before this Fall? September through November’s gains were the first for the EV in America in 20 months (you’d have to go back to December of 2014 to other year-over-year increases).
Year to date, 12,107 LEAFs have now been sold, off 24% from the 15,922 moved through the first three quarters of 2015.
With a superior LEAF set to debut in the not-so-distant future, it appears Nissan is actively managing its existing 2016 inventory lower in the US – as that model (especially in the now defunct 24 kWh version) might prove fairly hard to move in 2017.
We should note that the entry level price to the 30 kWh/107 mile edition of the LEAF was lowered with the 24 kWh trim level’s removal – the 30 kWh LEAF now has a starting MSRP of $30,680 + DST.
During November average stocked inventory of the 2016 edition stayed historically low, to around ~1,700 units on average. Basically, until the inventory improves with the upgraded edition, it is impossible for Nissan to perform much better than it has of late.
Toyota Prius Prime:
Finally, after 18 months of waiting the first generation Prius plug-in has been replaced. Enter the all new, much improved Toyota Prius Prime (details) which arrived on US dealers lots on November 8th.
Not only did the Prime arrive in the US, but it set a new all-time record for the most sales by a new plug-in product in its first month ever with an impressive 781 sales!
The Prius Prime is here, and it might just be your 2017 plug-in sales champion for the US.
The Toyota not only features its own unique look, but 25 miles of all-electric range.
But most importantly, the plug-in Toyota is priced right – from $27,950, which after the $4,500 federal credit is applied gives the Prime an effective price of $23,450, a price-point that is actually more than $1,000 cheaper than the base hybrid version…which should eventually translate into very strong sales once the EV is well stocked, as the standard version of the car can sell upwards of 10,000 units in a month.
Overall, the BMW brand has been taking a pounding in 2016, with sales off 18.2% in November, and more than 10% year to date…against a backdrop of stronger sales among all the other OEMs.
And when it comes to plug-in vehicle sales in the US, no model has been more unpredictable than the BMW i3. As an example, the BMW i3 sold 442 copies in October, 391 copies in September, 1,479 in July, 608 in June, 814 in April and 182 in January.
Thankfully both longer range/33kWh versions of the i3 BEV (all-electric version) and the i3 REx (extended range petrol version) started to arrive in some volume in November, and BMW managed to sell 629 copies for the month.
For the year BMW has sold 6,834 i3s in 2016, compared to 9,602 a year ago – off 29%
On average in November, BMW had about 700 copies in stock during the month, about at par with October’s level.
Truthfully, BMW’s managing of its electrified fleet over the past year (now 7 strong worldwide) as been about abysmal as possible, as the company has potentially left 10s of thousands of sales behind globally thanks to an unpreparedness to produce plug-ins to demand levels. The only question that remains is whether or not it was/is intentional.
Earlier in September we got all the US EPA specs on the new 33 kWh i3 REx (details), namely 97 miles of all electric range, backed up by 83 miles of petrol abilities – for a total of 180 miles of driving range; numbers that most US customers didn’t seem all to please with (considering the 22 kWh 2016 version had a cumulative 150 mile rating).
Fortunately, we have been able to have the opportunity to have a long term/first hand review on both trim levels.
- BMW i3 (33 kWh) BEV – read InsideEVs’ own Michael Beinenson’s 1,000 mile report here
- BMW i3 (33 kWH) REx – read InsideEVs’ own Tom Moloughney’s first drive comparison here
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 2016 Model S chart has been adjusted (via one time via US Q3 data leaked directly from Tesla) by 469 units. 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. The 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.
Generally putting one’s thumb on all the ins and outs of Tesla’s fairly complicated production and delivery process, and then sussing out how many deliveries were made to the US (and when), can be a tricky thing.
And then some months, like this one, there is big old albatross that takes all that away. For November, its name is “fully self driving hardware“. Tesla announced that all new vehicles were now coming equipped with the functionality as of mid-October production…but they didn’t say how fast that production was happening, or how long it was going to take those vehicles to get to customers.
Hint: it was not fast.
Some Tesla customers who had expected cars in late September, have seen deliveries slip not only past October, but now November because of the chaos that appears to be the new hardware.
Ultimately, Tesla US-bound production of the Model S did get decently underway with some volume by mid-November according to our sources, but apparently the fully self-driving hardware (at least in the early days) have extended the average wait time until delivery (call it extended QC if you like)…because not many got out before the month closed.
That said, and for those who might are inclined to be concerned with quarterly sales, production at Tesla seems to be now underway at a very high clip and Tesla is still sitting on a virtual mountain of produced/in production customer ordered cars, that are just about to find a home in December.
Does this mean Tesla will hit its Q4/full year estimate? We can’t say that for sure as the company has definitely backed itself into a corner with AP 2.0. The company will certainly have an exceptional December, but will need flawless execution throughout the month (something we have yet to see in Q4) to have a shot at those ~25,000 Q4 deliveries.
For the 2nd month in a row, Tesla has underwhelmed in the US for deliveries, we estimate 1,400 sales for the month.
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 (Oct 11th):
Tesla recently leaked US sales data for Q3 2016 put US deliveries at 5,428. Our own Q3 estimate was 5,800 for North America, which includes Canada (which ended Q3 with 389 registrations for the quarter), meaning 5,787 were actually sold – and not to brag…but that means we were only off by 13 units in Q3.
Previously in Q2 2016, Tesla reported 4,625 Model X deliveries…our estimated scorecard got within about ~55 units of the actual number (accounting for just a handful of international Model X deliveries). In Q1 we where within ~200 units.
Like the Model S, Tesla’s all-electric SUV faced some delivery hiccups for North America in November. As we understand it, the month started off with a lot of foreign/RHD production, and then moved to more domestic-focused production in week two…kinda.
Changes on the Model X production line to accommodate new hardware slowed the whole process down, and waiting on vehicles to clear quality control and be scheduled for delivery meant another month mostly lost to the new “enhanced Autopilot” program.
Maybe introducing the Autopilot 2.0 tech while also trying to play catch-up on full year delivery estimates wasn’t such a hot idea…especially seeing how the software still isn’t even ready to enable it.
Anyway, that is water under the bridge now, as the kinks seemed to be worked out and production appears to now be moving at an aggressive clip – unfortunately a bit too late to help out November sales.
For the month we estimate that 900 Model X NA deliveries were made.
Well, that is just about it for the Cadillac ELR, as an exhausted inventory has nothing much left to give.
After selling just 15 in July, sales in both August and September plumbed new depths, with just 6 sold in each month. That is until October, as GM managed to find and sell 3 more copies.
For November – 5 were sold – bringing the YTD total to 531.
June was really the last hoorah for the plug-in, as Cadillac managed to find and sell 94 ELRs.
Consider the ELR’s mention on this sales list more of an honorary position, as it will leave the tally recap in the new year after 3 years of service.
As for those last few copies , 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 ~30 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).
Of note: The 2016 edition of the ELR did 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 same 17.1 kWh battery found in the original, first generation Chevrolet Volt.
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV:
Since the XC90’s debut a year ago, the plug-in SUV has found a consistent selling range in the ‘100s’ range over 2016
And for October, that number was a ‘true-to-form’ 161 copies, after previously moving 142 in October.
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.
Check out a recent electric range and efficiency test drive video review on the XC90 T8 here.
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).
Chevrolet SPARK EV:
With the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EV just arriving, the Spark EV filled the pure electric car sales “gap” almost perfectly, as inventory has just now has exhausted itself in November.
As a result of the changing of the pure EV guard at GM, just 39 Spark EVs were sold – and we expect GM to be virtually sold out in a matter of weeks.
Previously during October, 260 copies were sold, after moving 315 all-electric Sparks in September
Going forward, sales will continue to trickle in for a few months more… but in a mutes fashion, as the last ~75 or so copies find homes.
We checked in with GM to see if there was any hidden inventory left and GM basically confirmed what we had know to be true for the last 6 months of so.
“The 2016 Model Year is the final year for Spark EV. We produced our last in the summer and are now selling remaining inventory.”
So closes the chapter on GM’s 82 mile all-electric car, which very uncommonly found itself in a sales boon during its last months thanks to a “geared-to-income” EV rebate program in California that kicked off this past Spring, which led to the monthly lease cost of the Chevy Spark EV falling to just about….zero.
One of the latest offerings 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, and it has taken BMW 8 months to…still, not stock it very well.
BMW noted in July that sales globally have gone so well that the 330e is effectively sold out for the remainder of 2016 (same goes for the just released 740e)…meaning the US will only get its rationed allotment of cars for quite some time.
For November BMW started to show signs of being able to physically get cars to the US as 215 BMW 330es found new homes – a new high, after 92 were sold previously in October.
Ultimately, whenever BMW is able to build inventory, we expect the 330e to easily be able to see 500+ units per month.
We should note on that subject that we actually started to see more inventory starting to arrive in late October, and that number grew to pass 400 for the first time ever in November, which is a big increase after ~7 months of only having around 100 in stock. Hopefully, this is the start of consistently deeper volumes, and higher sales.
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.
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:
Audi has defined the word “consistent” when it comes to plug-in vehicle sales this year.
Although in November, Audi took the selling range of its A3 e-tron up a notch, as the plug-in hybrid sold an all-time best 394 copies!
Previously in October, 348 e-tron versions of the A3 were sold. For the year, the A3 e-tron has sold 300-odd copies in 10 of 11 months to date.
Just check out the last 7 months results: 394-Nov, 348-Oct, 312- Sept, 346-Aug, 349-July, 353-June, 361-May. Our prediction for December? Hrm, lets break with convention and go with 400.
Overall, almost 3,691 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.
Quirky fact not really related to EV sales, but certainly aided with the arrival of the A3 e-tron, the Audi brand has now set 71 consecutive months of record year-over-year sales in the US.
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 52 sold in November seems like a reasonable amount vs demand for the city EV these days.
Previously in October, 58 were sold.
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.
Then in August we saw the B250e sister car in China get a new 62 kWh battery pack (likely good for close to 200 miles of real world range), that might foreshadow what Daimler has in store this autoshow season for the all-electric B-Class.
BMW took the lead for “most plug-ins” offering in the US in September, as the 740e (details) joined the company’s lineup.
At least we thought they did…but by month’s end we found ourselves asking, “Where the flip is the 740e?”
Truthfully, BMW’s apathy to producing and delivering cars as promised in the US sucks the life out of us writing these reports.
Did BMW deliver any 740es in September? No. October? Nope. Will it arrive in November? Once again, no.
Best case is we see a handful of sales this year, and a handful more sales in Q1 of 2017. Our advice to BMW: after failing to build and deliver multiple other plug-in offerings on time, maybe it would be a good idea to only promise what you can deliver..maybe then you wouldn’t be the only major brand in the the US off by 9% for the year.
Like the BMW 330e, the 740e is both a new plug-in product, and one that is in high demand. Even before the first copy was sold in the US, BMW has announced that all the global production for the 740e is spoken for in 2016…which means the US will be getting a token amount over the next ~6 months or so.
What will the demand ultimately be for the 740e? It is hard to say, but the $89,100 starting MSRP (less federal credit of $4,500) makes it near price identical to the 740i xDrive, and only a couple thousand more expensive than the “base” 7 series (at $81,500).
Given that BMW sell some 1,000 copies of the 7 Series on average in the US, it is not unreasonable to think a few hundred of the 740e could be sold each month once they are stocked.
Ford Fusion Energi:
Did the US consumer warm up to the refreshed, longer range 2017 Ford Fusion Energi (details) that debuted in June?
You bet they did, as Ford immediately crushed previous results, setting a new multi-year high that month.
From there things have only improved, and in November Ford sold 1,817 Fusion Energis – once again a new high, and almost an all-time best (1,939 – June 2014).
Now with 6 months of very strong sales, the Ford managed to wrestle away the #3 spot on the top selling plug-ins list from the Tesla Model X in November.
Looking at the inventory and it is easy to see why (and how) so many of the new Fusion plug-ins sold over the past few months; the Fusion Energi has often won the crown for the “most stocked” EV in the US…but it does seem that Ford is struggling with the strong demand for the 21 mile AER plug-in hybrid, as the average dealer stock fell to around ~2,400 units in October, then further still in November to just under 2,000 copies – the lowest level of the year.
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.
The plug-in SUV then proceeded to sell 19 copies in its debut month, followed by 30, 24, 26 and 19 thereafter.
For November, it was more of the same – with 30 sales logged…technically a tie for the “year high”.
We spoke with Mercedes about its GLE 550e, and as it turns out the SUV 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 550e:
When it comes to plug-in luxury, there is a new boss in town! Having arrived in 2015, the Mercedes S550e presents a level of refinement previously unseen in the EV segment for the US.
That said, the “new boss” comes at a hefty price, and only by special order.
For October sales, the plug-in Mercedes surprised…no shocked us with its results. After setting a new all-time high in September with 41 sales, the model did 4x better in October – selling an amazing 174 copies – which is BMW i8 territory.
Things got back to normal for November, but a still decently impressive 52 copies were moved; were it not for October’s result, this month would have been the Mercedes plug-in’s best.
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 S 550e 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, with an estimated 285 sold in November, after selling about 250 cars in October by our figuring.
(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 November about 250-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.
It has been hard to get a read on the sales demand for VW’s all-electric Golf for the most part this year as sales have fluctuated quite a bit.
After setting a year’s best in August (with 454 copies sold), Volkswagen improved on that number again in September, selling 529 copies, before setting back down to 407 sales in October.
For November, 305 copies were sold.
We should note that these sales levels are relatively strong 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 (and inventory’s low) 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 2017 plug-in VW will now feature a 35.8 kWh battery, increasing range to ~124 miles and debuted at the LA Auto Show in November (details – launch gallery/video). Production of the new e-Golf gets underway in December, and we expect to start seeing some copies arrive in the US for late January/early February.
Also of interest, VW outlined its plans passed the refreshed e-Golf from the Paris Motor Show in October, stating that the all-electric I.D. will enter production in about 3 years time, and will have 400-600 km (249-373 miles) of range. (We should note that estimate was given on the optimistic Euro/NEDC scale – in term of real-world/EPA estimated miles, we would expect 180-270 miles…still a pretty big spread)
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.
For November, the Ford plug-in C-Max sold 721 copies – close to the year-high that was set in July (755).
The C-Max Energi now ranks as the 7th best selling plug-in for the US, and after besting the BMW i3 the past 3 months, is now within striking distance of the #6 spot (166 sales shy).
Despite these results, we expect that the C-Max Energi will live only as long as it takes to introduce a Ford’s new “Model E” lineup in Spring of 2019 (offering both a compact car and crossover utility vehicle).
For the short term future, Ford has confirmed the 2017 C-Max Energi will head into production this November, and it will also get a slight refresh (not the full treatment we saw in Europe, but a light alteration from the 2016 North American version).
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 the same 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, but unlike the i3, sales have since stabilized and improved as 2016 has progressed.
After selling an impressive 199 copies in October – a new 2016 high, BMW sold another 173 in November, which was up almost 50% from a year ago.
Year to date, 1,461 i8s have been sold, which is now only off 9% from 2015 when 1,609 where moved, thanks to the recent surge,
Heading into December, the inventory situation has however continued to weaken – perhaps as a response to the winter season (although year-end sales are traditionally highest in December thanks to the $7,500 Fed credit logistics and the current tax year). About ~250 are currently available for sale – a year low.
Also of note: More and more whispers point to the fact that the next BMW i8 will not only have a lot more power on tap (up to 750 HP), but that BMW will be offering the 2nd generation i8 as a pure electric car – perhaps in order to better compete against the likes of the new Tesla Model S P100DL.
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid:
The original Panamera S e-Hybrid was never 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”.
However, for November sales bucked the trend (perhaps with deeper incentives on the car to make way for the new improved version in 2017). For the month 88 were sold – a year high.
Basically, the upcoming refresh probably can’t come soon enough.
Speaking of which, the plug-in Panamera’s replacement was announced this October – the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (yes, the name is just as dreadful), then in November a “Executive” model was added to the upcoming lineup – a feature that stretches the wheelbase even further for the comfort of those who care to be chauffeured.
Good news is that it gets AWD, twice the L2 charging speed (7.2 kW vs 3.6 kW), and a 50% larger battery that gives the Porsche 31 miles/50km of NEDC/EURO range…which translates to about 25 miles in the US (up from the 16 miles found in the original). Bad news? It isn’t expected in the US until around late April! Boo!
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.
Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid:
While the first iteration of the Panamera S E-Hybrid struggles to prove viability, the Cayenne plug-in continues to put more butts in the seats.
Amazingly, Porsche has only strengthened sales in the US this year, despite added pressure from the likes of the BMW X5 plug-in and Tesla Model X in the plug-in utility class.
For October, the decent sales trend continued, as 179 Cayenne PHEVs were sold, besting October’s result of 138 sales.
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- thanks to deal such as this one on Black Friday ($49/month with nothing down*), and the 500e remains the most popular compliance EV that many can buy.
Despite some slowness in the arrival of the new 2017 model, we estimate ~390 copies of the 500e were sold in November. And as one might expect awaiting on the 2017s, inventories of the 500e fell off some, averaging about ~300 copies of the 2016 edition during the month according to our count.
BMW X5 xDrive40e:
The BMW X5 plug-in has had an unexpectedly strong debut in the US…and it has only gotten stronger and stronger as more time passes.
In fact, it easily wins the award for “best newcomer” in 2016, which was topped off by the all-time best 876 sales that were made in August!
Perhaps not unexpectedly, subsequent monthly sales drop off a touch while the company attempted to replenish new inventory on dealer lots. In the following two months, BMW sold 436 plug-in SUVs in November, and 406 in October.
As was the case in October, inventory of the X5 plug-in stayed very tight in November, with around a 30 days supply available to be had from local BMW dealerships.
This month’s result keeps the X5 plug-in solidly inside the “top 10” best sellers for the US, currently sitting in 8th place after passing the Fiat 500e in June.
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 earlier this year, but that ended just as Summer arrived.
After selling a season low 43 cars in October, 47 were sold in November.
The sales malaise (and lack of dealer stock) is likely due to the anticipation of a new, next gen offering that arrives in in early 2017 with a new look, and a slight range increase – up to 85 miles.
That new model made its US debut at the LA Auto Show in November – of which one can check out all the specs and details in our “from the show” report – here.
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 November marked the EV’s 56th 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.
For October …zzzz…66 more...zzzz….Ford Focus…zzz…Electrics were sold.
The model has sold between 53 and 198 sales per month in 53 of the past 54 months. With just one of those months passing the 200 level ever (August 2014 – 264)
Thankfully, all of that might change, as the 2017 Ford Focus EV started production on November 14th, and should start arriving by late 2016/early 2017.
Most importantly is the 2017 edition of plug-in Focus gets a new, larger 33.5 kWh battery (up from 23 kWh) and a 115 mile range rating (up from 76). Also added is standard DC fast charging (CCS). But best of all, the price actually dropped by $50 bucks too – now starting from $29,120. Full details can be found here, but here is to hoping we break those 100-ish sales doldrums soon!
Kia SOUL EV:
Kia seems to be emulating the Focus Electric with the plug-in Soul EV…and that is not a good thing.
Having straying far from the 100 unit mark during in its first two years on the market, Kia broke with tradition entering year three! …and sold 217 copies in September!
Ok, it’s not that exciting of an accomplishment, it is a new all-time high for the brand.
Then things fell back to normal in October with 190 sales, and last month with 179.
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
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