Several Plug-Ins Hit New 2016 Highs, As November EV Sales In US Rise Sharply

4 months ago by Jay Cole 76

Toyota Prius Prime arrives in a big way in November - setting a "debut record" with almost 800 sales (Prime seen here at US dealer - Expressway Toyota)

Toyota Prius Prime arrives in a big way in November – setting a “debut record” with almost 800 sales (Prime seen here at US dealer – Expressway Toyota)

Many major plug-in offerings in the US surged to new 2016 highs, as plug-in vehicle sales in the US resumed its aggressive second half growth after mostly taking October off.

For the month an estimated 13,337 EVs were sold, a 32.4% gain over the ~10,070 moved a year ago.

The 2nd generation of Chevrolet Volt set its own personal best selling month with 2,531 deliveries in November

The 2nd generation of Chevrolet Volt set its own personal best selling month with 2,531 deliveries in November

Overall for 2016, 133,854 plug-ins have been sold, besting any previous year’s result, while showing a 31% year-to-date gain.

Perhaps even more significant than the full year plug-in sales gains, is the momentum itself.  For the past 6 months, sales are up 44% (84,065 vs 58,417).

Somewhat surprisingly, the big gains did not come on the back of Tesla, as the company spent part of November still dealing with some growing pains surrounding production of its Autopilot 2.0/self driving hardware – a problem the company looks to have sorted out by week 4 of the month.

Picking up the slack was the Chevrolet Volt, which was the best selling plug-in for the 2nd month in a row in the US with more than 2,500 sales (details) – year’s best.

Not to be outdone, the aging Nissan LEAF also managed a year’s best with almost 1,500 sales, while the Ford Fusion Energi set another new year-high with just over 1,800 sales (only ~100 units away from its all-time high).

However, the most surprising result was from a plug-in that wasn’t really even expected this month – the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV arrives in December - can the 238 mile EV dent the "top 5" monthly sales debut?

The Chevrolet Bolt EV arrives in December – can the 238 mile EV dent the “top 5” monthly sales debut?

The Prime arrived early at US dealers (around November 8th), and despite very limited inventory (and limited time to which to sell), the 25 mile extended range Toyota sold an outstanding 781 copies in November – a new monthly sale debut record for any EV offering.

Top 5 debuts all-time in US:

  1. Toyota Prius Prime – 781
  2. BMW i3 – 336
  3. Chevrolet Volt – 326
  4. Fiat 500e – 200*
  5. Ford C-Max Energi – 144

Looking ahead, we expect December to be an exceptionally strong month.

In fact, with the arrival of the new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, a full month’s worth of Prius Prime sales, a resurgent Tesla Motors scrambling to hit full year sales guidance, and the fiscal 2016 year expiry of the federal $7,500 tax credit, we would be surprised if anything less than 20,000 plug-ins were sold for the month.

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers, NA for X – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers, NA for X – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

Other Statistical Points of Interest from November 2016

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

Ford was the top plug-in manufacturer in November (new ~115 mile/DCFC equipped 2017 Ford Focus shown above)

Ford was the top plug-in manufacturer in November (new ~115 mile/DCFC equipped 2017 Ford Focus shown above)

  1. Ford – 2,604
  2. General Motors – 2,575
  3. Tesla Motors* – 2,300
  4. Nissan 1,457
  5. BMW – 1,453
  6. VW Group – 966
  7. Toyota – 781

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In November*

  1. PHEV – 8,162 – 61.2%
  2. BEV – 5,175 -38.8%

New Year Highs Set In November By Model (previous 2016 high in brackets)

  • Chevrolet Volt – 2,531 (2,406)
  • Ford Fusion Energi – 1,817 (1,700)
  • Nissan LEAF – 1,457 (1,412)
  • Toyota Prius Prime – 781
  • Audi A3 e-tron – 394 (361)
  • BMW 33o – 215 (92)
  • Porsche Panamera S e-hybrid – 88 (59)
  • Mercedes GLE 550e – 30 (30)

(*) estimated

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

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76 responses to "Several Plug-Ins Hit New 2016 Highs, As November EV Sales In US Rise Sharply"

  1. R.S says:

    The Prime will deliver what the Volt failed to do. Bring plug in hybrids to the masses

    *ducks down*

    1. Assaf says:

      Why do the Ducks need to come Down?
      Watch out
      🙂

    2. SparkEV says:

      * throws a shoe at R.S. *

    3. WadeTyhon says:

      The Volt was the visionary… ahead of its time. 🙂

      But I would love it if the Prime truly brought plug in hybrids to the masses.

      Toyota could do it if they want. They have green cred that Chevy didn’t in 2010.

      There will be no throwing things at you from me!

      1. SparkEV says:

        Shoe is due to my experience of Prius Plug-in taking charging spots and not actually charging. I fear large number of Primes will make the problem even worse. Here’s a picture of duckee and throwee.

        1. georgeS says:

          agreed Sparky. The charging spots should be reserved for only pure BEV’s:)

          1. Driverguy01 says:

            Not according to the etiquette….

          2. DJ says:

            Why because our EV miles are worth less than your guys? You pure BEV guys bought a car knowing full well it’s limitations. If you can’t make it home you only have yourself to blame. Unless of course another EV is plugged in to the charger and not actually charging.

            There is an ahole who thinks like you do where I workout. He is always annoyed if my Volt is charging and he can’t charge up his 85 MS. Once I moved because he said he was almost dead and the next week when he asked again I told him to charge up at home or one of these SCs I keep hearing about and walked away. Not surprising he doesnt ask me anymore. Just because it is free charging doesn’t mean that you can rely on it to be available so charge up that huge pack of yours and stop trying to make me drive on gas 🙂

            1. SparkEV says:

              I have no problem if they actually use public charger to charge their car. Problem is I have yet to see ANY Prius charging the car. It’s either not connected, or connected, but not charging. Since public charger cost more than running on gas engine, there’s no point in actually charging in public, and they don’t.

              Even worse, I’ve been ICE’d by Prius at DCFC spot. More Prius plug in (aka Prime) might mean more of these stupid behaviors. That’s why I threw the shoe(s).

              1. WadeTyhon says:

                When this happens, it is even more frustrating to me than when I see a non-EV in a charging spot.

                But this is not just a Prius Plug-In problem. I have seen Tesla’s and an i3 park in a blink station just for the priority parking.

                I have been “ICED” by the same Model S more than once at a restaurant where I go almost every weekend and always plug in. I called him out on plugshare but I have seen him park there once more since then.

                While I don’t necessarily think they should be towed… maybe they should be ticketed.

                1. Just_Chris says:

                  I think they should be ticketed, if you’re in a loading zone and you are not loading what happens? Really it is as simple as having a red light the comes on 10 min after the charger has stopped to let the traffic warden know you aren’t charging. Fines could be used to build more chargers. The charging station sends you text message when it’s stopped so there is no excuse.

                  It is as annoying to be stopped from charging by an ICE, PHEV or BEV that is not charging.

                  1. WadeTyhon says:

                    Yep, totally agree. As more people begin driving Plug Ins I think laws like this will pass.

            2. Kenz says:

              At our workplace we prioritize volts over full EVs because the goal is minimal gas usage, not personal gain/convenience.

          3. WadeTyhon says:

            I own a BEV and a PHEV. If the charging station is available, and the car has a usable range (aka energi, Volt, prius Prime, etc) then they both should have access. 🙂

            But once charged, people do need to unplug in a timely manner.

            I don’t think you will have this problem going forward though. As DC charger accessibility increases, and ranges for our BEV’s increase, most pure BEV drivers should rarely ever desperately *need* the L2 chargers.

        2. speculawyer says:

          This is why EV chargers should charge both by KWH AND by the hour. Don’t allow cars to just sit there not charging.

          1. SparkEV says:

            But if they’re not actually charging (ie, not connected, or connected but not initiated), how do you bill them? Tow truck might be the answer, but that seems harsh.

            1. DJ says:

              To be fair every car has those aholes. The Fusion guys where I work are aholes even though we have all left notes. Where I charge most often the PIP along with the rest of us are one of the courteous ones. The Teslas are also kind of jerks. They plug in for an hour and leave it until at least lunch time if not the whole day. Hellooooo just charge every other day or something…

              1. WadeTyhon says:

                Yes, I have been “ICED” by the same Tesla more than once. And by an i3.

                EVs who park at charging stations and do not plug in are just rude, thoughtless drivers.

                But as long as the driver is plugged in and actually charging, then I will not complain. 🙂

                1. SparkEV says:

                  I agree that the worst offender by quantity is Tesla S. However, there are far more Tesla S on the road, so the fraction of them ICE’ing charging spots is small. As a fraction of all Prius plug-in, it’s the top wost offender.

                  Also, I have seen some Tesla S actually charging. I know it doesn’t excuse ICE’ing aholes, but I have NEVER seen ANY prius actually charging, hence the shoe against more Prius plug-in (aka Prime).

            2. speculawyer says:

              Tow truck.

              If you are not connected to the charger then you should be towed. They are CHARGING spots, not parking spots.

              If you are connected to the charger but not charging because it is full but still getting charged money because you are using the spot then that is acceptable since you are still paying.

        3. TM says:

          I hadn’t seen the actual clip of that event. Nice duck by Bush.
          2017 should be a good year for EVs. Hopefully it will get goosed this time next year by the model 3. Well, whenever model 3 gooses the numbers, it will be interesting to see where the next surge will come from.

        4. SparkEV, you just provided a solution to Trump for solving unemployment: Charging Station Monitors….35,000 of them across America…1 for each station!

      2. R.S says:

        Thank you, Spark just throws too good!

        The thing is that the Volt just doesn’t seem to sell very well. The regular Prius sells around 100k-150k a year, the Volt might not even sell 25k in its first full year.

        If halve of all Prius sales would be Primes, the Prime alone would mean almost 50% plug in growth for 2017. And I don’t think it would even steal Volt sales, or from any other car on the list above.

    4. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “The Prime will deliver what the Volt failed to do. Bring plug in hybrids to the masses”

      Just like what Prius did to Insight in the US for hybrids?

      1. R.S says:

        Probably, I know that I won’t make friends here, but the Volt just doesn’t sell. The Bolt might, but the Volt is a 2,000 car.
        The Prime has the potential to be a 10k car.

        I don’t want to blame GM, dealers, customers, the Volt as a car. But it just doesn’t deliver the sales it should. Wait 2 years and it will sell around 1k again, just like the old generation Volt.

        1. leafowner says:

          I agree. If the Volt would have taken the i# route as a pure electric with REX instead, my bet is it would have sold A LOT more in the market.

          1. leafowner says:

            i3 that is….

        2. Raymond J Ramirez says:

          Many Chevy dealers don’t want to sell the Volt because it cuts into sales for other sedans that generate more profis, and it has very little maintenence which affect future income. GM cannot force those dealers to sell it.

          1. JAReim says:

            … and that’s why the dealer network system needs to be revamped or gotten rid of. Cheers to direct sales a la Tesla.

        3. BenG says:

          It’s the combination of price, size, limited utility that keeps Volt sales down, along with lack of dealer promotion. Dip in reliability rankings the last two years won’t be helping matters either.

          I love my 2012 Volt, but it is significantly smaller inside and less useful for moving people and stuff than my 2007 Prius. The Volt was just built and marketed as more of a small luxury sporty sedan than as a mass market compact car.

          Unfortunately the Prime also sacrifices utility with it’s smaller cargo space and 4 seats. They need to fix whatever engineering problems they have that prevent a regular 5-seat with fold down rear like the regular Prius. There are a ton of families with kids that might buy the car with 5 seats but will avoid with 4.

    5. Scott says:

      Sat in a Prime, said to be the only one in Arizona. I thought it was ok, but the first gen Volt backseat is a disappointment. Also, the steering wheel adjusted all the way up still felt really low, and I am a skinny dude.

      I despise GM, the Prime has a bit more trunk space but with the 4 seater trade off and a much smaller AER, I would lean more towards the Volt..

      Toyota’s slow walking, has tarnished their reputation, in my opinion. Consider the price of a Prime Advanced compared to a CPO MS 60, and take into account the interior volume and…

      1. Politically Correct says:

        I hate to say it, but Camry and Prius drivers are the most timid I’ve ever seen. Inefficiently waiting way too long at right turns for pedestrians that aren’t even remotely in the middle of the intersection. Just GO!

        1. JAReim says:

          … anecdotal evidence is always the best!

      2. BenG says:

        I doubt there are very many people cross-shopping a new Prime vs a used Model S 60. Geez, your still talking $50k for the Tesla, with no tax credit.

        One of the beacons that attracts people to buying a new Prius is the rock-solid reliability, and that is one of the main worries I’d have about a used Model S. The 4 year 50k warranty on CPO is pretty good, but what about after that? Repairs could be very very expensive. Insurance will be expensive. And many people live a long way from a service center.

    6. Raymond J Ramirez says:

      It will fail even more, offering less than the first generation Chevy Volt had since 2010. So it is obsolete on its arrival. Only the crazy Toyot a fans will buy that. BTW, those sales were “presold” by Toyota, like Telsa Motors has done for their Models, so that is also a “copy” of an American idea.

      1. BenG says:

        133 mpg-e on electric power and 54 mpg on gas is cutting edge efficiency.

        Toyota reliability is a also a big selling point. Though we have yet to see how this model will pan out on that front.

        1. JAReim says:

          Agreed. The Prius Prime offers a very good balance of electric range and stellar fuel efficiency when the battery runs low. For a person such as myself, the Prime would work better than a new gen Volt, although either would be 👍.

      2. R.S says:

        The thing is that it is basically 10 grand cheaper than the first generation Volt. And cheaper is never obsolete.

        You could also say that the new Volt is obsolete, since the first gen i3 had more AER. But every time I make that argument, suddenly the discussion changes and its about price again.

        Make up your mind, is it AER, then the i3 is the best, or value, then its Prime. Its never the Volt.

  2. georgsS says:

    Great report. December should indeed be an interesting month…..especially if the BoltEV makes a decent showing.

  3. Oleg says:

    Ford 2604

  4. Assaf says:

    Jay, way to set a high bar 🙂

    20k will be quite an achievement.

    But the TFF (Trump Fear Factor) might help make it happen.

    On Leaf FB groups I see some ridiculously good deals on new 30kWh (still 2016 closeout, I think).
    Anyone in the market for an EV, not living in CA/OR, and not holding out for some miracle larger-battery offering from Nissan in early 2017 (about which this site and others had hinted, but… where TH is it?), should consider those deals.

    Lastly, a question: so the Hyundai Ioniq is not expected to debut here in 2016?

    1. georgeS says:

      “The Trump Fear Factor Assaf”.
      More people enrolling in ACC health plans!!

      It’s the same as the Obama scare for all the gun guys. After he got elected you couldn’t get any ammo. It was all sold out.

      1. DJ says:

        IIRC that was due also largely in part to the DHS buying up like 10 years worth of ammo for some strange reason.

        1. SparkEV says:

          DHS is part of the reason, but that doesn’t explain why 22 jumped in price by almost 150% (and continue to be so). There was an article on this, and it was due to people stocking up, no doubt from Obama fear factor.

          Now that CA is going to jack up ammo prices (indirectly via background checks on ammo purchases), there may be mad dash for ammo as the deadline nears. Already, some are sold out.

  5. leafowner says:

    With Tesla making a huge year-end push, a full month of Prime and the Bolt arrival, I think 20k total in December is not only possible but likely…..

  6. speculawyer says:

    Other than the X5 and A3, those small batteried German PHEVs sure don’t sell well. You would have thought that they would learned a lesson from the Cadillac ELR flop but I guess they didn’t.

  7. Kdawg says:

    Side note: accumulative plug-in sales for the US is 535,000 now.

  8. Daniel says:

    I think people are just trying to get ahold of a plug-in before Donald Trump is sworn in and any and all EV incentives are endangered to being either rolled back or eliminated.

    1. Nick says:

      Nailed it.

  9. PHEVfan says:

    Jay,
    How come the Volt is not listed in your “New Year Highs Set In November By Model” column?
    Unless I’m missing something, 2531 is their best month in 2016

    1. Jay Cole says:

      My bad on that one…mentioned in the story, but failed to put it on the chart, lol

      /fixed, thanks!

  10. JyKiaNiro says:

    We need the Kia Niro HEV, PHEV, BEV, now!!!!!!

    Kia has already sold more than 33,000 Niro HEV in less than 5 months.

    1. JyKiaNiro says:

      Now it’s up to over 38,000 sold.

      1. JyKiaNiro says:

        Kia Niro has sold over 20,000 in Korea and 23,000 in Europe.

        If the Niro PHEV is priced right, it has a chance to out sell the model 3.

    2. JyKiaNiro says:

      Kia Niro phev sill come with AWD using e-4wd.

    3. speculawyer says:

      OK, spammer.

      1. JyKiaNiro says:

        Spammer? I’m not Hawaiian.

        1. JAReim says:

          … lol

    4. Mikael says:

      The Niro yes, it should come in at least one plugin version.

      But the Sportage and Rio are very important too, being the top sellers of Kia globally.

      As a European I would love to see the Kia Ceed get a plug too. It “only” sells in ~150k copies a year but it’s their top seller in Europe.

  11. Tim in Portland says:

    Wow. The Chevy Spark EV took a huge drop in November. Are they dropping this model with the introduction of the Bolt? I’ve seen quite a few of them here in Portland Oregon.

    1. ffbj says:

      I thought the Spark was no longer available in N.A. though they still make it for the South Korean market.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Yes, Spark EV production ended in August, they had about 350 heading into October, and almost sold out the lot of them…leaving few left from November on.

        GM pretty much nailed it when it came to bridging the gap to the Bolt EV.

    2. JyKiaNiro says:

      Spark ev is discontinued. We buried it with sparkev.

    3. MikeM says:

      Two full-page Bolt ads in the Oregonian today, Saturday 12/2.

      Two daft boo-boos jumped out at me. References to:

      1) “Regen” – Whut the heck is that? Says the small part of my brain that’s never heard of EVs.
      2) “One pedal driving” – Say it isn’t so! I need my brake pedal! – – ditto – –

      1. Raymond J Ramirez says:

        You can drive the Bolt EV with only the accelerator in “L”, which activates regenerative braking as your foot release the accelerator pedal. No need to use the brake pedal unless you like to “tailgate” the car in front of you. The you need the brake to prevent hititng it!

    4. wavelet says:

      Not quite — in order to drop something, you have to pick it up first.
      They did the full engineering on it, and although GM could have decided to actively market it globally as an EV city car, they didn’t. It was only sold in 3 states & 4 countries, and that just barely (non-US sales were negligible).

  12. Jean-François says:

    What is the EV market share for November?

    1. JyKiaNiro says:

      .009674% ~ less than 1%

  13. JyKiaNiro says:

    Total sales for the month of November, 2016 is 1,378,635.

  14. Just_Chris says:

    It’s great to see the pip back on the chart. Hopefully it will inject another 5000 sales a month. It won’t take a single tesla, bolt, volt or leaf sale.

    It will bring new growth, which is good.

    1. PHEVfan says:

      Chris – I think you’re dreaming a little with the thought that it won’t steal any other model’s sales. Volt will definitely suffer, and possibly Leaf and others. Price alone will make it a viable alternative. Only those completely sold on EV only would reject the Prime as an alternative.

      You’re right that it will likely bring in new growth, especially with the price after Fed rebate actually being below the standard Prius.

  15. TX NRG says:

    Despite their dated and largely unchanged 1st generation 5 year old measly 20 mile AER PHEV models, the Ford Energis still edged out the GM Voltecs in sales in November (by 2 vehicles) and will likely outsell them again for the 2nd year in a row. This happened despite the pent up demand being met for the highly acclaimed gen 2 Volt with almost triple the AER.

  16. Tom says:

    Would like to point out that Ford just did the same thing. The 2017 C-Max energi has a slight refresh but more importantly they added a non-luxury model of the energi. That model has a base price $4650 less than last year. That means the energi after govt rebate will be not only priced about the same as the Prius Prime but like the prime will be cheaper than the standard hybrid. http://www.caranddriver.com/news/2017-ford-c-max-c-max-energi-photos-and-info-news

  17. wavelet says:

    What’s with Ford?
    IIUC, they haven’t changed anything about the drivetrain on the Fusion Energi since it was intro’d, and I believe the same for the C-max Energi. As it is, as conversions, R&D costs must have been a lot lower than from-scratch design.

    In the 4 years since they were desgined, there have been improvements in battery density & $/Kwh… Isn’t it time the cars got a 50% range upgrade (should be doable without changing the size/geometry/weight of the packs)? That would get ot 30mi, which is Volt-esque, and should make for an attractive PHEV. And why not sell in Europe, where the ICE C-Max does pretty well>

    1. Carguy says:

      Ford is always in the top 3 sellers every month. Yes the R&D costs are done and they haven’t changed the products much. Except they keep lowering the price of the products. The 2017 C-max energi is thousands of dollars less than the 2016 and gets better MPGe.

  18. Rhaman68 says:

    Interesting comments. Nothing new, just different people. Parking etiquette. Most US drivers do not know that word. The FAST everywhere is law. Speed limits? We do not want speed limits. MPG ratings? Who watches MPG readouts in the car? I know similar subjects happened as to horses vs. cars in early 1900’s!!

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