Tesla Model S Was World’s #1 Selling Plug-In Electric Car In December 2015

2 years ago by Mark Kane 28

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – December 2015 (data source: EV Sales Blog)

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – December 2015 (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

December 2015 was the month of Tesla Model S and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV globally, as tallied by the latest EV Sales Blog report.

It’s estimated that Model S sales nearly hit 8,300 worldwide, while Outlander PHEV surged to over 7,000. Both models differ significantly, as the Tesla is all-electric sedan, while Outlander is a plug-in hybrid SUV. We hould note, that the Outlander PHEV isn’t available in the U.S., so its sales are even more remarkable.

Both the Model S and Outlander PHEV noted strong demand in December, likely due to a few European countries changing incentives policy.

In third, with 5,500 sales, was BYD Tang – another plug-in hybrid SUV, but this time Chinese and limited to China’s market.  Interestingly, the Nissan LEAF finished barely ahead of the BMW i3. Generally speaking,  the spots on the sale chart gets tight in the 3,000s.

December was also a record month with more than 86,400 sales! That’s 134% more than the 37,000 sold in December 2014.

(1) – Includes Chevrolet Volt I and II, Holden Volt, Opel and Vauxhall Ampera;

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – January-December 2015 (data source: EV Sales Blog)

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – January-December 2015 (data source: EV Sales Blog)

If we compare numbers for 12 months, the Tesla Model S secured another win as the #1 selling plug-in electric car worldwide in 2015! We must just note that 51,390 is slightly different than Tesla’s 50,366 based on three confirmed quarters and the fourth quarter being estimated, as worldwide data can only be tracked by a mix of registrations reported in a country when OEM-direct data is not available, which can lead to some variances due to delays/differences in sales date recognition.

Nissan LEAF sales dropped in 2015, enabling the growing Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to nearly take the second best spot.  We imagine that the new 30 kWh version of the LEAF will be able to sustain the model enough to hold onto the number 2 spot in 2015.  BYD now has two models – Qin and Tang in the top 10.

Finally we move to car manufacturer ranking:

World’s Top 10 Plug-In Car Manufacturers – 2015 January-December (data source: EV Sales Blog)

World’s Top 10 Plug-In Car Manufacturers – 2015 January-December (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Chinese company BYD is the largest player these days, and that won’t change in 2016 if they truly intends to double sales this year – a boast made by no other OEM.

Tesla Motors is in second place, while poor Nissan not only lost its first place position, but it fell all the way to fourth (at least according to estimations).

In total, 2015 ended with some 549,000 sold! Compared to nearly 318,000 in 2014, the market expanded by over 72%.

Source: EV Sales Blog

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28 responses to "Tesla Model S Was World’s #1 Selling Plug-In Electric Car In December 2015"

  1. MikeG says:

    Are there any one-time factors (incentives ending, for example) that are partially responsible for the increase in YOY sales?

    Or is this increase a good indicator of increase EV demand?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Tesla had a sales incentive in the China market only, I think it was only for December, which upped the value of a trade-in of a gasmobile.

      That’s the only sales incentive I remember being reported for last year. Nothing like the pull-out-the-stops year-ending sales drive for 2014.

    2. Mikael says:

      Almost all is a genuine increase in demand. Or maybe rather an increase in models available and the levels they can produce them since there is plenty of pent up demand out there for a lot of models and segments.

      Expect 2016 to be a lot better too since the US market will finally grow again, the chinese has no intention of slowing down and the EU market needs to almost double the year on year sales for a few year more to reach the EU regulations.

    3. Three Electrics says:

      1,250 of these December cars went to Denmark–a huge spike, and due to tax credits expiring at the end of the year.

    4. viktor says:

      As already mention there was a huge sale of Model S in Denmark in December because of a new taxe that would higher the price buy 180%. This is the normal car tax that EVs haven’t had before so the Model S was the most sold car in Denmark in December. In Sweden the incidents for plug-in hybrid was cut buy half for plug-in hybrid this year wish made a rush for Mitsubishi outlunder PHEV. If al this was sales or just registration I don’t know. There also is some changes in Netherlands wish I don’t now exactly what it is.

  2. Speculawyer says:

    That really is testament to the Tesla Motors business plan of Start at the top of the market and work your way down.

    Well-designed large batteried EVs are just better vehicles than their ICE counterparts. At the high end of the market where you can afford to stuff the car full with batteries, the Tesla Model S dominates over its BMW 7-series and Mercedes S series (or whatever it is). And thus it is able to sell better than them.

    But Evs struggle down on the low end where EVs just can’t compete with the low up-front price of ICE vehicles.

    But the big question is “will battery prices continue to drop thus allowing for less expensive market segments to be addressed with EVs”.

    1. pk says:

      Question isn’t if battery prices will continue to drop.That’s a foregone conclusion. The real question is how fast.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Will battery prices continue to drop, you ask?

      Batteries are orders of magnitude away from the physical limits to energy density (ED), and there are a large number of companies and university research terms competing hard to commercialize batteries with lower cost and/or higher ED.

      Is there any reason to think battery prices will not continue to drop, in the near- and medium-term future? Personally, I don’t think so. It’s like Moore’s Law in computers. No, it’s not a law of nature, but it’s what the market is driving, and driving pretty hard.

      1. Three Electrics says:

        This article discusses learning curves for energy storage rather well: http://rameznaam.com/2015/10/14/how-cheap-can-energy-storage-get/

        It’s incomplete, but a great read.

      2. Speculawyer says:

        Well, solar PV is also really far from a theoretical maximum. But that doesn’t mean that it is easy to improve the technology.

      3. Speculawyer says:

        “Is there any reason to think battery prices will not continue to drop, in the near- and medium-term future? Personally, I don’t think so.”

        I have no idea. That’s the thing about science research, you don’t know what you will discover. Engineering is often more roadmap driven where you have a decent idea of what can be accomplished. We know we can incrementally improve batteries with engineering but whether there is a significant scientific breakthrough is much more unknown. So I tend to be cautious on what can be done.

        “It’s like Moore’s Law in computers.”

        Moore’s law is a TERRIBLE analogy that misleads people. Moore’s law deals with representing and manipulating a “bit” . . . an abstract concept that can be made as small as you can accurately represent it. Batteries have to store energy. And as we’ve seen, as you increase energy density, it comes with risks of being more dangerous/volatile.

        1. Nathanael says:

          Swanson’s Law for solar really does work like Moore’s Law: they keep slicing the silicon thinner and thinner and getting more and more accurate chemistry and crystal formation, so the efficiency keeps going up and the cost keeps going down.

          Batteries are not like that…

    3. Nix says:

      “But the big question is “will battery prices continue to drop thus allowing for less expensive market segments to be addressed with EVs”.”

      There is definitely 2 factors to that question. The first is whether improved battery technology and manufacturing methods make it to actual factory floors, making it cheaper for manufacturers to build better batteries.

      The second factor is whether any of those savings will be passed up through to consumers. Just because they can build better batteries cheaper, doesn’t mean those savings will be passed through all the way up the supply chain to consumers.

      It is like the Airlines. Their price for fuel has dropped like a rock. But fares are actually up slightly. They are just turning the difference into massive profits, while giving passengers peanuts… Well, actually pretzels, but you get the idea.

      I would not be surprised if we saw a period here for a few years where EV prices actually go up. I don’t think we are going to see any of the thousands of dollar price cuts we’ve seen in the past.

      I’m expecting cost cuts in battery manufacturing to go first to making batteries and EV’s profitable all the way up the supply chain, and second to go to making the sales of longer range EV’s possible. I’m not expecting to see big discounts from most companies over the next few years.

  3. Get Real says:

    Can’t help but notice that in these articles that document Tesla’s many real accomplishments we don’t usually see alot of the haters or sleazy stock shorters come in to post their FUD.

    I guess its harder to deny facts and easier to slime around the margins?

    1. Three Electrics says:

      Is it always us vs. them in your world?

      1. Nix says:

        Three Trolls — Are you always going to be one of “them”? And live up to his expectations?

  4. Get Real says:

    No, but are you going to deny Tesla’s real accomplishment show here?

    1. ffbj says:

      No, but just tend to minimize them. We all tend to color the world as we view it.

      If we do not like a person’s views, then we tend not to like that person when they express those views. Eventually we tend to equate that person with their views.

      So my advice to you is not to express your views to people that want to like you and don’t ask them theirs if you want to like them.

      1. Get Real says:

        “not to express your views to people that want to like you and don’t ask them theirs if you want to like them.”

        Uh, if we do that then what’s the point of discussing online here or anywhere else for that matter?

  5. Weapon says:

    They really need to get the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in the US. Kind of hard to recommend a plugin SUV with the RAV4 gone. (with exception of people that can buy the Model X or wait long enough in the queue)

  6. R.S says:

    Nice for Tesla and very impressive for Mitsubishi. I guess the Outlander PHEV, could become the first plug in to break the 10k a month barrier. But its a bit shocking that GM isn’t even in the top 10 manufacturers rating anymore. Apart from Tesla, the US car industry didn’t have the same good year as the rest. The Volt might change that, a bit, but I can’t see GM in the top 5, until they sell their cars in china and europe as well.

  7. Bone says:

    Comparison between automotive group 2015 PEV sales:

    1) Nissan-Renault alliance
    2) BYD
    3) Volkswagen AG
    4) Tesla
    5) Mitsubishi

    Nissan-Renault is still the biggest, but BYD and VW AG got a lot closer than in 2014. BYD will likely take the top spot in 2016, but VW, N-R and Tesla won’t be far behind.

    1. buu says:

      I would say VAG have chances to overtake even Nissan-Renault, 30kWh Leaf is too late, too little and let me state obvious plugin hybrid sales are growing faster

  8. Bone says:

    If PEV market annual growth rate stays at 72%, PEVs will reach 100% market share in 2024!

  9. suresh says:

    by 2030 at 50% growth. almost like a dream 🙂

  10. wavelet says:

    The most significant development isn’t Tesla. It’s that both for Dec. and the year, 3 of the top 10 were Chinese cars, and ones sold in China only at that…
    And that BYD is the #1 EV maker (and that’s not counting their electric buses).

  11. Rick Bronson says:

    They proved that people buy Electric cars.
    Its an $ 80,000 car and still it sold the highest.