U.S. Plug-In Electric Car Sales To Attack 1% Market Share

2 years ago by Mark Kane 22

Plug-In Car Sales in U.S. – November 2015

Plug-In Car Sales in U.S. – November 2015

2016 Nissan LEAF

2016 Nissan LEAF

As we expected, with new model year electric cars, and some all new models, the U.S. EV market is showing some signs of growth again.

10% improvement (20% adjusted for 2 less selling days in 2015) year-over-year in November is positive sign.

The other good sign is 0.80% market share for plug-ins in November, while the record was 0.86%.

Future expansion of new Chevrolet Volt sales, and the first full month of sales for the 2016 Nissan LEAF (30 kWh) should easily help to set a new record of 0.90% or more (we hope) in December. December is important from the $7,500 tax credit perspective too.

Whether or not we will see 1% market share like in UK or France depends a lot on Tesla, because Tesla is the market leader with largest number of EVs sold (22,000) so far this year in the U.S.

Numbers for Tesla are estimated:

Tesla Model S Sales in U.S. – November 2015

Tesla Model S Sales in U.S. – November 2015 (estimated)

In total, Tesla Model S, Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt account for ~50% of all plug-ins sold in the first 11 months of this year in the U.S.

We are pretty sure that the Top 3 will show continued growth in the coming months, especially since both Volt and LEAF had a weak 2015 waiting on big upgrades.

Plug-In Car Sales in U.S. – November 2015

Plug-In Car Sales in U.S. – November 2015

Beyond 1% market share – let’s say 5% – probably will be possible only with longer range, more affordable EVs, which should be entering maturity around ~2020.

Plug-In Car Sales in U.S. – November 2015

Plug-In Car Sales in U.S. – November 2015

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22 responses to "U.S. Plug-In Electric Car Sales To Attack 1% Market Share"

  1. Brian says:

    For the most part, I agree with the conclusions. The market shrank a little in 2015 because most people buying EVs are well aware that better models were coming (Volt 2, 30kWh Leaf, Model X), and waited. There is a good chance that 2016 could see 1% of sales in more than a couple of months, now that those models have arrived.

    Where I think this analysis falls short is getting to 5% of the market. Yes, we need affordable longer-range EVs. But we also need to look past the cars themselves and look at the infrastructure to charge them. Whether they will use it or not, people will look at the (mostly lack of) public charging in their area, and decide that they cannot make the leap.

    1. Scott says:

      Prediction time! This is my favorite thing to do: Fit curves and models to the EV market in the USA.
      2023 is the year I have for benchmarking 5% (actually 5.8% market share.)

      Book it 🙂

      1. Brian says:

        8 more years is a long time to wait, I hope it doesn’t take that long! But you’re probably close.

        1. Scott says:

          This is a pretty stubborn and predictable market in a nation of consumers that are about the same- myself included 😉

          The market can be shaken though. That’s what it took for Leafs, Volts, and Teslas to emerge in the first place. 2% is a much better indicator for an inflection point than 5%. That’s where as a marketing group, we start to celebrate. You can think of 2% as the speed at which the airplane gets light and starts bouncing before takeoff.

  2. Mikael says:

    This reminds me of the many discussions not all that long ago where a lot of people were dead certain that the US would be the largest market for years to come and some even claiming at least until 2020 or even 2023.

    I was saying that Europe and China would be ahead in 2015. It’s always nice to be proven right, especially when few (if anyone) agrees with you.

  3. SJC says:

    Let’s not include Volt in the EV sales. An EV does not have an engine.

    1. CanaDoc says:

      So those millions of all-electric miles Volts have driven don’t count either?

      How about we include it because it has a plug. Yeesh.

    2. Mr. M says:

      Please let’s stop this stupid decission. A Volt is a PHEV so 50% of naming is pure EV.

      1. Dan says:

        Why count an i3 Rex but not a Volt? The Volt has practically the same battery capacity.

    3. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “Let’s not include Volt in the EV sales. An EV does not have an engine.”

      If we don’t, then EVs got even less a chance to reach 1%…


      So, you are right. Let us NOT include it to show how terrible EV sales are.

      While we are at it, let us only include affordable EVs (excluding Tesla) and see how much worse EVs are…

      1. mr. M says:

        Yeah cool idea! Ok lets see, we sold around 32.000 “real” EVs this year. Meaning close to 0.25% market share. Awesome…

        Hey there i got back from inverse country, how has it been.

  4. Mr. M says:

    Germany EV share is close to reaching 1% too. While at the beginning of 2015 the EV share was only around 0.6%.

    November 0.974%
    Oktober 0.976%

    Zoe jumped pan 400. The i3 did also good with 314 units registered, while Tesla was average with 134. Only the Leaf did really poor (no 2016 here before January) with 29 units. The Leaf average was more like 100/month but i am sure it will go above 200/month once the new model arrives at dealers.

    1. Mikael says:

      A bit inflated sales though since of the EVs in transit to other countries though.

      Hopefully Germany will try to keep up and not fall too far behind. It’s the largest market in Europe and we need it getting filled with EVs.

      1. Mutwin Kraus says:

        I don’t think there have been any reports about manufacturers other than Kia doing this in bigger numbers, so I don’t think it makes sense to assume.

        1. Mikael says:

          There is no assuming going on. See comment below.

      2. mr. M says:

        Ok, lets exclude the ~950 Soul EV that got shipped to norway YTD until october. That means we have 17200 EVs registration instead of 18150 (YTD oct). This is a reduction of 5.2% of EVs, so real market share is around 0.92% instead of 0.97%. Meaning the german market is still close to 1% EV share.

        source: http://ev-sales.blogspot.de/2015/11/germany-october-2015.html

        1. Mikael says:

          18150 sales out of 2 686 310 cars sold in Germany Jan-Oct 2015 makes it 0,68% and pretty far from 1%

          Take away 950 Soul EVs and it’s down to 0,64%.

          The 1% was for October and November. In October the reason was inflated sales because of the export of Soul EVs.
          For November I haven’t seen any numbers or the reason why.

          So not close to 1%.

  5. Regarding “Tesla Model S, Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt account for ~50% of all plug-ins sold”; each has passed 100,000 production mark at global level. This is significant as we passed 1 million PEVs earlier this year, and about to pass 400,000 PEVs in U.S.

    In states where PEVs have support the numbers are well above 1%. (only ~10 states). eg: California only has 16% of US population, but 40% of new PEVs sold in U.S. find homes here!

  6. Zim says:

    Great looking charts!

  7. David Murray says:

    I think what is needed to get to 5% are more SUV and pickup plugins. Small cars are almost a niche unto themselves these days and EVs are a niche of a niche. Don’t get me wrong, I love small cars but I also recognize that I’m in the minority.

    1. mr. M says:

      i assume you talk about US? If you add all large SUVs (37k YTD sep 2015) in europe and compare them to single models they would rank around Nr. 70.

      source: http://left-lane.com/european-car-sales-analysis-october-2015-models/

      1. David Murray says:

        Considering this article was talking about sales in the US, yes.. I was talking about the US.