Worldwide Plug-In Car Sales Up 59% In May, Toyota Prius Prime and BYD Takes Top Spots

23 hours ago by Mark Kane 15

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – 2017 May (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Can you hear the Prius Prime footsteps behind you Nissan?

Cumulative global plug-in electric vehicle sales gained momentum in May ,as nearly 89,000 passenger electric vehicles were delivered – a very strong 59% improvement over a year ago.

The gains were largely thanks to China’s strong return to the market after some early “red tape” troubles, and the addition of the Toyota Prius Prime to the numbers.

Toyota Prius Prime

It’s expected that as early as next month we could see a new all-time monthly record set. The previous high of 103,000 was set in December 2016.

As reported earlier, global sales in May were driven by the great surge of the Toyota Prius Prime (Prius PHV) in Japan – which sold more than 5,000 copies last month domestically.

The plug-in hybrid Prius, with 7,579 sales total, took down the number one spot overall in May, and moved up to second for the year-to-date (20,824) almost deposing the Nissan LEAF at the top.

Two Chinese models took the #2 and #3 spots in May – the Zhidou D2 EV at 4,471, and the BAIC EC180 at 3,895. While the now heavily discounted Nissan LEAF managed to achieve 3,659 sales.

The only two other plug-ins above 3,000 seems to be Tesla Model X (3,580) and Tesla Model S (3,163) – estimated numbers.


Some interesting things are also happening in manufacturer ranks, as BYD returned to the top of the best selling OEM list for the month with 8,651 units.

Toyota was second with 7,579, followed by BMW (7,242), Tesla (6,713) and then BAIC (6,530).

The race for 100,000+ sales will be pretty interesting this year, although the Tesla Model 3 might put out the competition later this year if Tesla CEO Elon Musk gets his way!

World’s Top 10 Plug-In Car Manufacturers – 2017 May (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Our thanks to EV Sales Blog for tallying up and estimating the individual sales by OEM.

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15 responses to "Worldwide Plug-In Car Sales Up 59% In May, Toyota Prius Prime and BYD Takes Top Spots"

  1. Kooma says:

    After june results, Tesla’s YTD lead will be more convincing.

    Good results overall.

    1. Casino says:

      I think BYD would surpass Tesla and comeback the NO.1 in the second half of this year.

  2. BenG says:

    The Prime is selling world-wide at an increasing clip. It’s been a rapid ramp so far. I bet they aim to sell more than 200,000/year within a couple years. Good for them.

    1. Tom says:

      My prediction for what it is worth is that the Prime will outsell S, X, and M3 combined this year. And all the idiots who said Toyota was smoking something should rethink their predictions of utter failure for PP. I think you are right. They just might pass 200,000 this year. M3 will sell at most 20,000 in 2017. People keep forgetting the X sold less than 10 copies per month for 3 full months at ‘launch’. Since Musk already admitted that his employees are first, what he’s really saying is he’s selling some hand built copies internally just so he can say he ‘launched’ when in fact they will still be working on getting the assembly line together….just like X. ‘Signature series’ is code for mostly hand assembled.

      1. Mikael says:

        Well considering that your prediction has no base in reality it is worth nothing.

        S+X+M3 will probably be in the ~140k area (60+60+20). Or more if you are confident of the Model 3 ramp-up.

        The Prime has sold 21k globally including May. It would mean that it would have to average 17k a month when it is now averaging about 5k per month and had one month of 7,5k sales.
        Even if they ramp up and push to all markets and push hard they will not reach those numbers this year.

        1. One says:

          Considering you BOTH predict 20k sales for model 3, er, well, he must have based his prediction on your prediction at least, no?

  3. Don Zenga says:

    89,000 / month is an annualized rate of 1,068,000.

    2017-YTD sales of 350,000 leads to annualized rate of 350,000 / 5 * 12 = 840,000.

    Looks like the million mark this year is becoming a possibility and this will cross the 1% mark.
    Great.

  4. Amperaguy says:

    One million is not only a possibility, but almost certainty. Last half sales have allways been much higher than first half.

  5. Terawatt says:

    Another meaningless piece conflating everything with a plug into the same group. You might as well have included fossils, because PHEVs are close to those in terms of sustainability than they are to BEVs.

    1. Viktor says:

      That depends on how you use them or do you think the 1,5 billion electric miles all Chevrolet Volt have been driven on electric is completely useless?

      https://electrek.co/2016/08/01/gm-100000th-chevy-volt-us-1-5-billion-electric-miles/

      There are certainly some people that but a plug-in hybrid for incentives and then never charge wish is bad but not everybody so I do believe it’s better then cars with only combustion engine. On ev-sales website they mark wish car is PEV and wish are PHEV but that Insideevs don’t do.

      1. Asak says:

        I really doubt almost anyone buys a PHEV and then doesn’t charge it. This is some stupid conspiracy theory that’s been cooked up based on a few anecdotes. If someone is environmental conscious enough to buy a hybrid, then they’ll likely be interested in charging it.

        People who buy hybrids just for the car pool lane sticker probably exist, but they are a miniscule amount of all sales.

        1. Viktor says:

          Well, there seams to be two typ of people in US, they how look at the world map and see a lot of countries with different regulations and then they who only see US.

          Here in Sweden it can be cheaper for a company to buy a PHEV for the worker then the same car wish only combustion engine because of incentives and then it’s up to the worker to charge it or not. For some years ago I saw a report that said that about 60-80%(don’t remember the exact number) of the plug-ins from a unnamed manufacturer was never charge, probably because it was a really cheap car for companies with a small battery wish the user didn’t matter to charge.

          The same thing is believe to have happened in Netherlands for some years ago then the electric car sales was 9% of total sales but of them 80-90% was plug-in hybrids, the PHEV became mush cheaper then the car with only combustion engine.

    2. Asak says:

      That’s a pretty ridiculous view. An electric mile is the same whether it’s in a full EV or a PHEV. I’ll agree the electric range in some PHEVs, like the Prius Prime, is disappointingly low.

    3. Don Zenga says:

      Even a PHEV with 10 mile range if driven 300 days / year will go 3,000 miles on electricity.

      A person who buys a plugin will be very particular about driving on electricity to save the money and get the ROI faster.

      And the more the range, the more electric miles and those teenyweeny plugins like the PIP 1 are long gone, most of the today’s plugin has at least 20 mile range.

      And Volt is awesome with 53 mile range.
      When Model-3 sales start, more and more automakers will bump up their electric range.
      So lets wait and see.

    4. Jon Baker says:

      Terawatt, as a general rule, I enjoy and appreciate your comments, but you’re pretty far off base in your PHEV appraisal. In the 5 1/2 years I’ve owned my Gen I Volt, I’ve driven it 51,000 mi on battery and just 20,000 on REX at 40 mpg. The gas miles were mostly driven on long road trips (Fla, NH, Mich) from my Virginia home, trips that would have been impossible in any BEV other than S or X, both of which are far more expensive than what I’m willing to pay for a car.

      PHEVs allow for mostly electric travel while causing absolutely no range anxiety, one of the primary obstacles to EV adoption for the 99% who still drive gassers. Gasmobiles are the enemy, not “lesser” plug-ins. All avenues to convincing the majority to give up gas should be embraced. I hope you’ll reconsider your attitude towards your fellow EV brethren.

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