2015 Average Plug-In Electric Car Sales In US 6% Lower Than In 2014

AUG 14 2015 BY MARK KANE 42

Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

Year 2015 has been worse than 2014 in terms of plug-in electric car sales.

Through the end of July, monthly sales were averaging 9,043 units, some 600 (or over 6%) less than in the first seven months of 2014.

It’s not clear whether the second half of the year will reverse the totals and by how much, although the mid-term perspective seems very optimistic because:

We expect the EV sales turn-around to beginning in September, and to really gain significant momentum in October before following through strong for the entire 2016 sales season.

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42 Comments on "2015 Average Plug-In Electric Car Sales In US 6% Lower Than In 2014"

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I didn’t buy a replacement for my leased Volt due to the new 200 mile BEVs that start arriving in 1.5-2 years. The first versions of the Volt and Leaf are old now and people want the next generation.

“… people want the next generation” exactly.

GM Gen 2 Volt
Tesla Model X
30kWh Nissan Leaf (updated Gen 1 product)

GM Bolt (sub $40K 200 mile EV)

Tesla Model 3 (sub $40K 200 mile EV)

Somewhere during this time we should be seeing the 2nd generation Nissan Leaf, which should have a lot more range than the current edition.

I have to think there is a lot of interest in the 200 mile EVs, which will be a much more useble product than current offerings.

2016 should see EVs (& PHEVs/EREVs) moving again at 2014 levels. 2018 could be a really big year.

If PEV depends on “repeat buyers” ONLY, then it will never succeed…

Not me. I’m waiting to see the 2016 Volt and 2016 Leaf with the 30 Kwh battery. Plan to lease or buy one of those.


$42.60 Hearing refiners are running out of rope on currently FAT margins. If tied to gasoline prices, PHEV sales could be in for a rough second half. –driving season almost over. OPEC knew just when to start the sh!tstorm, and others can’t help themselves but to produce.

Another way to look at this is that LEAF sales are down 30%, Volt sales are down 35%, and sales of other plug-in cars are up 10%.

And this very website says sales through the end of July were 63,298- what does the 9,043 number represent?

Average 🙂

OK – I see it says monthly average now. Plug-in sales are pretty seasonal due to how the tax credit works so I usually think in terms of yearly averages.

wraithnot said:

“Another way to look at this is that LEAF sales are down 30%, Volt sales are down 35%, and sales of other plug-in cars are up 10%.”

Thank you, sir. That is a very enlightening view of the situation, and should have been included in the article.

They averaged per month for the first 7 months.

I would add the prius phv is down 67%, with the That won’t hurt 35% of the volt, and 30% of the leaf. Without those 3 the plug-in market was up 13%.

With the gen II volt, the last 5 months of the volt will likely exceed last year. Prius phv is out of production but inventory sales should only be 1000 behind last years 2600. The longer range leaf may help, but leaf sales likely will be behind the 2,900/month they sold last year in the last 5 months. All in all I expect these 3 to lag about 3000 behind last year at the end. That means the rest need to make up 7225 over last year, something that should be doable with the model X, more manufacturing bandwith for the model S and i3, and the new plug-ins from vw group and mercedes. Still 2016 will be the growth year.

I am in holding pattern until a 7 seat plug-in comes out (I have a family of 6). I am considering a Model X even though it will likely be too costly. I am still turned off by the falcon doors. why can’t they be normal doors?

Anyway, maybe Chrysler will come through with a plug-in Town & Country.

Chrysler is still scheduled to launch a 2017 Town and Country with plug-in version in December 2016… or that’s the last I heard.

We loved our FIAT 500E.

I’d be interested to see a breakout of BEVs. If they are steady, all this would indicate is that people are tired of *appearing* to be green by having a plug.

The splits have actually been tilting more to BEV ownership than PHEV this year. That being said, I don’t think you can draw any conclusion there (same for the “down” year to date) as 3 cars have been moving the needle a lot for first full 7 months: exodus of 1st gen Prius PHV and Volt, vs some Model S sales acceleration. (The LEAF has been wilting this summer, but 2 new BEVs (e-golf, Mercedes B-Class) are displacing a good bulk of the drop) The return of the Volt and the introduction of a very cheap Audi A3 e-tron in a few weeks (and a pile of niche PHEVs) should reverse the trend back to PHEVs for a bit until the X arrives in volume in December. Then the Outlander PHEV is likely to offset those gains in late Q2 2016. …basically it is a model-by-model story that keeps shuffling the splits (and sales overall) – which is what happens when you only have a few horses in the race. 18 months from now, we should move from the 4 players today to around 9-10 (and by players I mean plug-ins capable of selling more than 1,000 units in a… Read more »

> right now sales is just an equation of model availability.

Exactly. Compliance OEMs have hit their numbers and that’s all the market is going to get. The numbers will magically double in 2017 prior to 2018 quotas.

Oh, well, if all plugged sales are down, it is either the new models, or the low gas price, or likely an unholy confluence of both. I don’t think there is really a way to find out which.

The current Volt and Leaf are yesterday’s news. And the other compliance cars are basically a yawn and people are getting tired of eating oatmeal and raisins for breakfast every morning. When gas was higher, the Europeans weren’t interested in EVs and the U.S. led the way in sales. Now that gas prices are down, the Europeans have decided to jump on the EV bandwagon and sales are up 70%. Go figure. Japanese sales are also down as the Leaf and iMiev need to be redesigned and updated. Both cars could stand to change body styles. Sometimes even soy sauce can’t save a cold, 3 day old bowl of rice. Mark Kane suggests that the intro of Model X and some other events will turn things around in the U.S. Could be….. To improve sales in Japan, the Japanese need to do like the friendly Norwegians and actually allow foreigners to sell EVs in their country. Japan needs put an end to Japanese protectionist horse crap.. In 2013 France sold 14,905 EVs. Sales stagnated and some worried that even fewer EVs might be sold in 2014. But by December of ’14 France rebounded and actually finished up the year with… Read more »
“Japan needs put an end to Japanese protectionist horse crap..” jmac, your statement has been debunked for many years (except from the views of american auto council). If you go to Japan today, it’s VERY EASY to see foreign cars from Europe, such as BMW, Jaguar, MB, etc. Notice that they are usually luxury brands. Same can actually be said if you go to most Asian countries too. However, and again, same can be said on 1 thing – it’s very difficult to spot US cars anywhere in Asia, except in Korea and China, but under their respective local brands. Reason(s)? Most US cars aren’t luxury cars, but they are being sold at that level due to logistics reason. In addition, most Asian countries tax vehicles based on engine size, and a 1300cc engine is considered actually a big engine in Asia. So if you put 2 and 2 together (there are other reasons too, such as, huge vehicle size vs small streets, frequent engine problem in the past due to climate, etc.)… OTOH, many have also said the same thing regarding US auto industry – it is the most protected auto industry in the world, due to its safety… Read more »

In 2011 Japan Today asked this question:

“Last year, Japan exported 1.5 million vehicles to the United States, while U.S. automakers exported just 8,000.”(to Japan)

“Why aren’t U.S. makers selling more in Japan?”

One response might be that American cars are worthless junk.

The other answer might be that there is a systematic attempt to exclude American vehicles from the Japanese market.

The truth probably lies somewhere between these two extreme points of view.


I read the daily kanban webpage several months ago. At first it sounds quit convincing, and it’s true that the Germans has made some hard won converts to farfegnugen in Japan.

But all foreign imports only account for a little over 5% of the total Japanese market. Best foreign sellers with over 10,000 sales are VW, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, BMW Mini and Volvo at 12,380.

Everyone else was below 10K in sales.

The best American made vehicle was JEEP at 6,800.

Okay, so the Japanese reluctantly let a few foreign car makers come in and after many years eventually win about 5 per cent of the Japanese market …..

On the other hand, the Japanese have basically been allowed to go all over the globe unhindered, gobbling up huge chunks of market share everywhere they go, all in the name of free trade.

Sounds pretty much like a one way street to me. Japan gets 15% of U.S. market share while American made vehicles don’t even register .05% of sales in Japan.

The link below will take you to the Japan Automobile Importers webpage with stats for fiscal year 2013 and ’14.


Most or perhaps even all the statements of fact in that article may be true, but the extreme pro-Japanese, anti-American bias certainly suggests otherwise.

Here’s a more balanced article that makes many or perhaps most of the same points:


to Pushmi-Pullyu Yes, the auto-news article is a little less shrill and a bit more even handed than the Kanban article. Both denunounce Detroit ineptitude and American laziness, plus a refusal to make right hand drive vehicles. Whether Japan actively tries to hinder auto imports is really kind of a side issue. I say they do and others say no. The real issue perhaps how are electric cars doing in Japan. I suggested that selling imported EVs might boost Japanese EV sales. According to EV Sales Blog about 384 Model S have been let loose on the streets of Japan so far. Will BMW and Tesla EV sales be enough to get EV sales rolling again in Japan ? Some say both the iMiev and Leaf are getting “old” and need to be refreshed and improved for sales to pick up. That would surely help. Unfortunately, all auto sales in japan are down year-on year due to the the fact that the government raised the consumption tax from 5% to 8% in April. I just e-mailed a guy (an ex-patriot)who belongs to the Tesla owners club of Japan to see if he had any accurate info on sales in Japan,… Read more »
jmac, NO ONE can convince you otherwise. It’s you and solely you who can do so. All others can do are to present facts, and to tell you the weakness of your argument. In your latest response, there are a lot of generalization. For example – there may really be protectionism in skiing, or simply a misunderstanding in translation, but we aren’t here to talk about that, are we? Back to EVs – up until 2014…or even now, there are only a handful of REAL EVs makers. Most (pretty much ALL) in Japan, 1 in US (Tesla). Others – Europe and Korea – are either limited or for test/fleet purpose. It’s still too early to say, the market share of EVs in Japan. Back to ICE – remember, price is 1 HUGE factor. The other is road condition! I don’t mean traffic jam, but parking, street wideness, and road designs (sharp curves vs long straight roads). In fact, you don’t see most “imported” cars in Asia other than those that are made in Asia themselves, because of the above 2 reasons. As I’ve stated previously, you can get a Fiat 500 (base) for the price of, say, (comparative speaking) Honda… Read more »

Nation wide roll out would boost sales. So many models are in such limited markets.

I have a bad feeling a lot of these are going to ramp very slowly during the remainder of 2015. The XC90 T8 is almost undoubtedly a push to 2016 and I’m seeing a lot of commentary around the Volt being predominantly West Coast with some East coast thrown in for good measure this year (in terms of real Volts on the ground). Prospective owners on GM-Volt.com who placed orders have already indicated their production dates were pushed two weeks. As to the A3 E-tron….hard to believe Audi will ship those en masse this year.

Let’s face it….the 2016 Chevy Volt will be the driver of volume for the rest of the year…one way or the other.

…via me tonight from the GTA

It’s worth noting that Nissan is offering a lease extension, open-ended up to 1 year, with 2-months free to anyone at end-of-lease. With LEAF being the best selling plugin in the US, it’s reasonable to assume many of the early adopters that would have otherwise leased a new vehicle are holding off and waiting for the next best product, all the while getting 2 months of free driving. I’m one of them.

brilliant move, surprised GM didn’t do the same thing..

@Kubel, you are right, NMAC is offering a great deal to extend your lease or purchase. I am 5.5 months away from my lease being up, and just got the offer last week. I will likely take the extension.

BTW, NMAC told me that the $6500 off of the buyout expires on 8/31. Not sure if others have heard the same.

I think the main reasons are gas prices and (for PHEVs) the end of the green HOV stickers in CA.

No, Braben, California has NOT run out of Green TZEV Stickers. Couple of months ago the government added another 15,000 so the total allocation is 80,000 stickers with, as of August 5th, 15,000 still available. “As of as August 5, 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued 70,006 Green Clean Air Vehicle decals. The maximum number of decals available is 85,000.” “Green Clean Air Vehicle decals were originally available to the first 40,000 applicants that purchased or leased cars meeting California’s transitional zero emission vehicles (TZEV) requirement, also known as the enhanced advanced technology partial zero emission vehicle (AT PZEV)* requirement. Per SB 286, the expiration date for the green decals has been extended to January 1, 2019. Per budget trailer bill, SB 853 (Statutes 2014, chapter 27), the green decal limit was increased by 15,000 to 55,000 decals effective July 1, 2014. Per AB 2013, effective January 1, 2015, an additional 15,000 decals were made available for a maximum of 70,000. Now, per AB 95 the green decal limit was raised another 15,000 to a new maximum of 85,000, effective immediately.” Link Goes To CA Air Resources Board – Eligible Vehicles List – Single Occupant Car Pool… Read more »

Does the graph show the averages for the first 7 months (Jan-July) for each year (2011-2015), or does it show 12 month averages of prior years (2011-2014) vs first 7 mo of 2015?

This difference is an important distinction not mentioned in the article. For 2011-2014 the monthly sales average has been much higher in Q3 & Q4 vs. Q1 & Q2.

It would be interesting to see the two sets of averages compared side by side … ie: average sales In months to date (Jan-Jul) for prior years next to the full year average. This would show the weighting on the average prior to, and after the current month, for the year.

Just a thought, to show more insight into how 2015 compares to prior years.

I do have to wonder just how much of a boost the new Volt will get, as there are so many PHEVs coming on line this year, and based on past rates the recent increase of 15k green stickers in CA should run out by the end of the year, making any sales PHEV spike temporary. There’s increasing resistance to adding more stickers, so we’ll have to see how it plays out. As CA makes up about 40% of the U.S. market, and Atlanta made up another large chunk but the $5k rebate is gone, I remain skeptical that we’re going to see a major rebound in sales for the year.

The American public needs to be whipped and sent to their rooms without dinner.

Gas jumped up 20%+ here in the last few days, due to the BP refinery in Whiting going partially down. It’s so nice not to stop at gas stations and give the finger to big oil while driving the Nissan Leaf. I’m really amazed more people haven’t gone electric for this reason alone!

The 100+ mile ’16 Leaf should help sales to the suburban commuting crowd in the northern USA. 70-75 miles with the heat on will be better than 50-60.

Europe seems to have finally accepted the reliability of BEVs. Considering the price of petrol in most EU countries, combined with the soot of diesels, it only makes sense for this to happen.

IEA shows that gasoline stocks are still high enough not to support the recent price raise. it is simply gasoline dealers raising price to limit the amount of draw-down of their own tanks because they may need to buy more gasoline at higher “assumed” prices in the next few weeks. Once the refinery issue is fixed, the worry about future gasoline prices in the immediate area will fall again. National oil and gasoline stocks are still high and will stay high as the summer driving season ends.

I am sure we can’t blame it on low gas price… *rolling eyes*

Is it just me, or has the last year been one big huge dry spell for new EV’s and PHEV’s actually going on sale in the US?

I’m sure I’m suffering from late Friday night posting syndrome, but aside from Model S variants, I can’t remember a major new EV or PHEV going on sale in the US since the VW e-Golf and Kia Soul EV at the end of last summer.

We got somewhere around 15-20 new EV’s and PHEV’s from 2011 to 2014. That’s around 4-5 new cars each year, and then no major new plug-ins for nearly an entire year. That’s got to hurt sales.

If gas prices stay low into 2016, the YoY comparison to 2015 should be roughly 10% higher. For the USA. In Europe and Asia, it should grow similar to 2015 over 2014.

The American economy being what it is and the way that things are changing incentive wise (some states removing EV incentives) along with the end of 2016 reduction of solar PV may make EV + PV less attractive to those who were swayed based on all the kickbacks we got when buying those products. Tesla may still lead the way in terms of mild growth in 2016 due to Model X interest and the backlog of orders. But I do not have “big growth” thoughts for the Chevy Volt due to people waiting on what they can get with the Bolt. It appears people “believe” that BEV is the real only way forward and knowing Bolt comes out a few months after Volt Gen-II may keep people from adopting the Volt.

Low gasoline prices and fewer and fewer people as time goes on have decent jobs.

Tbe main reason car sales are as even good as they are, are the 72 month loans.

Economic numbers in the states, and in most of the world, are getting more and more depressing. May be quite some time before we see increasing numbers again.