2018 July US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: Market Share Exceeds 2%

Deep Blue Metallic Tesla Model 3 Gets Aftermarket ADV.1 Wheels

AUG 11 2018 BY MARK KANE 51

July 2018 will be in the record books forever.

It’s the first month of plug-in electric car sales above 2% market share in the U.S.

The record share of over 2.1% was achieved thanks to record sales of 29,514 plug-in cars, which is roughly 90% more than a year ago. At the same time the overall car market decreased by 3.7%.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – July 2018

Here is a quick look at the market share progress:

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – July 2018

During the first seven months of 2018, plug-in car sales amounted to around 153,666 (up 47%) atan average market share of over 1.5%.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – July 2018

In July, cumulative sales exceed 918,000 and now moves towards first million.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – July 2018

So far this year there is no competitor for the Tesla Model 3, which enabled Tesla to grow by some 440% year-over-year.

Surprisingly, the Toyota Prius Prime keeps the strong second place as the only non-Tesla in the first four places.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – July 2018

The tremendous impact of Tesla Model 3 on the market is probably best shown here – never before has any plug-in model grown so quickly.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – July 2018

Finally, the hero of the month and of the year, Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 sales in U.S. – July 2018

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51 Comments on "2018 July US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: Market Share Exceeds 2%"

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We are right now entering the 2nd generation of modern EVs (200-300 range), with it we will pass the 2.5% innovators on the adoption curve and enter the early adopters segment. By the time the 3rd generation comes (400-600 range) in 2021-2022, we should be able to break into the Early majority, maybe even the late majority.

Regardless, past the innovators curve, the first tipping point is about to begin 🙂


I doubt 400+ mile EVs will comprise more than 10% of sales in the next decade. Our need for range is going down, not up, as fast chargers get built and speed increases. Going from 200-mile to 400-mile will add $10k to the price after profit and add 500+ lbs of mass. That’s not something most people will choose.

The biggest boost in the coming years will be the Model Y, IMO, along with other high-volume mid-priced CUVs (and I’m guessing they’ll have to be bigger than a Kona for max impact). The SUV market is massive in the US and rapidly growing around the world.

When a 250-mile CUV EV (bigger than a Kona) gets below $30k, or even a 50-mile PHEV CUV, that’ll truly announce to the world that plugin domination is imminent.

TM3x2 Chris

I think it all depends on how quickly the battery tech improves. If energy density goes up and production costs go down, the 400+ range is on the horizon for much less than $10k.


Cell prices have gone from around $1000 per kWh in 2010 to around $150-$170 per kWh now. (Add 20-30% for thermal management and pack construction)
Can cell manufacturers continue to improve the price per kWh at that rate for long? I don’t know. I hope so.
But they may be hitting the limits of LiIon technology. If the solid state packs don’t arrive soon, the amount of price improvement per year may not be as impressive going forward.
If we are going to see BEV’s with just a slight price premium over ICE vehicles we need a real world sized pack (70 kWh?) to cost less than a certain price point. $6,000 maybe? That would be $5,000 for the cells, $1,000 for TMS and fabrication. $5,000/70 = $71.43 per kWh These are just WAG’s, obviously.
Can we get there? I think so, but it isn’t going to be a simple proposition.

Micke Larsson

Cell prices are at less than $130/kWh. At around $100/kWh for most of BYDs cells and Tesla is also about to get there. If you are not building your packs for less than $170 then you are doing something wrong.
Still, they will of course charge more to separate the options.
Getting more engine power was the way to charge more for premium ICE’s, for premium BEVs you will be paying thorough the nose to get those last kWh.


Outside of China, I think Tesla has the best price per kWh. I have seen reports of $135 per kWh for Tesla’s Panasonic cells and I have also seen reports of $157. So I figure $150 is probably close to being right.
I think GM is looking at $165, and those two probably have the best price per kWh of US manufacturers.
I am not certain that you are wrong about $130, Mikael, but I am not sure that you are entirely right, either.
But my main point was that I think the low hanging fruit may have already been harvested. Getting from $150 (or even from $130) to $70 is going to be a bear.
I do agree that power/torque are going to the selling points for BEV’s. No way an ICE can deliver torque like a BEV of a similar price point.


Way back in 2015, GM disclosed $145 and dropping. FYI — I’ve always considered the $145 plateau for years in the graph to likely reflect the term of LG’s contract price with GM. Just my pet theory, no actual facts to back it up.

Tesla claims to have bettered these numbers. but haven’t been so nice as to hand out spiffy graphs with as much detail as GM’s!


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Robert Weekley

There is also the Energy/Volume challenge, as cars, unlike Trucks or Ferries, don’t have a lot of room! So getting more kWh’s in a given space, at a lower cost, might be more challenging, than getting more kWh’s from a given Mass!


I don’t think volumetric density is really that much of a problem. Take the Tesla Model S for example, which has had 335 miles range since late 2016. Even ignoring any technological improvements, a similar battery would need maybe 1.5 centimetres of additional height to get 400 miles… Not prohibitive at all.


Elon claimed at the shareholders meeting that Tesla will most likely reach 100 $/kWh at cell level before the end of the year, and at pack level in less than two years. While it’s true that at some point cost drops will slow down without substantial technological advances, there is no reason to assume that Li-Ion technology is hitting a wall any time soon. 70 $/kWh at pack level seems reasonably likely by 2022 or 2023.


Where did you see the pricing for BYD cells?


Wow. I did not realize cumulative sales of TM3 had already surpassed the BMW i3. The i3 had a 3 year head start and the two vehicles are priced similarly, so that comparison should have BMW worried.

Thanks for including the YTD market share of 1.5%, that to me is far more relevant than a monthly market share. A 12 month rolling average would be particularly useful as well, but I know you guys have enough on your plate as it is. Keep up the good reporting!

TM3x2 Chris

I think it is more significant that TM3 is selling better than ICE models of BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and others. Of course, that’s not cumulative sales, just month-to-month, but a year ago this was unthinkable.

Speaking of i3 – it’s a great little BEV. Unfortunately, it looks like a clown car and it turns a lot of true BMW believers off. Had BMW released a compelling BEV (ala TM3), it would have had a huge success on its hands by now.


BMW i3 doesn’t appeal much to most traditional BMW drivers, a few will buy on name or for their kid or spouse. BMW needs to worry in the US because the Model 3 matched their entire line of cars (not CUV) for sales in July, and Tesla will exceed their car sales this month most likely.

The more interesting point is Model 3 will exceed cumulative sales of all those cars individually in 6 months.


Because BMW doesn’t really advertise the i3 as being an “Ultimate Driving Machine” like the rest of the BMW lineup. Also, the price tag doesn’t help it one bit.


Didn’t BMW already basically say they’ll kill the i3/i8?

I doubt they’re “worried”. It was always more of an image car for BMW whose days were numbered, finding a temporary niche below the Model S/X.

The iX3 will do far better than the i3 ever did.

TM3x2 Chris

iX3 might be great, but it will not be a success if it’s priced too high. Time will tell.


I think it’s almost certain to be a success in China… Hard to tell about the rest of the world…


It’s worth pointing out that the i3 is sold worldwide and these are only US sales charted here, so BMW probably is still ahead a little. But just by a little and they are indeed foolish to continue thinking that the i3’s $45k MSRP is appropriate, even if they’re frequently putting $10k or more on the hood. Of course, demand is also still outstripping production.

Micke Larsson

Globally is more interesting. BMW i3 is at more than 110k. The Model 3 might be able to beat it by the years end or in early 2019 at the latest.

That would be impressive, not many BEVs has been sold in more quantities than the i3.


The chart with the cumulative sales of the top 10 US Plug-In cars is very interesting.

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The Volt just keeps soldiering on. But look at the inflection point on the 3 sales. LOL!
It is going to take years for the S to catch up with the Volt, but the 3 may get there early next year.
We really need another choice under $50k. What will it be? A roomier Voltec CUV from GM or a more attractive, better appointed, faster charging Bolt? A faster charging, longer ranged Leaf? A Kona that you can actually buy? If those four vehicles hit the market next year at attractive price points, the 3 would have some real competition.


Wrangler PHEV has strong potential whenever it arrives.


There will be multiple new BEVs in the fabled 2020 time frame under 50K…
There will also be new ones and ones with massively increased production and price drops under 30k too…


What the hell happened to the Buick “Bolt”?


Improved Leaf is the only one that appears to happen next year… And even that will be a tough sale once base Model 3 becomes available.

Micke Larsson

Cool… it will be interesting to see that chart every month. 😛


One good thing is now detractors will need to say, but they’re only 2% of vehicle sales. Then next 4%, then 8%.
The demise of ICE sedan it’s only the beginning.


I don’t think that ICE vehicles are going to go away anytime soon, especially not in colder climes. ICE vehicles are simply cheaper, and likely to stay that way, than the equivalent BEV for at least the next 8 to 10 years. And they will have less cold temperature range loss than BEV’s too.
But I do think that ICE vehicles will be in the minority within 10 years, and that they will be seen as a poor mans vehicle, vs. the quicker, quieter, more luxurious BEV’s.

TM3x2 Chris

Agree that ICE is here to stay for a while. Hopefully, within the next 10 years BEV will claim 50% of the new car market.


“ICE vehicles are simply cheaper, and likely to stay that way”

BEV are projected to be cheaper than ICE outright by 2025 at the latest and cheaper in TCO way before that…
BEVs need far less labor to produce and engineer so as the price of the batteries falls and production increases they will become much cheaper…


I hope for the best, but I don’t expect biscuits with my beer every afternoon.

Micke Larsson

Colder climates are going to transfer faster to BEVs than warmer…. ICEs are not cheaper, TCO of EVs is already besting them by a margin. People in colder climates will choose their BEVs carefully though, to get the ones that have great and efficient heating and battery systems that works well in the cold.

But that is no different from today, a lot of brands and models of ICEs are not considered in colder climates because they suck, don’t get warm enough are unreliable or plainly dies on you in the cold.

Robert Weekley

Even a decent ICE Vehicle, will notice extreme range drop in really cold weather, like at 0°F, -20°C ish, partigular on frequent cold starts as in for short commutes, where EV’s are frequently promoted, more than on single long drives, when the engine heats up and stays hot!


Definitely going to be 8% in California this year.

TM3x2 Chris

Note the 3.7% decrease in the overall market. It will be interesting to see if this market shrinking trend continues. If that is the case, the BEV share will go up much, much faster.

Zachary Hafen

Another way of looking at this: 1 in every 100 vehicles sold in the US in July was a Model 3.


3% market share in September?


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Error at the top of the graphic. It’s July and not May

Steven Loveday

Will fix. Thank you!


I’m waiting to see numbers from the CNCDA for Q2 as I’m sure we’re going to get over 6% of sales as plug-ins during that time period and I wouldn’t be surprised to see plug-ins end the year at ~10% of sales here in California.


5% next year


That seems way optimistic, considering that Model 3 should level off at a rate not much higher than right now, and there aren’t many other high-volume offerings arriving next year…


Looking at the growth curve, two things are obvious… 1. Tesla is the only reason why the growth has been so dramatic. 2. Big auto is losing market share on electrified vehicles and if they don’t come up with compelling EV’s quickly, it’ll effect their ICE market share. I can see that they only have 2-3 years to do this.. if they don’t shape up, Tesla will be an existential threat to them. I anticipate Model 3 wlll sell double volume by this time next year in US alone and by the time Model Y is released and when we get a Model S and X refresh, Tesla will be competing with the Ford’s, Volkswagen and Toyota’s and they’ll loose market share. Once the pickup truck is in the market, Tesla will be selling 5 million+ vehicles a year and one or two of the top 10 will go out of business.. my bet is Toyota and Fiat-Chrysler. Once you start seeing 200+ KWH solid state batteries with double current power density, 1/2 current cost and 500KW-1MW chargers, ICE will be dead… only a matter of time.


500-1000 kW chargers for passenger EVs seem unlikely… And unneeded.


Ha ha, so TM3 alone is about 1% of market share…..
Hey Bhagwan


Including PHEV makes the number higher, but is misleading.

Bill Howland

Not so SJC.

MY Phev ELR is basically running on the same tank of gas it did when I last went on vacation in May. I’ve been slowly whittling it down, but the point is 3 months of heavy driving on only 1 tank of gas means 90% of my driving in the car lately has been electric.

And now that I’ve gotten my BOLT back and returned the ICE rental car – 100% of the miles in that car are totally electric.

In fact, since the ELR gets used primarily on long vacations, the lifetime miles-per-gallon in that car is only 141. Whereas, the typical VOLT/ELR is around 230 mpg, as GM has always advertised..

My point is the ‘typical’ PHEV buyer drives even more electric miles percentage wise than I do with that car. And of course, there is nothing wrong with the 100% electric operation of a BEV BOLT ev, or other electrics.

Antonio Briz Ena

Now that EV take off i must resell my Fluence ZE becore they dont want replace my hired battery. Two years paying and Overlease telling me there is no battery stock.
Sad, very sad.
EV1 repeat history. Renault is killing EV again.


With these figures it means that sometime in July the world has likely seen the 4millionth Plug in EV sold.

Micke Larsson

And 5 million before the year ends.