2018 May US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: Market Up 48%

JUN 7 2018 BY MARK KANE 37

May 2018 became the fourth best month for plug-in electric car sales in the U.S. with healthy growth of 48%.

In total, around 24,560 new plug-ins were sold, at market share above 1.5%.

After the first five months of 2018, the Tesla Model 3 beginning to run away from the pack and only the Toyota Prius Prime was even close to keeping pace:

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – May 2018

Tesla Model 3 set in May an all-time sales record for any plug-in car in the U.S. – 6,250 (estimated by IEVs).

Soon, its monthly sales will likely exceed 10,000.

Tesla Model 3 sales in U.S. (estimated) – May 2018

Toyota Prius Prime also set a new sales record of 2,924 (up 53% year-over-year) and 33.7% of total Prius sales.

Toyota Prius Prime sales in U.S. – May 2018

Chevrolet Bolt EV disappointed again in May with only 1,125 sales (28% down year-over-year), and now both the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X are ahead of it in the YTD rank.

Chevrolet Bolt EV sales in U.S. – May 2018

We’re happy to see 1,576 Nissan LEAFs sold in May, but hopefully, this figure grows later this year.

A new record was set by the Honda Clarity PHEV too – 1,639. Will it surpass the Chevrolet Volt for the whole of 2018?

Categories: Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan, Sales, Tesla, Toyota

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37 Comments on "2018 May US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: Market Up 48%"

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What are GM doing?
I can understand their poor sales for the rest of the world but it looks like the USA sales are starting to fall off.

Do they still take a loss on every single Bolt sale?

Well they certainly are not interested in lowering the price, and in the US, with the Model 3 production numbers growing, who in their right mind would choose a Bolt over a M3. Maybe a dolt?

Someone who actually wants to drive their new car in 2018 maybe?

There’s a waiting list on Bolt orders too..

Somebody who wants to spend less than $50k for a car, perhaps?

Someone that wants the utility a small hatchback offers.

No. They never did. Even in 2011 they made money on any Volt sold with options. By 2012 they were making money on the base model.

#1 – They’ve already sold enough Volts and Bolts to cover all the ZEV credits that they need for, unless I’m mistaken, several years. If it’s a compliance car like many have suggested, then they’re not selling more because they’re already compliant and have no need to sell more.
#2 – They’re currently retooling the factory for the change in model years.

Time will tell which of the two narratives are the actually relevant one. If combined sales of the Volt and Bolt exceed 4000 in some month later this year, then it was probably just #2. If not, then it was #1, and the Volt and Bolt are just GM EV2 and 3 and share a fate that looks comparable to that of the EV1.

The GM SparkEV was EV1.5, going by your accounts, which has already shared a “fate that looks comparable to that of the EV1.”

Sans the Finality, of the cruel EV Car Crusher, of course!

Several issues. Let’s revisit in 9 months to see if I’m right. 1. LG is set to launch their new parts factory late 2018 in the US and GM has said this will drive down the price of the entire drive train since it’s the motor as well as several other components. Same issue with batteries. This will also give them the necessary volumes. 2. Right now the manufacturing rate is somewhere between 2500 and 3000 per month (30,000 to 36,000 per year). Looks like 2500. 3. 2017 year end push decimated inventory in the US so the story starts about Jan 2018 in the US to discuss this lack of sales. 4. If you track the ‘time to 200,000 in the US’ chart just released you’ll see that GM is at 181,500. Basically 18,500 to the target. Normally you’d think they’d hit 200 in Q4 but if they don’t have the manufacture volume there’s no reason to hurry. I believe they are pushing it out to Q1 2019. So they basically need to sell just a shade less than 3000 EVs per month until then which is coincidentally about what the combined Volt/Bolt volume was for May. 5. So… Read more »

Good analysis.

Maybe Prime and Model 3 stole the show away from Volt and Bolt.

Clarity PHEV is also putting a lot of pressure on the Volt.

I think so. I would wait for a M3 over a Bolt anyday.

I really want Volt and Bolt to succeed! Volt is such a great car for anyone not ready full the full EV jump yet. Basically zero drawbacks and lots of the EV advantages. Plus, it is perfectly fine looking and has a very practical hatchback. So sad to see it languishing. Volt should be an everyman vehicle.

While I think the Volt is fine for what it is, it’s basically a 2 seater. I would put the rear seat issue firmly into the MAJOR drawback category as it significantly reduces it’s practicality.

The Bolt rear seats in comparison are extremely spacious.

They are sitting on US dealer lots, where other countries are begging to buy them.

The dealership closest to me has a 2017 sitting on its lot.

Just spoke to my dealer, and they can’t keep them on the lot. Keep selling through and have no stock 🙂

GM May sales were up 13%, and pickup trucks up 23%…. Oh, you must be talking about the Bolt? Very disappointing… Should we go on Bankruptcy watch?

All of us gather together to discuss EVs on this site. The ICE sales of GM are irrelevant to the desired decarbonisation and electrification of transportation.

keeping pace, missing the “e”.


Wow, only 15K model S and X sales for first 5 months! Upper tier Tesla cars sales are really slowing down!!

while model 3 sales are climbing.

You are wrong

It is pretty remarkable that Tesla’s Models S and X, which sell for ~$100K on average, have more sales than either the Bolt or the Volt, which sell for roughly one-third as much. The M3 is still more of a $50K car and is burying all the competition selling for substantially less – if or when Tesla starts putting out M3s below $40K, it would seem that they’ll crush all comers.

All of theses sales numbers are as false as a three dollar bill. Without the point of sale taxpayer funded rebate and without the insanely unfair freebie in no fuel taxes these car sales wouldn’t make it to 1000 a month for all models combined. The govt will eventually kill the subsidy and place wheelage taxes on electric cars to fund their fair share of the cost of roads.

How many people putting down 100K for a car really care about a 7% discount? The cost of electricity per mile is less than the cost of gasoline per mile, and even with doing something equivalent to the ~25 cent per gallon federal tax, the cost per mile is still lower. Plus, once you get the taste of instant torque at 0 mph, you never want to drive an ICE again. EVs will reach cost parity with ICE cars soon, and the tax credits will no longer be needed anyway.

Furthermore, the use of ICE is polluting the city air – ICE users should pay (which they don’t do now) for the added health care needed to take care of the respiratory damage the car exhaust causes.

Many states already have a registration tax on EVs to cover what they don’t pay in fuel taxes. In WA it’s $150/yr.

You lost or something?

Maybe the govt will also kill all the oil & gas subsidies (such as warfare) that have allowed gas to be so cheap here for so long. Then we’ll see how cheap an EV is.

Gas tax isn’t enough to keep me out of an EV. And a $7500 rebate isn’t that big of a deal on a $100k car.

Model S and Model X sales in June will be lower because many of these cars will be in transit to other countries, and they will be delivered there in July or later.

If you go by history, that should happen in July, not June.

Two things. One. I love the people still talking with 5-7 year old talking points about compliance cars and subsidies.

Two. What the hell KIA, you make Niro a. 5 seat, plugin hybrid, Small cross over and there is not one within 700 miles of me, and the dealer here says “none of the dealers around here wanted to spend 50k to install plugs”. They won’t take an order and suggested I call one of the dealerships in CO to see if they could take an order and send it here. WTF?!?!

I like the bolt. I would never buy a tesla. Like the wifi and the onstar feature.