July EV Sales Surge 50% In The US, Set Another Monthly Record

AUG 3 2016 BY JAY COLE 33

More than 2,400 2nd generation Volts found homes in July...a multi-year high!

More than 2,400 2nd generation Volts found homes in July…a multi-year high!

Stop if you have heard this one before – plug-in electric vehicle sales set a new monthly record in the US last month.

It should sound familiar, because we have said it every single month in 2016*.  However for the past 2 months we have really, really meant it…as not only a new record was set, but past sales levels have been blown away.

For July, ~13,432 plug-ins were sold, 50% better than the ~8,951 sold in July of 2015.

Dark Horse winner for July: BMW i3 topples previous best 2016 by massive

Dark Horse winner for July: BMW i3 topples previous best 2016 by massive 82%

Previously in June, ~15,040 sales where notched (a record for any month all-time), which was an increase of some 45% from the year prior.

Total EV sales in the US have now reached 78,179, up 24% year to date over the 63,298 sold through the first 7 months of 2016.

Leading the charge in July was the Chevrolet Volt, who put on its ‘selling shoes’ and not only set a new multi-year high for sales (2,406) during the month, but also became the first plug-in to sell more than 100,000 copies in the US (or any other country in the world for that matter).

In the “where the heck did those sales come from” category in July was the BMW i3.

The i3, yet to sell more than 814 sales in a month this year, suddenly  moved 1,479 copies in July.  The obvious reason for the surge is heavy discounting ahead of the arrival of the new, longer range 33 kWh trim level – still BMW moved more than 50% of all available inventory during the month.

Also of note for July:

*- while the Ford Fusion Energi ended its 6 month string of improving sales (although they still sold a lot – 1,341), its sister-car, the C-Max Energi picked up the slack, moving a multi-year high 755 plug-ins

*- 9 plug-ins managed to set 2016 highs in July (detailed list below)

*- the fuel cell Toyota Mirai set a new high for sales at 52

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers NA-X – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers NA-X – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

Other Statistical Points of Interest from July 2016

Ford C-Max Energi set a new 2 year high for sales in July

Ford C-Max Energi set a new 2 year high for sales in July

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla Motors* – 2,900
  2. GM – 2,754
  3. BMW – 2,375
  4. Ford – 2,154
  5. Nissan – 1,063
  6. VW Group – 862

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In July*

  1. PHEV – 7,562 – 56.3
  2. BEV – 5,870 – 43.7%

New Year Highs Set In July By Model (previous 2016 high in brackets)

  • Chevrolet Volt – 2,406 (1,937)
  • BMW i3 – 1,479 (814)
  • Ford C-Max Energi – 755 (630)
  • VW e-Golf – 344 (328)
  • Hyundai Sonata PHV – 375 (275)
  • Kia Soul EV – 179 (139)
  • BMW 330e – 81 (67)
  • Mercedes GLE 550e – 30 (19)
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV – 20 (6)

(*) estimated

The full monthly recap by individual plug-in can be found on our Monthly Scorecard here.

*May of 2016 had only 24 selling days, versus 26 in previous years. Also note Spark EV sales for June have been restored to 359 units after some confusion at GM over the total

Categories: Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Sales, Smart, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

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33 Comments on "July EV Sales Surge 50% In The US, Set Another Monthly Record"

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Good to see this surge! But is it bad that I want Tesla to not do so well, so I can get a Model 3 with the federal tax incentive still in place?

Also bad: How did Mitsubishi respond to sales records all throughout 2016? They delayed the Outlander PHEV for another year. grrrrrr

@Jay- not that you have any extra time in your day, but what % of all passenger car sales does this encompass? Are we over 1% in the US yet? (I say this lamenting the state of the industry where I’d thought we’d be at 3-5% by now…)

Overall U.S. car sales can be found in the link below:


For July we’re still under 1%. EVs sold in July were 13,432, while total U.S. car sale for July were 1,510,941. So that works out to EVs having a 0.89% share of the market.

Oops, I used the total sales figure for July 2015 by mistake. Total U.S. sales in July 2016 were 1,521,871, giving 13,432 EVs sold in July a slightly worse 0.88% market share.

Oh good lord. Now I’m even more depressed. But thanks for the info!

Remember CalCars’ plug in Prius and we were all ranting:
If only someone would make a 50 mile EV, that would satisfy at least 50% of the population (not).


If only we could get 100 miles of range, then EVs would fly off the lots (not).


If only we could have decent EV range, at a price under $50k but solve the long distance problem, THEN they’d fly off the lots (Volt = not)


If only there was a 200+ mile EV under $30-40k, THEN they’ll fly off the lots. I guess we’re about to answer that question real soon, but I’m having a hard time being optimistic.

Hahaha.. Good one.. And you’re right on. I think the problems with getting people to buy an EV is really very complex and there isn’t just one simple reason for it. However, nobody can deny we are heading in the right direction. We’re slowly chipping away at all of the excuses that people have. I think the last main hurdle to solve is simply offering more body styles in SUV and pickup form factors.

small market share is no big deal. people in the industry realize that electric vehicles are an early stage market and will be for several more years. of course, the optimistic way to look at it is that overall car sales have been flat compared to last year while plug-in car sales have increased 50%.

to the extent that plug in sales take off in the U.S. it will most likely be led by the chevrolet volt, because that vehicle serves a larger potential market.

The problem wasn’t thinking that BEVs just needed to satisfy typical needs, it was the wrong definition of typical needs.

I’m _extremely_ optimistic that 200-mile-rated BEVs in the $30k-$40k range will fly off the lots/service centers delivery areas, because they meet a _lot_ more typical needs than the short-range BEVs.

It’s no coincidence that the latest Volt is now pushing up against its records despite lower gas prices and lower incentives compared to periods where there were the highest sales numbers: it’s better.

the gen2 Volt is an improvement in many technical respects over the gen1 Volt. but in terms of design, the gen1 Volt is a really well designed vehicle: both inside and out; the gen2 Volt is a definite step down in that regard. i don’t fault gm, they were trying to respond to what they perceived the customers wanted, but the gen1 Volt is a really well designed car. i’ve had my Volt for 4 years and i still marvel at the aesthetic design. unlike the tesla model S, which is a highly derivative design, gm went all out to develop an original design for the Volt.

No comment, in what way do you think the Gen I design superior to the Gen II? I like my 2013my Volt but the design details are what irritate me. The thick A Pillar, the irritatingly complicated console, the tiny back seats, all show signs of GM making compromises that reduce the utility of the car.
The Gen II is slightly better in this regard, in my book.

the center stack that you find so annoying i find visually attractive. i also like the way that the center stack flows from the floor console and it really nice when illuminated. i guess, i’m not as bothered by the controls as you, but i do find myself accidentally hitting a control that i didn’t intend, but it doesn’t happen enough to be a big problem for me.

i agree on the thick pillars (and not just the A pillar), but on the other side of the coin, if i am ever in a roll over accident, i will really appreciate them.

is the gen2 Volt really that much more spacious than the gen1 Volt?

You can also get numbers from FRED (Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis) at
Their data goes back to 1976.

You are right, small percentage compared to total sales figures. At first you would feel sorry for Nissan that they only sold 1063 LEAFs, compared to 2900 Tesla vehicles. But then you realize that 2900 of total July Tesla sales pales in comparison to the 132,475 total July Nissan Sales. Or for that matter:
BY brand:
73,003 Hyundai
28,758 Volkswagon
25,777 BMW
152,799 Honda
180,727 Fiat/Chrysler
267,258 GM
216,479 Ford
214,233 Toyotas

In this context, BMW did have a remarkable month of selling within 400 units of plug in vehicles of GM. If there was 330e inventory available, they may very well have caught GM this month.

In July, BMW was approaching 10% of sales with its plug-ins. Pretty remarkable.

It sounds like GM has nearly 110k combine plug-in electric vehicles sold to date, which means “only” 90k more to go before the sunset begins for their federal tax credits. Hopefully we will see legislation change up the program before that happens.

I think it will take GM another 2-3 years to reach 200K numbers…

We may see 119-120k by December, 170k by 12/2017, and 200k by 5/2018, so the full credit probably goes away 10/1/2018.
Or 3 months earlier or later. Given the Bolts probable production/sales rate, we will probably see the full credit reduced by half in 7/2018.
But the full credit is here for GM until mid-2018 and may last until the beginning of 2019 if sales are slow.
The interesting thing will be to see what the MSRP does after the credit gets cut in half.

Where came the iMiev numbers from? Pretty amazing to increase the numbers now that much after months of 0-6 sales.

“It should sound familiar, because we have said it every single month in 2016*.”

Yeah, these reports about surging plug-un EV sales are starting to sound like a broken record. 😉

And it’s high time that happened!

So Volt sales surged 83% YOY… That is great.

On the related news, the newly redesigned Toyota Prius sales dropped 11% YOY. (Prius C dropped 68% and Prius V dropped 48%).

Maybe people finally start to get it.

Not enough people. Overall hybrid sales are down about 32k ytd, while plug-ins are up about 14k. The ‘electrified’ market share is flat to slightly down, still below the 3% niche.

I would blame gas prices for the decline in hybrid sales more than anything else.

Wow – 50% jump in sales over the same month last year despite gas prices being so low.

So people have realized the value and the difference in Plugins compared to gasmobiles.

I believe i3 with extended range is coming to USA in Sep. Ioniq-Electric in Nov and the full month sale of Bolt & Prime in 2017-Jan.

Also Leaf, Focus-EV & eGolf are getting increased range.

At that time, we should see a big bump in sales.

I hope so. I think the 4 of the vehicles you mentioned are suffering from the Osborne effect and that problem will rectify itself soon. And the addition of the Bolt, Ioniq, and Prime will simply add to the market. I could see EVs hitting 2% of the market by the end of next year..

I had kind of set my self up for seeing 150,000 sales this year in the US. So was pretty depressed when I saw this month compared to last month but on reflection 13,500ish sales in a month is actually not that depressing. If we want to hit 150k we need to average 14,500 per month until Christmas. That sounds big but still possible if we could average 13k we’d top 140k which sounds possible and would be a fairly decent result.

+1 on those above being a bit down on less than 1% market share 5 years after the first “mass market” EV’s started rolling off the line.

IMO EV’s will take off when people realise there is serious money to be made from EV owners or when EV’s reach the level of maturity that gives governments social permission to tax the life out of the ICE industry. I think that if you could swap the federal tax credit for a $7,500 tax on new cars that EV’s were exempt from the effects would be enormous. Even if it was only applied to cars costing more than $50k but right now there just aren’t enough models to do that.

Can you do a list of upcoming new plugins?

And still Tesla hasn’t turned a profit.

Maybe they see “profit” somewhat differently.