April 2016 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card
It is no secret that plug-in sales in the US have been on the upswing of late. Heading into April, five consecutive record sales months have been logged – and April continued that trend, making it six in a row, although unlike last month, it was no “sure thing” until all the numbers were tallied.
For the month an estimated ~10,586 plug-ins were sold, a strong 16% gain over a year ago.
Last year when we looked ahead to 2016, we saw overall US plug-in sales being significantly higher – predicting that in “11 of 12 months” we would see gains for sure.
That one month with a question mark? April.
A good bulk of US plug-in sales in the first half for 2016 rely on Tesla, and looking at the way the company had done business in the past (neglecting US production in favor of international), we knew the wider industry would have to step up big in April if we were to go a perfect 12-for-12 in record monthly improvements for 2016.
This reality became doubly true when the Model S refresh was announced mid-month…and the Model X ran into a rear seat recall…and CEO Musk announced the company would strengthen the pre-delivery and “second layer” of quality control (in other words, the time between production completion and deliveries slowed significantly in April)
Thankfully, many plug-ins not named Tesla, did set their own personal bests in April – lead by the Ford Fusion Energi and BMW i3 setting new highs for the year.
Of note, the strong month for the Fusion Energi enabled the Ford to move into the 3rd spot for top selling EVs in the US for the first time, while also relegating the LEAF to 4th (another first…but not in a good way).
Previously in March, the US set a new all-time record for plug-ins sold with an estimated ~13,857 moved, which was good for a 32.7% increase year over year.
Also of interest this month:
*- GM switched over to new 2017 model year inventory of the Chevrolet Volt on February 1st, and despite getting an impressive number of Volts to dealers withing the first few weeks, that progress has slowed when it comes to getting cars outside the original CARB/10 state offering
*- Nissan struggled for the 4th month this year getting inventory of the new 30 kWh/107 mile EV to dealers – but that might not matter as the US consumer is sending signals it is more than ready for long range EVs
*- some strong incentive packages on the Fusion Energi (~$4,000) has made the PHEV a compelling offering in April
*- to put it mildly, BMW has had a disastrous 2016 heading into April, but a rebounded to formerly “decent” numbers on the i3, and excellent numbers on the X5 plug-in to help push EV sales higher in the US
Last update: Wednesday, May 4th, @ 3:07 PM
Below Chart: A individual run-down of each vehicle’s monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers. (Previous year’s monthly results can be found on our fixed Scorecard page here)
Individual Plug-In Model Sales Run-Down:
After strongly rolling out inventory in March of the new 2017 model year Volt, the pace of production seem to slow in April, as inventory levels only increased slight – leaving many pockets of the country still with little-to-no Volts to be sold.
Even still, the Volt sold almost 2,000 copies in April (1,983) and will take home the sales crown for April for the first time this year.
About ~3,300 units are currently available, about 50% lower than historical averages of the first generation car, indicating there is still potential to cross the 3,000-mark at some point this year.
Previously in March, the start of the initial national deliveries of the 2017 edition of the Volt helped push sales 192% higher, as GM logged 1,865 Volt sales.
This result also propelled the Volt back to the top of the all-time plug-in sales race for the US by 215 cars (92,737 for the Volt to 92,522 for the LEAF)
GM ended 2015 having sold 15,393 Volts in total, off some 18% from 2014. However, we do expect the plug-in Chevy to set records in 2016 with the new 53 mile edition.
It really is the only word to describe LEAF sales in April. Just 787 were sold, one of the lowest “non-winter” month results since 2012.
April’s sales were off almost 50% from a year ago, when 1,553 were sold. For the year, sales are now off by a third (3,718 vs 5,638)
Previously in March Nissan had its “best” result of the year, but the 1,246 LEAFs sold in March was nothing to write home about, as historically it was a disappointment.
It was thought as we headed deeper into Spring, a growing inventory of new 2016 30 kWh/107 mile LEAFs would help revive Nissan EV sales, however that movement hit a ‘full stop’ in April as inventories, if anything, shrank…perhaps as a result of the lack of interest in the 107 mile version of the LEAF (which has a starting MSRP more than $5,000 higher than the base 24 kWh/84 mile version still available)
Nissan did continue to offer better dealer incentives to move sales, but without depth to sell and an incongruent product to demand, it didn’t matter to much. The only question is whether or not Nissan USA has decided to whole-heartedly produce the 2016 LEAF, or the dealers themselves have checked out from stocking it…also waiting on the next generation offering in 2017.
Overall last year, Nissan closed the year off some 43% in total, selling 17,269 LEAFs this year, versus an all-time best of 30,200 in 2014. The only direct for sales in 2016 one would think would be up.
Separately (and ultimately more importantly) in November we got a look at Nissan’s new IDS Concept from Japan – which was basically a ‘nod and a wink’ to the new e-technology that will be found in the next generation LEAF.
The IDS Concept houses a 60 kWh NMC battery pack good for more than 200 miles (320 km) of real world/EPA driving.
Slow and steady the Cadillac ELR keeps selling in acceptable numbers (at least to GM).
For April GM sold 95 ELRs, roughly on par with a year ago’s 104 sold. For the year 357 have now been moved, off 14% from 2015’s 415 Caddys.
Previously in March 104 ELRs sold, which was a slight gain over the 92 moved in 2015.
Basically, the trend is established, and GM will be selling “100ish” of the premium extended range Caddy for as long as it chooses to offer it.
Overall for 2015, 1,024 were moved, which was off 22% from the 1,310 sold in 2014.
Going forward, dealer acceptance of the 2016 ELR may hinder sales as much as anything, after getting burned with a far too high MSRP on previous model year (2014) pricing.
Curiously, inventory of the ELR increased by about 50% during February, touching close to 300 units for the first time this model year, which helped sales through April. However, now heading into the summer that number has been halved…indicating we may be seeing a pullback in ELR sales going forward.
The ELR will shortly be replaced with the much larger CT6 plug-in sedan (details)
The 2016 ELR does gain some performance over the 2014 model (0-60mph comes up in 6.4 seconds – 1.5 seconds than the older model), despite still using the 17.1 kWh battery found in the current Chevrolet Volt. The Cadillac also gets a $9,000 MSRP haircut (now starting at $65,995), which should help it move a little more product.
Look whose back!
After selling a woeful amount of i3s in January, February and March, BMW went and sold more copies in April than the first 3 months of the year combined – 814 in total were moved in April!
As for the previous 3 months of the year, BMW sold 182 (Jan), 248 (Feb) and 332 copied (Mar).
BMW had on average about ~1,600 i3s in stock during April, near a new high, so that definitely helped sales, but so did sharper pricing on the BMW.
Separately this month, BMW made official that the 2017 i3 would see a significant range bump (up to 114 miles of all-electric range) thanks to a battery upgrade from 22 kWh to 33 kWh (details)
For 2015, BMW sold 11,024 i3s, which made it the 6th plug-in to have reached the 5-digit mark in 2015 (Volt, LEAF, Prius PHV, Model S, Fusion Energi). In 2014, BMW sold 6,092 i3s, good for the 7th best overall spot for plug-in sales in America…not bad considering it was only available for 7 full months in the US.
Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales (apparently because the public can’t handle the concept of regional allocations and delivery lead times)… so we never know for sure what the monthly numbers total up to until Tesla’s quarterly (or annual) updates add more clarity, but we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening.
To come to an estimated monthly, number, we don’t simply take the quarterly estimate given by Tesla and divide it by 3 and hope it all works out…it just doesn’t work like that in the real world. We simply report from the data we accumulate ourselves, the first hand accounts available from the factory and from the community itself when available – and the number is what it is (see below)
Revisions/disclaimer to accuracy of prior estimates: The 2015 Model S sales chart was adjusted (one time – after the completion of the full year of estimates) by 498 units to compensate for confirmed full year numbers. 2014 sales chart was adjusted (one time – again after the end of the full year of estimates) 611 units to compensate for full year numbers. While past success is no guarantee of future results, InsideEVs is quite proud of its sales tracking for the Model S over the years.
That being said, we only estimate this number because Tesla does not, and to not put a number on Model S sales would be to paint an even more inaccurate overall picture of EV sales. Despite our fairly accurate track record, we are not analysts, portfolio managers and we do not own any positions in Tesla the company.
Did you get a new Tesla Model S previously ordered delivered in Q1 in April in the United States? If so count yourself extremely lucky (or probably more realistically – annoyed that your planned, end-of-quarter March delivery somehow got delayed and showed up late). But more realistically, if you received a new Model S in April in the US…you probably bought an inventory car.
Tesla encountered the perfect storm of reasons why to not deliver/produce any Model S cars to Americans this month. A focus on the Model X orders and QC? Sure. The usual “we delayed all the international orders to try to rush out end of Q1 US sales and now we have to kick-start that production to tally those by the end of June for Q2”? Definitely. A focus on selling out current “old style” inventory while prepping for US production of the newly refreshed Model S? Why not.
For April, we estimate Tesla sold 800 Model S sedans in the US…and the little voice in the back of our heads is still screaming “you’re too high!”
But for those concerned about things such as demand, and quarterly sales (/waves to analysts), two events in April lead to an unprecedented amount of Model S orders in April, the like of which we have never seen.
The first demand event was the launch of the Tesla Model 3 (details), the company gained a lot of national focus…and from what we can surmise from our data, an unprecedented amount of Model S orders in April. Perhaps not surprisingly (given the attention to Tesla’s upcoming 215 mile car), the highest level of 70 kWh orders since that trim levels release.
The second demand event was the aforementioned Model S refresh from the second week of April. A significant portion of the “premium” Model S owner base are, well…raging ego maniacs; and they just have to have the latest and greatest. Drive around in a Model S with the “old” nosecone, telling their neighbors and co-workers they aren’t driving the pinnacle of EV technology? But rather an “old” model? No way Jose! New orders are now in – look for an explosion of used Tesla’s hitting the market heading into Q3.
How much more demand in total? We can’t say for sure – and while we have an idea, we don’t want to guess – especially as Tesla will surely boast of it when they release earnings after the bell on Wednesday (May 4th). But it was a lot. We will update this thread when they do.
As for all those new US orders, Tesla has just started digging into producing them, and we will start to see some volume deliveries happening in the second half of May, but June’s production schedule looks so full that Tesla may actually not be able to work through them all for quarter’s end for the first time ever.
Tesla Model X: Like the Model S, Tesla does not itself report Model X sales, so we do our best – with all the data at our disposal to estimate monthly results for North America as best we can (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S)
The Tesla Model X arrived in September, with a big launch party – of which you can check out the full video of (as well as newly released details/specs) here.
Then not a heck of a lot happened…until March when volume deliveries started.
Truth be told, Tesla had a lot of issues filling as many orders as the company intended by March 31st (end of the quarter). From the outside looking in, it appeared chaos ruled at the company in the last weeks of March.
So how to kick off April? Start by shutting down the Fremont plant for “scheduled maintenance”, follow that up with a Model X rear seat recall in week 2, then (in response to a fairly high profile report from Consumer Reports on Model X build quality) have the CEO declare an improved pre-delivery second layer of quality control in week 3.
So while the focus stayed on US production of the Model X all month (unlike the Model S), the end result was that if had you been told to expect a Model X delivery by the end of March by Tesla and did not actually receive your SUV…you probably had to wait a good ~3+ weeks further to receive it.
So the “bad news” for the month was the first half was a train-wreck for X deliveries, while the second half saw the company get back in motion. Looking ahead, there is a lot of production and planned deliveries for May/June…provided of course no other unexpected hiccups present themselves.
For April, we estimate 850 Model X deliveries were made.
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV:
The first (and widely anticipated) plug-in offering from Volvo to be offered in the US arrived late December, and the company posted 226 sales in its first full month in January.
Since then, the XC90 plug-in has found a decent selling range, and sold 150 more copies in April, after moving 178 in March.
Although we have to say, the numbers didn’t surprise us too much, after watching the model sell well in Europe last year. It is still a good bet that many in the US will be pleasantly surprised with how well the plug-in XC90 is received.
The Volvo XC90 T8 (details) plug-in is rated at 394 hp, and gets 14 miles of estimated range (0-12 in pure all-electric mode) via a 9.2 kWh battery, and is the first to offer a standard 240v/120v dual charging cord set. Pricing starts at $68,100 in the US.
It will be interesting to see how much demand their is for the first extended range PHEV in America, as Volvo already under-estimate demand for the XC90 plug-in by a factor of 5 in Europe.
Chevrolet SPARK EV:
The advent of a new “geared-to-income” EV rebate program in California has lead to the monthly lease cost of the Chevy Spark EV to fall to….zero.
Yes, that is right, if you make under 3x the federal poverty limit (35k, or 73k for a family income for 4) – go find a dealer willing to knock off about $1,000 bucks and you get a free EV.
As one might expect, Spark EV sales shot up this month, to 419 units…which is also just under the number of EVs the company still has left in stock to sell.
In other news, if Chevy can stock them, the homeless problem is now solved in California. Or maybe more reasonably, Chevy has just forced the CVRP to change its recently announced rebate program.
Earlier last year, GM confirmed the Spark EV would live on (in first generation trim) for one more year (2016) while waiting on the Chevrolet Bolt to arrive in 2017, however the Spark EV is only build in South Korea and production is sporadic at best.
In 2015, GM sold 2,629 Spark EVs in the US, impressive considering the improvement over 2014 numbers, when 1,145 were moved.
The latest offering to hit the US plug-in market is the new BMW 330e, the plug-in hybrid version of the company’s high selling 3 series offering.
The 330e (from $44,695 including DST), physically arrived in April in a token amount, but the cars seem to be in demo/’not yet for sale’ status for the most part.
Still some 25 managed to find a home in April, we expect much bigger and better things from the BMW over the summer once product fills in at dealerships.
As for the specs, the final EPA ‘real world’ range rating of just 14 all-electric miles (via a 7.6 Kwh battery – 5.7 usable) was a disappointment for some hoping for a number closer to 20, but with a 75 mph top speed in “Max eDrive”, it is a capable offering (featuring a 2 liter turbo inline 4) and should satisfy the traditional BMW crowd and be a strong seller.
The electric motor develops 87 hp with maximum peak torque of 184 lb-ft, when combined with the petrol engine, the total output jumps to 248 hp, with a peak torque of 310 lb-ft, allowing a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph.
The model also features a SAVE BATTERY mode:
If the high-voltage battery’s charge is below 50 percent, the battery is charged to 50 percent by the combustion engine. If over 50 percent of battery charge remains, the charge level is “frozen”, so that the remaining electric energy can be used for part of the upcoming journey.
Check out the new BMW 330e’s online configurator here.
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:
We have always felt that the A3 e-tron had a real shot to be the “dark horse” surprise seller of 2016, and in the plug-ins first couple months on the market, it has not not disappointed.
For April, another solid month of 321 plug-in A3s were moved, bringing the year total to 1,228 – certainly not in the “big boys” category for EV sales, but also definitely not in the “also rans” either.
Previously during March, 332 were moved – a new record for the Audi. In February, 248 A3 plug-in hybrids were moved, after selling 327 copies in January, keeping the plug-in solidly in the “top 10” plug-in sellers for 2016 in the US.
Part of the reason for strong sales for the A3 e-tron is the (relatively) low price. $37,900 gets you the Audi badge, 8.8 kWh of battery – good for 22-odd miles of real world driving…and federal credit of $4,158, which is significant because this brings the e-tron package down to within $2,800 of the base MSRP of the A3.
Check out our own early/pre-delivery review on the Audi A3 e-tron here.
Ford Fusion Energi:
In February, Ford accomplished something with the Fusion Energi that few other models can boast – they bested the Nissan LEAF for sales during February!
For April, not only did Ford sell a new yearly high for Fusion Energi sales, it passed the Nissan LEAF as the 3rd best selling plug-in for America.
In total 1,331 Fusion Energis were sold, and this comes after selling a strong 1,238 copies in March.
Looking at the inventory and it is easy to see why (and how) so many Fusion plug-ins have sold over the past few months; the Fusion Energi has often won the crown for the “most stocked” EV in the US. For March, ford reached the apex of inventory on hand closing in on some ~5,000 units of availability.
This overstock, may be a result of a temporary hiatus in production, as a new refreshed 2017 Fusion Energi is on the way this Fall. By the start of June, inventory had dropped by about ~1,000 units.
For 2015, 9,750 Fusion Energis were sold, which was off by about 15% from 2014, however the model is showing a lot more strength of late than it was a year ago. The 2016 outlook for sales is pretty strong for the extended range Ford.
The Fusion Energi basically offers the same package as the C-Max Energi, but in a larger sedan package. The third plug-in to be offered from Ford has been rated by the EPA at a combined 88 MPGe and has an electric range of 19 miles.
Toyota Prius Plug-In:
Whoosh – is the sound of Prius PHV sales as the remaining inventory circles the drain. It is all over. See you in late 2016 as the all-new Toyota Prius Prime hits the market (full details).
Toyota is just lucky that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is still officially on the market, because otherwise the Prius PHV would find itself at the very bottom of the plug-in sales charts for 2016.
For April, just 4 copies were sold.
In March just 7 copies were sold. Previous result this year included 7 sales in March, 6 sales in February, and 10 in January.
That being said, if the Prius Prime actually arrives in ~November as expected, the company could still likely end the year with more than 5,000 sales on the book, as the new 22 mile Prius plug-in is expected to compete for the sales crown in 2017.
Some industry insiders think upwards of 50,000 could be sold during its first full year on the market…provided that is that Toyota decides to fully stock it (but we think they will).
In 2015, just 4,191 were sold, which was off almost 70% from the 13,164 in 2014. We would like to note this was not a reflection of US demand for the car, as we feel they would easily buy 800-1,200 copies a month, it is simply the fact production of the current car ended this past summer – and Toyota messed up making a seamless transition to the next generation model as it did for the regular hybrid.
Our prediction going forward, is there isn’t any left for all of 2016 – and every low volume plug-in will clean the Prius PHV’s ‘sales clock‘ this year until the company makes up some slight ground at year’s end wioth the new Prime – which is a shame, because the demand to move a good volume has never waned with the US public, only Toyota’s desire to sell them.
When it comes to plug-in luxury, there is a new boss in town! Having arrived in late Summer of 2015, the Mercedes S550 presents a level of refinement previously unseen in the EV segment for the US.
For April 29 were sold.
The large Mercedes plug-in’s “best ever” month came late in 2015, as 35 copies sold in December,
UPDATE: Despite the S550 PHV’s recent arrival in the US, the new 2016s are here! The only issue with that for consumers might be that they are unchanged in every way but pricing. The 2016 retails higher – at $95,650
Despite its huge footprint, and pretty heavy weight (just north of 5,000lbs), the electric motor and turbo 6 cylinder still manage to zip the Mercedes to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds, while giving the car 24 MPG in the city and 30 on the highway.
Range is rated at 12+ miles with the Prius-like “electric + gas” tag, meaning you have to drive with a certain light-footedness to get the 20 miles on just electricity. The S550 has a 8 kWh battery on board, so expect about a $4,700 federal tax credit with your purchase.
Hyundai Sonata PHV:
January was the first month the Sonata plug-in was even decently stocked, and Hyundai sold ~175 copies of the Sonata plug-in, indicating that it will be a strong player in the EV space for 2016.
Since then sales have been steady, with April notching 250 more sales.
The Sonata PHV should be a decent seller in the US as it offers an attractive mid-size PHEV value. The Hyundai has been rated at 27 miles of range and pricing starts at $34,600.
The only question now is if Hyundai will inventory it like sister-company Kia with the Soul EV (as in hardly at all). During April about ~500 showroom copies on average were available in limited states – although the car is available by customer order in all 50 states.
With $4,919 dollar worth of federal credit also on the table thanks to the car’s 9.8 kWh battery, the effective $29,681 price-point (+dst) is acceptable; however, when factored into a lease, it makes the plug-in version of Sonata almost as inexpensive as the petrol version.
April’s edition of e-sales at VW we will entitle “back from the abyss”, as a decent 326 e-Golfs were sold.
Last month, VW had plumbed the depths of how low it could go, selling under 100 copies for the first time since the car’s launch in 2014.
The reason for low sales? Like other city EVs (the Nissan LEAF and BMW i3 BEV come to mind), the US consumer may simply not be interested in anything without a 200 mile range after being peppered with news of the upcoming Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt EV in recent months.
These results were despite a recently introduced a new, less expensive SE trim level. The new trim level brings the base starting price of the e-Golf down to $29,815.
Back to the topic at hand (low sales), if we had to point the finger at one root cause, it actually would not be the coming new arrivals in the all-electric segment, but moreso the fact Volkswagen only had (on average) about ~300 copies of the e-Golf to sell in April…a number that looks to dip lower in June without some help from the assembly plant.
The e-Golf has been rated at 83 miles by the EPA and carries a 24.2 kWh LEAF-like (base) battery.
Ford C-Max Energi:
Both of Ford’s plug-in hybrid products are having a revival of sorts of late.
And while the C-Max will never enjoy the sales success of its brother (Fusion Energi), a very respectable 607 copies were moved in April – very close to the year high set last month when 610 were sold.
Overall, the ‘standard’ C-Max sales in the US have been fairly woeful since Ford launched the car…and the C-Max Energi pays the price each month for that lack of interest, usually selling mre than a third of the net cars for the model.
We should note that unlike its sister car the Fusion Energi, the C-Max Energi has a limited ceiling for sales as the inventory is much more tightly controlled than that of the Fusion.
For 2015, 7,591 C-Max Energis have been sold, which lagged 2014 when Ford sold 8,433. In 2013, the high water mark for the C-Max Energi was set in October as 1,092 plug-ins sold. It still would not surprise us to see the C-Max Energi live only as long as it takes to introduce a Focus Energi.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED (B250e):
Perhaps it has because the bar has been continually lowered for the B-Class ED (now actually named the B250e), but the 56 sold in April seems like a reasonable amount vs demand for city EVs these days.
Previously in March, 66 were sold, after 37 moved in February.
The B-Class has a bit of a rough go since its entry to the US. The original model year run (2014) was extremely short, the 2015 edition came late and without much fanfare or inventory, and the 2016 edition was hit early with a stop sale (which has now been resolved) order last Fall.
It appears now that Mercedes has decided to make the B-Class a limited offering in the US until a new, longer range model arrives in the future (more on that below), as national inventories struggle to stay above the 3 -digit level.
Last Fall we also heard news (via a normally very reliable source) that Mercedes was about to get serious with the B-Class ED, giving it an estimated 300 mile (NEDC) ~225 mile EPA range upgrade in next generation trim, while also removing the Tesla drivetrain/components to bring costs down. It seems as though the B-Class ED may be one of the “ones to watch” heading into the 2nd generation wars in a couple year’s time.
After selling an almost unfathomable 656 i8s in December, sales plummeted a zillion-percent (technical term) to just 32 in January, perhaps in sympathy with its sister plug-in, the i3.
February saw a little improvement, and ultimately March built on that, selling 89 copies during the month.
Thankfully April sales rebounded alongside its sister-car at BMW (the i3). For the month 130 were sold – a new year high.
As for that December figure of 656, that was a new record. The old record was just 217 units, so to say this result was unexpected would be a massive understatement.
For 2015, BMW sold 2,265 i8s. A more than respectable amount, given the 6-figure price-point.
Despite the extremely low January and February sales results, one can’t put the blame on inventory issues as the model has been well-stocked over the past few months. Heading into May about ~650 copies are available to be purchased.
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid:
The Panamera S e-Hybrid seems not able to recover from the arrival of sister SUV, the Cayenne S e-Hybrid.
In April, 25 were sold – sad faces all around for the plug-n Porsche.
Previously in March, the Panamera S e-Hybrid rebounded slightly selling 23 copies…so the car is destined to stay low at this point.
Basically, the upcoming refresh probably can’t come soon enough.
The high mark for sales on the Panamera was set in the very first month it went on sale, with an amazing 141 sold in January of 2014.
The Panamera S E-Hybrid has a combined 416 hp output (333 hp electric) and can get north of 60 mph in about 5 seconds, with a top speed of 167 mph. Pricing starts at $99,000. Also of interest, the S E-Hybrid is currently available at all Porsche dealers nationwide – a rare thing these days.
Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid:
While the Panamera S E-Hybrid struggles to prove viability, the Cayenne plug-in continues to put more butts in the seats.
Amazingly, the Porsche has only strengthened sales since December (traditionally the easiest month to sell a vehicle with a plug).
In January 145 were sold (after moving 137 in December), but somehow Porsche managed to sell 172 in February, then a record 244 in March. April came “oh so close” to setting another record, but fell just shy, selling 237 plug-in Porsches this month.
And while the e-drivetrain/abilities of the Cayenne and Panamara are very similar, Porsche customers have spoken – they want the Cayenne, as sales of the plug-in SUV outnumber the sedan usually by a ratio of about 5-to-1.
Even Porsche seems to have noticed, as inventory of the plug-in SUV has only increased through the past few month, averaging close to ~500 units in April.
When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we have another Tesla on our hands here (as in they don’t report sales).
Chrysler/Fiat has been giving us a bit of the stonewall treatment when it comes to reporting 500e sales.
UPDATE: After initially have some issues getting data on the plug-in Fiat, more registration and rebate data is now available. That being said, the number is estimated. Historically, the average margin of error per month has been about ~40 units in those moments when some confirmed data leaks out (usually from a recall).
The all-electric Fiat has been showing signs of renewed life after struggliing a bit to end of 2015. For April we estimate that 395 500es were sold.
The all-time high-water mark was an estimated 1,310 estimated sales of the 500e in March.
BMW X5 xDrive40e:
Showing that early success was no fluke (and that a plug-in hybrid can actually sell this year with a BMW badge on the front), BMW sold a new all-time record amount of X5 40s in April – some 655 of them.
This month’s result keeps the X5 plug-in solidly inside the “top 10” best sellers for the US, passing the Fiat 500e. Who would have guessed?
Looking at the potential for future sales, more than ~1,200 copies are now on hand heading into June – very close to an all-time high, so we expect some decent numbers going forward.
Can the X5 plug-in break into the top the “top 7” sellers in the US in 2016, passing its sister-car the i3? A couple of months ago we probably would have said that was highly unlikely, but now, who knows, sale could take off even higher from here.
Check out our first drive review of the 13 mile AER BMW x5 xDrive40e here.
SMART ForTwo ED:
Despite having a model lineup that is half-convertible, smart had a sales resurgence in the last two months of 2015.
Unfortunately, that did not continue into 2016, as the 2 seat EV slumped further in April to just 66 sales, off 4 units from the 70 sold in March (after posting results of 54 sales in February and 48 in January).
With the start of summer upon us in a few weeks, our expectation for the little plug-in smart is a decent sales rebound…perhaps not its to former glory, but definitely returning to the 150-200 sales per month level.
The all-time record for sales in one month was set in December of 2014 when 351 were sold. The smart Ed ended 2015 with 1,387 sold – good for the 13th on the top selling plug-ins list for America.
The smart ED is also the first plug-in for America to be offered with a “battery rental” option, which brings the cost of the Smart ED down to $19,990, but adds a $80 month battery rental payment, as well as includes a wider (and longer) battery warranty. Check out all the specs, options and pricing here. The 2-seat Smart electric car gets 68 miles of range from a 17.6 kWh battery.
Ford Focus Electric:
Another month, another nap for those interesting in following the sales progress of Ford’s first all-electric offering.
The Ford Focus is one of the longest available electric cars on the US market – and April marked the EV’s 49th month to log sales in America, yet it never strays more than ~100 units from selling 150 copies per month.
Seriously – never more than 100. It seems almost impossible…yet there it is…the Focus Electric, selling 100ish cars month in and month out.
For April another 81 were sold in the boringest sales story ever to be told. Yippie!
The model has sold between 53 and 198 sales per month in 46 of the past 47 months. With just one of those months passing the 200 level ever (August 2014 -264)
Kia SOUL EV:
Kia seems to be emulating the Focus Electric with the plug-in Soul EV…and that is not a good thing.
Never straying far from the 100 unit mark during in its first full year on the market, Kia sold 139 copies in April – a number we probably should be celebrating, as it is only a single sale away from the all-time record; but we just can’t do it, as the car’s potential is so much higher.
Previously, Kia moved 79 Soul EVs in March, after selling 60 in February and 81 in January.
Hey Kia, maybe its time to ship a few more copies to the US?
A note on the Kia numbers: Kia has decided to not split out data on the Soul EV from the regular petrol version, despite several attempts by ourselves to convince them it would be a good idea to do that. As Kia is one of the OEMs we don’t have a strong relationship with, we defer to our friends at HybridCars.com to provide the sales info.
The cute-ute from Hyundai/Kia has a more than decent 93 miles of range (with more 103 miles of range in the city), and a price tag of $33,700 (full details, specs and picture can be found here). We expect the advent of the Kia Optima plug-in and an unnamed Hyundai all-electric sedan to be introduced over the next 12 months or so to signal the end of the Soul EV by 2017.
OTHERS: Plug-in vehicles that have ended sales/production are included in our chart under this heading. They include (but are not limited to) the Honda Fit EV, Toyota RAV4 EV, Honda Accord PHV, Porsche 918 Spyder