April 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales: What To Expect?


What will the first month of a new quarter bring for EV sales? Soon, April plug-in sales will provide us some answers.

January 2018 EV sales had us a little worried. The marginal rise was not as expected, but it turns out it was not indicative of what was ahead. February came and we had to wait forever to get the final numbers, but, in the end, it was worth the wait. The month exceeded our forecast significantly. Then, March blew the roof off for plug-in sales. It ended up being the best month of all time for the segment and the strongest quarter to date.

Last Month’s Results – March 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

It seems like just yesterday we were reporting March EV sales. April came and went with a vengeance, so here we are again. We considered only running sales articles on a quarterly basis now that GM has decided to change its reporting schedule (and Tesla has been following this method all along). But, as the segment grows, there is an increasing number of other major players.

In the event that other automakers change to quarterly reporting, we may have to reconsider. For now, you can still count on your monthly dose of InsideEVs sales reporting.

Follow Here: Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard

Let’s take a sneak peek into a few of our top-selling plug-ins.

Nissan finally began to move a notable number of copies of its all-new 2018 LEAF in February, at 895. However, we were confident that March would be the turning point … and it was (Nissan moved an impressive 1,500). We anticipate that number to continue into the second quarter.

While the Tesla Model 3 continues to suffer production issues, March was an incredible month for Tesla’s hugely popular new small sedan. In fact, in regards to EVs, it was the best month of all time for any automaker in the U.S. This was true not only for the Model 3, but also for Tesla as a whole.

Tesla sold 3,820 Model 3s in March, for a total of over 8,000 delivered in the first quarter. To top it off, the Silicon Valley automaker delivered an estimated 10,000 vehicles in March in the U.S. alone, over 6,000 of which were the company’s Model S and Model X.

GM boldly decided at the end of the first quarter that it will switch away from monthly sales reporting. Instead, the automaker will follow Tesla’s lead and only release numbers at the close of each quarter. So, it will be July before we have a solid handle on Chevrolet Bolt and Chevrolet Volt deliveries. Between now and then, we’ll make an attempt to estimate sales to keep our chart complete.

With that being said, trends for the automaker’s plug-in hybrid and battery-electric stablemates have been fairly consistent … Bolt up / Volt down. As the second quarter begins, we don’t anticipate this to change. We’ll say that Bolt sales will likely be flat compared to last year’s numbers, while Volt sales will be down significantly.

The Toyota Prius PrimeHonda Clarity PHEV, and BMW i3 are also worthy of mention. Of course, the Prime has maintained second place on our sales chart by a pretty wide margin thus far this year. The Clarity PHEV secured an almost miraculous December, which was its first full month of sales. It succeeded again in February, edging it closer to the top competitors in the segment, but March is when it really started to shine, with over 1,000 deliveries. Though i3 sales were weak throughout 2017 and opened this year the same, March saw a surge.

We expect the Prime to continue its success, claiming the second spot once again on our chart, only exceeded by the Tesla Model 3. We can only hope that Honda keeps inventory up for the newly popular Clarity PHEV, so that sales can continue to climb. BMW i3 sales should be up year-over-year, but we don’t expect numbers like that of March.

While 2017 plug-in sales fell just shy of the 200,000 mark, it was still an extremely impressive year as a whole. Hitting that mark for 2018 should happen well before the end of the year. However, there are several variables involved in determining where we might be by the end of this year. Will we see 300,000?

Check Out: Contributor Josh Bryant’s 2018 yearly sales predictions here

The year ahead holds amazing promise for the segment, however, every time we enter a new quarter, there are many questions and it’s hard to know exactly how everything will pan out.

Questions entering April:

  1. Will 2018 Nissan LEAF sales continue to rise, or was March an exception?
  2. With no sales data from GM until July, will Chevrolet Bolt and Volt inventory be proof enough of sales ups or downs?
  3. Will the Tesla Model 3 remain far above all others, despite continued production problems and the recent shutdown?
  4. How much will Tesla Model S and Model X sales be impacted by the continued rise in Model 3 deliveries?
  5. The Toyota Prius Prime rocked the end of Q1. Will April sales continue a trend toward to top?
  6. Honda Clarity PHEV deliveries closed out the 1st quarter impressively. Can they rise even further?
  7. The BMW i3 finally made a more healthy showing in March. Was it simply an end-of-quarter surge or do we have another true sales rival with the potential to move its way up the top-ten list?

Tune in over the course of the next few days for the answers to these questions and many more, as we report April 2018 EV sales in real-time, beginning on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, with the Toyota Prius Prime and Nissan LEAF sales at 6:30-7:30 AM PT (9:30-10:30 AM ET), and continuing with Ford and BMW’s plug-in data on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

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

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29 Comments on "April 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales: What To Expect?"

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You should number the bullet points.
1. No,Yes. (2 questions)
2. Not Really.
3. Yes.
4. Mot Much.
5. Yes.
6. Yes, Markedly.
7. It’s over for the i3..

Great idea! Done. Good answers … 😉

You got Q1 wrong on both questions.

Well, that started to change in March, with an uptick to 1,500 LEAFs sold, but now April sales are out and we must admit that we’re more than a bit disappointed. –insideevs

For April 2018, Nissan LEAF sales hit just 1,171 units in the U.S Down from 1500.
Reading & comprehension are apparently not your strong suit.

1.Yes, I guess they’ll rise.
3 Yes
4 not much
5. Don’t care about the Prime, not more than the volt. Both are Temporary sub-optimal solutions. I really don’t care if Prime sells 200 or 20,000
6. REALLY ugly and sub-par propositions (this coming from a big fan of Honda, owned 4 civics), so I hope it dies as quickly as possible and they’ll finally do what they should’ve done 7 years ago (debut of leaf) i.e. come up with a reliable, simple and with a competitive range BEV civic. Now they have this super-ugly clarity BEV with 89 mile in 2018 … beyond pathetic.
7. i3 sales will be well, meh. And they’ll stay like that, it’s simply not a competitive offering

7k Telsa 3- Nissan Leaf 3k, Chevy Bolt 2,3k i3 400, Chevy Volt 2k, Toyota PP 4k Honda Clarity Phev 2.5K, Outlander Phev 2k. The rest of the cars i dont car.

Leaf inventory is almost twice that of the Bolt EV. The Leaf should easily outsell all non-Tesla EVs. Unless Tesla lied to us again about production, the Model 3 should easily outsell the Leaf in April but the S and X may have competition from the Leaf in April.

Hopefully we will start to see some of the Halo effect from the Model 3 bring up sales of all EV’s.

Just like when the Model S came out and crushed the meme that EV’s were slow tiny glorified golf carts, hopefully the Model 3 will crush the meme that EV’s are just for hardcore nutter greenies who are willing to suffer in order to own a plug-in car. Once people start seeing more Model 3’s on the road and in the driveways of their own neighbors, it should help EV’s shed the reputation of being “Other” or “Odd”, and become more mainstream.

April may be too early for that, but that’s always the hopes.

i agree

Preach it, brother! 🙂

There’s a meme that Model S and X owners suffer???

The Model 3 is to combat the meme that you have to be rich to own a great BEV. A 50k+ compact sports sedan doesn’t really accomplish that. I hope we’lll see a 35k version in early 2019, but Tesla’s history argues against my hope.

For Europe, it will for sure be Nissan LEAF as number one, followed by Zoe. They are the only ones that has a fair price AND high production capability. Model S is either 3 or 4. BMW will sell well, so will e-golf (but they can not make enough.. 1 year waiting list..), Model X will be til 5 or 6 maybe.
There are really few EVs to choose from still.

“so will e-golf (but they can not make enough)”
lol…poor VW. Is it not enough workers in Germany to make them? Or they are just too busy making concepts?

VW is really good at making concepts!

I could tell you there are alot of Model 3’s in Southern California than even a month ago. I seem to remember seeing the first one on the road not too long ago. Yesterday, I saw at least 8. I still haven’t seen the new Leaf on the road. There are alot of Bolts too.

I have yet to see one. Weird.

I have seen 2 new Leaf’s in GA — weeks ago. No Model 3’s tho…..I hear they are mainly in the Northern burbs..

Yesterday i saw my first new leaf in the wild. It looks a little better in photos.

I’ve seen one, in somebody’s driveway in the fancy part of Allentown, PA.

Seen a couple here in Lorain, Ohio

“We considered only running sales articles on a quarterly basis…”

But… but… but… then where would I go for my comprehensive monthly EV sales “fix”? And please don’t tell me “http://www.ev-volumes.com/”. That would be like someone used to driving a Tesla Model S P100DL being told to go drive an i-MiEV! (No offense to Mitsubishi fans. 😉 )

As someone once posted on the long-gone-but-not-forgotten TheEEStory forum:

“C’mon people. I didn’t sign up for cadre membership to NOT be spoonfed information.” — Fibb

“…No offense to Mitsubishi fans. 😉 )”

None taken I’m sure. They are used to it. All three of them.

You bet! It’s heavily advertised here in SoCal and that will be reflected in the sale numbers. They actually want to sell it.

Hello Team Insideevs.

We understand the problem with estimating the monthly sales. If its just 1 company like Tesla, then its easier to estimate, but if more companies like GM and others follow suit, it may become impossible to estimate on a monthly basis. In that case, you can just report once in 3 months.

GM has changed to quarterly reporting intentionally because they don’t want the Americans to learn the increase in plugin sales month after month for 30 consecutive months. I wonder how other agencies like WSJ, NADA, Goodcarbadcar.net will be able to report the monthly auto sales. Or probably GM will communicate the total sales just to those agencies.

Also GM would have felt ashamed of Tesla Model-3 beating Chevy Bolt hands down in sales. Soon, GM will switch from quarterly to semi annual sales and eventually annual sales.

US Plug-In sales in April 2018:

Tesla Model 3: 4,000+
Tesla Model S: 750?
Tesla Model X: 750?
Chevrolet Bolt EV: 2,500+
Chevrolet Volt: 1,500?
Nissan Leaf: 3,000+
Toyota Prius Prime: 3,000+
Honda Clarity PHEV: 2,000?

Tesla model 3 = ~ 6000

Total US Plug-In sales in April 2018 will be at least 20,000.

Tesla M3 will sell 8,000 + April 2018

I test drove the 2018 Nissan leaf and was very impressed. However, Nissan has a very serious battery degradation issue. They do not have active battery management like the Bolt, the Volt, and Tesla. so, their batteries are suspect. I don’t want to spend $35,000 on a leaf and have no confidence that the battery will last. Until they go active battery management, I am no-go on Leaf