August 2016 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card
Plug-in electric vehicle sales once again soared to new heights in August, obliterating (admittedly weak) 2015 results.
EV sales in the US have now set a sales record in all 8 of the month so far this year*, but like the two months prior, huge gains have now been logged more recently; with an even greater expectation for advancement coming later this year with new models soon to debut.
For August, an estimated 14,882 EVs were sold, a massive 66% improvement over August of 2015 (8,972).
For the year, ~93,197 have now been sold, which is an improvement of 29% versus the 72,270 sold through the first 8 months of last year.
August’s result marks the second highest volume of sale for plug-ins ever in the US (June – 15,063), and the largest year-over-year net gain ever (+5,910).
A particularly strong month for Tesla sales was seen for August, which was the same basic story for last month (relative to the historical norms for the first and second months of the quarter). It is clear Tesla has begun to desperately work at making up lost ground from the first half of 2016 to hit its ~80,000 total global delivery target for the year.
Of note: While the Toyota Mirai doesn’t really fit the definition of a “plug-in” vehicle (and thus isn’t listed on our sales chart), we feel we should note that after selling about ~50 a month for the year, Toyota delivered 371 in August. So, get ready ~20 working hydrogen fuel cell stations in California...its gonna get busy.
Particular points of interest this month:
*- the race for “first EV to sell 100,000” in the US was settled in July, with the Chevy Volt easily besting 2nd place finisher, the Nissan LEAF. Now with another strong “beat” posted in August, can the 2nd generation Chevy put up enough sales to hold off the LEAF as it moves into 2nd generation trim in 2017? Race stances at (103,045 to 97,513)
*- the refreshed, more efficient 2017 Fusion Energi arrived in late May and promptly set a new year high with 1,700 copies sold in June. Ford followed up this result by selling a still impressive 1,341 copies in July. Can the plug-in Ford go higher? And can it hold off the 2nd half charge from the Tesla Model X for 3rd place on the best seller list?
*- BMW sold 1,479 copies of the i3 seemingly out of nowhere in July. For August it was hard to miss the intense advertising push for the plug-in during the Olympics in Rio on NBC. Did that translate to even higher sales for BMW? Answer: It did not….but the BMW X5 plug-in set a new high with almost 900 sales.
Last update: Thursday, September 2nd, @11:40 AM
*On year of monthly sales improvements: We know someone is going to look at the chart and say, “hey, only ~11,423 sales were made in May of 2016, when 11,540 were logged in 2015! What gives InsideEVs?” What gives is through an odd scheduling quirk, only 24 selling days were reported in 2016 (versus 26 in 2015)
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:
Thanks to 2,406 Volt sales previously in July, the plug-in Chevy was the first plug-in vehicle to cross the 100,000 sold threshold in the US.
And while August’s result didn’t match that of July’s, the 2,081 Volts sold (details) still represented the 2nd highest level of sales for 2016.
So far this year, 14,295 cars have been sold, which is 72% better than a year ago (8,315) – amazing what a 2nd generation offering can do.
Also of interest during August, occasional InsideEVs contributor Ari Colin’s Chevrolet Volt past 100,000 miles driven on just electricity. Even more impressive? Only 139 of those miles were on gas.
Part of the sales issues earlier in the year could be pointed at the inventory situation. At launch (and for the next ~6 months) of the car’s release, dealer stock has been fairly low, and not well spread out over the country.
That is no longer the case, as inventory has been making a steady climb over the past few months, recently passing the Fusion Energi as the most stocked plug-in for the US, with inventory currently sitting around 5,500 cars. With deeper stock available in more places, we anticipate sales of the Volt to increase in the second half of 2016.
It is no secret Nissan is struggling with the first generation LEAF in the US.
For August, Nissan managed to enter “4 digit land” for sales, but just barely with 1,066 sold (details), bringing the year to date total up to 7,922, off 37% from the 12,383 moved through the first 8 months of 2016.
Previously in July, just 1,063 were sold.
With a vastly superior LEAF set to debut in the not-so-distant future, it appears Nissan is actively managing existing inventory lower in the US.
During August average stocked inventory fell to a 2016 low around ~1,900 units (down about 600 from the month prior), and the “new” 30 kWh version (also know as the SV/SL trims) fell to about half of the total. Basically it is impossible for Nissan to perform much better than it has of late.
Well, that is just about it for the Cadillac ELR, as an exhausted inventory has nothing much left to give.
After selling just 15 in July, sales in August plumbed new depths, with just 6 sold – bring the YTD total to 517.
June was really the last hoorah for the plug-in, as Cadillac managed to find and sell 94 ELRs.
As for those dwindling inventory supplies, they now won’t last long as GM discontinued ELR production at its Hamtramck, Michigan facility in February and the sell-off has been on ever since. Between dealers and what is in GM’s pen we count maybe ~50 copies left at best before the car is gone forever. 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 original, first generation 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.
When it comes to plug-in vehicle sales in the US, no model is more unpredictable than the BMW i3.
Despite the fact that word broke of a new and improved i3 would hit the market in September (more details below), sales shot to a new 2016 high in July (1,479).
Then this month, with a huge TV advertising campaign on NBC thoughout the Rio Olympics, sales fell back to 1,014 units for August.
What will happen next month? Who knows.
Also of interest. InsideEVs contributor Tom Moloughney passed 56,000 miles in his custom wrapped BMW i3 REx – an impressive feat. And of those 56,000 miles, he only used 50 gallons of gas.
For the year through July, 4,359 i3s have been sold, off 19% from the 5391 moved in 2015. How large was the gain in July? Last month, the YTD sales comp was off 45%.
Soon BMW i3 sales should go even higher, as battery upgrade from today’s 22 kWh model moves to 33 kWh (details), giving the EV an all-electric range of 114 miles.
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. The 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.
While normally we see a rush to move product in the last month of each quarter in order to achieve short-term forecast results, the shortfall of worldwide deliveries in both Q1 and Q2 has thrown the status quo out the window.
It would appear that Tesla is in “go mode” on a continues cycle as the pressure is now on to deliver ~50,000 cars over the last 6 months of 2016 to hit full year guidance of 80,000 units.
Adding to the demand profile for the Model S earlier this quarter was the start of 60 kWh cars. For August, it was a 24 month lease deal on the 60 kWh model ($593 month w/$7,425 down), and also the introduction of the new P100DL edition (details) – which enables the sedan to hit 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, and travel 315 miles.
Those were the “headline” events anyway. Behind the scenes the P90DL was quietly discontinued, and as a result it joined the 70 kWh edition in the “bargain-bin section” of your local Tesla store. Yes, all those P90DLs across the US in stock as demos, loaners or abandoned orders where now on sale, and not like the $1,000 off with a referral type scenario…more like up to $35,000 off the sticker, and $750/month on a 24 month lease (with ~$7,500 down).
The result of all that? Tesla sold a lot of Model S sedans, we estimate August’s result at ~3,125
As for those P100DLs, don’t expect too many of them to arrive in September as Tesla seems keen to build out what they know best for the bulk of the last month of Q3.
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)
Historical accuracy/Sales Update (July 3rd): Tesla recorded lower than expected worldwide sales for Q2 (details), but we have to note that all but a handful of Model X deliveries was made in North America. For the quarter Tesla reported 4,625 Model X deliveries…and not to brag but, our estimated scorecard got within about ~55 units of the actual number. In Q1 we where within ~200 units.
The process from production start to delivery seem to improve considerably over the past few weeks, and the result has been a greater ability to deliver product in a timely fashion, which is good news for the company heading into the final “do or die” months of the calendar year, attempting to hit that ~80,000 delivery target.
For August, we estimate Tesla delivered ~1,850 Model Xs for the month.
Separately, Tesla announced a new P100DL edition of the Model X (who doesn’t need an SUV that does 60 mph in 2.9 seconds?), which we believe won’t arrive in Q3 for the most part.
Also, the first major shipments of the Model X for Europe hit shores late in August, meaning that once they go through the “Euro production dance”, we will finally be seeing some volume registrations for the all-electric SUV in Europe.
Of note: Because the Model X takes just under “forever and a day” to get to Europe, we are often asked how that works with the new 100 kWh vehicles. Do early EU owners (some of them signature) have to be saddled with old tech, or pay for the full aftermarket upgrade costs? (which is $20,000 in the US vs $9,500 at time of order) Do they have to walk from their P90DLs and get back in the endless queue for the new product?
Well no. Tesla understands the awkward situation they have put its EU customers in, and those new P90DL owners this month can take delivery of their SUVs, pay the standard price difference to the P100DL (Euro pricing here), and get the full package upgrade later when its available … which in turn Euro-Tesla style will be in January 2017.
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 consistent selling range in the ‘100s’
For August, that number was 176 copies, after previously moving 178 in July.
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.
Check out a recent electric range and efficiency test drive video review on the XC90 T8 here.
It will be interesting to see how much demand there is for the first extended range PHEV in America once it really gets its footing (and some decent inventory).
Chevrolet SPARK EV:
For August sales dropped a bit from July (333 sold), but GM still managed to sell a relatively strong 292 copies.
The advent of a new “geared-to-income” EV rebate program in California this Spring 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 under that program, Spark EV got a lot of notice and sales shot shortly thereafter.
However, the issue for the summer …is that the CVRP funding has been temporarily cut-off thanks to some political posturing (details), but that situation is expected to sort itself out, and get back on track this month.
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 it will take some months (if not the whole year) for inventory of consequence to arrive as the model has proven exceptionally (and unexpectedly) popular in Europe.
BMW noted in July that sales have gone so well that the 330e is effectively sold out for the remainder of 2016 (same goes for the just released 740e)…meaning the US will only get its rationed allotment of cars for quite some time.
For August 51 BMW 330es found new homes in the US, after 81 were sold previously in July.
Ultimately, whenever BMW is able to build inventory, we expect the 330e to easily be able to see 500+ units per month.
For now, the best BMW has been able to stock of the 330e on average in the first few months since launch is about~100 units of inventory, a number that is not increasing. We expect to not see those higher inventory numbers (or sales) increase much until after the 2017 model year is introduced in the Fall.
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.
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:
Audi has defined the word “consistent” when it comes to plug-in vehicle sales this year.
For August, 346 e-tron versions of the A3 were sold, the 7th time “300-and-something” have moved.
Just check out the last 4 months results: 346-Aug, 349-July, 353-June, 361-May. Our prediction for September? Hrm, lets go with ~343.
Overall, almost 2,637 copies have been sold…a not insignificant contribution to the US plug-in vehicle sales scene. That said, Audi is still certainly not in the “big boys” category for EV sales, but also is definitely not in the “also rans” either.
Quirky fact not really related to EV sales, but certainly aided with the arrival of the A3 e-tron, the Audi brand has now set 68 consecutive months of record year-over-year sales in the US, with August’s result being the 2nd highest ever.
Audi has also been proving the statement “you need to stock it, to sell it“, as sales have grown stronger with inventory levels. There may be a slight hiccup with the inventory on themodel year changeover however as we did note that stock fell to under 1,000 units for the first time in quite awhile (off from a high around ~1,400 units).
Part of the reason for strong sales for the A3 e-tron is also 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.
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 57 sold in July seems like a reasonable amount vs demand for city EVs these days.
Previously in July, 50 were sold, while 44 were moved in June
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) then was cut-off at the knees with a lack of a “stock inventory” program by Mercedes.
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).
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.
Then this past month we saw the B250e sister car in China get a new 62 kWh battery pack (likely good for close to 200 miles of real world range), that might foreshadow what Daimler has in store this autoshow season for the all-electric B-Class.
BMW 740e: NO DATA TO REPORT YET
BMW took the lead for “most plug-ins” offering in the US in August, as the first of the 740es (details) arrived on dealer lots mid-month.
How many did they sell? We don’t know yet…but give us a couple more hours, and we’ll let you know.
What we can say is it isn’t a lot.
Like the BMW 330e, the 740e is both a new plug-in product, and one that is in high demand. Even before the first copy was sold in the US, BMW has announced that all the global production for the 740e is spoken for in 2016…which means the US will be getting a token amount over the next ~6 months or so.
What will the demand ultimately be for the 740e? It is hard to say, but the $89,100 starting MSRP (less federal credit of $4,500) makes it near price identical to the 740i xDrive, and only a couple thousand more expensive than the “base” 7 series (at $81,500).
Given that BMW sell some 1,000 copies of the 7 Series on average in the US, it is not unreasonable to think a few hundred of the 740e could be sold each month once they are stocked.
While we have yet to see that “first sale” made in August, we have been told that the C350e Plug-In Hybrid is indeed expected to be on sale in September – from $45,490.
That said, the extended range C-Series (which zips to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds) was originally expected to debut in the US in the Fall of 2015, then was delayed into 2016, then Spring of 2016, then….well, you get the picture.
Giving us hope that a copy or two will be sold in September? The C350e is now listed on Mercedes’ US website, and dealers are listing the car as “in stock”
So no sales year, but its real close now…so we have it on the list regardless!
Update (Sept 1st): We spoke to Mercedes today about the C350e, and as we suspected the “first”sales have yet to happen. So, we will see you next month C350e!
Ford Fusion Energi:
Did the US consumer warm up to the refreshed, longer range 2017 Ford Fusion Energi (details) in June?
You bet they did, as Ford crushed previous results, setting a new multi-year high previously selling 1,700 copies of its (now) 21 mile, extended range EV!
For July, the momentum continue to roll for Ford, with a still impressive result of 1,341 Fusion Energis sold, which carried through to August, with 1,422 being sold.
The past three months sales has done enough to keep the Ford decently in front of a surging Model X for 3rd place on the plug-in ‘best sellers’ list in America.
Looking at the inventory and it is easy to see why (and how) so many Fusion plug-ins have sold over the first few months of the year; the Fusion Energi has often won the crown for the “most stocked” EV in the US.
Were it not for the recent surge in Chevy Volt inventory, it would still lead the pack…although the total available volume has fallen over the past three months, but still at a solid ~3,000 or so average in August.
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.
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).
For most of the year, Toyota was lucky that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV was still officially on the market, because otherwise the Prius PHV would have found itself at the very bottom of the plug-in sales charts for 2016. But that has changed in August…as the plug-in Toyota is now in dead last.
After setting a 2016 high for Prius PHV sales in June …at just 11 units, sales regressed to just 2 cars in August (we really aren’t sure where these last stragglers are coming from actually). Overall 48 have moved in 2016, off just a scant 99.4% from the 3,818 sold in the first 8 months of 2015.
That being said, if the Prius Prime actually arrives with some time left in 2016, the company could still end the year with a bunch of sales on the book, as the new 22 mile Prius plug-in is expected to compete for the sales crown in 2017.
However, in June we tracked down Toyota’s plant information and found out the Prius Prime enters retail production this September (and more recently there as been some issues with the fabrication of the Prime-specific rear hatch)…so our new hunch is that it will not be available in any depth, anywhere until closer to Christmas.
Some industry insiders think upwards of 50,000 could be sold during its first full year on the market in 2017…provided 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.
Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e:
With all the fanfare of…well, absolutely nothing, the first GLE 550es quietly slipped on to Mercedes dealer lots in June.
The plug-in SUV then proceeded to sell 19 copies in its debut month, followed by 30 in July, before settling in with 24 sales this month in August.
We spoke with Mercedes about its GLE 550e, and as it turns out the SUV is available only as a special request factory order (by your local dealer, or by customer order)…and is not a “stock program” (think Ford Focus EV for a handy reference as to what this means).
Normally the sales recap would not be the place to go over the particulars of what a plug-in can do – but 99.9% of readers probably didn’t even know it existed until we mentioned it, so here goes…
Price: from $65,550
Engine: 3.0 L turbo, combined with electric motor puts out 436 hp
Acceleration: 0-60 in 5.3 seconds
All electric range: 10 miles (12 blended) – 42 MPGe
/now you know
Mercedes-Benz S 550e:
When it comes to plug-in luxury, there is a new boss in town! Having arrived in 2015, the Mercedes S550e presents a level of refinement previously unseen in the EV segment for the US.
That said, the “new boss” comes at a hefty price, and only by special order.
***IMPORTANT NOTE in regards to YTD sales** Daimler contacted us to say that it made an accounting snafu with the S550e sales earlier this year, accidently combining some plug-in sales with regular petrol sales.
Thankfully, the mistake is a good one for those of us looking for more sales on both the luxury Mercedes and EV sales overall. The revision adds some ~150 sales to the past total for the year.
For August, 30 S550e sales were made.
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.
Currently, 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.
NEW for 2017: The 550 H will be getting a new, larger battery – up to 13.3 kWh (details), which should give the massive tourer about ~20 miles of real world/EPA range. The plug-in luxury car will also be the first vehicle to offer a factory-installed wireless charging option in 2017, Mercedes notes this option will be made available on all new plug-in offerings in the future.
Hyundai Sonata PHV:
January was the first month the Sonata plug-in was even decently stocked, and Hyundai sold an estimated ~175 copies of the Sonata plug-in, foreshadowing that it will be a strong player in the EV space for 2016.
Since then sales have been steady, with an estimated 235 sold in August, after setting a breakout month in July at around 375 cars by our figuring.
(As always, Hyundai is not keen to split out a specific number themselves, so we have to go by what rebate and dealer information there is to go on).
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 July about 350-odd showroom copies were on hand on average in limited states – although the car is available by customer order in all 50 states, which could push sales abnormally higher than would be expected with present inventory levels.
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.
Previously, Volkswagen’s e-Golf had a comeback month of sorts as 344 copies were sold in July, about 10% better than a year ago.
For August, they did one better, setting a new 2016-high with 454 copies moved. As FYI, the all-time high-water mark for the plug-in VW is 609, set in December of last year.
Overall sales for 2016 are also now slightly higher against last year’s results (2,253 vs 2,212).
We should note that these sales levels are not too bad considering a recently announced range upgrade coming mid-year for the 2017 edition (December/January-ish) – which has served to pretty much keep demand in check until that car’s arrival.
As mentioned, some sales help is on the way, as Volkswagen will have a first mover advantage of some sort upgrading the range on today’s e-Golf; the company said in May that a new longer range e-Golf will be in production by year’s end. The 2017 plug-in VW (details) will now feature a 35.8 kWh battery, increasing range to ~124 miles.
124 miles is a fairly significant number compared to today’s city EVs, but it still short of the like of the Chevrolet Bolt EV (200+ miles) which arrives in December, the new LEAF in early 2017, and the Tesla Model 3 (215+ miles) in late Summer of next year.
We expect with the release of this 2017 edition, inventories will deepen considerably in the US…along with sales.
The current 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:
If it wasn’t for the impressive results of the Ford Fusion Energi, we probably would look at C-Max Energi results a lot differently.
For August, the C-Max Energi continued to perform well, selling 707 copies, its second best result of the year…only bested by the 755 sold last month (which was the best result for the extended range Ford since August of 2014).
The C-Max Energi now ranks as the 7th best selling plug-in for the US, just behind the BMW i3, but also finds itself now being pursued by another BMW – the X5 plug-in, just a few hundred sales behind.
Despite these results, we expect that the C-Max Energi will live only as long as it takes to introduce a Ford’s new “Model E” lineup in Spring of 2019 (offering both a compact car and crossover utility vehicle).
For the short term future, Ford has confirmed the 2017 C-Max Energi will head into production this November, and it will also get a slight refresh (not the full treatment we saw in Europe, but a light alteration from the 2016 North American version).
Given the Fusion Energi’s recent all-electric and MPG upgrades (see details above under the Fusion Energi recap), we expect the C-Max Energi to get a similar boost at the same time.
When it comes to sales, the BMW i8 (like its cousin i3) had a pretty rough start to the year. In fact it was terrible.
However, the company has found more buyers for their performance as 2016 has progressed.
For August, 145 i8s were sold, slightly less than the 166 moved in July. Year to date, 931 i8s have been sold, which is off 20% from 2015 when 1,160 where moved though the first 8 months.
Heading into September, the inventory situation continues to be strong, as it seems every BMW dealer really enjoys having a a couple i8s in stock (one for the showroom window, and one to drive around him/herself). About ~400 are currently available for sale.
Also of note: More and more whispers point to the fact that the next BMW i8 will not only have a lot more power on tap (up to 750 HP), but that BMW will be offering the 2nd generation i8 as a pure electric car – perhaps in order to better compete against the likes of the new Tesla Model S P100DL.
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…which is quite frankly a superior offering when it comes to “bang for the luxury buck”.
However, August was a resurgent month for the plug-in Porsche, selling 59 copies – its best result since 2014. Previously in July, 21 were sold.
Basically, the upcoming refresh probably can’t come soon enough – and it comes this Fall.
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-
While the Panamera S E-Hybrid struggles to prove viability, the Cayenne plug-in continues to put more butts in the seats. In August, the decent sales trend continued, as 197 Cayenne PHEVs were sold.
Amazingly, the Porsche has only strengthened sales since December (traditionally the easiest month to sell a vehicle with a plug).
There has even been enough demand of late for Porsche to introduce a premium “platinum edition” of the plug-in Cayenne.
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 ~400 units of late.
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).
So far in 2016, the Fiat 500e has remained a consistent performer, although the model itself has proven somewhat unreliable…at least if you go by national recalls (and fairly serious ones at that) – the 500e recently netted its 3rd such notice in June, due to a power inverter module that can experience voltage spike, which in turn can cause the propulsion system to shutdown at speed, which Chrysler says can “increase the risk of a crash”.
Despite all that, the 500e remains the most popular compliance EV that many can buy, we estimate 360 copies were sold in August. For August, inventories of the 500e continued to balloon, hitting 4 digits for the first time, with around 1,000 in stock on average (and at not a heck of a lot of participating dealerships).
The all-time high-water mark for sales was around ~1,310 of the 500e in March of 2015.
BMW X5 xDrive40e:
The BMW X5 plug-in had an unexpectedly strong debut in the US…and it has only gotten stronger and strong as more time passes.
In fact, it easily wins the award for “best newcomer” in 2016, topped off by the all-time best 876 sales that were made in August!
This month’s result keeps the X5 plug-in solidly inside the “top 10” best sellers for the US, currently sitting in 8th place after passing the Fiat 500e in June. The BMW now sits only a few hundred copies sold behind the C-Max Energi for 6th.
Check out our first drive review of the 13 mile AER BMW x5 xDrive40e here.
SMART ForTwo ED:
Daimler had been experiencing a slight rebound in sales for its 2 seat all-electric smart car, but that ended in June as sales reached a near-low for 2016 with just 53 sales.
And although July rebounded slightly to 62 units, August tallied just 55 sales.
The malaise (and lack of dealer stock) may perhaps be in anticipation of a new, next gen offering that reportedly will offer ~85 miles of range (up from 68) and a new look.
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.
Ford Focus Electric:
Do we really have to keep reporting on individual month’s sales for the Focus Electric? Every month is practically a carbon copy of the last…serious.
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 August marked the EV’s 53nd 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 August …zzzz…75 more...zzzz….Ford Focus…zzz…Electrics were sold.
The model has sold between 53 and 198 sales per month in 50 of the past 51 months. With just one of those months passing the 200 level ever (August 2014 -264)
New hotness! In August we exclusively broke work on that long promised “100 mile” upgrade for the Focus Electric. The battery moves from 23 kWh to 33.5 kWh, which according to our calculations should net the all-electric Ford about 110 miles of range. The car also gets DC fast charging as promised – check out all the details here.
We should note that the 2017 Focus EV doesn’t start production until mid-November, so this new, longer ranged Ford probably won’t be available until very late in 2016. And while one might assume higher sales are in sotre as a result (they might for a couple months), it is still fairly unlikely as Ford doesn’t promote/stock this plug-in as regular inventory – you basically have to go ask your Ford dealer to order you one.
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 153 copies in August after selling 179 in July.
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 the upcoming 110-mile Hyundai IONIQ Electric 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