August 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Soar In U.S.


August goes down in the history books

We estimate a total of 36,380 plug-in electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in August, compared to last year’s 16,514 and last month’s 29,514. Based on automakers’ sales reports and our estimates, 190,046 plug-in cars have been delivered through the end of August 2018. Needless to say, it was the best month of all time by a long shot! Not to mention the extreme level of other records broken.

Now, four out of five months in 2018 have claimed a spot on our list of top months of all time for U.S. EV sales. Tesla is obviously dominating the U.S. market, as well as making waves globally, not to mention a huge kudos to InsideEVs from CEO Elon Musk, as well as the Model 3 making waves domestically and globally. Too much news on that to share here, but check out our news feed for more coverage.

Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):

  1. August 2018 – 36,380 
  2. July 2018 – 29,514
  3. March 2018 – 26,373
  4. December 2017 – 26,107
  5. June 2018 – 25,019

The Tesla Model 3 topped our chart by a landslide, with 17,800 estimated deliveries. This makes it eight months in a row that the Model 3 has been the U.S. EV sales leader. At 55,882 estimated sales so far this year, it is so far beyond all other models there’s just no comparison. It also accounts for nearly half of all EV sales in the U.S. for August and more than one-quarter of all EV sales for the year to date.

If you include the Model S and Model X (3rd and 4th on the year, respectively), Tesla delivered an estimated 23,175 vehicles last month, which accounts for about two-thirds of all EVs sold in the U.S. in August. For the year as a whole, Tesla has sold a whopping 84,127 vehicles in the U.S. out of a total of some ~190,000 overall EV sales to date, based on our estimates. Soon, the automaker should be accounting for over half of all electric vehicles sold in the U.S. for 2018.

The Model 3 also outsold all BMW passenger cars in the U.S. in August and broke into the top five best-selling passenger car sales on our shores. These aren’t the only new records broken by the Model 3, the list goes on and on. Whether or not you’re a Tesla fan, this is truly incredible news for EV market share and adoption. The news was so positive and Tesla CEO Elon Musk seemed so confident in our estimates that he tweeted the stories out, which eventually led to InsideEVs sales making national news.

Let’s move along to the other top-selling electric vehicles in the U.S. this August:

Not surprisingly, the Toyota Prius Prime lands in the four-spot for the month and the second-place position for the year as a whole, with sales on the rise from last month, at 2,071.

The Chevrolet Volt significantly surpasses its EV stablemate to grab up the fifth-place position for August based on our estimates (1,825) and remains in the fifth position for the year thus far. Chevrolet Bolt sales were up a touch to 1,225 to put the Bolt in the eighth spot for August and the sixth place position for 2018 as a whole.

The Honda Clarity PHEV and Nissan LEAF were the only other vehicles to sell over 1,000 copies in August, landing the cars in the sixth and seventh positions on our sales chart for the month and No. 7 and 8 on the year, respectively. LEAF sales improved from last month and last year, totaling 1,315 for August 2018. The Clarity keeps pushing along with an estimated 1,495 Plug-in Hybrids delivered in the U.S. last month.

We’ll leave you with some other final data points and another look at our completed sales chart.

Other Statistical Points of Interest from August 2018

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 23,175
  2. General Motors* – 3,073
  3. Toyota – 2,071
  4. BMW Group – 1,836
  5. Honda – 1,689
  6. Nissan –  1,315

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In August*

  1. BEV – 26,372
  2. PHEV – 10,008

*Based on estimates due to the lack of U.S. monthly sales reporting by Tesla and GM, as well as BMW i3 splits (BEV + REx), and multiple automakers refusing to reach out or reply related to individual EV sales.

Tesla Model 3187524853820375060005902142501780055,882
Toyota Prius Prime 1496205029222626292422371984207118,310
Tesla Model S800112533751250152027501200262514,645
Tesla Model X70097528251025145025501325275013,600
Chevrolet Volt*71398317821325167513361475182511,114
Chevrolet Bolt EV1177142417741275112510831175122510,258
Honda Clarity PHEV*5948811061104916391445144014959,604
Nissan LEAF  1508951500117115761367114913159,123
Ford Fusion Energi6407947827427406045223965,220
BMW 530e*2244136895187299425367494,800
BMW i3 (BEV + REx)  3826239925034245804644184,386
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**3754504804256507104506544,194
BMWX5 xDrive 40e*2615966275634993214312643,562
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV3003233732732973903503662,672
Kia Niro PHEV*1552462271202182812253461,818
Fiat 500e**  210235285215250225220751,715
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*1451992141892672382202401,712
Volvo XC60 PHEV*1091551671412142261852101,407
Mercedes C350e*291722081581661761651701,244
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid*12493362751681952001,226
BMW 330e*1011422021661501381061921,197
Hyundai IONIQ PHEV*22178218180217143180431,181
Mini Countryman SE PHEV*127100741061632112101281,119
Kia Soul EV1151631571521335713033940
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV*991069390126133115125887
Porsche Cayenne S-E*11312119726559121545827
Volkswagen e-Golf  17819816412876321832826
smart ED  849010380110126103108804
Kia Optima PHEV*8610315614298839039797
Honda Clarity BEV20310448523712612075765
Mercedes GLE 550e*44701819383758590721
Ford C-Max Energi2341421055718644570
Ford Focus Electric  7073137838850467554
Hyundai Sonata PHEV*5254783867626020431
BMW i83239475764457267423
Mercedes GLC 350e*5575964666065376
Volvo S90 T8 PHEV*2729522930353040272
Hyundai IONIQ EV49360732473521254
BMW 740e*1823316017164018223
Cadillac CT6 PHEV*624174230182623186
Mercedes B250e  40493373001133
Mercedes S550e*1331197781068
2018 U.S. Sales Totals12,04916,84526,37319,55624,31025,01929,51436,380190,046
2017 U.S. Sales Totals11,00412,37518,54213,36716,59617,04615,54016,51421,24214,31517,17826,107199,826
2018 Worldwide Sales*82,00081,000141,000128,450159,346157,933144,975172,4001,067,104

Above – 2018 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Monthly or Quarterly Totals, ** Estimated (Based on State/Rebate Data and other reports). BEV models are designated with the icon.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

41 Comments on "August 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Soar In U.S."

newest oldest most voted

it is crazy that BEV’s are outselling PHEV’s by more 2x, i thought for sure the transition would be much slower with more people buying hybrids and PHEV’s than pure EV’s because of the supporting charging infrastructure, great numbers to see. i’m getting more and more optimistic we will transition to BEV’s years faster than i thought possible.

last year electrics were 1% of sales
this year it will be around 1.8%
2019 it should be 2.9%
2020 there should atleast be 1,000,000 ev’s sold in America = 5.8% of sales
2023 = 10%
2030 = we should have full autonomy and car sales will drop to 10% of where they are today according to now you know’s estimates

what a time to be alive!

What’s with the huge slowdown you’re expecting between 2020 and 2023? In 2020, you expect a doubling Y/Y and an increase of 2.9%, but then you expect it to take another 3 years to multiply by 1.7x or increase by 4.2%?

If linear growth was maintained at 2.9%, it would reach 14.5% by 2023, and if the exponential was maintained, it’d be ~45%.

I was thinking that in the next 3-5 years, a large chunk of the model 3’s that are selling today will be sold as used which i think will cut into new car sales. I’m also expecting there to be a large public backlash against Tesla next year for service delays and issues, especially as the $35k model comes out in droves, like 30-40k sales a month for ~12 months. I think the supercharging network could get overloaded if Tesla try’s to scale back capex for profitability, and if they don’t continue to expand the super charger at the same rate as expanding model 3 sales. lastly we think we are at peek FUD now… this onslaught will definitely continue as every car maker, not just the luxury ones, lose significant market share to Tesla. (the $0 in traditional advertising is an extra slap in the face too) Tesla will soon disrupt a huge, huge, number of American Jobs, oil and gas company’s, ride sharing company’s, taxi’s, truck drivers, trucking and rail logistics company’s, mechanic shops, traditional auto dealers, heck possibly even roofers. Many of these groups lobby politicians, advertise with mainstream media. The FUD campaign then will make todays… Read more »

That is true and false…Remember that people who buy BEV’s go solar and vice versa. ALL of that money that went out of pocket to the 5 out of 6 Americans NOT directly employed in the oil/auto sector will be redistributed to avg joe american homeowner. It may seem like the economy should tank a bit but it will be a redistribution of wealth away from big oil into middle america. Those people don’t outnumber by a long shot….yet, but expect a 1 to 1 rise in solar BEV ownership for each loss in the oil sector. Now factor in that 5 trillion in oil profits are slowly converted to individual homeowners and it’s hard not to see a financial explosion as opposed to recession. Remember MUCH of domestic oil revenue goes overseas. Every cent of solar stays here. Imagine a future where YOU own the power on your roof on YOUR LAND to power your complete energy needs. NEVER being dependent for power off your property again. It’s been 120 years since that freedom…I’m calling this Horse’s revenge.

something to keep in mind though, more than 50% of Americans live in urban area’s and many do not have access to home charging. Many urbanites also rent and do not have the option to go solar.

You think sales will slow DOWN? do you realize that 300 million Americans have no idea of the financial benefits yet? Going solar/BEV isn’t a green initiative any longer. It’s a financial imperative. Go get estimates on solar to own and figure it out for yourself out to 25 years. Then lose the institutional thinking that BEV’s and the ICE cars you are used to last the same length of time. They don’t. A $40,000 BEV that lasts 300,000 miles is cheaper then 2 ICE cars at $25,000 for the same 300,000 miles. Maintenance costs aren’t even close. Now throw in the 2 cents a mile charge cost from your own solar as compared to the 10 cents for your ICE (30 mpg/ $3.00 gal). NOW factor in that massive industries KNOW this math (walmart, J B Hunt, Pepsi) and corporate America is SCREAMING for solar and the E semi. This is going exponential. Corporate America isn’t JUST oil.

Used model 3s will replace new ICE car sales, not new Tesla sales.

There is definitely a massive service mess; Tesla will use next year’s profits to address that, I expect.

I’m surprised that anyone wants a PHEV. You get better mileage than a regular ICE with the maintenance costs of a ICE.

PHEVs are a very practical solution. I owned Chevy Volts from 2011-18, and I could drive electric every day to work and around town, charging at night. When I needed to go on an out of town trip, I could just fill up at any gas station on the way.

This will not be needed after there are enough fast charging stations available to cover everyone’s needs, but it may take many years before that happens.


You forgot a “not” in there I think?…

Education time… The avg Ice car needs a gas station 25 times a year (12,000 miles us avg/30mpgx20 gl tank with most filiing at 1/8th to 1/4 tank) The avg Tesla will need NON home charging how many times a year? 4 trips a year of 200 to 600 miles one way? Many of those trips are to friendlies (friends/relatives) who are only too glad to allow you to charge from them. Realistically for national avg use how many times do you need the national charging network? 6? 8? (only the miles after the first 200 need the network. Trips over 500 miles on consecutive days are FLOWN by people who buy $50,000 vehicles.) Finally Do the math on just how many charging poles are necessary giving a generous 10 uses per year at 30 mins per use and 16 hours of daylight use per charge pole. You come up with 1 million vehicles needing 82 charging stations with 16 stalls each would be enough. (Of course with geography coverage and overlap possibilities you need many times that) Due to the vast majority of miles being home charged (90%) where as 100% of all ICE miles are gas station dependent.… Read more »

No way will car sales drop to 10% because of autonomy. First, of all, not everyone lives in a city, where shared autonomy actually makes sense. What’s more, while private cars are parked most of the time, the few times the are *not* parked tend to cluster up in the morning and afternoon rush hours — shared car fleets need to cover *peak* usage, not the average. And last but not least, if shared autonomy indeed makes ride hailing much cheaper, it will mean more people will use it instead of mass transit…

Uh 80.7% of the population lives in urban areas – a 10% drop sounds a bit low to me. Mass transit will still be cheaper than ride-sharing, even if they’re autonomous, so I presume people will still use it for their commute if it’s a viable option.

Clearly the Model 3 is responsible for most of the growth.
The market not including the Model 3 grew by 12.5% YOY (36,380-17800)/16,514).
That’s not bad too given people would clearly be dropping other options in favour of the Model 3 this year.
Next milestones:
Model 3 sells more than all other plugins combined (in one month, YOY in the US) – probably October.
Model 3 sells more than all other plugins combined (in same month in the US) – when ???

I think that will happen once Tesla launches the $35k base Model 3. Probably mid 2019

Model 3 is the NUMBER ONE SELLING CAR IN THE US! production at 7800/week…perhaps by April 2019. They only have to ramp another 3000/week average to get there. even a climb of 500/week month over month gets them there in 6-7 months. That seems very realistic seeing as they climbed from 1500 to 4500 sustained in 4 months and Freemont capacity rated at near 10,000/week

They will probably start exporting to other markets before that point.

Almost 50% of sales from 1 model — 41 models made up the rest……Please make some more cars like the Model 3 that people WANT to buy!

Don’t worry. They’re on it. There will be many long-range EV’s to choose from within 5 years from the other manufacturers.

It’s not just the range.

True. The supercharging network is a true enabler. Also, the 3 is a delight to drive, and I love the clean interior and touchscreen interface.


Yes because of Tesla.

This proves once again that people want to buy compelling cars not compliance cars. Ev adoption depends on manufacturers rather than buyers. The transition will be much faster than people think if we are offered the right cars.

The Ioniq PHEV must be limited in availability or something. I’ve never seen one, but the price and specs look good and if it is anything like the Ioniq, I would prefer it over a Prius, which I have owned. There has got to be something besides the car keeping sales so low.

Let me tell you… tracking Hyundai and Kia US Plug-In sales is kind of depressing. Niro is the only one with any significant stock, but it is thousands less than many other EVs and PHEVs from other automakers.

3 Ionic PHEV, 9 BEV in stock right now. Pretty sad. Highest I have ever seen in the past 2 months was in the mid-20s. Hopefully inventories recover for the fall.

Keeping my hopes way down for US Kona sales, even though the car itself looks great.

Jean-François Morissette

It is really weird because they are doing ok in Canada (except for the Niro PHEV, strangely not available):

Unlike Tesla, the other manufacturers can ease into the EV market because they have so many other types of vehicles to offer. They are accelerating their efforts, now that they realize there’s a growing market for long-range EV’s.

Without Tesla, they probably would not have moved as quickly as they’re doing now. They really need to hurry. The base Model 3 is going to be a landslide!

That’s a good point. Indeed, the main concern is that sales of EVs, however compelling they were, would not compensate for loss of sales of ICEs. Incumbents rely on current sales for keeping the company running and for further RND. Model 3 proves it is possible to sell many EVs and that delaying slowing down the transition may not be an option anymore.

But how many of those model 3’s have been sold to wealthy people who have more than one car, the other being petrol. And how many Chevy Volt’s were sold to single car families. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all good and I am one of those families who has just bought a second hand Volt, gen 1.

With either a Chevy Volt or a Tesla, there is no need for another car, unless you need a different type of car, like a pickup truck, or van. Both cars can drive anywhere a gas or diesel car can, and at the same 500-700 miles per day pace that most people drive on long trips.


Oh….so close!

The Tesla Model 3 alone made up 49% of all plug-in car sales.

I guess you can say that a majority of US plug-in car sales from Tesla alone.

Only a little over 3,000 BEV’s other than Tesla for the month of August, pathetic from other manufacturers.
I was surprised that global sales didn’t hit 160,000 for July.
I’m gonna predict sales in US to be at least 40,000 for September, at least 30,000 for October and November. At least 50,000 for December.

Considering the dominance of the Model 3, which is supply-constrained, the figures for the remaining months will actually be much more even than normally. There might be a *slight* dip in October I guess; but mostly, it should be a steady growth month over month.

I just looked at the US Debt Clock. Org and they also have Auto Sales on it by manufacturer and YTD. It had Tesla at 84,466. I wish this were true but I can’t believe US and Overseas sales could be this high.
It would be great if it was but I doubt the information is correct.

Based on InsideEVs sales stats Tesla sold 84128 cars in the USA in 2018 so far.

I hope we will see 50+ K in December

I’m betting the picture will be quite different within 5 years. The other manufacturers are smartening up. I expect them to come out with all types of EV’s at reasonable prices.

Their issue is BATTERY production. Currently Tesla supplies 60% of the worlds car batteries IN house. Even the rosiest projections don’t have 100,000 being split by every other manufacturer in 2019 and 250,000 by 2020. They are excellent at producing vehicles at volume…but not batteries FOR those vehicles at volume. They have a hard road to catch up and I’ll be stunned based on today’s math if even ONE of them pumps out 250,000+ models a year by 2022 While Tesla is on track for 450,000 themselves in 2019.

60%? I guess that might be true, in terms of kWh — if ignoring China…

More to the point, there is no reason to believe that other battery makers can’t scale production volumes at the same pace as Tesla/Panasonic.

Sure, Tesla is likely to remain dominant (in the US at least) in the foreseeable future — but surely it won’t be outselling all other models by an order of magnitude… And even if it did, the sheer number of other models available by then will add up to a larger share of the market.

The reason the other manufacturers can’t scale at Tesla’s rate is that Panasonic built the battery cell factory years ago, and the other makers are only scaling up their factories now – there are several years of lag time between starting to set up the battery cell factory and then producing cells at scale.
The other interesting thing is that Panasonic were initially selling batteries to Tesla at a loss. I wonder how often battery cell makers are going to be willing to do that with automakers.