December 2018 U.S. EV Sales Recap: Over 360K Secured!


December pushes U.S. EV sales well over the 350K mark

Based on automakers’ sales reports and our estimates, we report a total of 49,900 plug-in electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in December 2018, compared to last year’s 26,107 and last month’s 42,588. This makes December the best month of all time for EV sales on our shores. For 2018 as a whole, we saw 361,307 electric vehicles delivered in the U.S., compared to the 199,818 EVs moved in 2017.

It’s been a solid year for EV sales as a whole, even though most of the progress was made by a single automaker. The months of August, September, October, and November racked up sales figures that more than doubled those of last year. We said up front that we didn’t think last month would be able to double last December’s numbers, and we were right. However, it came pretty close.

Our early estimation put December at over 48,000 EVs sold. We’ll be honest to say that we were a bit concerned when GM’s quarterly numbers came in. Nonetheless, Toyota, Honda, BMW, and Nissan stepped it up to more than make up for the difference.

Six consecutive months in 2018 have claimed a spot on our list of top months of all time for U.S. EV sales, though not in calendar order. While we know full well that the Tesla Model 3 is the most substantial contributor to this new trend, numbers wouldn’t be where they are today without the respectable sales of the Toyota Prius Prime, Chevrolet Volt, Honda Clarity Plug-In HybridChevrolet Bolt EV, and Nissan LEAF.

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

  1. December 2018 – 49,900
  2. September 2018 – 44,544
  3. November 2018 – 42,588
  4. August 2018 – 36,347
  5. October 2018 – 34,074

The Tesla Model 3 tops our chart by acres, with 139,782 estimated U.S. deliveries. This makes it 12 months in a row that the Model 3 has been the U.S. EV sales leader. We estimate Tesla sold a monumental 25,250 Model 3 sedans in December.

Model S and Model X sales were up again in December, though the vehicles remain in the 3rd and 4th positions on the year, respectively. Overall, Tesla delivered an estimated 32,600 vehicles last month, which adds up to well over half of all EVs sold in the U.S. in December.

Based on our estimates – for the year as a whole – Tesla has sold a colossal 191,627 vehicles in the U.S. out of a total of some ~361,307 overall EV sales to date. The automaker continues to officially account for well over half of all electric vehicles sold in the U.S. for 2018. In addition, Tesla alone sold almost as many EVs as were sold in the U.S. by all brands in 2017 (199,826). According to the automaker, it also sold almost as many vehicles in 2018 as it did in all prior years combined.

Let’s take a closer look at the other top-selling electric vehicles in the U.S. this December 2018:

The Toyota Prius Prime lands in the five-spot for the month and the second-place position for the year as a whole, with 2,759 deliveries in the U.S. in December.

The Honda Clarity PHEV pulls past the Prime for the first month ever, delivering an incredible 2,770 based on our estimates and Honda’s verification. It lands in fourth place for December and pushes past the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Volt to secure the fifth position overall for 2018.

Nissan LEAF sales jumped up to 1,667 in December, to close out the year strong. It’s in sixth place for December, putting it ahead of multiple vehicles that usually surpass it. However, a combination of weaker months leaves it in the eighth position on the year as as a whole.

Based on our research, BMW 530e sales were up considerably in November, which resulted in a record month for the plug-in. Fortunately, the automaker pushed even harder in December and broke its own record, selling some 1,363 5 Series plug-ins. The 530e finishes 2018 in the nine-spot. While BMW’s all-electric i3 hasn’t succeeded sales-wise as of late, its plug-ins are faring well as a whole as usual. When compared to its primary rival — Mercedes — it’s worlds ahead. We believe that of all OEMs, it will be the one that continues to rise up and make waves in the near future.

Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Bolt EV sales … we don’t want to talk about it. All jokes aside, we needed to adjust our monthly estimates for Q4. GM reported lower numbers than we expected. In addition, after a strong November, the automaker had exhausted inventory, which resulted in very weak December 2018 U.S. plug-in sales. Nonetheless, the Volt closes out 2018 in sixth place, followed by the Bolt EV in seventh.

We’ll close out the month with the usual final data points and another look at our completed sales chart.

Other Statistical Points of Interest from December 2018

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 32,600
  2. Honda – 2,857
  3. BMW Group – 2,774
  4. Toyota – 2,759
  5. General Motors* – 2,479
  6. Nissan – 1,667

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In December*

  1. BEV – 36,861
  2. PHEV – 13,039

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In 2018*

  1. BEV – 237,216
  2. PHEV – 124,091

*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.

*You may notice that we updated that last few months. Fortunately, Honda offered us actual Clarity splits, so our Clarity PHEV and BEV totals are correct on the year, and December totals are exact as well! We’re hoping we can get some other automakers to provide “real” numbers going forward.

Tesla Model 3187524853820375060005902142501780022250177501865025250139,782
Toyota Prius Prime 14962050292226262924223719842071221320012312275927,595
Tesla Model X700975282510251450255013252750397512253200410026,100
Tesla Model S8001125337512501520275012002625375013502750325025,745
Honda Clarity PHEV*604911113111291639149515421462199720251897277018,602
Chevrolet Volt*713983178213251675133614751825212914752530105818,306
Chevrolet Bolt EV11771424177412751125108311751225154919752825141218,019
Nissan LEAF  150895150011711576136711491315156312341128166714,715
BMW 530e*224413689518729942536749756733101213638,664
Ford Fusion Energi64079478274274060452239648045311317908,074
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**3754504804256507104506546376238957137,062
BMW i3 (BEV + REx)  3826239925034245804644184614244903566,117
BMWX5 xDrive 40e*2615966275634993214312642252242132104,434
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV3003233732732973903503663783093764314,166
Kia Niro PHEV*1552462271202182812253463133236193163,389
BMW 330e*1011422021661501381061921952293736062,600
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*1451992141892672382202402302101802652,597
Volvo XC60 PHEV*1091551671412142261852102151802252402,267
Fiat 500e**  21023528521525022522075941001481932,250
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid*12493362751681952002101702002302,036
Mercedes C350e*291722081581661761651708275802401,721
Hyundai IONIQ PHEV*2217821818021714318043111281361341,590
Mini Countryman SE PHEV*12710074106163211210128140117741141,564
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV*9910693901261331151251201001301501,387
Volkswagen e-Golf  1781981641287632183214622302221,354
smart ED  84901038011012610310898951001221,219
Kia Soul EV1151631571521335713033186161541,134
Porsche Cayenne S-E*11312119726559121545602535751,022
Mercedes GLE 550e*44701819383758590422835140966
Kia Optima PHEV*861031561429883903917517921965
Honda Clarity BEV1537448393486102751081063786948
BMW i83239475764457267556413397772
Ford C-Max Energi234142105571864412000582
Mercedes GLC 350e*5575964666065272024120567
Ford Focus Electric  70731378388504674011560
Hyundai Sonata PHEV*525478386762602015554460
Volvo S90 T8 PHEV*272952293035304045354045437
Jaguar I-Pace5165223393
Hyundai IONIQ EV4936073247352112213424345
BMW 740e*182331601716401825451828339
Cadillac CT6 PHEV*6241742301826231112139231
Mercedes B250e  404933730010101135
Mercedes S550e*133119778108541196
2018 U.S. Sales Totals12,00916,84526,44319,62324,30725,02929,59836,34744,54434,07442,58849,900361,307
2017 U.S. Sales Totals11,00412,37518,54213,36716,59617,04615,54016,51421,24214,31517,17826,107199,826
2018 Worldwide Sales*82,00081,000141,000128,450159,346157,933144,975172,400200,500208,800237,5531,713,957

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, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Sales, Tesla, Toyota

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30 Comments on "December 2018 U.S. EV Sales Recap: Over 360K Secured!"

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What Plug-In sales numbers to expect in the US in January 2019?

I’m only expecting January sales in the teens. I hope I’m wrong.

Me to, shipping lots to Europe, low supply from year end push. Maybe mid to low teens. However, I think they might still push for upper teens to avoid a perceived drop in sales (will signal CNBC and others to report a drop in demand even if misleading).

I think you are mistaken. Even if thousands are delivered to Europe, Model 3 production continues to ramp up. Tesla alone will deliver close to 20k.

Better than January 2018

Maybe 37k-39k for all makers if we are lucky?
Tesla may sell just 16k 3’s and 4k S/X in January?
There are several things pointing to an off month, from the historic seasonal low sales in January plus the Tesla specific issues. Europe’s gain in future 3 sales is a loss for the US sales figures.

My bet is around 26k

More than half was from Tesla.

Now exclude the Model 3 and the Plus for “the rest” is only 10%.

Agreed, not the kind of growth that moves the market anywhere. Also, means BEV market is now larger than plug-in market, and looking at entire year Tesla is more than half the plug in market (53%) and most of the BEV market (80%).

Yes, other than Tesla’s outstanding results, the plug-in market growth has effectively stalled with the current crop of vehicles.

Looks like we will have to wait for the next round of EVs to arrive in the 2020-2022 time frame for any meaningful non-Tesla growth.

Now that Tesla has proved the scalable viability of EVs, I’m sure every major manufacturer is scrambling like never before to create and build a compelling EV by 2020-2022. There is a legitimate question about how effectively they can catch up. I think many could, especially in non-sedan market segments, but there’s no certainty they will, so we’ll have to wait and see.

But you have to consider that without the Model 3 the others would have sold more. So you can’t just exclude the M3 numbers and say that’s all that would have sold.

BEV – 36,861

32,600 of those were Tesla. 88.4% market share of BEV.
That leaves 11.6% for Chevrolet, Nissan, BMW, Fiat, VW, Smart, Kia, Honda, Jaguar, Hyundai, and Mercedes combined.

A LOT of the “real” carmakers need to be ashamed and put in some real effort.

Need to compare quarterly results at least when looking at Tesla since their numbers don’t make sense monthly, but your point is the same. For the year Tesla had 80% of the BEV market 😉 If you look at just H2 where their production was actually running in large volume they had 86% of the BEV market and 63% of all plugins.

” If you look at just H2 …”

….then Toyota Mirai dominates 🙂

It took me a second… I am at a loss as to a return pun… This doesn’t happen often, I must have lost clarity of thought…

Further, 3079 are the Leaf or Bolt. Meaning the top 5 BEVs make up 96.8% of all BEVs. All the other “Tesla Killers” only make up 3.2%.

It’s insane. I feel like things have barely changed since 2010. In 2010 it was just the Roadster, Leaf, and Volt. Now we’re swapping out the Bolt for the Volt and add in Model S, X, and 3 instead of the Roadster.

Yes, everything else is compliance, and Bolt EV and Leaf are borderline, but since they are sold nationwide I will given them benefit of the doubt. To be fair, cars have about 6 year design cycles and I don’t think other manufacturers realized the importance of the market until March 2016 Model 3 reveal, so 2020 to 2025 should see major changes and you will know which legacy makers are serious by then or not.

Ford is also reporting numbers sold on a quarterly basis now. Not that it’s important or anything, as not much Ford does is so, just information.
So now they should get an asterisk too.*

Tesla completely disrupted auto sales reporting!

Yeah they pompously Refuse to report per Country so their Smoke and Mirrors shell game for Model S and C can continue, and hide their Joke of a Market share in China

The US annual total is about 20% of the global total? Interesting. I gather that China might equal the rest of the world combined. Good for them, shame on us.

Toyota makes noises in the ev space, even a full electric. Typical corporate speak. So let’s see the electric vehicle. Only 4-6% pure bev, market share by 2025. 2020 a bev coming, announcement soon.

They estimate 16.8 million vehicles next year sold in the USA by the industry. (not gonna happen)

Carter’s comments are consistent with just about every legacy manufacturer. They’ve all been dabbling in electrification, waiting to see if it is real. Tesla has demonstrated in no uncertain terms that it is real, so now everyone else is working flat out to incorporate some kind of meaningful electrification (eg not compliance cars!) in all their vehicles. The development cycle times mean the first ones will be seen in the 2020-2022 time frame. GM, Ford, VW… are all essentially telling the same story.

I think history will show that 2018 was the critical pivot year for electrification. Had Tesla succumbed to production hell and gone bankrupt, there would have been no competitive pressure and EVs would have languished as a niche compliance car market for many more years.

I think that 2015 was the critical pivot year for electrification. It takes some years to develop an EV from scratch….

I think it was the production & financial issues that made this year a pivoting moment.

It was only 6-9 months ago that Tesla was struggling with the ramp up and spending cash like water. There was still a possibility production could have gone all wrong and sunk Tesla financially there and then, regardless of design. It didn’t, and therefore the rest is history, as they say. But had that happened I think GM, Ford, VW, et al would have significantly trimed their electrification plans.

Wait til their Intl plans for second class 3 fail

What about adding a total count of BEVs sold at bottom of table so we can see how large the sustainable part of the vehicle market is. IMHO the PHEVS don’t count as they are not sustainable vehicles.

It’s time to update this insideevs chart that’s part of the “Plug-In Sales Scorecard”:

https: //