All-Electric Vehicle Sales Soar To New High In California In Q1 2017

JUN 9 2017 BY MARK KANE 32

California electric vehicle registrations (source: The San Diego Union-Tribune/CNCDA)

California has noted a significant market share expansion for all electric plug-in vehicles so far this year – up to 2.7% in the first quarter.

Tesla Model S

The total deliveries in Q1 amounted to some 13,804 vehicles, which should set up an easy all-time record to again be set for 2017 – at hopefully more than 60,000 BEVs cumulatively.

The biggest reasons for the California growth is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which had 2,735 sales in California out of its 3,092 total sales over the first three months in the US.

“In its first quarter in the dealers association rankings, the Bolt recorded 2,735 registrations in California, good enough for fourth place in the subcompact division, finishing behind the Nissan Versa, the Kia Soul and the Toyota Yaris.”

Just behind the Chevy and its 2,736 new sales, Tesla increased its sales significantly (+1,812 units), as Q1 sales 2017 far outpaced a year ago (4,749 in 2017 vs 2,937 in 2016).  The San Diego Union-Tribune explains:

“Jeremy Acevedo, pricing and industry analyst for, also pointed to a rise in deliveries from Tesla, whose Model X was not in full production in the first quarter of 2016.

“When you look at those two vehicles (the Bolt and the Model X), they’re definitely impactful releases in a segment that is drawing a lot more customers here in California,” Acevedo said.”

The Tesla Model S  lead the “Luxury And High End Sports Car” segment in California, with 3,130 registrations, besting the Mercedes E Class (2,950), and BMW 5 Series (1,992).  As for the Model X, 1,619 sales where made in Q1.

Editor’s note:  Cumulative California plug-in sales (BEVs and PHEVs) stood at 24,290 according to the CNCDA, or a combined market share of 4.8%.

source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, CNCDA

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32 Comments on "All-Electric Vehicle Sales Soar To New High In California In Q1 2017"

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Micke Larsson

If California were a country their plug-in sales percentage would actually put them up to the 3rd position in the world.

Far behind Norway and Iceland but slightly ahead of Sweden.


Yep. Just imagine what the US as a whole could do if the EVs available here in flyover country were as numerous as those available in CA. I’ve lost count how many EV choices CA residents have – is it 30 now? 50?

Here is Colorado it’s still LEAF, Tesla, i3, Volt. Oh sure, a few others are listed as “available” (Ford Fission EV, Smurf and I-Me-EV) but aren’t in reality. We also in theory have a smattering of very short EV-only range PHEVs (not even sure that they can be found in reality either).

Give us a choice of some reasonably-priced 200-mile EVs and you’ll see EV sales soar here, too.


Perhaps if other states would make EVs mandatory, like California does, they’d have more options. Nothing accelerates an industry like mandates. See: wind power.

Rennie Allen

Of course in absolute terms Norway and Iceland are rounding errors. California has a population of 35 million and buys more cars per-capita than any similar sized region on Earth. The typical household in California owns more than one car. There are more than 30M registered vehicles in California,whereas there are less than 3M in Norway. So it would be same (in terms of sales) if every vehicle in Norway and Iceland we’re an EV and 10% of vehicles in California were EVs

Micke Larsson

In absolute numbers Norway sold more than half that California sold.
Hardly a rounding error.

And if looking at China then California is a “rounding error” in absolute numbers. 😉

But let’s hope California continues to increase their sales so that both their percentage and absolut numbers increase.


To anyone saying the Bolt isn’t selling note that it is the 4th fastest selling car in its division. And this despite it costing about double what other cars in its division cost.


Here comes the S Curve, ever body’s happy, every body’s, laughingy. (well almost).


Hopefully much more than 60,000.
That would be, more or less, without the “elephant in the room”.
I guess more or less all 2017 Model 3 sales will be in California. Right?
So maybe 90,000 total? 100,000?
We can expect a super-record share in Q4.
Maybe 8-10%? Icelandic shares…
Fingers crossed.
Or, in the worst case, we’ll see record numbers in Q1 2018.
And I’m hoping to see huge Model 3, and other BEVs, sales regularly, afterwards.
So, maybe a 10% share will be the norm, there.



Typically 60% of CA sales are in Nor Cal. SC is three times as populous as NC meaning NorCal is already over 10%and it is even higher in the BayArea. In Q1 CA had 54% of US plugin sales.

“Typically 60% of CA sales are in Nor Cal”
Back this up with real dada will you? Not buying it…


Take a look at

Rebates are a very close proxy to actual sales.

That’s what I suspected….SoCal is better!
8 SoCal counties make up for $223m while the rest of Cali 50 counties account for $197m
Enough with the alternative facts!


Yes, I’m expecting CA to end the year at around 10% of total car sales being EVs if TM3 is on time and on schedule.


I think you’ll be disappointed.


California uber alles!

Rob Stark

California New Car Dealers Association vehicle sales report for Q1 2017.

2.7% market share for BEVs
2.1% market share for PHEVs


Interesting. The difference between the sales numbers and the number of cars registered inside California seems to indicate that around 40% of BEV’s and PHEV’s are sold to out of state customers.


I think the article should explicitly state that all EVs together (BEVs+PHEVs) make 4.8% of sales in Q1, as the source notes; that’s an even more impressive.

Jay Cole

I can do that, (=



++ (-;


Ford Fusion Energi battery range is 20 miles, Toyota Prius Prime battery range is 25 miles Any idea why they are made with such low range?


Like all engineering, it’s a trade off.

In this case, the engineers traded lower electric range for lower cost (EV batteries are relatively expensive) and cabin / cargo space (the gasoline engine, tank, and support equipment don’t leave much space for the EV batteries).

With the Fusion, Ford engineers were additionally limited to what is practical in retrofitting a gasoline car to use a plug. For example, we considered a C-MAX Energi but decided against it because half the trunk is lost to the battery.

Since the average owner drives around 30 miles per day, and may have access to a charger at work, this trade off may enable driving a majority of miles electric at lower cost and with more space. Perhaps more importantly, it gives the potential buyer the incentives that are awarded based on EV battery size.

It’s a “good” trade off if a lot of buyers find the resulting product desirable enough to pay for one.


Not all tradeoffs are the same.
In the Fusion’s case, it must be remembered that’s it’s basically a conversion, not a from-scratch PHEV. As it is, the luggage space is problematic — the original layout was never designed to accomodate a traction battery.
The FFE has the same problem, from the same reason.

The Prius Prime was designed from-scratch, but Toyota isn’t an EV fan quite yet, and low price was a rather important goal.
Note Hyundai did seem to be able to make a reasonable PHEV/BEV compromise in the Ioniq, so it’s not impossible, and supposedly we’ll see a 200mi BEV version in 1.5-2 years (and I don’t expect it to have a different body or platform — I’m pretty certain sales on the current version won’t justify a major redesign after <2 years).


No. Take a closer look at the Prime. The EV battery is in the hatch just like in the CMAX. Run the 25 mile range down to zero, and Toyota has No provision to REGEN the battery while you drive down a mountain.

The weight of the battery in the back makes the ride harsh over bumps. And you can’t have more than 2 passengers in the back seat, because you already have a 300 pound passenger( battery ) in the back, in the hatch.

So, no Toyota did almost nothing to improve the Prime of the previous generation.


Remember Japanese culture. Can you imagine the embarrassment of the Japanese engineers when this POS design was approved. Surprised there wasn’t a wave of Seppuku reported.


The Prime’s traction battery is in the floor of the hatch area, and it does cut into luggage space, but it’s a less intrusive design leaving more usable space than the Ford designs.

The Prime is not a ground-up design as a plug-in. It’s a conversion of the 4th gen Prius. I think it’s a pretty good car with decent tradeoffs. 25 mile range is enough to be useful, and the car is remarkably efficient both in EV mode and in gas hybrid mode. It has sufficient cargo space to be useful.

The 4 passenger limit is a problem. I hope they tweak the suspension within a year or two and add the 5th seat back in.

I’m certain the Prime will recharge it’s battery going down a mountain, why do you say it won’t?


The Prime has two batteries, that act completely independent of one another.
1) One is the standard hybrid battery, that works in hybrid mode. When you Regen down a hill, you regain the hybrid battery.
2) The other battery is exclusively your EV-Only battery, and you use up this charge first in EV-only mode, once it’s done, you’re done with EV-Only mode.

A Management Blunder. Not allocating resources to fix this problem.


I call the Prime update: The Supplier/Component Manufacturers Update. Toyota seems to have let the supplier chain do all the work.

Except the body, Toyota is probably response for that though.

Micke Larsson

The Prius Prime was not designed from scratch to be able to be a plug-in. If so then they would have adjusted for the increased weight and made sure it would have a proper fifth seat.

It is basically just a regular Prius conversion. Considering that it is from one of the largest car manufacturers in the world and that it is their second try at a plug-in of that model it is very sad.


To add to ricegf’s reply to you regarding space, it’s also significantly cheaper to have a smaller battery pack than a larger one.


Curious. When they state “sales” does that include leases? Because many of us would rather lease high tech electrics at this point.


Just wait for the M3 and the Leaf 2. The car market will not be the same after them. And the market share numbers will be completely different.