EV Sales Growing Strong In US, Reach Near Record Market Share

APR 8 2016 BY MARK KANE 40

Tesla Model 3 Shown On Right? Nope, It's Just A Model S In All Black

Tesla Model S & X fueling sales growth in the U.S.

March 2016 brought U.S. record of plug-in electric car sales of some~13,725 (full month’s recap here).  And we are not talking about just year ago results, but for any month. Ever.

That’s nearly 33% more than year ago. We need to go back to mid-2014 to see a higher growth in year-over-year stats.  March was also the 5th consecutive monthly record for EV sales in America.

It’s especially interesting that in previous years, December has always been the best month of the year – fueled mostly by the run for the quick federal tax credit return (of up to $7,500).

Therefore, a record March probably heralds that we are now on a path of significant gains into the future, and more records will be set later this year.

Another very good sign is the increasing market share for plug-ins themselves against conventional petrol vehicles, which reached 0.86% (just shy of 0.88% record in 2014). Who said that low oil prices will stop EVs?

A big part of the record growth is Tesla Motors, which holds now around 43% of plug-in segment with an estimated 3,990 Model S and 1,860 Model X sales in March.  Truly, Tesla’s position is second to none among pure electric cars.

Editor’s Note: To see the individual results of each plug-in on sale in the US, check out the historical charts on our “Monthly Sales Plug-In Scorecard

U.S. Plug-In car sales - March 2015

U.S. Plug-In car sales – March 2015

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40 Comments on "EV Sales Growing Strong In US, Reach Near Record Market Share"

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Just imagine what will happen once the 200+ mile “affordable” cars are out…

Geometric Growth, just like cell phones.

Can anyone tell what the demand will be like once Tesla sells a few thousand Model 3s?

If the reservation is already more than 350 thousand and counting and the car was not even driven by any reporter let alone a consumer!

I was thinking that the III reservations would have at least a 50% fall out rate, but I have read that the X fallout rate was just 30%. That would indicate that almost 250,000 of those reservations will actually buy the III. That is a boat load of cars!
The big question is how fast will Tesla be able to produce the III while maintaining production/sales of the S and the X.
Interesting days!

If Tesla actually hits that target price and delivery date, I suspect the drop out rate to be very low. However, being the skeptic, I think they’ll fall short on both targets . . . just like all their other cars. ?

I agree with you on the probable late arrival of the III. Add to that the fact that it could take as much as 8 months to a year for the loaded Tesla III’s to get produced and bought up so that the people that want a base model will finally get theirs.
A lot can happen with regards to pricing in the better part of a year, but I don’t see how Tesla can build a car with a 60 kWh pack for $35k, Gigafactory or not.
I would love to be wrong though.

I predict that early deliveries before the $7500 tax incentive ends will have a very low dropout rate. Less of a dropout rate than the Model X.

Then the dropout rate will go up, as the tax incentive drops to $3,750.

Once the tax incentive is gone, I think the dropout rate will end up higher than the Model X.

I think there are a lot of folks who made reservations sight-unseen before they showed the car just for this reason, so that they could get the incentives. And many will rethink once the incentives go away.

Why? At $35k base price, the Model 3 is only currently a bit above the average selling price of new cars in the USA now. Two years from now, the gap will be even smaller – or maybe none at all.

I don’t think the tax credit will be all that big of an impact to overall Model 3 sales. Even without it, it’s still a highly competitive car at its price. Plus, a few states have their own rebates.

$35K base price is correct. By the time customers add on “Must have” options the price is expected to top $42K. I’m thinking the tax credit is important in driving sales. we will see soon.

Alaa asked: “Can anyone tell what the demand will be like once Tesla sells a few thousand Model 3s?” Heck, it’s obvious that even Tesla was surprised by the response. I’d say your guess is likely as good as anyone else’s. The thing to watch for is what the major auto makers are doing. The “tipping point” at which the EV revolution really takes off, at which PEV sales start growing at a rate which makes it clear they’re going to displace gasmobiles in the majority of the automobile market… that tipping point won’t come from Tesla, despite a lot of excited articles and posts on InsideEVs. The tipping point will come from other auto makers starting to imitate what Tesla is doing. Tesla alone can’t possibly ramp up production fast enough to feed exponential growth in the PEV market. Last years, sales of “light duty” vehicles, that is, cars and light trucks, was some 88-89 million vehicles. Tesla can’t supply the majority of that market alone. The tipping point will come when other auto makers start making BEVs as compelling and as low-priced (or lower) as the Model ≡ — and start making them in large numbers. And when… Read more »

Geometric growth should be happening since at least 2010. Competition has not yet begun. Tesla is forcing the issue.
Bravo Tesla! GO TESLA!

Yes I believe the naysayers will, in a year or two, be reduced to the fringe. More updates will be demonstrative of higher EV acceptance. It is the tide rather than a wave.

still a couple years away but getting closer….

No there’s not. The Bolt comes out in December. There’s still a strong possibility that sales of the Bolt will exceed sales of the Model 3.

Simply not possible. There aren’t enough kWh of batteries for making Bolts in large quantities. If there was sufficient supply, Tesla wouldn’t be spending $2.5 billion or more on a battery Gigafactory.

If and when GM starts building its own high capacity battery factories, we’ll know they’re serious about making long-range plug-in EVs in large numbers. And not until.

And the Prius Prime. All of the Toyota lemmings will get out their check-books.

I hope those people broaden their horizons since the Volt is a much better value.

Sadly I think most probably don’t even know what the Volt is or that there is even a car called the Volt.

Not to mention compelling vehicles in other segments like the Outlander and Pacifica. I think those two are going to do very well if priced competitively.

As more find out the lies about EV’s are just that and EV’s are great cars, this has a long way to go.
As the 200 mile lower cost EVs come out they will sell as fast as they can make them.
The question is will they make them and will the dealers, sale people sell them?
Now add it takes 2 yrs for any new EV demand for batteries must be ordered so they can’t ramp up fast.
Except Tesla which makes it’s own battery and has the plants, machinery and materials already sourced.
But the T3 did so well pre-order Tesla will have to ramp up faster than planned.
Now we need other big auto to step up to the plate and make compelling EV’s the world needs.
If they don’t Tesla, Apple, Samsung, Google, etc will.

If GM sales a couple of thousand Bolts next year then it have to be Tesla stepping up to the plate to try to catch up to GM.

I meant a couple of hundred thousand.

You were right the first time. At least concerning the number they will sell.

I wish someone would tally this demand you speak of. I know nobody planning on buying the Chevrolet Bolt. There is this dealer in Canada, Burgeois Chevrolet who has 93 pre-orders, though.

Oh come on! Didn’t you read the posts to the GM Battles Tesla article two days ago? Sentiment for the the Bolt is just as strong as sentiment for the Model 3. A lot of car models, like the Ford Mustang and Focus, sold in the hundreds of thousands the first full production year and none of them had long lines for preorders two years before production.

Even GM says they project possibly 30k in sales in the 2017 calendar year, for the Bolt, and if demand is there they could produce up to 50k.

Now eventually they may get into the 100k range. I don’t think they will anytime soon. I think 15k-20k, for 2017 is more reasonable, including leases.

We’ll see. I think the Bolt is going to hit 200,000+ in 2017.

Right. How do you expect that GM will produce 200,000 Bolt EVs in 2017? Just wave their magic wand? Top secret supply chain with 4x the capacity of GM’s announced supply chain? Something else?


Why do we always digress? GM sold 19 million vehicles last year. If the demand is there GM won’t have any problem building a couple hundred thousand Bolts.

I think the success of the Model 3 preorder is going to spur sales of the Bolt. Not only has the Model 3 preorder episode been great publicity for electric cars in general but many prospective EV buyers will not want to wait 3+ years for their 200 mile EV so they will go down and buy a Bolt off of the Chevrolet lot.

Thanks for the estimates, ffbj. Texas FFE, I admire your spirit. I also hope you are right, it’s better for everyone. I’d love to see the Bolt displace 20-30% of the Cruze or Malibu sales. I’m not sure which is closer in size and cargo capacity. I know it is essentially 2x the price of the Cruze (before incentives, which matters because you have to come up with that pesky initial price), so my general concern is that Chevrolet has priced it like a mid-sized sedan, but sized and styled like a compact hatchback. Which means we are back to the dealers spewing their tired line of “$15,000 sure buys you a lot of gas, at any foreseeable price.”

The word is that GM plans to make only 20-30 thousand Bolts in the first year of production. When asked, a GM spokesman estimated they might be able to ramp up to 50 thousand.

100k+ Bolts per year simply isn’t a realistic number. GM has no intention of making the car in those numbers, and even if they wanted to, they couldn’t get the batteries for them.

It’s all very well to say that, in theory, that LG should be able to ramp up to match any amount GM wants. But in practice, that doesn’t happen. If it did, then Nissan and Tesla would not have had to build their own battery cell factories. You’ll also note that the highest volume EV manufacturer is now BYD — which started as a battery manufacturer, and still makes its own batteries.

A stairway to heaven. Or as close as we can get in this vessel like world.

A stairway to a sustainable future. The kids will never again have to worry about running out of oil or energy in their lifetimes.

I hope they would have worried about much more important stuff like the environment, their health and their kids health.

Much more important stuff? There is nothing more important than energy. A world without energy is a world of decadence and depravity.

Our world runs on energy. There would be no food and no way to get from place to place without energy. Without abundant sources of available energy we wouldn’t be able to worry about anything else because most of us would be dead or not born.

Texas FFE said:

“A world without energy is a world of decadence and depravity.”

Did you perhaps mean a world without renewable energy?

A world without easy access to significant amounts of useful energy of any kind is a world of deprivation and subsistence level living. Plenty of examples right now in third-world countries.

In order to see a big improvement of EV sales, they need to be available on all 50 states. This is not the case at the moment. There are plans for the 2017 GM Volt to go nationwide. I hope they do the same with the Bolt. We are waiting for the new 2017 Nissan Leaf. So there is a good possibility that 2017 will be a surprising year for EV”s.

Instead of the $7,500 tax incentive, that is only good for the wealthy, the federal EV incentive should be sustituted for a $3,000 cash rebate at the moment of sale. This, along with any state cash rebate will be able to improve the EV sales a great deal.

Dear Mark, it would be great if we could also see the monthly market share (%) EVs have from the total registration of new cars. I believe that information is more important then the actual numbers.