EV Sales Rise For 13th Consecutive Month In October For US

Chevrolet Volt

NOV 2 2016 BY JAY COLE 26

A familiar face took over the sales lead for the month of October - the Chevy Volt

A familiar face took over the sales lead for the month of October – the Chevy Volt

Plug-in vehicle sales in the US set a 13th consecutive monthly gain in October…but it was no ‘walk in the park’ win as it had been in past months, as industry leader Tesla concerned itself with foreign production and readying its Fremont production facility to equip new enhanced, fully self driving capable hardware on all its new vehicles going forward.

A self-driving Model X with new enhanced hardware was demonstrated by Tesla in October - watch

A self-driving Model X with new enhanced hardware was demonstrated by Tesla in October – watch

For the month an estimated 10,832 plug-in vehicles were sold, which was up an adjusted 17.5% compared the 9,926 sold a year ago.  (*October 2016 noted 26 selling days compared to 28 in October of 2015)

During the month, EV sales in the US also passed the sum total sold in all of 2015, and now stands at some 120,517 units delivered – which is a gain of 31% compared to  the ~92,330 sold through October of last year.

As mentioned, Tesla did not lead the charge in October, but one should note the pullback is the company’s  US deliveries this month was not via an “unexpected event” for the company, but rather one likely planned many months ago.

Meaning that Tesla’s delivery estimate for “over 25,000” EVs delivered globally for Q4 that was made last week while reporting Q3 results, is with these October’s results in mind.

Despite its polarizing looks and mild all-electric driving abilities, the Toyota Prius Prime will likely add the most "new" sales to the US EV segment in 2017

Despite its polarizing looks, and mild all-electric driving abilities, the Toyota Prius Prime will likely add the most “new” sales to the US EV segment in 2017

However, the happenings at Tesla are significantly altering the month-to-month sales results for the US this past month, and for the next two months ahead.

While October numbers have been pushed lower, the “December rush” is clearing incoming by the Tesla.  The month also notes the arrival of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV (details), and the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (details); which means we are likely going to see the first monthly sales result north of 20,000 to end out the year.

Picking up the slack this month, and returning to the “top seller” position for the first time since July (and for the 4th time in 2016) was the Chevrolet Volt, the only model to sell more than 2,000 copies during October (2,191)

Dark horse winner for October 2016:  The Mercedes S550e, the luxury PHEV from Daimler that went on sale in July of 2015, came out of nowhere to sell 174 copies in October.  It’s former high?  Just 41 copies.  Good for a tidy 424% improvement.

Unexpected ‘dog’ of the month:  The BMW i3 had been expected to rebound from a low September sales result, blamed on poor inventory supply of the new 33 kWh version – unfortunately ‘help’ never arrived in October and just 442 copies were sold (after selling almost 1,500 in a single month during the Summer).  Hopefully the new stock (along with sales) return soon.

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers, NA for X – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers, NA for X – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

Other Statistical Points of Interest from October 2016

The Mercedes S550e (S500e internationally) is the first production EV to get wireless charging in early 2017

The Mercedes S550e (S500e internationally) is the first production EV to have a wireless charging option, the model also gets a larger 13.3 kWh battery, good for ~20 miles of all-electric range when it arrives early next year

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. General Motors – 2,454
  2. Ford – 2,015
  3. Tesla Motors* – 1,650
  4. Nissan 1,412
  5. BMW – 1,139
  6. VW Group – 931

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In October*

  1. PHEV – 6,147 – 56.3%
  2. BEV – 4,685 -43.7%

New Year Highs Set In October By Model (previous 2016 high in brackets)

  • Nissan LEAF – 1,412 (1,316)
  • BMW i8 – 199 (169)
  • Mercedes S550e – 174 (41)
  • BMW 33o – 92 (81)

(*) estimated

The full monthly recap by individual plug-in can be found on our Monthly Scorecard here.

Categories: Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Sales, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

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26 Comments on "EV Sales Rise For 13th Consecutive Month In October For US"

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So we blew past the 2015 sales with 2 months to go! Nice.

BTW, I think German has REALLY blown it as far as plug-ins for the US market. First they ignored plug-ins for a long time. Then they did some compliance cars.

Then they did some weak EVs that quickly became outdated by the Bolt and improved LEAF.

And now they are releasing a lot of high-end PHEVs but other than the BMW X5 edrive which is the only SUV PHEV available and to a lesser extent the affordable Etron, their high-end PHEVs are not selling. IMHO, if you are going to pay a high price then why not just get a fully electric Tesla with a big battery that provides 100% smooth, quiet, vibration-free, exhaust-free, lurching-transmission-free luxury EV experience?

BMW is the only company to have decent plug-in success with the i3 and X5. The rest of the German plug-ins are also-rans.

Maybe the high price of electricity in Germany and their long history of great mechanical engineering has made it very hard for them to transition?

They got caught with their pants down, plain and simple. They fully expected Tesla, Nissan, and GM to fail with this current generation of EVs even though it is the next logical step from hybrid. They were expecting diesel to be the efficiency king in Europe for years and years and now all of that is falling apart.

IMO, it’s only going to get worse for them until they actually bite the bullet and get on board in a big way. The PHEV-lite flood might stave off the disaster in the short term but they need to get back to producing desirable cars rather than desirable interiors and branding.

And it’s not just happening in the US, the UK government just lost (again) in the high court for failing to do enough to combat air pollution. You can expect the London congestion charging zone to double in size, older diesels to pay more to enter London and additional pollution charging zones to be put in place in the next 12 -24 months across the UK one of the biggest markets for “clean” German diesels. The only cars that will be able to drive for ‘free’ in UK cities by 2020 will be electric.

I had friends just return from a trip around the world, and they unfortunately drove through London not knowing about their restrictions on ICE cars, and got a ticket. I had no idea myself, but thought it’s a great idea AND a harbinger of what our future looks like for transportation, and BEVs are it (ok, maybe some PHEVs too 😉 ).

But still not past the 2014 sales…

The US lost almost 2 years of EV progress somehow. It will not happen again though with the new big sellers arriving soon this year and the Model 3 in 2017.

It’s true, the US had a big lead in the EV world in the beginning but now China and the EU are passing them. We’ll see how it all pans out once the Prime hits the market in a big way. My opinion is that the bolt and Leaf 2.0 (if it ever arrives) will be loved by the EV enthusiast but the Prime will be the biggest seller.

Remember to compare as a % of the market, not just the #’s.

Eeee. No?

USA sales moved from sedans to SUVs. Not EV SUVs no EVs sales.

Tesla X is too little to put the sales on skyrocketing increase. Outlander is delayed yet another time.

USA need more electric SUVs in big numbers.

Of course regional availability prioritization will move USA sales up next year and a year after that, but eventually it will even out, and then USA need those SUVs.

Mikael – “But still not past the 2014 sales…”

Looking at the numbers, we are well past 2014 sales. For the first 10 months of 2014 we only had 97,318 in sales. For this year we are at 120,517.

Read the comment I commented on and you will understand why you were not past 2014 sales…

Are you trying to say YTD sales of plugins in the US are not more than the *total* from 2014? It’s 122K vs 120K. W/2 months left, there’s no worry about surpassing 122K. I’m not sure what comparing 10 months of sales to 12 months does for you?

It was speculawyer comparing 2016 sales in october with 2015 sales because it was the month when you went past those sales.

So my comment was about it taking into the 11th month to get past the 2014 numbers. Something that is really sad. The lack of growth has been pitiful.

Can you do it by the 9th month in 2017? Maybe even the 8th? That would be a fairly good improvement.

Not really a lack of growth, since there is growth. I’ll take that vs. negative growth.

I think we are still in the infancy of EVs, so once they go “mainstream” (tired of that word), we should see bigger leaps.

Do people here actualy not read EV news??
Not counting China only BYD and BAIC only two internation auto companies (Tesla and Nissan) have sold more EVs than BMW and VW…
Those same two companies are the only two who have announced bigger EV plans than BMW, VW and Mercedes so if the Germans have already lost the game where in heck are the rest of the Americans Japanese and Koreans??

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

When Honda and Toyota exited; it hurt.

Yep. I’m very glad to welcome Toyota back. The Prime looks like a heck of a car and Toyota’s priced it to sell. It might well be the top selling plug-in for 2017.

BTW it’s great to see Tesla crushing the competition right now, if you take out the Volt and the Fusion the model S is selling 2 plugins for every 1 or better. I don’t think it is going to happen but I would love to see Tesla take the number 2 position from GM with the model X.

Love or hate them Tesla are certainly adding pressure to the system.

With Bolt coming out, it will only get better!


It’s now eight months in a row over 10 000 electric car and it will for sure be at least two more month, the real question now is if Bolt will help the sales be over 10k in January so that sales of EV maybe never drop below 10k again 🙂

Bolt and model3 are the gamechangers. The new Leaf and i3 are also important in the transition towards EV.

I’m surprised that the Volt still sells so poorly for such a good car. With incentives it seems like a steal and suitable for many more people than resulting sales. Waiting for a Bolt is a different market.

I would think GM would not be satisfied with this, unless there is still little or no profit in the car or for their dealerships

Chevy has a history of selling cheap, ugly, poorly built small cars. Think Chevette and Aveo.
The Volt is the antithesis of what Chevy used to sell, but people don’t expect a small Chevy like the Volt to be well built.
Then there is the MSRP. Who thinks Chevy builds a small car worth $33k? No one except people that have been reading about electric cars.
So they don’t test drive it and therefore they don’t know enough to want to buy it, since there are no ads to build interest in the car.

Gen 2 Volt unfortunately is living down to GM’s bad reputation so far. 2016 Volt rated ‘Poor’ reliability by Consumer Reports and their projected reliability for 2017 Volt is ‘Much Worse Than Average’.

Hope GM irons out those issues pronto and proves CR wrong about the 2017s.

Look at that Ford CMax-Energi struggling to stay relevant.
Can you imagine the sales numbers if Ford had competent mgmt?

Hybrid cars are an amazing technology, an incredible engineering achievement. However this makes the car very complex… indeed way more complex than a ICE. So the manufacturers would not be able to offer a 8 years unlimited mileage warranty as the Tesla full electric does.
Hybrid cars can only be justified for fuel savings, full electric cars are justified for performance and fuel savings.