Here are the models that have scored big in 2018
You might recall that 2017 was a fantastic year for electric vehicle sales. New offerings like the Chevy Bolt EV and Prius Prime helped push total plug-in sales to a record 199,818 deliveries last year. The Tesla Model 3 also launched in mid-2017, although production was initially far below where it needed to be.
Thankfully 2018 was even more promising. The Honda Clarity PHEV launched late last year and is now selling in numbers comparable to the Chevrolet plug-in models. More importantly, the new year would also bring high volume production for the Model 3. This has helped sales reach a massive 312,877 units through November.
Out of over 40 available models, the 10 best selling plug-ins make up nearly 84% of the plug-in market with just under 262,500 in sales. Now that the year is nearly complete, let's take a look back at the BEV and PHEV models that have done the heaviest lifting on the sales charts.
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The Ford Fusion Energi has had a relatively solid year with 7,284 sales through the month of November. Last month in particular saw a huge spike to 1,131 sales. While nowhere near the model's performance in 2016, last month was the vehicle's best sales performance in 2 years. Unfortunately the Fusion Energi is not long for this world, as Ford will soon be retiring the Fusion and the Energi lineup.
9. BMW 530e
Since entering the scene in mid-2017, the BMW 530e has risen quickly up the sales charts. Despite a short electric range and falling sedan sales, the plug-in hybrid Bimmer has managed an estimated 7,301 sales through November. By the end of December, the 530e should have doubled its 2017 sales performance of 3,772 units. This has allowed it to easily surpass the better known BMW i3 and BMW X5 xDrive 40e in sales.
8. Nissan LEAF
2017 was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Nissan LEAF. The all time best selling electric car launched a re-design late last year and U.S. deliveries began in earnest in early 2018. Unfortunately, despite improved aesthetics and increased range, sales have not increased dramatically. Through November, the LEAF has managed only 13,048 sales. This is up about 2,000 from last year's 11,230 deliveries but below most expectations. The 60 kWh model is expected to launch in 2019 so we may see a return to form for the LEAF next year.
For years, Honda resisted any significant roll-out of electric vehicles. In fact they still do: the Honda Clarity BEV has sold a fraction of the plug-in hybrid model and sales are restricted to a few select markets. In contrast, the plug-in hybrid model has outperformed most expectations for this year with an estimated 15,424 sales through November. Hopefully Honda has big plans for future plug-in hybrids since the Clarity has been a hit with owners so far.
The Chevy Bolt EV continues to be the best selling non-Tesla all electric vehicle in the United States. However, U.S. sales are down to an estimated 16,907 thus far in 2018. The model is unlikely to match the 23,297 sold in its debut year. This drop was primarily due to an focus on exports over the summer. While Chevy would not comment on their reason for decreasing allotments for the U.S., it is likely this was an effort to push the automaker's 200,000th electric vehicle sale into the 4th quarter.
The Chevy Volt is looking to end 2018 on a high note with 18,648 sales through November. Last month sales were especially strong with an estimated 3,930 deliveries to new owners. Unfortunately, part of this late year push is likely due to Chevrolet announcing that Chevy Volt production would end after the 2019 model year.
The Tesla Model X is looking to significantly increase its sales performance from 2017. By the end of November, Tesla had already delivered an estimated 22,000 to customers, surpassing the 21,315 for all of last year.
Despite the age of the vehicle and strong competition across the board, the poster child for the electric vehicle is still having a decent year sales wise. With 22,495 deliveries estimated through November of this year, the Model S is unlikely to surpass the exceptional sales performance of 2017 or 2016. But considering the Model 3 has stolen some of the Model S thunder, the larger luxury sedan has managed to hold its own quite well.
The best selling plug-in hybrid has sold 24,836 with one month still left in the year. This is up quite a bit from the car's full year total of 20,936 in 2017. Toyota already had a hit on their hands with the Prius Prime last year and thankfully 2017 was not a fluke.
As if any other electric car had a chance. The Tesla Model 3 has had a monster year with a whopping 114,532 estimated deliveries. This means the Model 3 alone accounts for over 36% of all BEV and PHEV sales in the United States. Admittedly, production stumbled early with multiple delays meeting goals set by CEO Elon Musk. If Tesla had been able to ramp up production more quickly, the dominance would have been even greater.
But now the automaker has hit its stride, producing 4,500-5,000 vehicles per week without breaking a sweat. Production is expected to increase further in the coming weeks just in time for the Model 3 launch in Europe.
For the full sales data and estimates, be sure to check out our handy Plug-In Sales Scorecard that is updated at the beginning of each month.