February 2015 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

MAR 4 2015 BY JAY COLE 61

September's Results Won't Surpass The All-Time Best Set In August - But Still Very Strong

2014 Plug-In Sales End On A High Note In December

Last month in January, the industry carved out the narrowest of gains finishing up just 6.7% over the year prior with an estimated 5,907 plug-in sales.

The BMW i3 And VW e-Golf Where Both Surprisingly Good Sellers In January 2015

The BMW i3 And VW e-Golf Were Both Surprisingly Good Sellers In January 2015

It only got harder in February, as 7,341-odd EVs were sold a year ago.

A number that could not be matched, as an estimated 6,951 were moved this month, off about 5%.

Truth be told, with the current versions of the Chevrolet Volt and Prius PHV both being mostly abandoned (practically speaking) by their parent brands – who are looking ahead to the next generation of their plug-ins, we may not see any gains in the Chevy until the Fall, who knows for the Prius PHV.

Thankfully, BMW is picking up a lot of the slack with their new i3 – which sold more than a 1,000 units in one of the toughest months of the year.

During the month, Ford’s sales rebounded fairly significantly from multiple-month lows to lead all automakers in plug-in production.

While InsideEVs as a rule doesn’t make predictions on sales, we will go ahead and suspend that stance this month, as we can say with some confidence that the first half of EV sales in America will be flat at best, while large gains will return – but not until late in the year.


Heading in February the stories of interest are (with answers as they come in):

  • After having an incredible string of 23 consecutive months of record sales snapped in January, can the Nissan LEAF bounce back in February?  (Nope)
  • Chevrolet Volt sales imploded to just 542 units last month, can a lack of incentives and thinning inventory in February keep up that lower pace? (February was a slight improvement actually!)
  • The BMW i3 was the third best selling EV in the US last month for the first time.  Can it hold that position – or even do better? (Yes, indeed)
  • Can the Ford family of plug-ins (Focus Electric, Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi) make the Detroit-based automaker the number 1 seller of plug-ins for February? (Yes sir)

(last updated: 11:15pm,  March 22nd, 2015)

Below Chart:  A individual run-down of each vehicle’s monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers.

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Now Estimated Based on Rebate Data

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Now Estimated Based on Rebate Data

Additionally, waaaaaay down at the bottom of the story is both the 2015 YTD chart as well as the complete 2014 results.


2014 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt: What effect does the next generation Volt (full details here) with a greater range and an expected cheaper entry pricepoint have on current gen sales?

How about adding in a whirlwind tour of the 2016 model across the United States (Detroit, Washington, Chicago, Las Vegas, etc) over the past 6 weeks?

Why not throw in some current model neglect by GM with marketing and production?

It resulted in just 693 sales, which was off 48% from 2014 when 1,210 were moved.  (full article on the Volt`s February can be found here)

The silver lining was that February’s result was actually a decent improvement over an abysmal January when 542 Volts were sold. A number that was off by 41% from last year when 918 were moved, and the lowest monthly total since August of 2011 for the extended range car.

Looking at GM’s very low production level of 2015 MY Chevrolet Volts throughout 2014 and into 2015 it has become clear the company is looking ahead to the next generation launch of the car in the second half of the year.  That being said, and despite the Volt’s Hamtramck, Michigan facility being closed a week this month for tooling, GM did raid 2015 MY Volt stock by about 30% before the month expired…only problem is that still equals less than 3,000 cars.

Last year (2014) 18,805 cars were been sold – which was down 18.6% from 2013 when GM moved 20,702 Volts. This means that the Volt is the first electric vehicle to post two consecutive years of falling sales in America.





2014 Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF: Sales of the LEAF rebounded slightly in February with 1,198 cars sold, but this result was still off 15.9% from a year ago.

Nissan blamed the weather for the miss:

“Tough winter weather in several key markets held EV sales back in February.  As we head into spring, we look forward to seeing more dealership traffic so shoppers can experience firsthand the benefits of the all-electric Nissan LEAF.” – Brendan Jones, director, Nissan Electric Vehicle Sales and Infrastructure.

(Full recap on the LEAF’s February result can be found here)

Last month (January) and for the first time in almost 2 years, Nissan had a month one could consider a disappointment.  The streak of 23 consecutive record monthly sales was snapped,  as just 1,070 LEAFs were sold, off about 15% from January of 2014 when 1,252 were moved.

Nissan’s Brendan Jones tried to explain the January slowdown as a function of December’s impressive 3,000+ sold result.

“We saw a significant increase in demand in December from Nissan LEAF customers looking to take advantage of federal and state incentives at the end of the tax year, which pulled some sales ahead.” – Brendan Jones, director, Nissan Electric Vehicle Sales and Infrastructure

In 2014, Nissan sold 30,200 LEAFs, which is a big 34% improvement over 2013, when 22,610 were sold. For some perspective on how high that 30,200 sales number is, the previous best was by the Chevrolet in 2013 with 23,094 Volts sold.

An interesting “perk” of the January/February slowdown in plug-in sales is that Nissan has been able to expand national inventories to about 6,000 units – the highest level the company has yet to achieve in the United States.

Of random interest: Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that “more than 400 km (249 miles)” will be coming to the LEAF in just a “few years”. Important to note that this conversation took place in Japan where range ratings are wildly optimistic, however Mr. Ghosn was asked directly if the range will double – to which he replied “yes” while declining to add any further information.




2014 Cadillac ELR

2014 Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR: Ain’t no stopping the ELR sales, with another 127 being moved in February, that is up 119% from February 2014 when just 58 were moved.

The ELR was also a rare bright spot for EV sales in January too, as sales of the premium plug-in from Caddy improved 124% to 92 units during the month.

Previously, in the best selling month of the year for EVs, 118 ELRs were moved a month ago in December, which is just about bang on with the year average.

A lot of dealer-level discounting has turned the luxury Cadillac plug-in into a fairly decent seller recently, but that looks to slow now as inventory has been wittled down to a manageable 550-odd units heading into March.  So when we said “ain’t no stopping the ELR sales” earlier, that was a lie…a thinning inventory will shortly affect sales of the premium plug-in Cadillac.

Overall, 1,310 plug-in Cadillacs were sold in 2014. The all-time high for ELR sales came in August when 196 were sold.

The inventory situation is fairy fixed thing, as GM decided to not build any 2015 ELRs to the numbers under control. The 2015 will be skipped in favor of the refreshed ELR.

It should be noted the debut the 2016 ELR at the LA Auto Show was scrapped at the last minute in November, and now it has been scratched at the last minute in Geneva – where it had been expected to re-debut in March.

The reason (at least for LA))? Its “autonomy” functions weren’t ready to go….which seems a little week considering no one expected the car to be driving around by itself on stage.  As for its absence in Geneva next month, GM decided to just quietly remove it from all media  all online media publications.

Instead of the ‘next’ ELR debut in LA, we got an interview with new Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen (yes, that Johan de Nysschen), that could not have been more of a wet blanket, complete with the labelling of the brand “niche” and not a priority right now.




2015 BMW i3

2015 BMW i3

BMW i3: “What the heck?” – is pretty much the only thing you can say when it comes to what BMW pulled off in February.

Low inventory? Check.  One of the worst months to sell an EV? Check.  Terrible weather? Check.

But none of that mattered, as BMW sold 1,089 i3s in February!

Previously in January, BMW sold 670 i3s – fairly decent showing for the German plug-in.

Despite the winter blahs, the company has now crossed into 4-digits in 5 of the last 7 months. The all-time high still stands at 1,159 from October.

In 2014, BMW sold 6,092 i3s, good for the 7th best overall spot for plug-in sales in America…not bad considering it was only available for 7 full months in the US.

Current owners got some good news in December as earlier, long standing issues surrounding the onboard chargers being muted to avoid failure incidents has now been rectified and BMW has a recall/repair bulletin out for owners to now get new units installed. 7.4 kW charges again for everyone!

Still, details on the 2015 model year BMW i3 are out (details) and include some new creature comforts (heated seats for all models), DC fast charging across the range; as well as some product fixes (ala the keyfob).

Looking at the inventory situation, national inventories grew for the second consecutive month averaging about 2,500 units in February…which for BMW, and its smaller dealer footprint compared to the larger OEMs, is close to the ideal amount.




2014 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales (apparently because the public can’t handle the concept of regional allocations and delivery lead times)… so we never know for sure what the monthly numbers total up to until their quarterly updates, but we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening.

Unlike other (like all) publications, we don’t simply take an expected number of sales for the Model S given by analysts for the quarter and then divide it by 3 to get a monthly number and hope it all works out…it just doesn’t work like that, even for the larger OEMs.

We actually put in a little research/tracking effort into the estimated number of deliveries in the North America (and the world) and attempt to explain what is happening behind the scenes. (and so far, that has worked out pretty well)

For February, three distinct things happened for Tesla in regards to Model S sales:

The ‘boat’ landed in Europe with late December/January production of P85Ds and deliveries of the car overseas officially got underway in mid-February.  And by Europe, we really just mean Norway as the cars don’t have be dis-assembled, then re-assembled to get around pesky import duties.

If you lived elsewhere in Europe (and not in the UK), as an early reservist, you can expect your P85D beginning this month (March).  So if you are looking to peg international deliveries for Tesla in February, look for big things out of Norway, and pretty much no where else.  And if you were looking for a RHD version of the “D” to arrive soon (UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia), you probably got bad news this month as there is apparently some technical snafu that will see those cars delayed until the second half of the year.

For the US, another serious/ongoing round of P85D North American production got going in February and more ultra-high performance Tesla’s starting arriving in American hands mid-to-late in the month.

More significantly, ‘regular’ AWD 85 kWh cars (or S85D if you will) started production in early February, slightly behind original forecasts.  Early deliveries of the car seemed to be a little slower than normal (waiting on some QC checks we assume), but the first cars were moved out the 3rd week of the month before a lot more drifted onto consumer’s driveways the last week of the month.

As seems to be the norm, the bulk of delivery promises made on the Model S (of all trim levels combined) this quarter from the company is for the last month of the quarter.  Provided there is no plant (or software) hiccups, expect March to be a pretty decent month for Tesla Model S deliveries.

Trailing data actually leads us to believe we undershot January’s result by couple hundred units, so we will be a little more aggressive estimating February in order to balance that out.

InsideEVs estimates February deliveries in North America for Tesla at 1,150 units.


Editor’s Note:  We also like to take a moment to say (like 2013) we crushed 2014 North American estimates by putting the number at 17,300 units – basically the exact number Tesla reported being delivered when they released Q4 and full year results this month.





2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED: For February, 109 cars were moved despite little-to-no inventory of the new model.

Last month, the B-Class showed no ill effect from the winter EV sales blues, as the all-electric Mercedes sold 240 copies last month in January.

Can the electric B-Class compete with natural rival BMW (with the i3)? It still seems highly unlikely, at least for now…but a lot more probably than just a couple months ago.

Already on sale in Europe, a new and slightly “facelifted” 2015 model hits Mercedes dealership shortly (pics and story here).

Introduced in the second half of 2014, 774 B-Class EDs were been sold. It is hard to rate and/or gauge the demand of the car because that is pretty much all the cars Daimler has shipped out to the US so far.

Editor’s Note: Daimler lists total B-Class ED sales for 2014 as 2 units higher than InsideEVs – this is due to a spreadsheet error on Mercedes-Benz’s part between August and September.

For the US, the ‘old and busted’ B-Class will be available only in limited states for 2014 and the first couple of months of 2015 (CA, CT, MD, OR, NJ, NY, RI and VT)). Later, it will head out nationwide to the unwashed masses.

Separately at the NAIAS in Detroit in January, Mercedes debuted the C350 plug-in hybrid (photos and details here) which has a 20 mile range and a 0-60 time of under 6 seconds. Mercedes promises this cars release by year’s end in America.



BMW i8 Finally Arrives In US In August!

BMW i8 Finally Arrives In US In August!

BMW i8: Even though though the i8 is A) an electric vehicle and B) a premium sports car, BMW sold an impressive 113 copies in February.

Previously in January,  85 i8s were sold.

Both great results…as those numbers represent  pretty much exactly how many i8s landed at dealerships during the first two months of 2014.

How popular is the i8? It has been on the market since August and demand is still far outstripping supply. Just this month a new i8 came up for auction in the US and it fetched more than $20,000 over the sticker MSRP!

Sales of the i8 continued to impress ending out 2014 as well, as 158 were sold in December – remember this isn’t your mother’s plug-in car, these are $150,000 dollar machines.

The high mark for the i8 was set at 204 plug-in sports cars sold in October of 2014.

555 i8s were sold in total in 2014…out of the approximate 555 that were shipped from BMW’s Leipzig assembly plant.

The ultra-high end plug-in from BMW arrived on August 16th in the United States. (Check out a nifty video of its journey from production here)





2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: For February just 40 more Panamera plug-ins were sold, which comes after a rebound month of sorts in January when 61 were sold.

Previously in December just 31 of the plug-in Panamera were sold – a 2014 year low. For the full year 2014, 879 copies were sold…not bad for a car whose average retail price is about $115,000.

As feared, the introduction of the Cayenne e-Hybrid has meant some Porsche buyers have made the switch to the SUV.

The high mark for sales on the Panamera was set in the first month of the year, with an amazing 141 sold. The advent of the Cayenne plug-in means that this level will never be seen again.

Currently there is just under 200 S e-Hybrids in dealer inventory in the United States.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid has a combined 416 hp output (333 hp electric) and can get north of 60 mph in about 5 seconds, with a top speed of 167 mph. Pricing starts at $99,000. Also of interest, the S E-Hybrid is currently available at all Porsche dealers nationwide – a rare thing these days.




2015 Porsche Cayenne S e-Hrybrid

2015 Porsche Cayenne S e-Hrybrid

Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid: As more inventory of the Cayenne plug-in arrives, more sales are realized by Porsche.

For February,  71 were sold, and it is impossible to not notice that as the Cayenne S e-Hybrid’s number improve, the Panamera S e-Hybrid’s falls.

During the Cayenne plug-in’s first full month on the market in December, 55 were sold.

While the Cayenne S e-Hybrid and cousin Panamera S e-Hybrid are selling relatively close to the same level, don’t be fooled, the Cayenne plug-in’s demand is much, much higher.

How high? We can’t say. But what we can tell you is that since its arrival, the days worth of inventory in stock at dealerships has hovered in the very low teens.






2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevrolet SPARK EV: The littlest 4 seat EV continued to be strong (relatively speaking) in February with 119 moved; 67% more than a year ago.

The all-electric Chevy also bucked the downward trend the month prior in January by selling a very respectable 86 units.

As a sidenote to sales: A virtual ton of Spark EVs hit the port in January, as the electric Chevy’s inventory exploded in January to north of 800 vehicles and touched a 1,000 in February – historical norms have been around 250 units.

Previously, sales perked up for the Spark EV in December as GM tells us that they sold 131 of them during the month. They also added that all of those went to retail customers (no fleet this month at all).

GM sold 1,144 in total for the 2014 against 539 in 2013.

However, no one should read anything into any monthly sales number when it comes to the Spark EV … at least if they are trying to get a handle on Spark EV demand, as GM basically sets their own monthly sales number by curtailing inventory. GM could sell a lot more if they wanted to. We figure that any 3-digit number probably satisfies GM’s internal projections for the car



2015 Kia Soul EV Went On Sale In Mid-October

2015 Kia Soul EV Went On Sale In Mid-October


Despite having no issues accepting the $7,500 federal credit (designed to encourage hitting EV sales targets in the US) against sales of the Soul EV, Kia has decided it’s no one’s business what those sales are (many media outfits, including ourselves have been rebuffed) – a testament to Kia’s true dedication to plug-in vehicles.

But none of that matters because there is more than one way to split out plus-ins sales from petrol ones.

Sales continued to lag in February as just 48 were sold, which follow January in which sales were depressed down to just 69 units, which was lower than the 110 sold previously in December.

The high water mark still stands at the 140 EVs that were moved in November…which means that, at least for now, the low 100s seems to be the acceptance level for the all electric Kia.

As we projected earlier this year, the all-electric Kia showed up ahead of its expected November release data and start selling in early October. That being said there isn’t a heck of a lot of them to be found on dealer lots at the moment (~50 units)

In fact, InsideEVs’ own Tony Williams got his hands on one…and immediate ran the battery down to nothing in an impromptu range test. Check out the report and drive video here.

Result? Over 100 miles of range! /pretty not too bad Kia

The cute-ute from Hyundai/Kia has a more than decent 93 miles of range (with more 103 miles of range in the city), and a price tag of $33,700 (full details, specs and picture can be found here).




Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf: Faced with inventory problems in February, just 130 electrified Golfs were sold.

Previously, Volkswagen sold 181 e-Golfs in January, its second best result, and just behind the 237 sold in December.

After two pretty decent selling months (by their standards and expectations) in December and January before running out of cars, Volkswagen served notice that they won’t be relegated to the small volume compliance category of EV sales…they are going to the top.

Historically, cresting the 200 level of sales has been reserved for only the 7 major EV models and the smart ED.

How high could it go? Still fairly hard to say, but as inventories spread out and VW eventually sends it across the country, 500 per month ‘in season’ doesn’t seem hard to fathom today – at least when (and if) inventory levels get high enough to support that many sales.

Heading into March, just about 300 copies were available to be purchased in America – so we will still have to wait a bit longer to see the natural demand for the plug-in VW.

For the US, the Volkswagen e-Golf only comes in the premium SEL trim, which brings with it a price point of $35,445 – meaning the car will very specifically compete with the top-of-the-line Nissan LEAF SL (from $ 35,020). Full details on the e-Golf specs, pricing and photo galleries can be found here.

The e-Golf has been rated at 83 miles by the EPA and carries a 24.2 kWh LEAF-like battery. Previously, InsideEVs learned details on a launch leasing program that sees the e-Golf available from $299/month on a 36 month term with $2,000 down.



2012 Mitsubishi I (2014s incoming)

Mitsubishi i-MiEV: For February, 2 i-MiEVs were sold.  Down 50% (we just could not resist talking percentages) from the 3 sold a year ago.

Now, if you want to look at the i-MiEV’s January sales positively, you could say it was up 300% from a year ago in beating out the Fit EV.

Another way to put recent sales however, would be to say only 5 have been sold this year. Woof.

Long story short, sales are terrible.

In December, just 12 fully electric cars were sold by Mitsu, which comes off the 18 EVs from November. In October, continuing a never-ending story of ‘failing to deliver’, 17 i-MiEVs were sold in America for October. In September just 15 were sold.


Mitsu continues to learn the lesson of “If you don’t ship any inventory, its hard to sell cars.”

Despite no 2015 model year cars ever being shipped to the US, Mitsubishi has decided to restock 2016 models of the car starting this month (March 2015) – yes, you heard that right – 2016s…in March of 2015.  We should note that after talking to Mitsu directly about the 2016 i-MiEV (which gets some option package tweeks), the company says they don’t plan on marketing the car any differently than the outgoing 2014 edition.  So look for some continued low volume numbers.

The new 2014 i-MiEV pricepoint of $22,995 continues into 2016 model and also INCLUDES standard fast charging and a host of other standard features that used to be options. The MSRP price reduction equals $6,130 less than the outgoing 2012 model. Want to know more about the new cheapest EV in America? Click here!




2014 Honda Fit EV

Honda Fit EV (OTHER): Can we stop talking about the Fit EV now?  For the second consecutive month, zero electrified Fits were moved.

Further underlining that Honda is just about out of their limited run Fit EV…they sold zero cars in the US as well in January.

Previously in December, Honda was just cleaning up what was left to sell, and sold 32 all electric Fits. For 2014 407 were sold, off 28.5% from 2014 when 569 were moved.

So, the story continues to be: Inventory, where is the inventory?

Well, there isn’t any, and it isn’t coming as Honda has DISCONTINUED production of the car in favor of future-tense fuel cell vehicles (the Honda FCV debuted this month in Japan) and ZEV credit buying to solve California compliance regulations.

Editor’s Note: With the Fit EV now out of production, sales of the electric Honda will now fall under the ‘other’ category on the scorecard as the remaining few trickle into customer’s hands

So if you get one…count yourself “lucky”.




As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

2014 smart ED – As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

SMART ForTwo Electric Drive: Smart hit its first speed bump in sales in what seems like forever, as just 76 were sold in February.  the worst result since July of 2013

Conversely, In the first month of 2014 smart impressed with 147 units sold.

Previously in December, the all-electric smart came out of nowhere to destroy expectations as 351 were sold! A new monthly record (again) for parent Daimler.

The smart EV is now technically available nationally, although there isn’t inventory yet spread out across the country to make physical sales everywhere.

The smart ED is the first plug-in for America to be offered with a “battery rental” option, which brings the cost of the Smart ED down to $19,990, but adds a $80 month battery rental payment, as well as includes a wider (and longer) battery warranty.

Check out all the specs, options and pricing here. The 2-seat Smart electric car gets 68 miles of range from a 17.6 kWh battery.





Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi: The family of electrified Fords finally had a rebound month of sorts in February, of which the Fusion energy lead the way with 603 sales.

Previously in January, Ford’s the Fusion Energi struggled as just 426 were sold during the first month; you would have to go back to July of 2013 to find a worse result.

Previously in December, the Fusion Energi had its best result since the summer with 789 plug-ins sold, but that is still far below what Ford had been achieving earlier in the year when 4 digit results were the norm.

Thankfully, the main issue that was holding back Fusion Energi sales (no not demand) – national inventories improved considerably in February and now about 2,500 cars are once again in stock – we look for the Fusion Energi to have a resurgence in sales this Spring.

The Fusion Energi basically offers the same package as the C-Max Energi, but in a larger sedan package. The third plug-in to be offered from Ford has been rated by the EPA at a combined 88 MPGe and has an electric range of 19 miles.




2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In

Toyota Prius Plug-In:  It would be nice if Toyota stopped messing with the US EV sales results and got to stocking the Prius PHV already.

Sales continued to circle the drain in February with 397 more sold, off some 62% from a year ago when 1,041 left dealer lots.

For the first month of 2015, just 401 were sold – which was off by 52% from January 2014 when Toyota moved 803.

Again, we do have to note – that recent results was/is not a reflection on the demand for the car as…well, there isn’t that many to be had.  In fact, based on days of inventory of the Prius PHV over the past 12 months, on a technical level the plug-in Prius is the most in demand car in the country.

National inventories have held steady at an unacceptably low level for anyone honestly trying to sell this car at just over 1,000 units since December.

Anyone remember the record 2,692 Prius PHVs sold just seven months ago? More of that please.

For 2014, 13,264 plug-in Prii were sold, 10% more than 2013, when 12,088 moved off lots. Again, a result that could have been much, much better.

Much like the Nissan LEAF was for almost all of 2013, the Prius PHV has been a demand vs allocation story over the past 6 months since Toyota reduced the price of the plug-in by $2,010 to $4,620.

The allure of the car, now from $29,990, has essentially meant Toyota can set the amount they want to sell as a function of how many they build.




2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi: It is no secret that the C-Max Energi (and the ‘regular’ C-Max) are struggling to find a spot inside Ford’s automotive lineup. Combine that problem with the winter EV malaise and you get some pretty poor results.

However in February sales rebounded slightly (relatively speaking) as 498 plug-in C-Max Energis were sold.

Previously in January only 393 C-Max Energis were sold – its worst month since February of 2013.

For 2014 overall, 8,433 plug-in C-Maxs were sold, good for being the 6th best selling plug-in for America.

In 2013, the high water mark for the C-Max Energi was set in October as 1,092 plug-ins sold. It would not surprise us to see the C-Max Energi live only as long as it takes to introduce a Focus Energi.






2014 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric: After selling less than 100 Focus EVs for two months in a row, Ford returned to the norm – and the “100 and something land” it is known for.  For February 145 were sold.

Previously in January  and December, just 85 and 53 (ouch) were sold (respectively), despite a $6,000 MSRP price cut (down to $29,995) just 2.5 months ago, and big discounts at the dealer level. We hate to say it, but the current generation of the plug-in Focus EV as it stands, is pretty much dead when it comes to consumer acceptance.

You have to go back to August of 2012 to find a worse result than December…and of which, December has typically been the easiest month to sell a plug-in.

Also as announced recently, the Focus got a slightly refreshed look for the 2nd half of 2014. And if you squint really hard, you might be able to spot the changes in the 2015 Focus Electric here.





2014 Fiat 500e

2014 Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e:

When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we have had another Tesla on our hands here (as in they don’t report sales).

Chrysler/Fiat had been giving us a bit of the stonewall treatment when it comes to reporting 500e sales.

UPDATE: In the past InsideEVs had used data from a 3rd party site, however upon inspection of those numbers, they were found to be materially short from rebates claimed on the car.   Sales have since been updated to more accurately reflect the 500es true sales, and we will continue to report an estimated number based on more accurate data points.

For February, an estimated 315 500es were reported sold.

As promised, the Fiat 500e sales footprint in the US ventured outside California, as the EV is now on sale in Oregon.

Still in play is a $199/36 month lease deal ($999 due on signing), but for model year 2015 there has been some changes to 500e, a new dash, some new cupholders, and a couple new exterior colors that, well…don’t thrill us too much.

As for the car itself, the 500e’s 24 kWh lithium battery has been rated by the EPA to produce 87 miles of all electric range, and MPGe efficiency in the city is pegged at 122, and 108 on the highway, for a combined 116 MPGe figure.





2014 Toyota RAV4 EV (+1 to kdawg for the file)

2014 Toyota RAV4 EV

Toyota RAV4 EV (OTHER): For February, just 2 more RAV4 EVs trickled out to  the US consumer as only a handful remain of the limited run SUV.

Previously, in the first month of the year, 7 electric Toyota SUVs were sold as few are remaining to be had from dealers in California with production of the all electric SUV ended.

With the wind-down in full effect as well in December, Toyota sold 37 RAV4 EVs in December.


For 2014, 1,147 were sold, with the high coming in August with 228 sold.

The RAV4 EV is (and always has been) a CARB compliance play, with Toyota needed to produce and sell about 2,600 units.


Editor’s Note: TheRAV4 EV joins the Honda Fit EV on the scoreboard sidelines for 2015 – any remaining sales will be classed as “other”.

The vehicle displacing the RAV4 EV for CARB compliance reasons – the Toyota FCV, made its official debut in the US in late June…if you are into that sort of thing, check out the story on Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle here.




2014 (yes, 2014) Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

2014 Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

Honda Accord Plug-In: In February 12 Accord PHEVs were sold, half the amount sold a year prior.

Basically, there is absolutely no demand for the extended range Accord.

Previously in January,  Honda sold 28 of them…about the same as the 27 sold the year before.

By the way, did you know Honda had a plug-in hybrid to sell? Few seem to. In fact, it has been on sale now for 24 months – debuting in January of 2013.

Well they do sell them….and for just $17,675 dollars more than the base Accord sedan you too can enjoy up to 13 miles of electric driving…provided you don’t accelerate too hard, or drive to fast.

Previously, in December 63 Accord PHVs were sold – a year high for Honda!

Relatively speaking, when looking at the summers’ results, the Accord plug-in has had some decent results closing out the year by its (pretty low). For 2014, 449 were sold, off from the 526 moved in 2013.

So, to say Accord PHEV sales are flat in the US would be an understatement.

Practically speaking, the Accord plug-in is the anti-Fit EV, as they just can’t sell these things. And that have something to do with pricing, as the Accord PHEV doesn’t come cheap; Honda has put a sticker of $$38,780 on the car, which was markedly higher than consumer expectations for the car.

Pricing update: Good news, Honda is bucking the trend of falling plug-in vehicle prices, and the 2014 Honda Accord PHV is now retails for $39,780 – up $1,000

We expect Honda to eventually realize the pricing is way off on the Accord PHV and start deep discounting the model – or perhaps just discontinue it entirely in America. The Accord plug-in has a 13 mile all-electric range, and has been given a MPGe valuation of 115 MPGe, the highest rating of any plug-in extended range vehicle.



Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 (OTHER): Ok, we hear you! People always ask us, “why don’t you report on the 918 Spyder?”

Honestly, it didn’t fit our traditional mantra of reporting only “mass produced EVs for America“…especially as we already know the total number of sales to come for America.

To that end, 918 sales will fall under the ‘other’ category on the scorecard.

Only 918 of the super exotic plug-in will be build over several years, and they are already all sold out, with exactly 297 destined to come to the US.

In February 14 918s were sold, which followed an impressive January, in which 34 more of those 297 US cars were delivered, after 39 918s arrived in December.

Previously in November, 20 units were sold, coming off just 5 in October. For the year 2014(well, at least since the US launch in June) 96 have been delivered.

Check out Top Gear’s video review of the car that can go from 0 to 62 mph in 2.3 seconds…and plug-in, here.



BELOW: Chart of 2015 results so far, as well as 2014 year end results:

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Now Estimated Based on Rebate Data

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Now Estimated Based on Rebate Data

2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals from Earnings Report (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers, Q2 7,579 total-approx reported International registrations, Q3 7,785 total deliveries ~ 3,900 US, Q4 via 55% net NA deliveries from 31,655 total) ** Update: Fiat 500e data estimated via incentive data

2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals from Earnings Report (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers, Q2 7,579 total-approx reported International registrations, Q3 7,785 total deliveries ~ 3,900 US, Q4 via 55% net NA deliveries from 31,655 total) ** Update: Fiat 500e data estimated via incentive data

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


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61 Comments on "February 2015 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card"

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Tesla number is surprisingly low.
With 1400 “undelivered” in December and now two months have passed and if the plant really is doing 1000/week – what is keeping the US deliveries so low?

Jay – is your crystal ball accurate lately?

Yes, that was kind of an odd statement by Tesla last quarter as part of the reason for a miss.

Truth be told, automakers (even Tesla) always have a whack of “undelivered”/in transit cars. I imagine it was slightly higher than normal due to the seasonality/holiday season though for them.

Just the fact the company talks about being able to produce 1,000 week when they want means that 1,400 is basically 7 days worth of production.

Also of note the majority of cars made in the last week of December production by Tesla weren’t destined as US sales, they ended up on a boat headed to Europe (mostly Norway) and were delivered starting in the second half of February.

Undelivered Model S was largely due to Longshoremen work slow down at West Coast Ports.Many businesses sought alternate rail and trucking shipping impacting those businesses as well.

Along with above, Tesla mentioned customers being on vacation as a reason they were unable to deliver at the year end rush.

And predictably mocked for this. But the underlying issue was the work slow down that seems to have been resolved.

Tesla’s most recent SEC filing sees a rather large increased in finished good inventory. On the scale of about 3k cars.

I heard there was limited last-weeks of year trucking available coming out of Fremont the last two weeks for near CA deliveries. Plus the vacations.

Also, some Europeans report that they tracked their cars both through the east coast and also through Texas going to ship(s) in various areas.

Does it mean 3000 European deliveries in March? Probably not. But should be more than jan or feb.

Some, ~1400 cars, would have been delivered.

Others are stuffing the pipeline.

Test vehicles and display models in ever expanding stores and “test drive events” worldwide.

This might be the first month in a long while where the Year over Year comparison might come in below Feb 2014.

Jean-François Morissette

Yep, unfurtonately, I think there is a good chance the YoY sales go down. Even the Prius plug-in had more than 1k sales in Feb 2014…

I think the only hope is the performance of the newer model (i3, Mercedes B, Soul EV, eGolf, Cayenne, etc.)

What is happening now with the sales falling like a cinder block is the ranges on these cars besides the Tesla really suck. The Tesla also isn’t out of this in that it’s really high price sucks. I think what is going on here is that the low range EV’s have burned out the group of people that would be able to buy them who can live with the low range.

Not to mention it’s been wall to wall snow this last month.

Range on my Volt is “just fine”. Drive a lot around town electrically, but I can hit the highway and do the whole Route 66 or I-95 from end to end without worry.

Range on my LEAF is fine too, since I didn’t buy a car that wasn’t suitable for me needs. Maybe I’m just weird.

Range on my LEAF is just fine too. Then again I didn’t buy a car that wasn’t suitable for my needs. Maybe I’m just weird like that.

I do plan on getting a leaf or a Mitsubishi i-miev. The thing that I’m noticing this year is that they may not be raising the range of the EV’s this year. But they are building a lot of DC quick chargers in my state which does rewrite the rules of owning a EV.

I won’t be to worried about taking a 200 mile trip in a Nissan Leaf or a Mitsubishi i-miev if there were quick chargers every 10 to 20 miles there and back on the 200 mile trip. In that the quick chargers would had a high margin of error in terms of being there if you make a mistake to miss the last charger before you get there.

In my experience even with plenty of rapid chargers it’s not a great experience doing long trips in the LEAF. It’s ok on occasion but if I had to use them more than 2 or 3 times a year then I would wait for the longer range EVs.

Obviously some people use a rapid charger every day. If it was needed for 15 minutes a day it might be ok but having to charge 4 to 6 times on a round trip journey can be quite tedious, especially in the winter.

I don’t think that is the problem at all.

first all, when talking about a PHEV (which a lot of these cars are) the range is not nearly as important.

Second of all, the range on the BEVs in the list is just fine. While higher range will bring in a broader market, there are plenty of people willing to buy with the existing range.

I tend to agree, in that customer expectations are for 200 mile EVs. A number of manufacturers have promised such, effectively admitting that current range is not ample.
Making such statements is a great way to sell a cheap ICE, but not effective in selling a minimally updated EV.

Then 200 mile range will come and people will say “waiting for 300 miles”.

How about Ari C down in VA who has 60,000 miles on his Volt – with about 20 miles on gasoline driven by the Chevy shop when doing a minor repair for him.

Range is a mindset. People could drive within the Leaf range all the time and take an ICE vehicle on a longer trip. But not a lot of people are making the mind-switch to think that way. I am still scratching my head as to why more Leafs or Volts are not sold. I guess the used market is lapping them up for folks looking for a deal on people trading up. Some used Volts with low mileage have been sold for $17K or 18K. Which is quite good.

Anyone who has gone tens of thousands of miles on a Volt and burned no gasoline bought the wrong car. Should have bought a BEV and have the ability to go 70ish miles, not be tied to 40ish. They are hauling around the ICE system needlessly.

Good news. Univ of MI updated its average sales-weighted fuel economy, and its up (thru Jan.) despite falling gas prices:


The stat doesn’t break out PHEV/BEV/Hybrid, but suggests people understand “What goes down, must….”

“Trailing data actually leads us to believe we undershot January’s result by couple hundred units, so we will be a little more aggressive estimating February in order to balance that out.”
Does anyone go back and fix the charts after the quarterly data is released?

Yes, we always go back and make sure all the data is correct whenever any new data is available, from any auto maker, (=

That being said, we have never been off by more than 250 units for Tesla in any quarter in our estimates to date…with and average margin of error of just under 100 units.

So knock on wood, so far so good.

Well, the eGolf has sure flopped. But I guess you can’t expect much from a $35.5K EV with an 83 mile range.

BTW, we need a story about the rumored 200 mile Ford EV.

Hard to get a feel for e-Golf in the US right now…there is less than 300 available to be purchased atm, so its impossible for it to do “well” right now.

In Europe, where the car is now decently available VW sold just over a 1,000 in January, looks to be about the same for February. I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume it can sell 500-odd per month in the US at some point given the Euro-data points we now have.

Are you talking about the 6th best selling EV in the world? 😛

So did the Leaf pass the Volt for the U.S. EV crown?

NOT yet.

Missed by 2 cars.. =)

i just bought 3 leafs

Well, you are a Rich Guy.

People who said that gas price has no impact on EV sales didn’t include the inertia or delay effect…

True, but over the course of the past 4 weeks the price of gas in California went up by over $1/gallon (sitting close to the mid $3s now), and keeps going up.

Yeah, the combination of oil prices rising a little, added tax, a refinery explosion, and switch over to summer gas blend is hurting the gas drivers . . . or so I hear. 😉

Winter is always winter.

2013 and 2014 both had winters but LEAF still managed to have a growth where the 2015 fall short…

“Winter is always winter.”

Anyone who make such a statement – in any blog posts, literature, etc., is just clueless about weather.

Or, s/he is just blind to Volt loyalty…

Every winter is different. Even temperature fluctuates between different winters. Moreover, the number of storms (snow storms especially), the duration of storms, the impact of the storms (little/lots of snow in a short period or throughout the entire period), etc., make every winter unlike the last.

Now, were the amount of snowfalls in 2/15 more than 2/14 that impact sales, or was it due to the slight price increase of the MY15 LEAF ?

“Every winter is different. Even temperature fluctuates between different winters. Moreover, the number of storms (snow storms especially), the duration of storms, the impact of the storms (little/lots of snow in a short period or throughout the entire period), etc., make every winter unlike the last.” Anyone who makes excuse as such are just LEAF defender who are just stupid or arrogant… Maybe both. “Now, were the amount of snowfalls in 2/15 more than 2/14 that impact sales, or was it due to the slight price increase of the MY15 LEAF ?” California alone with Atlanta/GA acount for more than 60% of the total LEAF sales. Neither is having the type of winter that would impact sales. In fact, California is having one of the warmest winter on record. California the LARGEST EV market in the nation account for almost 40% of the total sales by itself. If the sales drops, then it is a safe assumption that California sales also dropped. Atlanta/GA is among one of the leading market for LEAF. Does Atlanta have a worse winter than previous 2 years? Average temperature or # of storms didn’t show that. Lastly, if storms and temperature makes that much impact… Read more »

MMF, you’re completely missing the point. Generally speaking, -all- automobile sales are significantly down in January & February, even gas guzzlers. That’s just part of the regular seasonal cycle. Not only are people less likely to visit car dealers when the weather is bad, they’re reluctant to expose a new car to harsh winter conditions, especially in areas where they use salt on the roads when it snows.

And ignoring the effect of record-breaking cold snaps and near-record snowfalls is pretty parochial of you. You live in California? And California has 40% of all plug-in EV sales? How nice for you.

Simple arithmetic shows that if 40% of sales are in California, then 60% are outside the state. So the lack of bad weather in California doesn’t have that much impact on overall drop in sales, now does it?

“Simple arithmetic shows that if 40% of sales are in California, then 60% are outside the state. So the lack of bad weather in California doesn’t have that much impact on overall drop in sales, now does it?”

Where are the top 5 market in the country?

SF Bay Area, LA/SD region, Seattle, Atlanta. Which one of those region has “bad” winter?

“Or, s/he is just blind to Volt loyalty…”

In addition, Volt sales also dropped year to year. That only adds evidence that total sales of plugin cars aren’t growing as fast as last 2 years.

Loyalty to Volt has nothing to do with the fact that you are totally clueless on the fact that gas price and upcoming futures models are both impacting Plugin sales.

Using weather as an “execuse” is the lamest execuse anyone can make considering California and in general warm climate are the biggest EV market in the country.

It’s ok if you don’t get it, MMF.

I’m just pointing out to you that, saying winter of 2015 (specifically, February) is NOT an excuse, or reason, for decrease in LEAF sales, is incorrect.

More importantly, implying that every winter is the same (hence shouldn’t affect sales), shows the knowledge you have on our climate.


I didn’t say or imply whether winter weather was a factor. In fact, I also listed that rising LEAF’s MSRP may be another reason. In fact, in GA (I think) and CA, there are competitions too from BMW, Fiat, etc. Who knows?

However, I am NOT going to say that the storms have no effect. After all, LEAF’s sales was off by just 275 units. It’s really a big number – a number that may be the result of those storms in states not GA or CA.

So chill…no need to say LEAF sales is off NOT due to weather, when Volt sales for the past couple of years have been…

I will chill when you get a freaking clue. Saying winter is winter reflect the fact that winter is always going to be winter regardless of storms or cold temperature. If EVs are affected by storms signficantly enough due to storm and temperature, then it is NOT ready.. I was never the person who started the claim that weather affected it. I simply stated that winter season is always going to be winter season. Apparently, you would rather be a Volt basher or LEAF defender who happens to be clueless about the fact that in the same freaking weather that everyone makes so much deal about, i3 had a huge sequential growth in the same “winter”. Maybe you should look at some facts on the ground instead being a stupid armchair analyst. Go around SF Bay Area and see why freaking 2015 LEAFs are being discounted so much when California is having a warmest winter on record! My original comment was only directed at people who make excuses for weather related sales drops. Now, my comment is directed at you for being clueless about the points being made here. As far as Volt is concerned, we all know it is… Read more »

There is always a little bit of $7500 tax credit hangover when the year rolls over. I think the slew of future EV announcements early this year is hurting sales, specifically Volt and LEAF.

LEAF might be in for a rough year unless they find ways to recapture people coming off leases. There is really no new features encouraging people to upgrade. With all the next-gen EV talk most people are probably expecting a bigger, better LEAF also.

This looks like the first time BMW sold the most EVs of any manufacturer in the US.

Isn’t Nissan still #1?

Not if you combine i3 and i8 :O)

Ah ok. That would put GM at 939 in sales if we combine.

Looks like Ford is the winner at 1246

Good observation. But we’ll have to wait for Ford’s numbers to be sure.

Anyway to get rid of the bold font in the numbers? It is really hard to differentiate the “9”s from the “0”s.

Other than that, great information!


The bold-font numbers are especially hard to read on a mobile phone.

Can I request that this monthly sales article be changed? There are simply too many cars now and each one gets a HUGE photo and several paragraphs. Surely there is some way to condense this down? Maybe do a table where we can fit 2 or 3 columns? That way we don’t have to scroll down so far?

Actually, that is why we moved the “sales graph” to the top of the story this month.

So for those of you on mobile/tablet, you don’t have to scroll though all the recaps to get the updated data. It is right at the top, (=

Next month we will also drop the specialized recap for the Honda Fit and Toyota RAV4 EV so that will make it ‘slightly’ less short…although it threatens to get a lot longer before the year is up (~14 new models)

Thanks for moving the chart up top. Really helpful on mobile when I am checking in to see if new numbers are in.

Fiat needs to add DC fast charging to the 500e ASAP. You signed up to the standard, you built the 500e so it would be ready for fast-charging, and now it is time to do it. Damn Sergione.

The numbers are likely to look a little ugly in the first half of the year. There will be no Spring rush for CA Green stickers, the Volt, PIP and Energis are withering on the vines. The Leaf has nothing new or exciting going on. The Bolt reveal has raised expectations. The only bright spot is the i3, which seems to be benefiting from Super Bowl exposure.

I would say “this is gonna be ugly”, but last month my comments about an obvious downward trend were poo poo’d. I believe this all has much more to do with a general reduction in gas prices than anything. It would be very interesting to know how many EVs are being purchased as replacements for other EVs. I think with vehicles like the BMW i3 we are seeing BOTH first time EV buyers and folks replacing their previous EV (i.e. Leaf, Volt, etc.). There is also a new competitor to these sales that is now appearing for the first time in volume: pre-owned EVs. On the Volt forum in particular I am seeing several “just bought a 2011/2012 Volt” types of posts. The only thing better at justifying “saving money” than an EV is a USED EV!

I have wondered about the effect of used cars as well. In fact, after my lease is up in 2 more months, I plan to buy used.

Whats a bit shock…, surprising is that two premium and expensive electrics are in the pop three, two and three in the gross units sold category.

Not supposed to work that way 🙂

Two main reasons for low US sales:

1) High expectations for 2016/2017 models make current breed of EVs seem outdated.

2) Grobal EV market is growing and many manufacturers are focusing on other markets than US with their limited supply.

”2) Grobal EV market is growing and many manufacturers are focusing on other markets than US with their limited supply.”

You have to look at worldwide sales to get a good feel and things are looking very good,indeed.
Look at january 2014/2015 world sales YOY and a 70% increase looks pretty good to me.
Of course, it’s not doubling as i predicted 1 years ago, but it’s close enough when you look at such a small window in time.
In 10 years from now, we’ll look back at the charts and see that doubling average pretty clearly but now, it’s way too early to affirm that sales of EVs are slowing down.
People need to see EVs on TV cause, as i’ve said before, monkey see, monkey do.
If manufacturers build them, people will buy them. In time, it will come. We just have to be patient cause the trend is there, no worries…

So here are the top 5 manufacturers of Plug-ins for February. Quite a surprising turn of events, but I don’t believe it will last long.’

#1 Ford – 1,246
#2 BMW – 1,202
#3 Nissan – 1,198
#4 Tesla – 1,150
#5 GM – 939

Why was the Super Bowl marketing campaign not mentioned in regards to the i3’s sales bump?

Hey Jay,
The first 2 paragraphs under the Cayenne section are talking about the Paamera, and in fact are a copy of the Panamera section. I think this needs an editing fix, including the sales number for Feb.

Whoops, we write the original individual vehicle copy on the static “Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard” then transpose it here right after for the month specific archive…must have messed that up a bit.

Thanks for the heads-up! /fixed