February Electric Vehicle Sales Set 4th Consecutive Monthly Record For US


MAR 3 2016 BY JAY COLE 82

Tesla Continues To Be The Backbone Of US Plug-In Sales In February 2016 (via Josh B/InsideEVs)

Tesla Continues To Be The Backbone Of US Plug-In Sales In February 2016 (via Josh B/InsideEVs)

Last month we gave BMW the proverbial “fist of death” for the company’s anemic sales results surrounding the BMW i3 and i8 – a showing that also almost sank January plug-in vehicle sales in the US.  At the time, we suggested things at BMW could only improved going forward.

The first 2017 Chevrolet Volts Arrive At A Michigan Dealer On February 17th (via Jeff K)

The first 2017 Chevrolet Volts Arrive At A Michigan Dealer On February 17th (via Jeff K)

Not so much.

Well BMW, you get the other “fist of death” this month as i3 sales dropped 77% in February, down to just 248 cars sold versus a year ago’s 1,089.

Fortunately, no other plug-ins followed BMW’s lead, with most (16 models) posting gains during the month.  The result was a 4th consecutive monthly record for EV sales in the US.

During February, an estimated 7,881 plug-ins were sold, a 13% increase from February of 2015 (~6,951), and besting the previous monthly record set in 2014 at ~7,030.

Taking the BMW i3 out of the equation, and sales would have been up 30% over last year.

Once again leading the way was Tesla with the Model S, followed by the Chevrolet Volt – of which got some help from much earlier than expected 2017 model year inventory, and a strong result from America’s 2nd best selling PHEV – the Ford Fusion Energi

The Ford Fusion Energi Was The Stand-Out Player For Febrary (shown here in Toronto for CIAS 2016)

The Ford Fusion Energi Was The Stand-Out Player For Febrary (shown here in Toronto for CIAS 2016)


Notable Happenings In February:

*- the Audi A3 e-tron posted an identical 248 sales to that of the BMW i3, showing decent strength from very limited inventory in the car’s second full month on the market, the Audi could be a dark horse pick to make the “top 5” for plug-in sales this year in America

*- for the first time in its history, the Ford Fusion Energi bested the Nissan LEAF in sale for a month (932 vs 930), while also strengthening its grip for 4th place in overall sales for 2016

*- the BMW X5 plug-in, now in its 3rd full month on the market, posted its 3rd strong result, selling 345 copies, good for 7th in sales during February

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

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

Other Statistical Points of Interest from February 2016

Tesla Model X Visited The Geneva Motor Show This Week - Elsewhere, Full Volume Production Is Still Yet To Be Realized

Tesla Model X Visited The Geneva Motor Show This Week – Elsewhere, Full Volume Production Is Still Yet To Be Realized

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla Motors* – 1,950
  2. Ford – 1,503
  3. General Motors – 1,433
  4. Nissan – 932
  5. VW Group – 651
  6. BMW – 647

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In February*

  1. PHEV – 4,068 – 52%
  2. BEV – 3,813 – 48%

New 12 Month Highs Set In February By Model (previous 12 month high in brackets)

  • Tesla Model X* – 400 (370)
  • Hyundai Sonata PHV – 200 (175)
  • Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid – 172 (146)

(*) estimated/Tesla North America

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, Smart, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

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82 Comments on "February Electric Vehicle Sales Set 4th Consecutive Monthly Record For US"

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Imagine what kind of sales the Fusion Energi would have if it had 30 miles of range and most of its cargo area available. Also interesting that BMW’s X5 PHEV outsold it’s i3.

We might know the answer to the 30-mile question, if and when Chrysler’s PHEV minivan hits the market later this year…

The Fusion Energi got full stop and go ACC this year, that’s probably helping sales.

Ford has a gem in the Fusion yet hasn’t done any EV upgrades to the 2017 model year. I expect to read tha the 2018 My has the minimum 30-mile range.

Just imagine if Ford and GM could sell their EVs in all other major markets like they do here. Imagine if instead of The Volt costing $80,000 in Japan, China UK etc it cost $33K as free trade… GM and Ford couldn’t make enough.

Wow, it’s the first month since December 2014 that breaks the monthly record by >10%. Maybe a sign that US is en route to rejoining the global EV surge?

Don’t get too excited, the US market is very resistant to change and it’s very huge. There were 17 million vehicles sold in the United States last year and only a little over 100 thousand plugins. I read an article recently that stated EVs would not reach 30% market penetration until 2040 and the numbers looked pretty realistic.

But the article also indicated that market growth would be absorbed by zero emission vehicles. So there will be 17 million ICE vehicles sold every year by 2040 but there will also be about 9 million EVs sold every year. So be encouraged but be patient.

Dear Texas FFT,

I transform. Fast. And in waves. Once I was lost in numbers. You seem to suffer the same.

Go surfing for a while.
It frees your mind.

Smile! Every day!

A life has like one million hours.
One million dollars what is that worth?
One million times forward?
Where will that end?

Dust in the wind. All we are is dust in the wind.

Sing! Smile! Live!

Do what you did when you were a child. Play. Don’t say nay!

Well . . . My reading of Texas FFE’s comment was far from him being a naysayer.

He simply points out that EVs at a high percentage of NEW sales will take considerable time to evolve into a high percentage of TOTAL market.
Simple arithmetic can lead you to the same conclusion.

Add in societal momentum, which will probably continue to lurch in the direction of ICEs and you have realism, not pessimism in his words.

you should read Bloombergs forecast for EVs,and the next upcoming oil shock…(as a real possibility) …..also the global warming won’t just nicely go away,and the dirty pollution in China or in Bombay…..will stay,unless…

30% by 2040 seems somewhat legit. Things that could accelerate that would be some kind of “cash for gassers”, where people could trade in their gasser for a plug-in car.

With the drop in BMW i3 sales of “77% in February, down to just 248 cars sold versus a year ago’s 1,089”; any idea of the ratio of REx compared to BEV?

A year ago the ratio of REx to BEV was ~1:1.

Being the Georgia incentive, which helped only BEVs, is now gone. My guess is that the Rex version has a nice lead on the BEV version.

It might go the other way. In California, the green HOV stickers for the REx are gone, but the white for the BEV are still available.

These sales curves should be exponential by now.
Sabotage.. among other reasons, announcing new models with longer range PHEVs one full year in advance to kill sales of existing ones. Marketing 101.

It’s just terrible, however should not be surprising, just greatly disappointing. Also Ford outsold GM in plugins.

But Ford sold less than 50% kWh than GM.

The table considers vehicle sales, not battery capacity or energy. If you meant that value, Telsa Motors will win every time, having the largest battery capacity per vehicle.

That only makes it worse, Ford outsold GM with inferior, older gen. plugins.

There is no demand when gas prices are this low.

Not true, ICE car companies marketing dept are killing demand.

Nevertheless I found some optimism, and he speaks very well!


Your insane if you think people are trying to sabotage ev sales. EV sales are low because there is no incentive for people to research alternative vehicles.

Gas is cheap, EVs are unknown. People fear unknown. Education is key, but it’s hard to educate without sounding preachy.

Not true, advertising does a great job for pick-ups, nort advertising. Why not for EVs?
We do not need education for a simpler to use and refill kind of car with nearly zero maintenance.
Not true also that “people” but companies are successfully sabotaging BEVs since 2003.
The purpose of hybrids (Prius 2004) is to delay BEVs as much as possible.

The profit margin on that truck is huuuugh. Automakers produce what consumers want. The consumers want large SUV and trucks.

If GM made all their vehicles EV, do you think they will last one year?

Let’s face it, the technology is still not there. Only hardcore ev fan boys will tolerate the inconvenience.

I love my phev and ev but I understand why the general public still has not adopted.

“If GM made all their vehicles EV, do you think they will last one year?”

No, though if I just changed GM to Tesla the answer would be yes, since the Model S is outselling ever other vehicle in it’s class which sort of puts your statement:
“Let’s face it, the technology is still not there. Only hardcore ev fan boys will tolerate the inconvenience.” in an unflattering light making it appear to be highly inaccurate, prejudicial, and ill-informed.
Saying people want to buy trucks and suvs is correct though, though not exclusively.

Though I would add to that that the legacy manufacturers want to sell you a high profit
margin vehicle too. It is arguable how much people are influenced by the ads which the dealers play. Though they play a lot of truck and suv ads btw, which has a measurable effect on customers buying habits.

ffbj said:

“…if I just changed GM to Tesla the answer would be yes, since the Model S is outselling ever other vehicle in it’s class…”

Yes, and if GM sold only vehicles in the same price range as Tesla, then they could make a profit on them too.

Tesla realizes it can’t make a profit selling down-market vehicles. That’s why its company plan has been, all along, to start in the luxury (or “premium”) price range, and only gradually bring out newer and less expensive vehicles, as the price of batteries comes down.

Like it or not, and altho I personally wouldn’t have put it quite as negatively as he did, most of what Jychevyvolt said is correct.

I should have been more specific: What Jychevyvolt in that one post was mostly correct.

I certainly don’t agree with everything he’s posted in this discussion. In particular, altho I think the pump price of gas does affect EV sales, I don’t think it’s the only significant factor, and possibly not even the most important one.

When I hear people who aren’t EV enthusiasts talk about electric cars, the reasons they give for not seriously considering buying one are the limited range and the undeveloped, or “early adopter”, stage of the technology. I have yet to hear anyone say “Well, I was thinking about buying an electric car, but then the price of gas came down.”

I agree, about the need for greater specificity. I think you are talking about his whole approach in general, as in the earlier comments he made in the thread. For example he does not mention the price of gas in the post I responded too.

I have no disagreement with your statement that lower gas prices have an effect, but they are not the only factor.

This statement was my main bone of contention:
“Let’s face it, the technology is still not there. Only hardcore ev fan boys will tolerate the inconvenience.”
I wholeheartedly disagree with that.
Cheers, and thanks for clarifying your reply.

“Automakers produce what consumers want.”
Not true, urban legend, it’s been 80 years that industrial psychologists play with our minds to sell us what they condition us to buy. Simple- efficient-psychological-conditioning, the same as the Pavlov’s dog. How many EV ads vs truck ads on one night on TV ? The answer is there.
Manufacturing consent

Consumers want what they are told to want. Same for elections. We vote for the most adds/favorable news bulletins/”fair” broadcasts we see. Simple as that. If you are not aware of this, you’re even more vulnerable.

If GM cared to massively make only ONE model with a good range, it would sell like hot cakes, but they are the faithful slave of Oil companies. Why do you think the government bailed them out? To keep the “business as usual” Big Oil stranglehold on the car business.

“Let’s face it, the technology is still not there” It was there in 1906, in 1999 and it is, has NEVER been a matter of technology. Only financial decisions pressured by Oil companies.
Environmentally saavy customers tolerate the inconvenience only because ICE car companies take great care to build in inconveniences in their compliance only cars.

What plug-in do you drive?

Same as Mark C below. I’m saving for a used Leaf(more expensive north of the border), and I will put down my grant for a Model III.

But you are making a diversion. What do you think of my post above?

Not a diversion. You are a consumer. Speak with your money. Trade in your Prius today and get a plug-in car.

I won’t by another hybrid, plug-in or not. They are a waste of time and add CO² too.

Time is ripe for BEVs wall to wall.

Yes kdwang, a diversion, and you still do not answer, What do you think of the ideas I put forth in my last comment?

I was commenting on your post. You seem to think consumers are stupid lemmings. I’m saying you are a consumer, so use your brain, and buy a plug-in.

Why wait years for a Model 3? You could lease something today and turn it in by the time a Model 3 will reach you.

You seem to underrate psychological conditionning, it works the same with amoebas and PhDs alike. It has little to do with intelligence. But it works best with bulldogs 😉

RexxSee said:

“Consumers want what they are told to want.”

Certainly advertising can create desire where none existed before, but no amount of advertising can make consumers desire what they really don’t want.

Some well-known examples: The Ford Edsel, New Coke, and the Toyota Mirai. In at least the first two cases, a heavily advertised product failed to sell. Not sure how heavily Toyota is advertising the Mirai, but certainly they do seem to be promoting it pretty heavily on the Internet.

HEavily advertised? Lol! Your examples are enumerations of 0.001% failures due to poor marketing errors.
Generally speaking, we buy what is advertised.

Or else why are industries wasting billions a year if there are no results?!?
And explain hyper-consumerism?

Don’t tell me the technology is there when you don’t even own a BEV. I made the sacrifice and voted with my dollar.

When I will have enough dollars, I will too… for now I vote with my words, which can be worthed a lot of votes 😉

And this kind of remark about my humble person is pointless. One can love formula races without owning one Or Doctor Gray without being a doctor right?

It’s that when you fault others for not buying an EV, it is very hypocritical when you don’t own one yourself.

Your opinions about EV ownership mean less too when compared to people who actually own EVs. So you should step off your soapbox sometimes and listen to actual owners.

“It’s that when you fault others for not buying an EV”
Show where I said that ?!?

“It’s that when you fault others for not buying an EV”
I just explained the opposite to you, didn’t you understand the power of psychological conditioning? If not, do some googling.

“Your opinions about EV ownership mean less too when compared to people who actually own EVs.”
Lol! I know a lot more on EVs than many actual owners. I test drove 8, among other things.
But when own one, you will listen more to what I have to say ?!? Lol! Who is being hypocritical here?

“Don’t tell me the technology is there when you don’t even own a BEV”
Is there some kind of logical deduction in this sentence?

Thanks for that. Every time he speaks I laugh and think to myself “Lockbox.” 🙂

RexxSee, I just finished listening to the entire TED talk and that bolstered my day! It makes it easier to see some of what I have believed would happen for quite some time now.

No, I don’t drive an EV yet, I make do in a Prius while I save for an EV that will do what I need one to do. Best guess is the new longer range models will fill the bill nicely. It will be very helpful if they sell them nationally, because Alabama isn’t exactly on the radar screen for most EV’s today. Until then, I keep preparing. I’ve even wired my garage for a 40A Level 2 charger to be installed when the time comes.

40e beats i3. Now that is a first for BMW. Lets see how 330e will shape the sales.

People are getting wise to BMW’s..0utrageous price & inferior Quality!…You can some of the people for some of the time. But., You can’t fool all of the people all of the time!

When the i3 came out it had some very unique features that made it very attractive. Technology is changing really fast in this market. After just two years in production the i3 is already starting to look obsolete.

The i3 inventory is about as low as it’s been since the car launched. BMW is cutting back production because in 4 months they begin making the 2017 i3’s with the new battery and about 45 more miles of range.

Expect to see these dismal sales until August. Maybe a little before if BMW offers a special lease deal to clear out all the remaining 2015 and 2016 inventory. There should be some great deals in June & July.

Autotrader shows 1000 i3 inventory, about 4 months worth at Feb sales level. As such, I don’t think low Feb sales was supply limited.

I agree that sales are low with word out that range will increase..I love the handling, comfort, and safety of my i3 and 90 mile range is NO problem for me; even level 1 charging meets my needs..

I’d grab another i3 once those extra miles are available .but right now price will kick BMW’s butt for sure..the price range of the i3 will just not cut it once we see Bolts and Model 3 available.

I think that’s why they came up with the i3 Value Package. Available only April – June. Clear out old inventory by instantly giving $4.5k off the bat.


What are your thoughts and feelings and the rest is history.

Disclaimer : the above written represents the opinion of “Swype” it is in no way my productivity. Irresponsibility. Singing something.

Yes they can fool 99.9% of the people all the time.

They can even do worse.

We all know that.

Yeah, we all know that, but I think I would prefer to forget it.

“You can fool some of the people all of the time; you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
P.T. Barnum

Finally people realised that Chevy Volt is better deal than the soap-dish i3

I don’t think the i3 competes with the Volt. Although I do think the Volt getting ACC will move a few sales over to the Volt from the i3. Since there doesn’t appear to be any EV gaining ground at the expense of the i3 (except for maybe the Tesla models) I would have to say that prospective i3 owners are just keeping their powder dry until something with more advanced features comes along.

It appears the Ford is still more interested in being on the top of the list for selling plug-ins than for having the most popular model. Still, Fords are very nice cars and the Ford owner loyalty is easy to understand.

The Focus Electric is still a nice car but it’s badly outclassed after four years in production with hardly any upgrades. Even with a 30kW battery and DCFC next year it probably will do little better than steal a few sales away from the first generation Leaf. All the EV manufacturers are going to be in real trouble next year when the Bolt steals sales away from everyone until other second generation EVs start coming out.

Nissan’s slide this year will be epic.

I’m seeing 30 kWh Leaf SLs for almost $40k right now, while some 24 kWh Leaf Ss are discounted down to $16k. Nissan is going to have to give these cars away to keep the factory open, and to clear out inventory.

At the moment, there is almost a 4-month supply of Leafs in the US.

IMO, from someone with no real facts to go on, I believe Nissan could drop the price enough and ramp up production to completely flood the market. They’ve had the same basic model for 5 years, sold 1,000’s of them and have 3 factories fully loaded and ready to go. They are not short of cash why don’t they just do it? I think they could drop the price dramatically and still make money. I don’t know why, perhaps they are just about to or perhaps they are going to let some of the other manufacturers sell cars, build charging stations and do some of the heavy lifting on the infrastructure side for a while. There is still no volume competition for Nissan outside of the US and China.

I really want them to go for it, they have the Leaf and Leaf mini-van. They also have a 30 kWh pack, why not bring out a 30 kWh mini-van, regular leaf and estate all at sub $30k.

I really wish they would just do it, drop the price and open the taps. It would certainly push the rest of the field a little.

Well, nearly any auto maker could increase sales of nearly any model of car or light truck, if it were to substantially drop the price and increase the production.

But generally speaking, auto makers are not in business to lose money.

Ford’s a sleeper but sells more than GM. If they integrated the battery onto the floor they could sell more. Reduce the price also.

Ford has been discounting Energi models heavily. You should see the amount of discount on them here in California…

Dealers are pushing them out of the doors with their existing inventory.

This just proves that there is still a demand for a good looking PHEV sedan regardless of how little EV miles it got.

Jay, to complete those monthly wrap-ups, I think it would be interesting to put those sales into perspective by giving the market share of EV and to compare the growth to the overall car market. thanks you and keep up the good work!

I second this

Wow – Surprised the euro brand sheep have slowed buying.
Always suspected the i3 was Euro size not North American size.
The BMW badge has not translated into NA sales it appears!

The i3 is “cute but expensive”. Not a hardy solution for range-anxiety nor family-sized or even a great solution to move away from say a Volt or Leaf.

Sell the i3 for $35k before incentives and maybe I’d consider it. I think they need a Gen-2 refresh for this or just dump it and do something special for i5.

Wow; if only the average American would do 4th grade math again. What are The costs if we don’t do it now? Fewer wars would be fought if we counted the costs before going into battle.
Put your money where your mouth is. Drive over 2 million miles in the last 40+ years as I have and you will realize how much investing in electric car technology will save mankind in the future. BYD : build your dreams and stand up against oil greed!

I don’t yet know the definition of oil greed. Is it actually definable or is it just a chant that we EV drivers throw at a very large, very viable and worldwide commodity business that employes tens of millions of people daily? If oil is to die a death, it will be a long and slow one. Much slower than Nat Gas replacing coal in the USA’s electricity generation marketplace. We grew our human population on the back of cheap oil. If you are at a crowed concert or crowed mall or crowded airport – it is because our parents thought that life was good and they decided to have lots of babies. 1900 – 1.3 billion people. 2009 – 7 billion people and more worldwide. Why? Oil. If you want oil to go away, then basically you want population to decline. This requires a worldwide cooperation (and in this world, we are not cooperating) to cut our family size much like China did with their 1 child policy. What has China done lately? Given up the 1 child policy for 2 children. Why? Economy. Our world economies are so addicted to the economic benefits of cheap and easy oil… Read more »

BMW i3 is probably suffering due to rumor of increased range for 2017 model. Ford sales are very impressive though. I think Ford will show a very impressive model to compete with Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 very soon.