February Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Rise Far Beyond Expectations

Tesla Model 3


It comes as no surprise that plug-in EV sales were up again this February, but the height at which they rose is stellar for the segment.

Historically, February EV sales have always exceeded that of January, and this year is no exception. In fact, it’s the biggest January to February increase we’ve seen to date. We anticipated over 14,000 plug-ins sold for the month and were pleasantly surprised to see that numbers significantly surpassed 16,000!

Related: February 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

Blue Toyota Prius Prime driving

Toyota Prius Plug-In (Prius Prime)

For the month, an estimated grand total of 16,489 plug-ins were sold. This is up 33% from last year’s 12,375 and up 37% from January’s 12,052.

Though Tesla Model 3 sales are still down from guidance, as well as many people’s expectations, it stays at the top of the chart for the second consecutive month, with an estimated 2,485 deliveries. This marks two months in a row that the Model 3 has surpassed all prior vehicles historically for a huge January and February win. We assume that it will not leave that top position at any point in the foreseeable future.

Not surprisingly, Toyota’s Prius Prime plug-in continues to soar, remaining in the second spot at 2,050, followed by the Chevrolet Bolt in third with 1,424.

Even more important, however, is to say that a vast majority of models proved increased sales over last month and many increased year-over-year, aside from those that were discontinued or companies like Telsa that released an additional model to soak up some of the sales data. In fact, nearly every vehicle on our chart did so – and did so in strides – despite a few that weren’t up to par, like those lacking inventory (i.e. the Honda Clarity BEV), or those out of production, like the Ford C-Max Energi.

This gives us plenty of faith that numbers will continue to climb throughout the year. New offerings like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Honda Clarity PHEV, Kia Niro PHEV, and Hyundai IONIQ PHEV have no place to go except up, albeit gradually if inventory remains low. We can’t discount the eventual appearance of the Jaguar I-Pace, although the automaker won’t likely sell a ton on our shores.

Tesla Model 3 sales are continuing to improve, and the Nissan LEAF is already showing its ability to push stronger numbers. Next month should bring a very positive showing for the new and improved LEAF. The Bolt managed to pull away from a somewhat flat January, which was clouded by a detrimental model-year changeover. We can only hope that this trend will continue as the year moves on, much like that of 2017.

Orange Chevrolet Bolt EV driving

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Important disclaimer – Since a few automakers will still not provide model splits, we came up with our final estimated numbers as follows:

  •  BMW sold a reported 1,936 electric and/or plug-in hybrid models in February (this number includes BMW i3 and i8 figures are already accounted for on the chart)
  • Mercedes-Benz  sold a reported 359 electrified models for February (smart ED and B250E deliveries are included in the total and shown on the current chart)
  • Hyundai/Kia delivered an estimated 551 plug-ins last month
  • Volvo delivered an estimated 315 plug-ins this February

As more concrete information becomes available, we will fill in the chart and update our sales scorecard.

Other Statistical Points of Interest from February 2018

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 4,485
  2. General Motors – 2,431
  3. Toyota – 2,050
  4. BMW Group –  1,936
  5. Ford – 1,006

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

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

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50 Comments on "February Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Rise Far Beyond Expectations"

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Welcome to the future!

Tesla leading and disrupting the laggards into getting serious.

Can’t wait for the shills, shorters, and haters to try and explain it all away.

The biased mischaracterization of every EV article you come across at least remains consistent.

EV investment by mainstream automakers is driven by government mandates, not Tesla’s financial misadventures. Nobody wants to follow Tesla off the bridge.

EV sales numbers remain pathetically minuscule; we’re very early in the game. Tesla has launched a Sputnik; now can they land on the moon?

My bet is that, at best, Tesla’s billions lost will bring their own EVs forward a year or so earlier than they would have otherwise, as per the natural technological life-cycle of batteries and carbon regulation. Other EV makers will remain a year behind, and sustainably profitable.

He asked for the trolls to raise their hand and, of course, you were present.

7 Lies/Pretend Electrics is as consistent as flies at the picnic.

Can’t have any good news in the PEV world without these FUDSTERs coming in to argue its all doomed.

What is really funny is if Tesla does another capital raise they will have no problems getting money from the big investors who look long-term and see the big reward of the shift to electrification.

But what is really unnerving shorters like 7 Lies… is the fact that Tesla will be the dominant manufacturer of PEVs in the West for several more years and have a good chance at continuing to be the # 1 manufacturer of mid-high end PEVs for as far out as forcasts go.

Muskology members at their best :/ What a sane person would want to be associated with them one way or another?

As opposed to being a member of the perpetual doom-and-gloom, resist progress at every turn group?

Yeah, I’ll gladly join with the optimists!

See we want to go back to stem engines and the use of coal but the government is supporting the 18th century coal too. I guess troll you last option is a bicycle.

you[r] last option is a bicycle.

Hmmm, yes- actually the BEST option for many people & many reasons

Dunno about the Moon (so 1960s) but a Tesla is about to reach Mars. :p

Low earth orbit and Mars are two very different things. If Tesla continues to sell 4500 cars a month they will be out of business in a year. There are to many fanboys on this site that don’t understand business. I love my Tesla and wish the company well but the next year is do or die for them.

I see your point but Tesla is already selling 8,000 a month. And that is with very few 3’s being built so far. Even if they only sell 100,000 3’s they will be doubling their total sales.

Are you saying the Roadster is only in low Earth orbit?

Tesla sales are in a low earth orbit. I hope they sell more but 4500 a month is what ford sells in a four hours

Tesla’s success has caught the entire auto industry off-guard. They’re presenting Tesla fighter after Tesla fighter. Whether you like it or not, Tesla has kicked the auto industry in the collective b*tts.

And those supposed ‘financial misadventures’. Haha. The auto industry is large and very capital intensive. You go all-in or stay in the margin. There is no middle way. Tesla chose the first option. Not realising that is your choice. As long as the company grows faster than the debt, there is no problem.

Actually pretty surprising how well sales are of the other brands in which plug ins are only a small fraction of their total sales. Would love to see global numbers of these same top 5 manufacturers for February.

Tesla is great and the leader in the US. They will own the plug-in sales charts this year. 🙂

But GM, Nissan and BMW will continue their excellent support as well. GM and Nissan in particular have been doing this since 2010, before the Model S was released. So there are tiers of support as far as traditional automakers go.

Some automakers are more laggards than others. Some are just reluctant but are coming around out of necessity (Honda, Toyota). Some are outright hostile (*cough* fiat)! But they are not a singular entity.

I was just on the Youtube videos looking for recent reviews of the new Jaguar, and one guy comes on and dishes all electric cars – His big claim, with all the extra weight from the batteries they wear out the brakes fast.

Somehow, he forgot that many ICE weight is the same because of the engine/transmission/cooling system.

But what makes it really dumb, just about every electric car out there boasts about how good their regen-braking is.

Tesla Model S and X are Done, falling flatlining, no more growth so it’s all in the German autonation to save Model 3 evaporating waitlist

I’m going to go out on a (very short) limb and predict another $1B raise for Tesla within the next six months. The 3 numbers are way below expectations, and dooming Tesla’s chances of stopping the bleeding anytime soon.

They’ll claim it’s for Model Y development, but really it’s for 3 production. If they’re clever, they’ll find a way to raise the money through some new debt scheme: a new line of credit, or bonds.

I’m further going to bet that the $35K Tesla will not be offered until at least 2019 due to, as they will claim in true Soviet fashion, “overwhelming demand” for the higher priced versions (read: can’t be made profitably).

I don’t agree. Why would Tesla then finish last quarter with such a large cashflow positive? If it was a matter of money, they could have just spent more and have a lower cashflow positive.

Another Tesla hating troll post from 3/4/5/6/7 Pretend Electrics.

According to Nix, who seems to know more than anybody else about subjects discussed here, Tesla was oversubscribed in its last industrial financial offering, by a ratio of about 10 to 1! Given that level of demand, I think that Tesla could announce a round of financing because it needed to buy some Picasso paintings to decorate the front office reception room, and they’d get investors climbing over each other to throw money at Tesla.

The idea that Tesla is in some sort of financial difficulty is FUD that the Tesla Hater cult has been bleating for years and years. Fortunately for those of us who want to see Tesla succeed, actual evidence points to Tesla still growing strong.

Here’s all we need to see just how wrong the Tesla Hater cultists have been over the years:

Tesla’s global automobile sales totals:
2012: 2650
2013: 22,300
2014: 31,655 (+41.95%)
2015: 50,580 (+59.8%)
2016: 76,230 (+50.7%)
2017: 101,312 (+32.9%)

* * * * *

I expect the growth percentage for 2018 to be considerably higher than 33%!

Go Tesla!

$1 B raise is not going to save a company reaching close to record breaking $1 B per quarter burn rate now just to keep lights on.

They would need to raise 3-5-7 billions. For model Y, ICBM travel, boring through center of the Earth, whatever is needed to impress fellow muskologists. Just get that damn money. But the fact that they didn’t done it yet, resorting to not so cheap junk bonds, makes it suspicious if they reached the point when they can’t do it at all. Maybe SEC is in the way, or required disclosures would reveal some unacceptable skeletons in a closet.

What you fail to realize is that with expansion, Tesla’s fixed costs go down. So launching new cars becomes much easier. Especially as Tesla improves their technology and builds cars more efficiently.

End of the day it doesn’t matter how much money Tesla burns per quarter as long as they have their gross margins and are cashflow positive. If that is the case they don’t need to raise money unless they plan a major capital purchase. But looking at last quarter’s free cashflow, that is enough free cashflow to buy a factory if need be.

PS Boring company and SpaceX are completely different companies from Tesla.

ZZZZZZZ, you forgot the ‘prestigious’ “Rust-O-Loop” contest, where the world’s brightest students did the design work at 100% THEIR COST.

Of course, the winning ‘high speed and distance’ Rust-O-Loop entrant went around 180 feet, and 50 mph. To be fair, one entrant reached 60 mph but didn’t go as far.

Another German group actually got to the end of the pipe, but apparently didn’t make the qualifying speed to be noteworthy.

Not sure what you mean? As the Model 3 waitlist shortens, more and more people will jump on board.

That said, even with the excellent Model 3, we need more cheap options for CUVs. That is where the market is, and Model Y is at least a year away.

Sales flatlining? What a way to describe it. Of course there is a ceiling to sales of expensive vehicles like the Model S and X sales.

But I remember how the internet trolls provided the same valuable insights ~5 years ago about the Model S and how sales would collapse once the fanbois on the waiting list got their Tesla.

Well, we all know how that prediction worked out.

I still haven’t heard any theories as to why some manufacturers are no longer giving sales numbers for EVs

You’d be a lot more convincing if you could punctuate and capitalize properly. What a twit.


The person to whom I originally responded must have deleted his post, so it now appears to be a response to a coherent post.

Each automaker probably has their own reasons. I’d say some options:

1) Sales numbers of these vehicles go from terrible (Ioniq, C350e) to pretty decent (x5, Sonata PHEV) but few of them sell exceptionally well when compared to their EV peers.

2) For Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, etc these are mostly conversions vehicles. They might view their PHEV or EV options just as trims or drivetrain options not individual units.

3) They want to discuss the vehicle line as a whole. It keeps the messaging unified and makes the lineup appear stronger.

Hyundai would rather you just hear that the Ioniq sold 1,156 units last month and Sonata sold 6,700 units.

They probably don’t think you’ll be impressed that they sold 49 Ioniq EVs, 22 Ioniq PHEVs or 52 Sonata PHEVs in January!

For Hyundai, the Ioniq Electric is not only the #1 selling EV in South Korea but actually makes up over 60% of all EVs sold in the country. Basically Hyundai is supplying South Korea and keeping it’s market share up there and any remaining supply is being shipped around the world.

That said, Canada is getting and selling 2 to 3 times the number of Ioniq Electrics than in the US. That’s really quite strange considering Canada has about 10th of the population of the US and tends to sell about 10th the number of plug-in cars.

They are selling every EV as fast as they can make them. If that’s the case, then waiting to bring any real volume to the US works to their advantage. By about July next year, Hyundai/Kia will not only have a full lineup of PHEV and BEV, but will have increased production volume dramatically. That sets them up to have the last laugh in the US because Tesla, GM, and Nissan will have already met the 200,000 limit and Toyota will be well on its way. This will give Hyundai/Kia a big price advantage over those brands.

Yeah, but the sales numbers now being far greater than a few years ago, that advantage is shorter-lived.

All these latecomers to the subsidy feast risk getting rug pulled from their feat. What is the point for the Congress to keep this EV income tax credit if neither GM nor Tesla can’t use it anymore and will lobby for repeal? Next budget negotiation may cut it short early.

Yes, they’ve been flooding the home and other markets, just not the US market. Even in The Netherlands, they delivered more Ioniq EVs in a month than practically the entirety of 2017, so that should really tell where their priorities are.

This is not new. Some never published them. However, reps would be willing to provide us splits without any issue. Now, they’re saying they don’t have them. They’re saying the automaker isn’t providing the data and they can’t obtain it whatsoever.

In just a few months:

Ioniq: 1000
BMW i3: 1200
GM Bolt: 2200
Tesla M3: 10 000

That’s why 🙂

Top manufacturers, Nissan nowhere to be seen! They really need to bring some new product and restate their commitment to EVs.

Nissan inventories are finally starting to fill in! But not all that quickly. Personally, I don’t think this leaf sales will really take off until the 60 kWh option drops.

I think it would be smart for Nissan to focus the 40 kWh leaf on Europe and Asia where the shorter range and lack of TMS may not be as much of an issue as here in the US.

I think you mean their commitment to Trumpistan – the LEAF was the global best-seller in February. But perhaps you didn’t have a clue?

WTH is up with the Clarity EV (not PHEV)? They used to be available for lease all around me in So Cal but now nobody has one whatsoever. They have a ton of PHEVs. Are they done for the year or something??

At $899 down and $199/mo it was a very compelling offering for those of us that don’t need a ton of range.

I do find it strange that there is so much interest in the Clarity PHEV shown on the InsideEVs forum, but hardly any mention at all of the Clarity Electric (BEV).

Is this just a skewed sampling, just another case of anecdotal evidence? Or is it really the case that almost nobody is buying the Clarity Electric?

The critical reception of the Clarity BEV was that it’s range was so limited it would never sell big numbers. Honda probably recognized that fact and only built so many.

Meanwhile the PHEV has good all-electric range with unlimited range on gasoline.

I look at the Clarity BEV almost as a test or prototype fleet where Honda can get some experience with limited cost exposure. The Hybrid and the PHEV were always intended to be the volume models.

I agree.

The Clarity EV, a terrible contender in a growing field of better and better EVs.

The Clarity PHEV, an above average contender in a growing field of better and better PHEVs.

The critical reception of the Clarity BEV was that it’s range was so limited it would never sell big numbers. Honda probably recognized that fact and only built so many.

Meanwhile the PHEV has good all-electric range with unlimited range on gasoline.

I look at the Clarity BEV almost as a test or prototype fleet where Honda can get some experience with a modern BEV but with limited cost exposure. The Hybrid and the PHEV were always intended to be the volume models and that’s where they’ll make their money on the Clarity line.

So I did a bit of math:

Jan sum of all cars unaccounted for in feb:

261+224+155+127+115+109+101+99+86+52+49+44+29+27+22+18+13+1 = 1532

If added to 14180 = 15712

16489-15712 = 777


382+32+261+224+101+18 = 1018(jan total)
623+39 = 662(feb accounted) – 1936(feb total) = 1274(feb unaccounted)

Jan sum of all BMW unaccounted = 604

Net positive: 670

777 – 670 = 117

Aka, it is pretty much all BMW.

Which BMW hit it off so well? X5, 530e, 330e, or 740e?

Jean-François Morissette

I know you cannot produce all the numbers that we would like to see, but I think it would be great to give the market share for each brand, each month.

I know there will be some articles about it, for example with BMW, but I would like to see each of them against each other in this report. How does Honda compare to Toyota, or Daimler, etc?


Some producers seem to be ashamed for their low EV numbers thus prefer to keep them hidden. With Model 3 heading towards a 20’000+ number a month in 2018, e.g. 75 or 138 really look lackluster. I suggest that you write into empty cells “ATP” = “ashamed to publish” 😉 Hopefully this would put some pressure on them to give you the numbers.

Ford, what’s up? Three models and only 1006 sales for February? Get with the program (the future). In 45 years of driving, I’ve never had a GM car. I remember the junk they made in the 70’s. But, I’m really thinking of buying one – Volt or Bolt.