In California, ZEVs Placed Among Top 5 In Sales In 4 Vehicle Segments

Chevy Bolt EV

MAR 17 2018 BY MARK KANE 22

California always was the largest plug-in electric car market in the U.S. and the most recent data shows plug-ins at roughly 4.5% market share there, which matches conventional hybrids.

Plug-in car sales in California

Average PHEV share in California stands at around 2%, while BEVs touch 2.5%.

Various models entered the top 5 in sales in their segment too, like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, BMW i3, Tesla Model X and Tesla Model S.

Maybe the new Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model 3 will soon join the top 5 ranks too.

If we check the California’s plug-in share compared to overall plug-in electric car U.S. sales, the state contributes close to half:


  • California – 42,545
  • U.S. – 97,507
  • Share – 44%


  • California – 59,485
  • U.S. – 122,438
  • Share – 49%


  • California – 62,217
  • U.S. – 116,099
  • Share – 54%


  • California – 75,074
  • U.S. – 158,614
  • Share – 47%

2017 (nine months)

  • California – 70,033
  • U.S. – 142,226
  • Share – 49%

Source: CNCDA

Categories: Sales

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22 Comments on "In California, ZEVs Placed Among Top 5 In Sales In 4 Vehicle Segments"

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I don’t think this analysis reflects actual total plugin sales. The analysis doesn’t distinguish between trim levels. PHEVs like the Toyota Prius Prime and Ford Fusion Energi and BEVs like Kia Soul EV are combined with all the other model trims.

Prius Prime is its own model reported separately, it is not a trim level of Prius. It is just not in the Top 5 Compact models sold in California.

Fusion Energi and Soul EV do get lumped into larger ICE evil twin numbers.

These are registration numbers from the State of California not sales numbers from the Automakers. Total PHEV and BEV market share are checked against CA rebate applications. This would exclude Cadillac CT6 PHEV that does not qualify for the green sticker.

Why look at Q3 when Q4 yearly totals are out?

Bolt ended up #1 for subcompacts with 13,847 sales and 14.7 % market share.


It says for the 12 months of 2017:
PHEV: 2.2% market share
BEV: 2.6% market share
EVs total: 4.8% market share

It’s actually 4.7% due to rounding 🙂

Also, CA’s share in the national EV market for 2017 was 48%.

I think the fight between the EPA and CA is emblematic of the counter productive nature of America’s current administration and it’s dim view of efforts to curb vehicle pollution.

And it ignores the Fact that California sells more cars than any other state by a large margin. And California has pollution bowls like the Whole City of LA, where pollution can sit for weeks overhead and accumulate from hourly auto gas burn.

There’s GOOD REASON California has CARB.
The California AIR Resources Board.
This isn’t 2 pickup state Wyoming.

To be fair, other states have similar pollution bowls (e.g. SLC).

I think Indiana is favored to win the Exxon Mobil Pollution Bowl this year.

They’re gonna beat Chattanooga? Wow, that is bad.

Yes, it’s absolutely infuriating that other states look at California like we’re weird for trying to promote cleaner vehicles. We’ve been living with pollution for decades and have been trying to fight it. It’s not just for our amusement, there are real reasons behind our actions. Yes, global warming is one, but it’s far from the only one, and arguably not even the number one reason.

A question often posed and never addressed here is the relative market share of hybrid vs plugged in cars. It would appear that even in California the total market share of hybrid + PHEV + BEV hasn’t moved at all in several years. It simply shifted. That’s a bit discouraging. Presumably 2018 will be different.

I think it’s encouraging in that hybrids are dying and even so the segment as a whole grows, albeit slowly, also less gas is used as people move into phev and evs.

Interesting point Tom. Since there is little difference between a hybrid and PHEV, the manufacturer just has to add a plug, it makes sense to see the shift, but as you say the total segment not expanding is discouraging.

I am optimistic that we will see a big step this year as Model 3 and LEAF really take a large number of people who haven’t previously considered hybrids or BEVs now step into the new BEV world.

It’s disappointing that the overall numbers haven’t increased a whole lot. However, hybrids were a stupid half measure and I’m not sad to see their decline. I am much more satisfied with my EVs than I ever was with a hybrid.

Was the regular hybrid market in CA ever in the 10% range like the PHEV/HV/BEV total is now?

Full year 2017 market share in California totaled 2.5% for BEVs and 2.2% for PHEVs.

Interesting to note when looking at ALL the cars in the of the four categories, only Mercedes and BMW have vehicles in 3 of the four. Not one domestic brand achieved that same feat. Perhaps Tesla will be the next?

Of course “plug-ins” replace hybrids in sales. Many hybrids changed to plug in types, and that trend will continue.

What a bait and switch. First we’re told that PHEVs and BEVs sell at 2% and 2.5% rates respectively, then the text silently makes the switch and speaks of ZEVs as if PHEVs are that. Arguably even BEVs are not zero emission vehicles, and not nearly so unless powered by carbon-free electricity.

I’m glad California is up to 2.5% electric cars. But why always insist on the rose tainted glasses?

And why is this being censored?!?

I’m also assuming not many of the ZEV’s were fuel-celled.