July EV Sales In The US Drops, As Ford And BMW Take The Lead

AUG 4 2015 BY JAY COLE 51

Finally In Production THIS Month - The 2016 Chevrolet Volt

Finally In Production THIS Month – The 2016 Chevrolet Volt

Ford is currently the only major plug-in automaker building cars that isn’t currently working through a generational switchover, product upgrade, demand/production crisis – or on an extended assembly hiatus.

Ford Was One Of Few EV Makers To NOT Have Production/Sales Issues In July

Ford Was One Of Few EV Makers To NOT Have Production/Sales Issues In July

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Ford lead the pack for the first time since February with almost 1,700 plug-ins sold in July of 2015,

None of Ford’s plug-in vehicles hit new highs, but they all turned in decent performances, with the Fusion Energi being the best of the trio of electrified conversions with 852 sales (C-Max Energi – 693, Focus Electric – 135).

With the exception of BMW, who set an all-time high for i8s sold in July (with 217) – and near all-time personal best for total EV sales (including the i3) at just under 1,200 units, all other major EV makers took an expected step back in July.

As for what the those other players, who have previously been “top producers”, were up to this month, and also why sales at about 9,000 units for July was off almost 25% from the 11,200 sold last year – here you go:

General Motors:

Chevrolet Volt: production changeover to next generation car (which just officially got EPA rated at 53 miles), is happening now in Hamtramck, Michigan,  first deliveries expected in late September

Chevrolet Spark EV: 2016 editions are in transit somewhere (between South Korea and California) currently waiting on customs/shipping, the cars are expected to arrive in early September

Cadillac ELR – there hasn’t been a new model since 2014, but 2016s (with improved performance at a lower price) are being built currently, we expect them to arrive in September


Nissan LEAF:  Smyra, TN production was offline at the beginning of the month, and as of this week (according our sources) the new 2016 model is finally in production.  The existing 2015 model sales have been languishing all summer  ahead of the anticipated range bump in the 2016 edition (to ~105-110 miles).  We expect the 2016s to arrive in late September.


Tesla Model S: Tesla production staff in Fremont also had a week off recently, but like every “first month of a new quarter” with the company, Tesla took the focus off US deliveries during July.  Particularly distracting this month?  RHD production, new 90 kWh car introduction, and of course the mysterious ramp up of the Model X.


Toyota Prius PHV:  Production of the current generation of Prius PHV ended about 6 weeks ago.  Unfortunately, extended delays with the new generation of ‘regular’ Prius hybrid have meant that new confirmed next generation Prius PHV (expected to get ~30 miles of range – up from just 11), is delayed some 15 months – so, see you in late 2016 for that.  Ouch!

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, Estimate Based on State/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, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

July also saw the first of the new crop of 2016 EVs hit the US market – the Mercedes S550 Plug-in, which sold 10 copies (at around $100,000 a pop).

Looking at the current state of electric vehicle production, it is easy to see that like July, August will be another significantly down month – but sales will assuredly do a 180 in late September as the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, 2016 Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model X (hopefully) arrive.

Editor’s Note/Update:  Audi just opened up order books on the A3 Sportback e-tron, and unexpectedly priced it very aggressively in the US – from $37,900 (details), which should also help Fall plug-in sales.

Update 2: VW has announced a new, much more inexpensive, trim level for the e-Golf that also will be arriving in September from just $29,815 (details).


Some Other Points Of Interest From July:

Still Having Trouble Matching Production To Demand, BMW Still Managed To Sell A Record Number Of i8s In July

Still Having Trouble Matching Production To Demand, BMW Still Managed To Sell A Record Number Of i8s In July

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Ford – 1,680
  2. Tesla – 1,600*
  3. GM – 1,436
  4. Nissan – 1,174 
  5. BMW – 1,152
  6. Toyota – 584

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In July*

  1. BEV – ~4,600 – 51%
  2. PHEV – ~4,400 – 49%

New 2015 Highs Set In July By Model (previous 2015 high in brackets)

  • BMW i8 – 217 (143) – also an all-time high
  • Porsche 918  – 40 (34)

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

*-estimated/North America

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


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51 Comments on "July EV Sales In The US Drops, As Ford And BMW Take The Lead"

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Isn’t this the second or third time that Ford had been in the #1 spot?

And Isn’t the CMax going to have a new version soon?

I would like to hear more from Ford drivers here than we do. Marc Lee, if you are out there give us an update sometime!

I am a 2013 Ford CMax driver. I am quite happy with my vehicle. Is there anything in particular that you would like to hear about?

Everything! You likes, dislikes. Is the range right for your needs? What recommendations to Ford do you have both on what they got right and what should be added.

I would go a step further and say that I think it would be great if an owner wrote up a story to post here on the C-Max. I think there was a Fusion Energi writeup a while ago. We have Tom M. who provides feedback on his i3, and Eric C. who provides it for his Volt. Ford is probably the most underestimated manufacturer in this community. The site focuses on the models which sell the most, but miss the fact that Ford has three models which, together, sell in similar numbers to the other big players.

I second that!

I’d love to see some personal reports from people driving the lesser-known PEVs. Other than the Tesla Model S, the Leaf, the Volt, and the BMW i3, we hardly ever see personal stories from owners on InsideEVs.

I’m a 2014 Cmax driver. I like its passenger room, especially the headroom for rear passengers (but the front headroom a little overkill and increases air drag). The fuel economy (both electric and gas) is great at low speed, but deteriorates quickly when you speed up. Range is OK for a PHEV, constantly get 30 mile AEV at low speed and little AC usage, or 20 miles at high speed.

Once thing I dislike is the sacrificed cargo room. Another thing is the poor charging efficiency, which take around 1.3-1.4kwh wall plug power to get 1kwh in the battery. This car has a lot of EV details not optimized, but still does its job. The non-EV related car features are great in general for a car in this price range.

I’ve been very happy with my 2013 Fusion Energi and my wife loves her new 2015 C-Max Energi which she chose over a new Volt.

Don’t worry, you will soon enough. The community just gained at least one more Ford plug-in driver.

Congrats Brian! Do share

Thanks Josh! As mentioned in another thread, Ford is offering rebates/credits totalling $9,257 off leases on the C-Max Energi. I have been watching this vehicle basically since its launch, and decided now was the time to jump. The car should be a really good match for my Leaf. My wife and I each commute less than 10 miles/day. For local errands/etc we already take the Leaf. But when we go out of the Leaf’s range, it’s typically 200+ miles. So I expect the nominal 19-mile range to be all we need to completely eliminate gas for all local driving. The other benefit is being able to drive electrically while we are at a destination. We plan on plugging in when visiting family (don’t tell them – they don’t know yet 😉 ). It always bugged me that a 5-mile side trip would burn gas in my hybrid, but there’s no way I could get to the destination in my Leaf. A PHEV lets me take the EV with me 🙂 Overall, I think the Volt’s drivetrain is superior to the Energi. Unfortunately the car just isn’t big enough to carry stuff for my family of 4. I’m barely making do… Read more »

I know how dedicated ev drivers are to avoid gas, but I think plugging in at relatives is a bad idea. I even turned down offers to plug in from relatives. Good thing my range on my Volt is enough to avoid gas most of the time.

Well, if I can’t plug in at their house, I can just plug in at the public EVSEs nearby. A Volt wouldn’t help, since all of my relatives live 250+ miles away.

We’re here… just quiet.

No complaints about my 2013 C-MAX Energi. About 25000 miles, avg 1000 miles/month on about 6 gal gas/month.

I’m spoiled with the old Microsoft entertainment system in the CMAX… amazingly, I think Ford got this right (even though people complain that there aren’t enough buttons, and don’t like a touch screen).
When I travel and rent cars (last three: Prius, Sonata, Nissan versa) I realize their entertainment systems are not convenient. From USB mp3 playing to Blue tooth voice commands… All are poor– or maybe just different from what I am used to.

I’m not sure I understand the headline. I understand the Ford part but how has BMW taken the lead? GM sold more in July and total for the year to date. BMW did increase sales from June by so did GM just not as much.

BMW set a “personal best” on the i8 so it gets the mention in the title…

I guess Porsche did as well with the 918 Spyder.

I guess because the Spark sales dropped GM sold less overall from June even though the Volt was up. But GM still had more overall sales in July than BMW.

Hey wait a sec, all the numbers aren’t in yet. We may see 2000 in sales from Porsche.

Or Kia 😉

The average American buying public just wants a new pick ’em up truck.

they don’t know nuthin’ about them EV’s.

How can you ever get them to change??

A Ford E-150?

The new Ford AL-150 model (ALuminum)

ban external emissions, if its made in the car it stays in the car.

Add a carbon tax?

Tesla Truck in 2022 or so. They seem to be good at changing perceptions.

SparkEV sales is dismal, but is it due to non-availability? It’s been sold out in much of So Cal since early May.

same for the Kia Soul EV. Absolutely no stock for July. But now they’re producing and shipping out the 2016’s the numbers will increase soon.

Lease deal is done.

Fun story, when MD started to sell the Spark EV, two months later they came back to the dealer as used, with around 1500 miles on them and 9k off the price.

I’d get one if they had a green but I’d probably have to wait for the bolt or get a volt because wife and everyone else worry about “trips” we never take.

Sounds like someone took advantage of the Federal and State incentives..

I’m just reading through this article, with 20 comments as I write this. I’m amazed that there is no mention of the elephant in the room. I’m talking about the price of a certain commodity that has been selling below $3 per unit (national average) this year, which is about $1 less than last year. I wonder if this could be another cause for the “July EV Sales in the U.S. Drop”?

I am sure it has “some” effect.. but apparently not much. The Ford Energi cars are the ones most likely to be affected by gas prices and yet their sales are still strong.

I agree that the model-changeover is having an effect. But I would think that gas prices would effect BEV sales more, followed by PHEV, then HEVs. Imagine if gas prices went to $10/gallon. Wouldn’t people look to BEV’s as a way to completely avoid gas, versus a PHEV like Ford’s Energi which use gas nearly every time you drive them.

Not really. I’ve driven my C Max Energi for a month without putting gas in it. 14 mile each way commute with charging at work and home.

Not buying gas is not the same as not burning gas. Do you make your commute and back completely in EV mode? With charging at work, I would assume so.

I’ve test-driven a C-Max Energi, and you can put it in EV only mode (maybe Ken can answer whether that has to be re-set with every re-start of the vehicle). The performance above 30 mph in pure EV mode is really bad. But if your commute is all non-highway, you can get by with burning no gas in Ken’s 14-mile-charge-on-both-ends commute. Any highway driving, and you’re burning a little gas each day. But maybe so little that you could go a month or more on a tank.

True. And that’s why I asked.

I don’t know about Ken’s commute, but the highest posted speed limit in mine is 40MPH. I find the acceleration just fine from 0-45 in EV mode. I’m currently driving an Insight, and I feather the heck out of the throttle to eek out ~43MPG on my commute. I will have zero problem doing the commute in EV Now mode.

Now Ken may be like me – willing to live with EV Now mode for his commute. Or he may just be running in EV Auto (which I think is the default every time you turn on the car). If the latter, he may be burning small amounts of gas every day as you say. With a short commute like that, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could go three months on a tank, burning just a tiny bit each day.

I normally use the EV now mode, and it does keep that selection until the battery depletes and the engine takes over. Yes, acceleration is sluggish in EV now mode, but I have no problem merging with freeway traffic. I usually travel at 50 mph on secondary roads, but sometimes use the freeway and will run 65 (posted limit is 60). If I feel the need for speed, I drive my Zero FX. I last put fuel in the tank about 2 weeks ago and the engine has not come on in that time. I am waiting to see what the next few years bring before getting a BEV again. The 2012 Ford Focus BEV I had was the worst car I have ever owned for repairs. 10 weeks in the shop.

Thanks for the information. I really couldn’t see myself getting on a freeway around here in EV Now mode, but if it works for you that’s awesome.

I had a 6-mile freeway stint in my 10-mile each-way commute, and didn’t think the C-Max would work for me that well. So I went with the Chevy Volt (we don’t often use the back seat). Interestingly, we moved recently, and all my commuting (9 miles each way) is on on 45 mph and lower speed limit roads, so the C-Max would work for me now.

Thanks for the info!

I am definitely excited to pick up my own C-Max. I am ready to be done with local gas forever, and relegate gas to solely long-distance trips, where it rightfully belongs (for now, until the QC infrastructure matures).

I think the bigger blame is the three former leading sellers in refresh mode. None of which made much sense of urgency.

Toyota may regret having the delay in the new PiP release. That gives Chevy and Nissan a full year to eat away at their return customers.

Refresh when gas is low and people aren’t buying is a good time to do it.

Toyota is/are morons in not adapting to the plug in market. However, they do have rumors floating that the PiP may go to 30 miles of AER, that would be “almost” as good as a Ford Energi or Gen-1 Volt.

Give us CUVs/SUVs please. The visible type of auto in my region is the CUV for families. Lots of short trips makes these perfect for plug-in solutions. I wonder why this isn’t happening. It needs to.

Sales down M-to-M & Y-to-Y, not a good sign.

Or is it the calm before the storm? We will know for certain in a few months.

Yep. Although Tesla’s financials are weakening.

I do not know why Ford chose 20 miles for cmax. They have always been competition with GM. For the last 30 yrs I bought Fords. I was driving 34 miles a day. I chose the Volt because of mileage and the quickness of everyday driving. In 2012 the Volt was the choice I did not know that gas prices would take a plunge. I thought by this time gas would be close 5 a gallon. However the Volt definitely stops the gas buying to 15 to 20 dollars a month.

Own Volt #282, a C-Max from the first energi delivery into California, and Fisker #098. Currently waiting for X-Type #101 on list…been waiting for Tesla for a couple years now. Bought the Volt after following it for a few years and have almost 92K on it with only 2 oil changes and new tires at about 75K – been a great car and can even haul 8 hardibacker boards and a massive amount of tile or camping equipment (whatever), only issue is 4 seats….except for the mode switch has given up the ghost which turns it from a Fisker like hill climber to potential dog going up the grape vine. Still get nearly the same battery range as when new. C-Max has about 37K miles and my wife drives it daily. Gets about 20 miles on electric – and between errands she plugs into our high speed at home – which no longer charges the volt but does the C-max. Only issue is the battery space kind of messes up the trunk room. Fisker has about 14K miles and spends most of it’s time garaged as it’s not quite as practical as you have to explain it to everyone you… Read more »