March 2015 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

APR 1 2015 BY JAY COLE 41

As Spring returns to America, so does the plug-in vehicle sales.

March EV Sales Set Year Highs In The US

During March The Nissan LEAF Became America’s All-Time Best Selling Plug-In

For many regions in the United States this winter set some new all-time record cold temperatures, and with that same fairly tepid sales for the first two months of the year – for February just 6,951 units were sold.

However, March unexpectedly roses almost 50% compared to the moth prior, with an estimated 10,341 EV sold.

Even against some formidable numbers a year ago (9,650), March of 2015 was still 7% better – in a month that was originally expected to miss by a good margin.

The Tesla Model S took home the best sales mark of the month (and year) with the first full month of deliveries on the 85D, while the Fiat 500e came out of virtual obscurity to sell an estimated 1,310 cars.  In California alone, 1,223 rebates were claimed, making it the best seller in the state by far.

The month’s impressive showing turned overall year-to-date sales positive by a slight margin – 3% (23,339 vs 22,671)

Of note for March: The Nissan LEAF became the best selling EV in the United States by a margin of 76,407 to 75,231 over the Chevrolet Volt, however the strong sales of the Model S in March pushed the Tesla into the top spot for the year.

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

  • Nissan has historically “put their foot down” in March to surge past the 2,000 LEAF sold level.  Can the company continue that trend into a 3rd year?  (just shy)
  • With ‘current gen’ Chevy Volt production winding up, GM has started the final build-out of that product. But in time to increase sales (nope)
  • BMW spend more money on advertising the i3 in February than pretty much the entire industry did all year.  Will that pay off with a new all-time high result for the car in March? (not too shabby)
  • 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 the second month in a row? (no, but still very strong results)

(last updated: 7:16 pm, April 3rd, 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,  Estimate 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, Estimate 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: In March, 639 Volts were sold, off some 58% from the 1,478 sold in 2014.  (full Volt recap for March can be found here)

For the first three months of the year, a lack of inventory, dis-interest in marketing, and a whirlwind tour of the next generation 2016 Volt has kept sales at multi-year lows.

Previously in February just 693 were sold (off almost 50% from a year ago), and just 542 in January (off by just over 40%).

Likely helping sales to rebound next month (April) is the build-out of the current generation of Volt, as the car’s Hamtramck assembly ceases in about seven weeks.  As such, GM apparently has decided to build up 2015 inventory before then, and near 4,000 copies of this year’s model has hit dealerships around the country.

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: During March, Nissan came close to returning to the 2,000 unit sold mark, but fell just short with 1,817 sold – a 50%+ improvement over February however.  (full LEAF recap for the month can be found here)

Overall Nissan has failed to hit year ago levels each month this year.  In total 4,085 LEAFs are have been sold in 2015, down 21% from last year when 5,184 were moved.

Nissan previously has blamed some extraordinary winter weather for the misses.

Also of note, the LEAF overtook the Chevrolet Volt for the all-time lead for plug-in sales in America.  That tally currently stands at 76,407 to 75,231, although we expect GM to have something to say about those standings when the 2016 Volt arrives this fall.

“We celebrated two major milestones in March: We reached 75,000 Nissan LEAF sales in the U.S., and now we are America’s top selling plug-in vehicle,” said 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.

 

 

2014 Cadillac ELR

2014 Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR: The luxury EV from GM has turned into a fairly consistent performer for the company.  In March, 92 were sold, besting last years result by about 14%

Last month (February) is still the mark to beat for 2015 however, as 127 were sold – 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.

Some very aggressive discounting has thinned a once very populous herd of inventory to just over 400 units.   No 2015 model year Cadillac ELR was produced because of the extended range luxury car’s poor selling performance last year.

And even though the next generation of ELR has had a couple high profile no-shows (LA in November and Geneva this month), the vehicles is apparently headed into back into production early this summer…but maybe only to run out the model (akin to the 2016 Spark EV on the older platform).

 

 

2015 BMW i3

2015 BMW i3

BMW i3: For March, BMW sold a further 922 copies of the i3 – another impressive result considering less than 2,000 units are available in the US to buy at the moment.

Previously this year, BMW sold 1,089 i3s in February.

Despite the winter blahs of late, the company has now crossed into 4-digits in 5 of the last 8 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, strong selling results in both February and January mean that national inventory has fallen my about 25% to the 2,000 unit mark.

 

 

 

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 Tesla’s quarterly updates add clarity, but we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening.

To come to an estimated monthly, number, we don’t simply take the quarterly estimate given by Tesla and divide it by 3 and hope it all works out…it just doesn’t work like that.

We simply report from the data we accumulate ourselves, the first hand accounts available from the factory and from the community itself – and the number is what it is.  So far that has worked out pretty well, with no quarter being off by more than 300 units versus information Tesla has reported publically, and for the full year results last year we came within 100 units with our net estimate of 17,300.

That being said, we only estimate this number because Tesla does not, and to not put a number on Model S sales would be to paint an even more inaccurate overall picture of EV sales.  Despite our fairly accurate track record, we are not analysts, portfolio managers and we do not own any positions in Tesla the company.

For March, Tesla experienced the “perfect storm” of deliveries all around the globe.  In North America the 85D deliveries hit full stride, the P85D flow also continued; and remember those cars that Tesla started building for Europe just after Christmas and in January of 2015?  Well they materialized into some of the best result in Europe since…well, a long time.  Even China seemed to surge with reportedly well north of 600 units ringing the bell.

For the month, production seemed almost flawless as one Model S P85D owner reported to us getting a car delivered just 18 days after placing an order in March.

For North America, we estimate Tesla delivered about 2,450 Model S sedans – mostly 85Ds.  In Europe, we would be shocked to not see Norway alone easily eclipse 1,000 units sold (there is a mad rush to get as many EVs as possible delivered before the possible curtailing of tax incentives past the cumulative 50,000 EVs sold mark).

Cumulatively, Tesla looks to have easily delivered more than 5,000 cars worldwide in March – which would be one of their best (if not the best) result to date.

The only disappointment we could suggest for the month is that it seems Tesla in a rush to hit Q1 numbers (what new?), and after a slow first two months (what new?), delayed much of the Euro production of the 85D that was looking iffy for the Q1 delivery deadline into Q2, and managed delivery expectations of customers to June.

 

 

 

Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi: The plug-in Ford had its best month since last summer in March, selling 837 copies.

For the first two months of the year, 426 (Jan), and 603 (Feb)copies were sold – so the trend is certainly going in the right direction.

Thankfully, the main issue that had been holding back Fusion Energi sales (no not demand) – national inventories has improved considerably.

Heading into April about 3,000 are not in stock – we look for the Fusion Energi to have a significance 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: For March, 473 Prius PHVs were sold, off 66% – not surprising considering the company has not really stocked the popular plug-in for months now while waiting on the next generation car.

Unfortunately, the 2nd generation of plug-in Prius is now expected to arrive until 2016, so this story of low sales is going to continue for awhile.

Previously in February, sales continued to circle the drain in with 397 sold, off some 62% from a year ago.

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. National inventories have held steady at an unacceptably low level for anyone honestly trying to sell this car – heading into April, less than 1,000 are available.

 

 

 

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi: Like its sister car in the Fusion Energi, the plug-in C-Mas also had a strong month selling 715 units – the best result since August of 2013.

Still, 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. We think the potential sales ceiling for the C-Max Energi is probably right around 1,000 units.

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

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 Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED: Sales rebounded slightly in March despite little cars to be had at dealerships – 145 were sold.

The year high was previously set in January at 240 EVs moved.

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 probable than just a couple months ago.  At some point we hope for Mercedes to ship some more inventory depth into America to see how many B-Class EDs could really be moved.

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.

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

 

 

 

BMW i8 Finally Arrives In US In August!

BMW i8

BMW i8: Apparently winter has no effect on i8 sales in America, as 143 more plug-in supercars were sold in March.

In the first two months of the year BMW sold 85 (Jan) and 113 (Feb) copies.

All great results…as so far in 2015, it only takes about 20 days for a car landed in the US to find a home.

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.

 

 

 

 

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The on dealer battle between the plug-in Panamera and Cayenne continued in March, with the Panamera ending up on the short end of the stick – just 44 were sold.

Previously for February, 40  Panamera S E-Hybrids were sold, which comes after a rebound month of sorts in January when 61 were sold.

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.

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-Hybrid

Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid: Despite some still thin inventories, the plug-in Cayenne sold 72 copies in March.

As more inventory of the Cayenne plug-in arrives, we expect more sales to be realized by Porsche.

Previously in February, 71 were sold.

While the Cayenne S e-Hybrid and cousin Panamera S e-Hybrid are still 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, rarely has national inventory gone over 50 units – about a third of Panamera S E-Hybrid stock.

 

 

 

 

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevrolet SPARK EV: A surge of new inventory that arrived earlier this year translated into the little electric Chevy’s 2nd best result to day.

In March 151 were sold.

Previously in February, the Spark EV continued to be strong with 119 moved; 67% more than a year ago.

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 – level which touched more than a 1,000 in February until it settled back down to around 800 again in March.

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

 

 

 

Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf: The e-Golf turned in its best performance of the year to date, selling 195 copies in March, despite some pretty steep inventory problems as most production so far has stayed at home in Europe.

Previously in February, just 130 electrified Golfs were sold.

Looking at Europe, and the amount of EVs VW sells from such a limited inventory, the company has served notice that they won’t be relegated to the small volume compliance category of EV sales.

How high could sales go? Still fairly hard to say, but as inventories spread out and VW eventually sends it across the country, the 500 per month level ‘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 April, about 600 copies were available to be purchased in America (about double that of last month) – so we will still have to wait a bit longer to see the natural demand for the plug-in VW.

Originally for the US, the Volkswagen e-Golf only came in the premium SEL trim, which brings with it a price point of $35,445 (details here), but now the ironically named “limited” edition is also available (but with a few less features) for $33,450 (details 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: 2016s are here! 2016s are here!

Unfortunately not that many.  A quick check around the US by ourselves at month’s end only returned about 2 dozen copies.

This of course was 2 dozen more i-MiEV than had been available over the past year and a half, which resulted in sales soaring to…10 units sold.

For the year, Mitsubishi has now sold 15 of the small 4 seat EV.

Long story short, sales are terribl, as 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.

 

 

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: A respectable 103 copies of the 2 seat EV from smart sold in March.

Previously in February, 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.

The all-time record was set this past December, the all-electric smart came out of nowhere to destroy expectations as 351 were sold!

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.

 

 

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.

In March 140 Focus Electrics were moved, the only Ford plug-in to stagnate during the month.

Previously, in  February 145 were sold…which followed a disastrous January and December, when  just 85 and 53 (ouch) were sold (respectively), despite a $6,000 MSRP price cut (down to $29,995) just 4 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.

 

 

 

 

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 has 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 data collection site, however upon inspection of those numbers, they were found to be materially short from rebates claimed on the car. Historical 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 March we estimated an awe-inspiring, and completely unexpected 1,310 500es were sold in the US on the back of 1,223 Clean Vehicle Rebates claimed in California – 4.5 times higher than the month prior.

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

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.

 

 

 

2015 Kia Soul EV Went On Sale In Mid-October

2015 Kia Soul EV Went On Sale In Mid-October

Kia SOUL EV:

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 improved slightly in March as 63 were sold, up from the 48 sold in February.

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.

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).

 

 

 

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

2014 Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

Honda Accord Plug-In: For March, a not-inspiring 5 copies were sold, off 71% from a year ago when 18 were moved.

Previously 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.

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

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

 

 

 

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 March, 10 918s were sold,.  The high for 2015 was set in January, when 34 more of those 297 US cars were delivered, after 39 918s arrived in December.

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,  Estimate 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, Estimate 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, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen

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41 Comments on "March 2015 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card"

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Glad to see at least Nissan and Tesla doing almost OK but the year over year numbers are depressing. It’s all the American public’s fault for being totally oblivious to the fact that homo sapiens is poisoning this planet.

“Oh boy. Cheap gas. I want a big suv.”

Just shoot me. There is no hope.

Bonaire

SUVs aren’t the problem.

Better off picket in front of hospital maternity wards.

Lensman

Jay, here’s another “Grammar Nazi” nit-pick:

In the last paragraph of your introductory (boilerplate) paragraphs for the Tesla Model S, we find this: “…and to not put a number on Model S sales would be paid a even more inaccurate overall picture of EV sales.” – I think what you meant is reasonably clear, but the sentence certainly is mangled. Looks like an edit error.

***mod edit (Jay Cole)*** Yes, you are right Lensman. Should read “would be to paint an even more inaccurate…” thanks for the catch, fixed. ***mod edit (Jay Cole)***

Seems odd to me to be praising Tesla for its March sales/deliveries in North America, when they’re not even up to end-of-3rd quarter 2014 sales, let alone the blowout end-of-year December 2014 sales.

But okay, sales -are- up sharply over March 2014, and by a lot more than the mere 25% increase in the Fremont factory’s production capacity last year. So from that viewpoint it is a significant increase in sales.

Bonaire

Discussing Q1 15 versus Q1 14 is hard to do. First off, no China in 14. Also, no “personal rollercoaster” in terms of D models available in Q1 of 14. The 85D was not produced until early February so there was a rush of 85D orders into March to build and deliver that backlog. 85D did not fly into the market in late February so they really only hit stride in March. Nothing actually tells us what is yet to come. What Q1 shows is that the “reveal the D event” in October orders finally got built and sold and the next few quarters rely on new customers and fewer trade-up/trade-in customers.

I don’t actually believe a strong Q1 foretells a strong 2015 given that much of the recent order interest was the new models and many buyers of P85D were simply upgraders from P85 and P85+ – existing owners. They need to find new farther-reaching customers.

Lensman

Bonaire, you write as though Tesla sales are demand constrained, rather than production constrained. While it is pretty obvious that China sales have hit the limit of demand (at least temporarily, until the lack-of-EV-chargers problem is solved), in general most of past indicators have been that Tesla is production constrained. Indeed, why would Tesla be committing so much of its resources to build a huge battery Gigafactory, if there was not a resource bottleneck in battery supply?

It’s true that there have been some recent signs that perhaps Tesla is moving towards being demand constrained; opening up an actual dealership (!) in New York, and reports that during Tesla’s end-of-year rush to maximize 2015 sales, Tesla reps were actually calling up people who had expressed interest, and offering them a “deal” on a loaner/demo car.

But there are certain things we’d expect to see if Tesla really was demand constrained. Things like taking out paid advertisements in mass media, such as magazines targeted to the rich, as other luxury car makers do.

Unless and until we see such things happening, I will continue to believe that Tesla sales are primarily (altho perhaps not entirely) production constrained, rather than demand constrained.

Bonaire
Primarily, Musk is their advertising arm. Travelling to China, tweeting and so on. Ad campaigns are not cheap. Where is this new “head of communications” person they re-hired again? What does he do? Anyway – we will have to see how things shake out in Q2. What some people on other forums do is track the cars’ Vin #s. What I think they see is that many new orders get Vin #s right away after ordering compared to the delays during the build-up of the D orders that rushed in after October. Giving out Vin #s quickly after confirmation along with knowing that some of the orders in the books are for cars to be built for loaners and demos means that eventually they will reach the demand constraint you are saying they do not have. One ratio we just don’t know is the number of daily orders coming in versus the number of cars out the door. That is the actual indicator you are looking for. The story from the company is “we are production constrained but will not tell you how many orders we get per period of time versus cars sold”. The CPO program is one area… Read more »
Lensman

Hmmm, apparently I was wrong about that rumored Tesla dealership in New York.

“Nevermind!” –Miss Emily Litella

Tech01x

Norway ended March with 1,140 new registrations (which likely equals deliveries).

We are likely to see a new European single quarter record, eclipsing the 3,058 in Q1 last year.

Since a Model S is 45% sourced with parts overseas, and some of the 55% domestic content is actually Canadian, and the fact that commodity prices have also dropped, the margin compression is not as big of an issue as some people might believe. The prices have also increased in Europe to cover most of the difference. So to get a European quarterly record with a significant price increase is pretty good.

Emc2

You were right on the money, a total of 1,140 Model S were sold in Norway in March:

http://www.ofvas.no/aktuelt-2/bilsalget-i-mars-article480-396.html

Mike I

What is the 1 unit in the Other column?

CDAVIS

Impressive to see BMW i3 maintain in top 3.

If combine Feb BMW i3 & i8 numbers, BMW is in #1 position? Wow…

fox56

hello i dont understand why BMW has such a value such a prestige in USA ? bmw is a car brand like an other no ?

David

Nope. You must have written that before the Nissan Leaf and Tesla numbers were reported. 922+143=1065 puts BMW in third.

LuStuccc

As this hour, there is an article on the Leaf sales, the Volt sales, but nothing on the first time number one monthly sales of all for Tesla, and by far…

IMHO Tesla will comfortably sit on the first step for a long time..

Lensman

The first time Tesla Model S was the #1 plug-in EV seller in North America was December 2014, at least according to InsideEVs’ estimate.

This would be the second time.

LuStuccc

“As of this hour”

They’re all black… Reminds me of the GinoVanelli rock song “Black cars look better in the shade” 😉

Warren

Two hundred miles range is the new standard. Tesla is the only one available right now. Even my rich, but frugal, buddy is waiting for the reasonably priced 200 mile range car now. I expect things to get pretty ugly until somebody delivers on the talk.

Bonaire

Volts have 360 miles of range in warm weather and about 310 miles of range in cooler weather. The thing is – what is really the issue? That someone will NEVER burn gas ever again or will sometimes burn gas when they are not driving near their normal daily routes? The idea of the Volt – offering pure electric drive for your normal daily commute (or most of it) is hardly a bad thing – and no range axiety at all. And with only 16 to 18.5 kWh on board (2016 model has more). I hardly see the problem here.

Just what is wrong with having a car that can do 90-95% of someone’s electric driving and have a no-compromises backup generator in case you want to drive to Wisconsin or Kentucky to visit the in-laws?

Lensman

If there was a PHEV that gave drivers an average of 90% or more electric miles, that would be wonderful. That ain’t the Volt, with a fleet average of ~71% electric miles.

http://www.voltstats.net/

But let’s not denigrate the Volt for not being perfect; let us not make “The perfect drive out the good”. Every gas-powered mile replaced with an electricity-powered mile is a step in the right direction.

Hopefully (fingers crossed!) in a couple of years, along with those nominally 200 mile BEVs, we’ll see the Volt or some other PHEV(s) with an electric range of 70+ miles.

Bonaire

That is fleet average. Consider the Fleet. GE wisely bought Volts for their staff members and GAVE THEM GAS CARDS. Those guys didn’t even plug in, for example.

I know that due to some longer trips, my lifetime mpg is only 85 mpg. Many are well over 125 mpg. I don’t care about fleet average – I care about those who choose EREV for their driving needs which include 40-50 miles of daily commuting and an occasional long trip.

Stupid moves like GE’s fleet purchase for a subset of the entire Volt fleet helped whack the averages.

i also know someone who leases a Volt and has to drive “across the state” alot due to being a university teacher. In their case, a Tesla would not work due to no superchargers and the range is too far. Volt works for anyone in a variety of circumstances.

Bonaire

Volt Gen II will have an additional couple kWh onboard – and interestingly, using 1/3 fewer battery cells. This should give a minimum of 50 mile range and those of us who have seen 50 miles on a 2011 Volt in relatively calm country-road driving, 65 miles should be easily reachable on a summer day driving through the countryside in a Gen-II.

I agree. Until battery costs come down and charging infrastructure matures, the PHEV is absolutely the way to go for the average American.

We have a Volt and a Leaf. We love both. But I now recognize the Volt as a superior product for the time we live in.

daniel

I think the problem with the volt is not the car. Its the dealership experience. And the fact GM dont do much to promote it.

buu

so do you live in front of Tesla or in docks? 🙂

Warren

Plug-in hybrids of varying degrees of ICE vs EV power are great, and will come to dominate the fleet. Prices will come down as batteries get cheaper, and drivetrains get simpler. The BMW i3 Rex, and Honda Accord plug-in hybrid show that transmissions are unneeded weight and complexity with modern electric drivetrains.

Warren

Over time, plug-in hybrids, and long range EVs will eliminate the straight ICE car. But it will take government regulation of mpg, and CO2 to push people into it. As the security, health, and environmental costs of ICE become more obvious, governments will act, even over the objections of their citizens.

PHEVfan

How embarasing for Honda. Not only did they kill the Fit, but their one remaining vehicle was throttled this month by none other than the Mitsubishi iMEV.

It is a sad day when you lose to the iMEV.

Wait for 2017-2018 EV’s. It’s just a matter of time for the public to catch on to what going to happen in the near future.

Bonaire

Catch on equals what? They said this during 2010-2011 when GM estimated 60,000 Volts sold worldwide by late 2012 into 2013.

Sales will grow – but nobody really knows how fast at this point. It is all simply speculation – this is why many autofirms are treading slowly and carefully.

It will grow, but we all are just guessing. I wanted to see 30% growth annually. This year, 2015 looks almost like a 0% growth year.

Chris C.

Jay, search the article for these phrases that need correction (just from skimming):

“BMW i8 Finally Arrives In US!” (caption text, should just say the car model like all the other captions)

“2015 Porsche Cayenne S e-Hrybrid”

“so dar in 2015”

You shouldn’t bury the Ford model paragraphs down with the “other” low-volume models; they’re selling well enough to deserve to be placed higher up in the article. And ELR listed second? What’s up with that?

TM

I think your estimate for the next gen PiP is way off. The 4th gen prius is intended to be revealed by year’s end (not ready to buy). The liftback will then be available for purchase sometime thereafter. The PiP is supposed to follow that by 6 months.

Originally posted to an unrelated comment – sorry.

jeffhre

Hi Jay, great resource, thanks!

Raymondjram

If the list was divided into two (BEVs and PHEVs) then the American products will be seen to sell better. I wonder why GM and Ford are not promoting their products as they should be doing. I have seen Ads for the imports on Cable TV, and that is helping their sales.

BTW, Honda should retire from the hybrid market as their prodcust are not selling .

Mark

I think its misleading to claim that there is no customer acceptance of the Ford Focus BEV by citing the December and January sales figures. When the price was dropped $6k in late 2014 by Ford all of the inventory was quickly sold. At least in California you could not find a car in stock by mid November.