March Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Continue To Soar

Tesla Model 3


We can’t say we’re surprised that plug-in electric vehicle sales were up again this March, but the height at which they rose is incredible for the segment.

For the month, an estimated grand total of 26,373 plug-ins were sold. This sets an all-time record for U.S. plug-in sales. The previous two records were set in December 2016 and December 2017, with 26,107 and 24,785, respectively. The fact that this record was set this year in March is huge news. We can’t wait to see what this December brings!

Details Here: Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard

Toyota Prius Plug-In (Prius Prime)

The Tesla Model 3 leads the pack with a whopping 3,820 deliveries (production numbers here). This marks three months in a row that the Model 3 has been at the top of our chart, and this month’s numbers set an all-time record. We assume that it will not leave that top position at any point in the foreseeable future.

The Tesla Model S claims the second-place position for the month, with 3,375 sold. However, it comes in third overall for the year thus far. The Model X lands in the fourth spot for March and for the quarter overall.

Not surprisingly, Toyota’s Prius Prime plug-in continues to soar, taking the third-place spot for the month, at 2,922, but claiming the second position overall for Q1.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF (March sales here), and Honda Clarity (in that order) round out the next several spots on our scorecard for the quarter as a whole, all having sold 1,000 or more copies last month.

Tesla Model X Destination Charging

Tesla Model X

Rounding out the top ten list for the quarter, we have the Ford Fusion Energi at No. 9, followed by the BMW i3‘s March sales surge putting it in the 10 spot.

Other Statistical Points of Interest from March 2018

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 10,200
  2. General Motors – 3,573
  3. Toyota – 2,922
  4. BMW Group –  2,662
  5. Nissan –  1,500

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In March*

  1. BEV – 14,781
  2. PHEV – 11,592 

Notable All-Time Time Highs Set In March By Model

  • Tesla Model 3 – 3,830
  • Toyota Prius Prime – 2,922
  • Honda Clarity PHEV – 1,061

*Based on estimates due to the lack of U.S. sales reporting by Tesla and the BMW i3 splits (BEV/REx)

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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32 Comments on "March Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Continue To Soar"

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Wow. GM at number 2 in the USA but not even making the Top Ten in Worldwide sales of EV’s.

Will April be 20,000+?

Probably depends on how many Model 3 units they ship to US vs Canada. If they produce 8,000 Model 3 units, EV sales could easily exceed 20k next month.

There will be at least 6,000 Tesla Model 3 deliveries to US customers in April 2018.

And about 2,000 combined Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X deliveries to US customers in April 2018.

As much as I hate to see the Prime’s tiny 20 miles battery range and the fact that it is eating in regular Prius sales. I do hope that they manage to beat March sales in April.

I want April to have a 100% increase YoY. So far there seems to be at least a 70% chance of that happening. And if the Prime sells 1000 more in April than they did in March, I see the odds going up even higher.

Also a side accomplishment, Both BEVs and PHEVs individually beat US diesel sales : )

At least getting these ppl into a plug-in is step 1. It should persuade them to buy a real EV next time, or at least spread the good word about plug-ins.

My concern is that with 20 miles of electric range, people might just simply be using it as a hybrid without plugging it in : /

The average commute is 15 miles each way, and considering factors like speeding and etc. Many people won’t bother setting up a charger and charging it.

I’m all for PHEVs setting people up for BEVs. But when you offer anything under 50 miles electric range (or at the very least 40 miles), the effects can be counter productive. It might instill the idea of “charging is not worth it” or “battery doesn’t last long”

On the other hand, if it is just a few miles leaving the fuel in the tank for years is not a good thing either.

Given the change GM is making in reporting their sales quarterly instead of monthly, how accurate will next months numbers be? IEV’s has to estimate Tesla sales and now they have to estimate GM sales as well.
I have never liked the management team at GM, and this adds to my previous contempt.
The GM engineers, on the other hand, are phenomenally skillful.

Even if GM switches models and we have to estimate, it is still usually within 90% accuracy. More importantly, I’m more concerned with Bolt and Volt production. Somehow I get this feeling GM is limited to 30k Bolts and intentionally keeping the Volt in check.

I understand that there is more competition nowadays, and I know a bunch of Volt owners are switching to the Bolt. But still, it makes no sense that the Prius Prime is beat the Volt last year in sales.

Prius Prime costs 27,100-4,500 tax credit is 22,600. Volt costs 33,220 – 7,500 tax credit = 25,700. Considering the difference in electric range, a 2k difference isn’t much.

I think GM is on purpose keeping Volt sales in check to extend the tax credit for the Bolt. If the Bolt lost the tax credit before Tesla Model 3, they probably feel it’ll make things more complicated to try to push the Bolt to those waiting for their Model 3.

Thus Volt sales seem to be down YoY. And Bolt production seems to be stagnant, so I pretty much gave up on GM.

At this stage in the game, the Prius Prime should be only Prius sold anyway, so it’s good that it’s eating away at sales of the regular Prius.

The benefit of people going from a Prius to a Prius Prime with such poor electric range is negligible though : /, even more so if they don’t charge.

I would rather Toyota expand out. Like a RAV4 PHEV.

@ Steven Loveday

You should keep a running tally of cumulative total EV sales in the US to date somewhere. It would be great to see the line on the graph continue to get steeper as more vehicles are added each month.

You could do the same with world / EU / China EV sales every month.

I think it would be a worthwhile exercise of benefit to many readers (especially as you already have the data every month).

I will run it by the others and those that produce the charts. Thabk you.

By model and by manufacturer for the US. This would be an easy way to have a continuously updated March to 200000 by manufacturer. Then let the people guesstimate the drawdown timeline on credits. It’s been over a year since that chart on expiration of credits has been updated. Provide new update or not but a cumulative chart would suffice

The march to 200,000 sounds useful, but cumulative totals in general are not. The human eye sees a rising total, but the details are obscured.

For the purposes of identifying the progress towards the expiration of tax credits, yes, by automaker would be useful.

However, I disagree with you on the cumulative totals. Yes, if looked at in isolation, the details would be obscured, but if you follow this site regularly, we would not be looking at the totals in isolation. It would be another data point to complement all of the other data we observe daily from this site, and as such, I believe it would be valuable.

why don’t you no longer post the share of the total market share (is it over 1% this month)?

Total auto sales was: 1,646,888

So 26,373/1,646,888 = 0.016013839

Or about 1.6%

Wait, I see some updated numbers at 1,653,529

So 26,373/1,653,529 = 0.015949524

So ~1.595%, still about 1.6% though.

Take out light trucks and you can more than double that number. I don’t see why they should include light trucks since there is not single ev light truck mass market.

That depends how it is counted. Some SUVs pass of as light trucks (some count as light trucks for emissions while passenger vehicles for mpg)

So something like a Tesla Model X can pass off as a light truck.

Including light trucks seems reasonable since so many people use them as their daily drivers. It’s a shame since here in central Florida at least I mostly see these trucks used for hauling nothing larger than a few grocery bags. ( Oh and of course we can’t forget the teen to thirty year old males in raised trucks with custom oversized wheels flooring it from red light to the next red light- and we wonder why so few have anything saved for retirement.)

We are definitely SAVING THE WORLD! /s

I don’t know about saving the world but all things start somewhere. 1.6% is a large improvement from what we had before.

It has only been 7 years since modern EVs started mass production. That is only 1 generation. Expecting to take over in 1 generation was never expected. But now is the start of the 2nd generation with much better and cheaper EVs coming out. We might even hit close to 5% this December. (Well, unless Tesla starts diverting to international deliveries by then)

But that trend will continue to grow.

The biggest reason for a March record is the way that Tesla is ramping up production at this moment. It is making the timing of sales subject to Tesla far more than consumers’ usual drivers and considerations.

As I was reading this article, there was a blinding flash of light and loud POP! sound in my office. I turned and saw… myself, looking at my screen and smiling. When I asked, well, me what was going on, he/I said he was visiting from 2025, and the sales numbers on my screen were “quaint”.

But wait, I said, I have a LOT of questions about EVs and some other matters… but there was another flash and POP!, and I was left alone and blinking…

LOL. I looked in my crystal ball and it showed 3.5% market share in 2025. I’m still a bit pessimistic compared to many. I think we’ll get there. It’s just going to take longer than originally planned/hoped for.

We’ll hit 3.5% of sales this year. Maybe not for the entire year but for 1 month, it is possible.

If Tesla does 5k cars per week, that would mean 22k cars per month alone. If Tesla gets production to 7k a week, that would be 31k cars per month.

So I’m quite optimistic that we can do 3.5% for at least one month.

Graph on the permanent score-card post still needs updated for March.