March Plug-In Sales Increase By 17% – Smart ED Wins “B Division”

APR 3 2014 BY JAY COLE 32

smart Fortwo BRABUS Electric Drive (which is unavailable in the US)

smart Fortwo BRABUS Electric Drive (which is unavailable in the US)

Another month is in the books, and March was another winning entry for 2014 EV sales as an estimated 9,376 plug-ins were sold in the United States.  That is an improvement of 17.5% from March of 2013 when 7,982 units were sold.  This month also bested the month prior by 33% when 7,055 plug-ins were sold in February.  (Full YTD monthly selling chart can be found below)

Cadillac ELR (show here from the Geneva Motor Show) Set A New Sales Record In March

Cadillac ELR (show here from the Geneva Motor Show) Set A New Sales Record In March

Overall for the year, 21,881 plug-ins have been sold thus far; which is good for a 21.8% gain over 2013 (17,963).

And while 3 EVs set new all-time sales highs and 2 others set second best marks.  It is impossible not to notice the Chevrolet Volt has yet to participate in the growth story for 2014.

The Chevy is actually off by 15%, meaning that without the Volt’s participation this year, the segment would be up by 33.2% instead of 21.8%.

On the other side of the coin, the real success story for March was the Toyota Prius PHV as the rush to get the last of California’s “green” stickers was on.  The Toyota netted 1,452 sales in March, up about 90% from last year (786).

Which leads us to the next most obvious question for the Toyota going forward however – “How will the plug-in Prius do without the green sticker incentive?”

Positionally, all 17 plug-in vehicles stayed in the same spot on the top sellers list for 2014, except for the Chevy Spark EV, which moved up a notch to number 9 – passing the Porsche Panamera S-E Hybrid – which is probably the only time you will ever see or hear that statement being made.

And while each month the same 6 cars vie for the top selling spots,  the next 10 EVs battle for supremacy in the “B Division” (a mix of low run and regional compliance cars for the most part).   For March, Nissan had an easy win in the first group with a near all-time best of 2,507 LEAF sales, but the smart ED surprised in the us all in the ‘2nd tier’ of plug-ins, by moving 186 units of the little 2 seater.

Below:  Random points of interest for March of 2014

Nissan Dethrones Ford As The Top EV-Maker For March

Nissan Dethrones Ford As The Top EV-Maker For March

Top Electric Vehicle Auto Makers:

  1. Nissan 2,507 (1)
  2. Ford1,689 (3)
  3. GM1,667 (3)
  4. Tesla1,600* (1)
  5. Toyota1,525 (2)

New All-Time Best Selling Month:

  • smart ED186 (Aug 2013 -182)
  • Cadillac ELR81 (Feb 2014 – 58)
  • Chevrolet Spark EV108 (Jul 2013 – 103)

2nd Best All-Time Selling Month:

  • Nissan LEAF2,507 (Dec 2013 – 2529)
  • Ford Focus Electric177 (Mar 2013 -180)
2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers) *Fiat 500edate estimated for Jan/Feb.

2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers) *Fiat 500edate estimated for Jan/Feb.

2013 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla Numbers have been included in this graph. Tesla Total US Sales Based On Quarterly Disclosures (Q1 & Q2 from filings, Q3 based on shareholder letter, and Q4 based on company estimate of half of sales out of North America) *Fiat 500e estimated based on available data.

2013 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla Numbers have been included in this graph. Tesla Total US Sales Based On Quarterly Disclosures (Q1 & Q2 from filings, Q3 based on shareholder letter, and Q4 based on company estimate of half of sales out of North America) *Fiat 500e estimated based on available data.

 

Categories: Cadillac, Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Sales, Tesla, Toyota

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32 Comments on "March Plug-In Sales Increase By 17% – Smart ED Wins “B Division”"

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Correct me if i’m wrong but i guess that those smart ed numbers are just the beginning right?

It starts to be available nationwide and they’re advertising it a lot more aggressively. Even here in switzerland i see a lot of them popping up even though EVs arent a big subject yet.

The setup of the website and the story around it just gives me the impression that theyre pretty serious and theres a lot more to come. agree?

It would seem so. Lots of things going for it/behind the car now.

-smart is in the process of rolling the car out nationally (s-l-o-w-l-y – demand is high elsewhere in the world & is delaying that)
-they did buy regional ads spots during the Super Bowl this year, so there is ad support
-should do better in the spring/summer as it is the only ‘cabrio’ plug-in offering

I would figure that until Ford redesigns/relaunches the Focus Electric soon-ish, that smart should lead the “B pool” from here on out.

Yes. Smart is very committed to electric vehicles. The Fortwo ED is slowly becoming more widely available. For Smart, selling 200 EDs in a single month is a HUGE figure considering the automaker only sells 600-800 total vehicles in the US per month – http://insideevs.com/smart-talks-electric-drive-with-us/

That exhaustive list would be a lot shorter, if it was EVs seen outside of California…and Norway.

There have been Smarts here for years. I see them most days around UVA. However, it will be a problem getting to the Smart dealer with your ED. They are 61 miles away, in Richmond. 🙁

Trouble is, I am not sure I could identify a smart EV if I saw it going down the road. I guess I need to do some research so I’ll know how to tell it apart from the gas version.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

If you can hear it, it’s not the ED 😉

I check if has a tail pipe if I think if it’s a EV.

ya the gas smart is quite noisy so if you hear a sort of humming sound (noise box ED has which you can disable) and its relatively silent then its electric. Also if its slowing down with no brake lights and its creeping slowly up to a light

It is written ED on each side of the car toward the back

If there’s an ED on the Cell then its electric. Its pretty visible and easy to identify. Also if it has white HOV stickers, which mine does. One guy in a volt saw them and pulled up next to me and accelerated against me. I won, 0-40 which was the speed limit but he kept going to make himself feel better lol

Oh and i almost forgot. If you see a smart car just take off and leave cars behind then its electric.

I like the way you clumped the numbers by Mfr.

I think that was my idea….. 🙂

There is a Coda parked in my neighborhood! That cracked me up for some reason.

“except for the Chevy Spark EV, which moved up a notch to number 9 – passing the Porsche Panamera S-E Hybrid – which is probably the only time you will ever see or hear that statement being made.”

I’d actually like to see a 0-30mph race between those two in electric mode.

That smart ed is a shocker, no pun. A small 2 seater with low range? Probably just cover a small niche market. I guess someone has to cover that, so why not smart. 😛

I think the Mitsubishi i-mev might take a lot of market share from the Smart EV in that it can seat four people and is twice as big the smart EV.

…and it will be cheaper than the Smart ED.

Question is whether the MiEV will overcome its negative image. AFAIK, new auto sales are >50% fashion/image and <50% essence/value.

@qwerty: according to the US Census Bureau, about 85% of Americans now live in urban areas. That's a pretty large "niche".

And the Smart ED does 76 miles in urban driving – pretty much par fort he course for compact/subcompact BEVs. Plus it's small, peppy and cheap.

I have acclivity looked into making the Mitsubishi i-Mev into my first electric car in that it seems to have more head room then the leaf. But I’m waiting for them to add about 30 more miles more range to it. Or the 150 mile Nissan Leaf could win my heart.

How is it a shocker? I drive my smart ED by myself 99.9% of the time. I drive around with an empty seat and empty trunk literally every day.

I drive city mainly with a little freeway for some fun and i average around 80 miles per charge and i have 7100+ miles in about 9 months. The car is extremely addicting to drive and i have unlimited miles every day so its not low range.

It is the funnest car you could ever drive. A true mini go kart. super quick and so much f-ing fun.

You really need to drive it if you havent. And it looks awesome, well mine does. matte grey, always clean, daytime running lights. head turner

hehe….

I just might go out and look at one this weekend. 🙂

I always wondered who are the people who are buying plugin PRIUS. This report suggests that a lot of people did. Unless they do it only for some lane access stickers the purchase of the vehicle is certain money loss. Here is my thought, anyone please correct me if there is something I am not seeing. Regular PRIUS Hybrid costs about 24k. The plugin PRIUS is 30k, minus incentive about 27 so the plugin is at least $3000 more at the end. The plugin range is EPA rated at 11 miles in light EV mode. Assuming 110MPGe driving in EV mode those 11 miles costs about $0.30 in electricity. Driving regular Hybrid Prius or plugin in ICE mode with assuming 48MPG is $0.83 for 11 miles. (11/48 x $3.65 per gallon = $0.83) So the maximum savings for fully charged and depleted battery is 0.83-0.30=0.53, that is 53 cents. The whole concept of having a plugin, which saves only 53 pennies per charge has no merit. Why would one even bother to take the EVSE cable out of the trunk, plug it on both sides and then go back and unplug all, roll it back and put it in the… Read more »
The Toyota Prius PHV is actually cheaper than a couple of higher trim levels now (IV, V) since the price reduction and has more option equipment than the standard. In California the Prius PHV gets the $2,500 from feds and $1,500 in state credits as well as the HOV sticker (well for a couple more days). However, the real reason the Prius PHV ‘normally’ does so well is by bastardizing normal Prius sales at the dealership level when they come as part of a lease (which about a quarter of them are). Think one can be fairly confident that a good bulk of plug-in Prius sales didn’t start with the customer thinking about getting an EV car as their main focus, but rather just acquiring a Prius in general – something that can said for none of the other EV really. (Which is quite likely a good thing for the industry overall) While there might be $5,800 between the better PHV and the base, the $2,500 federal credit applied inside a lease as a cap cost reduction makes them very close in monthly cost – plugging it in or not ($25ish/month difference if there is no state incentives to also… Read more »

Also, I think radim is low-balling the gas savings.

1. Doesn’t the PiP battery get at least partially recharged when you drive it in ICE mode?
2. If someone can charge it up at work, or otherwise multiple times per day, the savings expand further. It’s really up to you and your driving style.

I can see someone with a short commute and access to a 110 plug at work, or who uses it mostly for errand hops throughout the day, hardly using any gas at all.
That’s actually pretty close to our situation right now. We’d be saving some $300-400 / year on gas with a PiP vs. ICE Prius.

I have a friend that just bought a PiP, perfect for him since he lives a couple of miles from work and plugs in every night. Seats 5 and has twice the cargo capacity of a Volt, which is what I have (I need the 40-mile EV range for my longer commute). I suspect there are many others like him that will keep the PiP in demand even after the green stickers are all gone.

Thanks Jay for your reply, i was referring to states outside of California. As I live in Florida (no state incentive) so I only go by the fed incentive. Toyota’s website has base price of hybrid PRIUS as 24k and the reduced plugin base price as 30k and thus it seems the plugin PRIUS is 6k more expensive. I took 3k off for fed incentive, but still that makes the plugin 3k more expensive. Not sure how much more equipment it may have. The gas savings are however very minimal, unless the car is charged multiple times every day – I call this absurd. For those who commute short distances the 11 miles could be enough, but then the savings are absolutely minimal. Call me helpless  but I still do not see the point. I would say that FORD’s 21 miles EV range are the bare minimum to justify higher price and constant plugging and unplugging hassle. I drive 100% electric and am happy about it, but plugging for 11 miles would not make sense for me.

Visit your nearest smart center for a test drive in an ED. You will not regret it. And make sure to smash the pedal and make it click. When you do you’ll feel it.

Best colors: Matte Grey, Black, White, Blue with silver cell

LED Daytime Running Lights are a must have option, makes the car stand out even more and makes it look even cooler.

The absolute perfect 2nd car. Might be a little risky if its your only car though.

i wish they brought the black with green cell brabus ED over here.

I would buy it instantly, SO F-ING COOL.

US never gets the really cool smarts.

Just to make it clear, The 0-~ times for the Smart ED are as follows.

0-60 in 9 seconds using Kickdown

0-60 in 11 seconds not using Kickdown

0-40 in 5 seconds using Kickdown

0-40 in 7 seconds not using Kickdown

Again it is quicker than the Volt to about 55 and then the Volt starts pulling ahead. I have tested the acceleration multiple with my timer and a friend timing it as well. It has very nice acceleration. Plenty of passing power at any speed (Max speed is 84, limiter kicks in)

fun thing: yesterday i came across a lovely blue Audi R8 in my town. pulled up next to it at the light and took off when it turned green. he caught up to me and was looking over and he gave me a head nod with a smile.

then the light we were going through turned yellow and we both stepped on it and blasted through. that engine sounds great on it.

GM should be ashamed. The were a leader with the Volt. But they’ve stagnated. Since then they’ve only released the Spark EV compliance car and the massively over-priced ELR, neither of which sells.

On the other hand Ford which stumbled out of the gate with the kludgy Ford Focus EV has put out two decent plug-in hybrids with the CMAX Energi and the Fusion Energi. They now sell more plug-ins than GM!

End of the year the new smart ed comes out with a much smarter (pun intended) interior. That might really cause an uptick in sales!

How much can be made of 4.4kwh PIPs outselling 16.5kwh Volts? I found myself saying you don’t want 10 more mpg, you want 10 more kwh, to several people the other day. Given batteries the size of Toyota’s, that can be said to just about everyone.

The “80% of us go 40 miles, or less” goal has all but been abandoned in PHEV. More than a few of us go 10 miles or more. We should think folks want more miles at 3-4 cents, not going from 10 cents down to, maybe, 8 cents with 50mpgs.

Education is a slow process.