May 2017 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

8 months ago by Jay Cole 90

September's Results Won't Surpass The All-Time Best Set In August - But Still Very Strong

EV sales in the US up in May – What new?

Stop us if you have heard this one before:

“…plug-in vehicle sales in the US were up big time last month”

It should ring a bell, as May marks 20 consecutive months of EV sales gains*.  And once again it wasn’t a slight beat of last year’s numbers, but a significant improvement.

Coming In June: the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Plug-In Hybrid (and yes, that is a terrible name)

For May, an estimated 16,778 plug-ins were sold, a gain of 46.2%.

Looking at the full year after 5 months,  ~72,108 electric vehicles have been sold, a gain of 44.7% over the ~49,839 sold though May of 2016.

The bulk of the results once again arrived via two automakers – Tesla and General Motors, but neither of those brands had the top seller, that was reserved (for the second time in two months) for Toyota and the Prius Prime – with 1,908 sales.

According to our estimates GM and Tesla sold a near identical amount of plug-ins (~3,400) in May, combining to sell about 6,800 vehicles during the month.

See full model-by-model breakdown for 2017 on the graphic below.

Questions for May (with answers in brackets as they come in):

  • Can the Chevrolet Volt hold off the Tesla Model S from re-taking the year to date sales lead?  (Indeed, the Volt holds a ~300 unit lead heading into June…although with June being the last month of a quarter, there is almost no way the Volt can hold off the Model sedan’s last-month-of-the-quarter surge)
  • Who will win the battle of the “new major offerings” for May – the Chevrolet Bolt EV, or the Toyota Prius Prime?  (Toyota wins 1,908 to 1,566)
  • How will the Nissan LEAF do against year ago comps now that the company has announced the next generation LEAF will debut at a special event in Tokyo on September 6th?  (Great, deep discounting lead to a 40% gain in May)
  • The 2-state, compliance-only Fiat 500e had outsold the nationwide/unique platform BMW i3 through April…can BMW punt yet another month with the i3?  (Mais oui!)

Also of interest:  The fuel cell Toyota Mirai sold a sturdy 162 copies in May (up 305%), bringing its YTD total up to 579 units.  Honda Clarity FCV – 119.

Last update: Monday, June 12th, 2017 – 6:02 PM

*On year of monthly sales improvements: We know someone is going to look at the chart and say, “hey, only ~11,467 sales were made in May of 2016, when 11,540 were logged in 2015!  What gives InsideEVs?”  What gives is – through an odd scheduling quirk, only 24 selling days were reported in May 2016 (versus 26 in 2015)

Below Chart: A individual run-down of each vehicle’s monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers.  (Previous year’s monthly results can be found on our fixed Scorecard page here)

2017 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** FCA/Hyundai-Kia Do Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data (Thanks to HybridCars for assist on Kia data)

Individual Plug-In Model Sales Recap For Major Models:

(limited to vehicles with ~500 sales/or potential for 500 sales in a given month)

Nest Generation, 2016 Chevrolet Volt

Next Generation, 2017 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt:  

Earlier this year, someone forgot to tell General Motors that the first three months of a new year are awful months to try and sell electric vehicles in.

The Volt set the record for “most plug-ins sold for January” ever, moving 1,611 copies, then followed that up by selling 1,830 cars in February – a personal record, then 2,132 in March.

Interestingly, for April and May, things cooled off slightly, as the Volt failed to beat year-over-year comps for the first time in…well, ages, but only slightly.

1,807 Volts were sold in April, which was down 9% from a year ago, while in May, a near identical 1,817 were moved – off 4%.

Still April and May’s results were enough to retake the overall plug-in sales lead for the US over the Tesla Model S by a few hundred units.  Overall, Chevrolet Volt sales are up 16.7% for 2017.

For 2016, 24,739 Volts were sold vs 15,393 last year, a gain of 61%, passing the Volt’s previous all-time record for most sales in a year from 2012, when 23,464 were sold.




Chevrolet Bolt EV - looking to make its mark in 2017

Chevrolet Bolt EV – looking to make its mark in 2017

Chevrolet Bolt EV:  

GM’s first long range offering completed its first full month on the US market in January, selling an impressive 1,162 copies in California and Oregon (the two states selected for the Bolt EV’s launch before going nationwide later this year).

Unfortunately, and despite added 3 more states of availability in February (Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia joined California and Oregon), Bolt EV sales fell to 952 moved during the month, and improved only slightly in March to 978 sales.  At the time, GM noted that inventory was fairly tight on dealer lots in March, with only around 14 days worth on hand.

By Aprils’s end inventories had quadrupled, and sales rose to 1,291 units.

Thing improved moreso in May (thanks to a roll-out of the EV into the US Northeast, and deep inventories for the entire month – over 5,000 cars by month’s end), as GM noted a all-time high of 1,566 sales during the month, a gain of 21% from the month prior.


The mostly CARB-tastic, state-by-state roll-out continued in May with Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Colorado welcoming the Bolt EV to local Chevy dealerships.   As for a nationwide roll-out, that will happen with the introduction of the 2018 MY Bolt EV – which arrives in September.



Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF:

It is no secret that the Nissan LEAF is aging, and that the US consumer is anticipating a new, 2nd generation model arrival this Fall, with the prototype spotted out testing this month in the UK.

More specific to the next generation LEAF, InsideEVs learned this month that LEAF 2.0 will debut at a special event in Tokyo on September 9th!

Yet despite that, the LEAF has now seen gains in the past 9 consecutive months in a row (more on that below).

For April sales notched 4-digits again, with some 1,063 sales – good for a 35% increase from the year before.  The last month (in May), things got even better, with sales up 40% and 1,392 sold!  The results from the last two months have put the LEAF in a near tie with the new Chevy Bolt EV (5,742 LEAF sales vs 5,950 Bolt EV sales)

How rare have sales improvements been before this current run?  September 2016 through April 2017’s gains were the first for the EV in America in 20 months (you’d have to go back to December of 2014 to other year-over-year increases).

During 2016, 14,006 LEAFs were sold, off 19% from the 17,269 moved in 2015.

We should note that the entry level price to the 30 kWh/107 mile edition of the LEAF was lowered with the 24 kWh trim level’s removal – the 30 kWh LEAF now has a starting MSRP of $30,680 + DST.




2017 Toyota Prius Prime

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime:  

After 18 months of waiting for the  first generation Prius plug-in to be replaced, the Toyota Prius Prime (details) arrived on US dealers lots on November 8th, and sales have not disappointed.

After setting a new high of 1,619 sales in March, Prius Prime sales continued to defy the almost non-existent inventory at the dealership level so far – selling 1,819 copies in April, and now 1,908 in May!

If you are just quiet enough and listen, you can almost hear Toyota’s dealers screaming for more inventory of the plug-in Prius.  And why is that?

After 6 months of technical availability, the popular Toyota finally averaged 4 digits worth of inventory in May, but just barely (at about ~1,200 units in stock on average according to our data).  This means of course that we have not yet seen the true potential sales volume of the plug-in.

Yes, the Prius Prime is here, and it might just be your 2017 plug-in sales champion for the US.  The Toyota not only features its own unique look, but 25 miles of all-electric range.

But most importantly, the plug-in Toyota is priced right – from $27,950, which after the $4,500 federal credit is applied gives the Prime an effective price of $23,450, a price-point that is actually more than $1,000 cheaper than the base hybrid version…which should eventually translate into very strong sales once the EV is well stocked, as the standard version of the car can sell upwards of 10,000 units in a month.





2015 BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3: 

Once upon a time, the blame for the low and bipolar nature of the BMW i3’s sales, was because of the introduction of a new, longer range (94 Ah/33 kWh) version.

For the first ~9 months of 2016, low sales was due to the older generation not selling well in advance of the 2017 model year’s arrival in September.

Then it was reported “limited initial supply” of the i3 in the Fall to blame for the lower-than-previous results…but that was 10 months ago now, making a clean 18 months of fairly unsatisfying results.

For 2017, things started rough, with just 182 sales logged in January, and 318 in February.  Fortunately, the tune changed drastically in March (which given the i3’s track record is not all that surprising), with 703 sales made, a 118% gain over March of 2016.  Then in April and May, any momentum has been lost – back down to 516 deliveries in April, and just 503 in May (off 37%).

Quite frankly, the i3 as it stands today is likely too expensive for plug-in vehicle buyers, so if BMW wants to sell the EV in volumes like it did in the past, it is going to have to sharpen its pencil…and by a lot.

For 2016 overall,  BMW sold 7,625 i3s in 2016, compared to 11,024 a year ago – off 31%





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 (or annual) updates add more 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 in the real world.  We simply report from the data we accumulate ourselves, the first hand accounts available from the factory and from the community itself when available – and the number is what it is (see below)

Revisions/disclaimer to accuracy of prior estimates: The 2016 Model S chart has been adjusted (via US Q3 data leaked directly from Tesla) by 469 units in Q3, and 525 units in Q4.  The 2015 chart was adjusted (one time) by 498 units to compensate for confirmed full year numbers. The 2014 sales chart was adjusted (one time – again after the end of the full year of estimates) 611 units to compensate for full year numbers.  While past success is no guarantee of future results, InsideEVs is quite proud of its sales tracking for the Model S over  the years.

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.

While April seemed to be the month of the 60 kWh Model S cars being delivered (as the base model was officially discontinued on April 17th), May had to be the 75 kWh month, as the former mid-grade trim level took over.

And while one might think, “hey, why shouldn’t the 75 kWh model be the most popular as it is now the least expensive Tesla”, that really isn’t the reason why we state that.

It was the apparent near absence of 100 kWh production early in the month (as we also saw in April…which at the time we thought was a reflection of getting 60 kWh cars out the door).  This lack of production meant very little high-end deliveries in the US for the company in May.

With that said, by month’s end a disproportionally high amount of 100 kWh cars headed into production.

We aren’t sure what caused the uncommon batching – supply issues? Priority sequencing of other models?  Or if this perhaps means that typical end-of-quarter domestic delivery rush will be lower that we normally see, given the higher volume/lower cost cars are not as prominently being produced as they typically are at this stage of the quarter (after some fairly strong incentives to buy in the previous two months).

For May, we estimate Tesla delivered 1,620 Model S sedans.





Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X: Like the Model S, Tesla does not itself report Model X sales, so we do our best – with all the data at our disposal to estimate monthly results for North America as best we can (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S)

Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Oct 11th):

Tesla recently leaked US sales data for Q3 2016 put US deliveries at 5,428 Our own Q3 estimate  was 5,800 for North America, which includes Canada (which ended Q3 with 389 registrations for the quarter), meaning 5,787 were actually sold – and not to brag…but that means we were only off by 13 units in Q3.

Previously in Q2 2016, Tesla reported 4,625 Model X deliveries…our estimated scorecard got within about ~55 units of the actual number (accounting for just a handful of international Model X deliveries). In Q1 we where within ~200 units.

The Tesla Model X, like many trim levels of the Model S, had to live in the shadow of the “end of production” of the popular 60 kWh version of Tesla’s sedan in April.

And things never really seemed to get going in April for the X, with many owners reported delays during the month on their all-electric SUVs.

But as we noted last month, as the end of April neared, the Model X seemed to push back to the forefront with Tesla at its Fremont facility…too late to save April’s result (estimated at ~715 units), but more than lending a hand in May.

During this month (May), Tesla had no issues producing and delivering the Model X consistently, and although June’s production schedule looks a bit murky (perhaps in relation to happenings with the Model 3?), we estimate that deliveries of the Model X more than doubled in May at 1,730 sales, which even outpaced the Model S – which is a pretty rare occurrence.




Chrysler Pacific Plug-In Hybrid

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: 

The much anticipated plug-in extended range passenger van arrived in January, albeit in stealth, stuttered… and very limited in fashion.

Due to some odd quirks with production timing and plant scheduling we have had a on/off start for the Pacifica Hybrid as it relates to deliveries.

Here is the nutshell version:

Production kicked off as expected November 28th at the company’s Windsor, Ontario plant, and it seems a truck or two of inventory/orders managed to get out before Christmas shutdown – which resulted in reports of handful of January 2016 deliveries.

Unfortunately, inventory over-stock gripped the domestic automakers in North America, and many plants where given an extended shutdown (up to 3 weeks in some cases) – this included FCA’s Windsor plant.

The result was that the re-start of limited production of the Pacifica Hybrid was pushed back several weeks, compounded by a subsequent quality control hold, and a decision by Chrysler to hold built vans until around Earth Day.

Long story short for April:  Some 700 odd customers who already ordered their plug-in Pacificas had to wait a bit longer than expected for Chrysler to start to ship them out in late April…on the positive side, they did start to ship them out, and Chrysler also gave those customers a free L2 charging station, or a $500 Visa card for their patience.

As for how specifically many plug-in Pacifica Hybrids were sold in April, we got in touch with Chrysler HQ for the number, but knowing full well ahead of time what the response would be (given the stonewalling we fact over as sister-brand Fiat):

“The Pacifica Hybrid did go on sale in April, but we’re reporting only the total Pacifica/Pacifica Hybrid sales number. Same as we do for Fiat 500e.”

Anyway, even though it would have been nice to get the exact number, estimating the number (within a reaonable margin of error) is not terribly hard via the data on hand.

Heading into May, everything was looking pretty swell for the Pacifica Hybrid, new customer orders began to arrive, dealer stock started to fill out…and then it stopped, as some “on road” issues were being reported (like not being operational, warning lights, etc).

By mid-month the Pacifica Hybrid went back into the dreaded “additional quality check” hold and some of those patient customers from 2016 were forced to wait a bit longer for their 33 mile extended range van.   For the most part, the issue seemed to lie with the on-board operating system/firmware on the van, although no specific reason has been given by Chrysler.

Fortunately, by the last week of May deliveries resumed regionally (beginning in Canada – where the Pacifica Hybrid is made) and then spreading wider into the US.  One hopes this will be the end of the bumpy delivery start for the Chrysler van.

And while again Chrysler didn’t report the exact number, we did manage to get some comment on last month’s sales from an exec:

“The Hybrid did have a nice month-over-month increase in May, but we only report a total Pacifica number.”

Update (June 12th, 2017): Unfortunately, a US recall (details) let us narrow down the number to an exact figure, as FCA discloses 1,368 Pacifica Hybrids hybrids have been sold by mid June, putting May sales around the 700 unit mark.



2017 BMW 330e - Like All Plug-Ins Sold In The US, It Wisely Is Offered In Black

2017 BMW 330e – Like All Plug-Ins Sold In The US, It Wisely Is Offered In Black

BMW 330e:   N

Arriving on the US market last Spring was the BMW 330e, which is the plug-in hybrid version of the company’s high selling 3 series offering.

And while the 330e (from $44,695 including DST), physically arrived in April 2016 in a token amount, and it has taken BMW 8 months to begin to stock the vehicle adequately.

But apparently, that process has begun!

In April, 260 plug-in BMW 3 series cars were sold, but the real story is May as the car’s potential is starting to be realized – for the month 475 were sold.

As noted, during March, actual depth of the 330e arrived (just a scant ~12 months after the car’s debut), and now near about ~900 330es are available on dealer lots heading in June!

As for the specs, the final EPA ‘real world’ range rating of just 14 all-electric miles  (via a 7.6 Kwh battery – 5.7 usable) was a disappointment for some hoping for a number closer to 20, but with a 75 mph top speed in “Max eDrive”, it is a capable offering (featuring a 2 liter turbo inline 4) and should satisfy the traditional BMW crowd and be a strong seller.

The electric motor develops 87 hp with maximum peak torque of 184 lb-ft, when combined with the petrol engine, the total output jumps to 248 hp, with a peak torque of 310 lb-ft, allowing a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and  a top speed of 140 mph.




Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:   


After selling between about ~400 copies a month in Q1 (387, 400 and 414), Audi slipped a bit in April, moving 301 copies.

Moving into May, Audi maintained that lower level, with 294 sales of the popular plug-in.

For the year 1,796 A3 e-trons have sold, up 13% from the 1,589 moved through the first 5 months of 2016.

In 2016, 4,280 copies were sold…a not insignificant contribution to the US plug-in vehicle sales scene.  That said, Audi is still certainly not in the “big boys” category for EV sales, but also is definitely not in the “also rans” either.

Quirky fact not really related to EV sales, but certainly aided with the arrival of the A3 e-tron, the Audi brand has now set 77 consecutive months of record year-over-year sales in the US.

Part of the reason for strong sales for the A3 e-tron is also the (relatively) low price. $38,900 gets you the Audi badge, 8.8 kWh of battery – good for 17-odd miles of real world driving…and federal credit of $4,158, which is significant because this brings the e-tron package down to within $3,500 of the base MSRP of the A3.

Well that, and you can’t get the “sportback” version of the Audi in any other trim level in the US.  Check out our own early/pre-delivery review on the Audi A3 e-tron here.





Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi:  

The refreshed 2017 Ford Fusion Energi (details) was a fairly big hit in 2016, showing marked improvements throughout the year.

Heading into 2017, the Fusion Energi eked out a small gain in January, moving 606 copies, then got back to business in setting new personal bests.

Following February’s strong 837 sale performance, Ford crossed back into “4 digit land”, as 1,002 Energis were moved in March…joining a club of just 5 other at that level.

A level which the company returned to in May…but just barely, with an even 1,000 sold.

Looking at the inventory in the past, it was easy to see why (and how) so many of the new Fusion plug-ins were sold over the past few months;  the Fusion Energi has often won the crown for the “most stocked” EV in the US (before Chevy got crazy with the Volt).

With that said, Ford had been struggling to keep production on pace with demand earlier this year…with “had” being the key word, as inventory surged ahead in May, crossing the 3,000 mark for the first time in several months, which could indicate higher sales ahead for the popular Energi model.





Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf:  

It had been hard to get a read on the sales demand for VW’s all-electric Golf for the most part of 2016, as as sales fluctuated quite a bit.

After setting a year’s best in August (with 454 copies sold), Volkswagen improved on that number again in September, selling 529 copies, before setting back down to 407 sales in October and lower still with 305 sold in November.  However, things rebounded again in December with 443 sold.

Heading into 2017 however, sales have normalized around the 300 level ahead of a new longer range version set to arrive imminently.

For April, 326 copies were sold, and somehow VW managed to best that in May, despite dwindling 2016 inventory, with 381 sales – a year-high.

As noted, some additional sales help is on the way, as Volkswagen is now offering an upgraded range on the original e-Golf platform (see our review of the new model here)

The 2017 plug-in VW will now feature a 35.8 kWh battery, increasing range to ~124 miles and debuted at the LA Auto Show in November (details – launch gallery/video).  Production of the new e-Golf got underway earlier this year, and arrives….next month (again).





Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi:  

If it wasn’t for the impressive results of the Ford Fusion Energi every month, we probably would look at C-Max Energi results a lot differently.

But in December, the plug-in C-Max manged to step out of the Fusion’s shadow for the first time, and sold an all-time best 1,289 copies – 17% more than the Fusion Energi.

We wondered for a time if that could be a performance repeated by the C-Max Energi in 2017?  And while that has yet to happen, result have still be very strong for the Ford, noting 639 sales in February, and 662 in March, 749 in April … and now a year-high in May with 950 sales.

Despite these results, we expect that the C-Max Energi will live only as long as it takes to introduce a Ford’s new “Model E” lineup in Spring of 2019 (offering both a compact car and crossover utility vehicle), and/or the extended range Focus Energi (of which Ford recently filed a trademark application for).




2014 Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e:  

When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we have 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: After initially have some issues getting data on the plug-in Fiat, more registration and rebate data is now available. That being said, the number is estimated. Historically, the average margin of error per month has been about ~40 units in those moments when some confirmed data leaks out (usually from a recall).  For 2016, the yearly estimated total was adjusted upwards (once) by approximately 500 units over the first 12 months.

For most of 2016, the Fiat 500e was a consistent performer, but over the past few months of the year things really ratcheted up.

Heading into 2017 sales continued to remain robust for the 500e given the limited amount of inventory actually on hand (~300-400 units on average), peaking in January of all months at an estimated ~752 sales.

After settling down a little in the past couple months, registrations and inventory has increased of late, and we estimate 665 500es were sold in May.




BMW X5 xDrive40e

x5 xDrive40e

BMW X5 xDrive40e:

The BMW X5 plug-in had an unexpectedly strong debut in the US in 2016…and only get stronger over the year.

In fact the electrified BMW SUV has seen sales as high as 876 units in the past (August 2016).

For 2017, thanks to the “January slowdown” effect on EV sales due to the US federal credit, inventories grew decently during the month, but adversely affected sales, with 262 sold in the first month of 2017 and roughly the same in February at 275 sales.

During the second half of March, inventory of the X5 plug-in began to strengthen, and averaged around 700 units in April and May. And with SUVs to be purchased, sales started to return to the model, with 397 copies moved in March.

Building on past success, the X5 plug-in set a new 2017 high in May with 433 sales.

Check out our first drive review of the 13 mile AER BMW x5 xDrive40e here.

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90 responses to "May 2017 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card"

  1. Ocean Railroader says:

    This will most likely be a average if not none record breaking month for EV’s.In that we are still waiting for the Generation 2 leaf to come out and the Tesla Model 3.

    1. David S. says:

      Did you mean “above” average if not “one” record breaking month ?

    2. Miggy says:

      Great to see the USA sales up once again but it will be interesting to see how USA EV’s sell in the rest of the world after today’s announcement from President Trump.
      Tesla, GM and Ford may all drop in world wide sales.

      1. Asak says:

        I have doubts whether Trump’s statements will have any effect on sales of EVs made by U.S. manufacturers. In particular, Tesla and GM have arguably the best EVs at the moment, so I don’t see how EV buyers could choose to give them the cold shoulder.

        1. Miggy says:

          Wait and see!

        2. menorman says:

          I think Trump’s announcement might actually give EVs a little bit of a bump as people do “whatever they can”.

          1. Asak says:

            It already worked for my family. Since January we’ve converted to 100% EVs. We now have a Leaf, an e-Golf and a Volt (ok, the Volt has a gas range extender, but it runs as an EV 99% of the time).

            I was hoping to get a Bolt, but the price wasn’t right and I don’t really need the 200 mile range. A good deal on the e-Golf popped up and I couldn’t let it pass.

            Trump can do whatever he likes, but he can’t stop us from putting our money where our mouth is. I think he may ironically prove to be a positive for the world, simply because he motivates people to stand up against his idiocy.

  2. jelloslug says:

    Looks like yet another record month!

  3. bro1999 says:

    Interesting that IEVs projects more X sales than S this month. Any particular reason for that? The S has pretty much always outsold the X thus far.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      The S almost always outsells the X.

      No special reason for the X outselling the S in May, at least in regards to demand.

      There was some hiccups with the Model X in April that seemed to push some sales in May, and Tesla (for whatever reason) didn’t batch together much 100 kWh production for the majority of the month (but relatively speaking a lot for June deliveries).

      As far as what we have seen, there is no reason to expect the Model X to continue this “1 month trend” further into 2017 and the future.

      1. unlucky says:

        Having been to the factory recently I’m not surprised the X is outselling the S right now. They were building 4x as many Xes as Ses. I expect it’s temporary though. Either Tesla is just getting in X parts in better supply or they’re building them preferentially because it means more revenue.

      2. Nix says:

        It is either just a 1 month trend, or Elon’s 2014 prediction is finally materializing:

        “During the company’s Q4 2013 letter, Musk predicted that demand for the X would exceed demand for the S. Though he emphasized that this was a guess, he said it was his “best guess.””

  4. David S. says:

    About the Prime, wasn’t it the best seller in April also? And the text says 1,902 sales while the chart shows 1,908.
    Its sales should continue to increase, as inventory is still low (improved from 800 in March, to 900 in April and 1200 in May)

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Yes indeed. Chart is always right, (= …will change the note in the sales story

      Fun fact: Toyota plug-in sales were up 45,692% in May (over the 4 sold in May 2016)

      1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

        Actually it was even better than that; plug-in sales were up 47,700% in May based on Sales Volume (4 x 47,700% = 1,908). The 45,692% was the increase in Daily Selling Rate (DSR%), which was smaller since May 2017 had one extra selling day over May 2016.

        For anyone interested in the number of selling day in a month and when a selling month begins/ends, see the link below:

        1. Jay Cole says:

          You have rendered my “fun fact”…un-fun, (=

          1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

            Oops! Sorry about that Jay.

            Let me turn that frown upside down with my fun fact: this year (Jan-April), Honda has already sold 126 Clarity HFCVs year-to-date, which exceeds the total number of Clarity sold from its introduction in 2002 to 2016. They’re flying off the shelves! 😉


            1. GRA says:

              Even more fun fact – Clarity FCEV leases in May were 119 -see my post downthread.

  5. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    Look at the Prime go………lol

    Fugly as it is, it’s still selling.

    A record month for the Bolt though.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      What astonishes me is that total Volt sales for this year are still substantially higher than the Prius Prime. I see the Prime did edge out the Volt for sales this month, but still the figure seems rather underwhelming compared to what was anticipated.

      1. john1701a says:

        Inventory of Prime is almost non-existent. There simply aren’t any to be purchased in the Midwest still. People who ordered months ago are only just getting delivery now.

        We won’t be able to gauge demand until they are actually available on dealers lots. And since it is new (first generation was only available in 15 states), there is a lag to be expected after inventories catch up.

        1. Jay Cole says:


          John is right on this one, Toyota has the US on a strict set inventory diet as it rolls the car out worldwide.

          The average turn on inventory on the Prius Prime right now is like ~7 days.

          What the demand ultimately will be is very much unknown…hopefully it will still yet go very much higher (as we hope for all plug-ins).

          1. john1701a says:

            Don’t forget, it takes awhile for real-world data to become available too.

            1,350 miles so far on my first ordinary tank (the others were on road trips) and there’s still 2/3 left.

            Many people here (Minnesota) will wait until winter experiences are shared before taking the plunge. Mine didn’t get delivered until April, despite ordering in October. That meant snow only once before it got warm. My wife got her Prime just last night, so it’s all electric A/C for quite awhile.

            btw, the heated-steering wheel is sweet.

            1. Scramjett says:

              Talk to me when you’re at 4700 miles on a single tank like I recently was on Friday in my volt. I probably could have gone for 5000 since we were only at 1/4 tank but my wife still gets nervous at the 1/4 tank mark! 😀

              1. Scramjett says:

                Whoops! Sorry for posting to a cold thread! 😅

                1. Jay Cole says:

                  It’s not ‘that’ cold, just a few days old, (=

          2. Tom says:

            Lots of EV purists here have bashed the PP but it is obvious that Toyota is onto a winning combo. Interestingly in Japan the Nissan eNote is now the top selling vehicle from out of nowhere. I have said before and will now continue the drum beat of this claim, but the eNote will come to the US and Nissan will (within 24 months) add a PHEV version with something like 20-30 miles of range. Thus they will have picked the best parts of the BMW i3 idea and the PP design and merged them into one vehicle.

            1. j says:

              What I’d expect Nissan to do with importing the eNote to the US (Or at least what I’d suggest….) is to have a PHEV version of the car homologated and ready for high production rates when their federal tax credits hit the 200k limit. Build the cars with a battery size of either 5kWh or 16kWh to minimize the cost to produce them, while maxing out the tax credit. Then to sell as many as they can while the credits wind down over the following quarters. That way it doesn’t necessarily cut into Leaf sales by running out the credits earlier. If they price a PHEV eNote anywhere near the price of the current Japanese model (~$16k) then they should be able to move *tons* of them while there is a $7500 federal tax credit, plus any other local or state incentives.

            2. Asak says:

              It doesn’t surprise me at all, and honestly it has little to do with the PP’s features. Toyota was always in position to claim the EV sales lead based on the 15 years of positioning the Prius had as the quintessential eco vehicle. If Toyota hadn’t been being utterly dumb, they could have been here years ago. Hopefully this will convince Toyota to get their heads out of their asses when it comes to EVs. I’ve never seen a company so intent on ceding their market position before.

            3. Dav8or says:

              “Lots of EV purists here have bashed the PP but it is obvious that Toyota is onto a winning combo.”

              It sucks that so many people overlook that Toyota and numerous other car companies now COPY the “winning combo” that GM pioneered years ago. It sucks that even now, GM’s “winning combo” out performs Toyota’s offering, but people still want to believe it is somehow “cutting edge and special. The only thing special about the PP is it got a solid smack upside the cabin by the ugly stick from the planet Xeorgon.

          3. BenG says:

            I hope Toyota plans to crank up production with the 2018 Primes this fall. If so they could sell a ton of them toward the end of the year as people snap them up to secure the $4,500 tax credit.

            A lot of people prefer to wait out the first year of sales of a significantly new model.

  6. Jean-François Morissette says:

    The growth is good…but still, when looking at some data, this is still so tiny sales…Just to give an idea, Ford sold more than 76k F-series for the month, or Toyota sold more than 38k RAV4! Those are crazy numbers, and there are not EVs available to compete that yet.

    1. randomhuman says:

      Yea it’s still a long way to go. But we’re getting there. The Model 3 this year and next year will certainly be very interesting.

      1. Bonaire says:

        What could change next year? We may see Tesla hit 200k in US sales which will ratched down buyers’ ability to get 7500 Fed ITC. GM could be coming close by end of 2018. Trump could close the ITC as well with DoE changes.

        I think 2017 is looking like a great year for EV worldwide but a lot of the very heavy incentives are going away and sales in such countries as Denmark and now Hong Kong need to be shown with real “market conditions”. Be cautiously optimistic but not blindly enthusiastic.

      2. Marshal G says:

        I can’t wait to see the Model 3 line added to the chart!

        1. randomhuman says:

          Exactly! Me neither.

    2. Michael G says:

      There is about a 30% increase over last year. If we get 30% growth every year in 18 years all cars will be EVs.

  7. JeffP says:

    We’ve heard that one before!

  8. SparkEV says:

    So does this mean SparkEV is completely sold out?

    1. vdiv says:

      One day I will learn how to use the series of interwebs

    2. William says:

      Some good values on almost New (2014) Pre Owned Sparks, with under 5k miles, can be had for under $10k. Best quick/fast charge commuter car for those on a tight budget.

  9. William says:

    Would it be safe to say that the Prius Prime is making the BMW i 3 a tough value proposition for cross shopping curious BMW i 3Rex buyers? The cost of having more electric range may not be worth the added cost for those buyers/leasers that can’t or won’t give the GM Volt a second look.

    1. vdiv says:

      You mean more so than with the first gen PiP? Probably yes, to some extent. However looking at the two vehicles, one screams appliance, the other statement.

      1. William says:

        Yeah, the commuter appliance transport device, as opposed to a premium statement of refinement in metro mobility. BMW does have that in its exclusive corner.

      2. john1701a says:

        >> However looking at the two vehicles, one screams appliance, the other statement.

        BMW i3 compared to Prime. Huh? What statement?

        I constantly get compliments about the surprisingly sporty front and curved back. The array of headlights and that wavy glass certainly don’t resemble any appliance.

        Prime… it’s not your father’s Prius.

        1. unlucky says:

          Nice Prius – said no one ever. I actually see that stenciled on the back of a couple Priuses around here.

          Heck they even made fun of its ordinariness in La La Land.

          1. Nix says:

            I saw a guy loading groceries into the back of a GEN I Volt, and said: “Nice Volt!” as I got in my car.

            He looked at me like he was trying to decide whether or not it was time to throw down.

            1. vdiv says:

              Gen.1 Volt has a style, maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but it has harmonious elements throughout. It also managed to combine electric and ICE propulsion without compromising either. Hard to say that about the i3 REx and the PiP/PP

      3. Old Home Owner says:

        Umm… Which one is the statement?

    2. agzand says:

      The i3 has internal competition now, 330e. I doubt too many people cross shop BMW with Toyota.

      1. William says:

        True about the non existent BMW downward mobility cross shopping. It is just the price disparity, between i 3 and the Prius Prime that has got to pull any of the few fence sitters, into the PP camp.

  10. Kdawg says:

    I wonder how many people will buy another PP after this one, if Toyota doesn’t increase the range? I think a lot of people will get a taste of EV driving w/this gateway vehicle, and they will want more EV range after driving their car for 1 month.

    1. Bonaire says:

      Many buy to get into HOV lanes – never plug them in. So, they are buying commuting time.

      1. Asak says:

        I really doubt more than a tiny percentage buys a plugin and never plugs it in. If these people are eco-conscious enough to be shopping for a Prius, they’ll consider plugging it in.

    2. David Murray says:

      Here’s my prediction. This will be the last generation for the standard Prius. Toyota will soon realize that a PHEV is a much better value proposition for hybrid buyers. Now that they see the demand, I suspect they will transition all of their hybrid lines to PHEV. I suspect most will get a small range of 20-25 miles. But the the next generation Prius Prime will have to offer a larger battery. With the larger battery will come more range and better acceleration times.

      1. john1701a says:

        The size, power, cost of the design lends itself to becomes the next-gen standard.

        It also sets up the rest of the fleet for adaptation. Think of how easy the step from RAV4 hybrid to RAV4 Prime could be.

      2. Just_Chris says:

        I like the idea I read some where else of Toyota basically turning all of their existing hybrids into PHEV’s and all of their existing pure-ICE’s into hybrids which then gradually turn into PHEV’s as the PHEV’s transition to battery or hydrogen models.

      3. Dan F. says:

        Not true once the tax credits are gone! W/out tax credit (and state rebates) regular hybrid is the only serious answer in the mid priced area. I drive a plug in hybrid but only because of the ridiculously cheap lease (from lessor getting the tax credit) and the gift (rebate) I got from CA taxpayers.

  11. thebosz says:

    For fans like me of the Pacifica Hybrid, it appears that Chrysler put a stop order on deliveries.

    There appears to be some bug in the OS that causes the car to shut down completely. A number of users on other forums have had the issue.

    Chrysler isn’t talking about it and people are wondering what’s going on.

    1. bro1999 says:

      This story deserves a separate article.

  12. Excoriator says:

    The Mirai has shown a 325% increase over the same five months last year.

    The Clarity has, in five months already exceeded last year’s figure by over 1,500% (Although, as last year’s total was a laughable 8, this figure cannot be taken very seriously)

    However, hydrogen’s growth rate does look pretty phenomenal. At what point will they start seriously affecting plug-in sales? Perhaps they won’t. What do you think?

    1. BenG says:

      I don’t see how fuel cell cards move to big sales anytime in the next 10 years. The refueling infrastructure is just horrible and the cars are not appealing in the least, especially considering the lack of refueling stations around the country.

      I think that manufacturers can safely ignore fuel cells for some time to come: I see no path to them challenging other existing options.

      1. Excoriator says:

        I don’t really see it as a battle. Both are electric cars. It is just the storage mediun for the energy required that is different.

        There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The energy density of Hydrogen is perhaps 200 times that of batteries, but it requires a heavy and bulky tank. You can charge a hydrogen car much quicker of course which is its main advantage. I don’t know how long fuel cells last – the figure of 4,000 hours comes to mind which should give you a couple of hundred thousand miles. But batteries degrade too…

        I guess time will tell which approach is favoured by the public.

    2. unlucky says:

      No surprise to me. I see Mirai’s all over the place. I see one twice a week or so now.

      I’l up to almost a Bolt a day too now (not counting my own). I definitely see more of them than Prius Primes although with the relative sales rates that may not hold up for long.

    3. ricegf says:

      Growth rates for very small numbers are meaningless – “sales doubled!!!” from 1 to 2, etc. Since FCEVs lack the ability to refuel at home, I doubt they’ll see higher volume sales until hydrogen is readily available in all major cities and via a Tesla Supercharger-like highway grid. That’s a good decade away, if ever.

      1. Asak says:

        In a decade we’ll probably be able to recharge a 300 mile EV in 15 minutes meaning hydrogen will be DOA.

        1. Excoriator says:

          I doubt you’ll get anything like that. My impression is that batteries are not going to get significantly better for a long time. And all other things being equal, would you choose a 3 minute wait or a 15 minute wait?

          The Mirai already sells more than about half the plug-ins listed above every month. Given another year of similar growth and it will outsell three quarters of them.

          I suspect it may be battery cars that will lose this battle eventually.

  13. Just_Chris says:

    I think the most encouraging thing about this years sales is that they are not totally dependent on 1 model. In the good old days a good month for the Leaf, volt or PIP meant a good month overall but looking at the chart the top 6 are all capable of over 1000 sales most months (some every month). There are also a fairly decent list of cars that sell in the 200-1000 cars per month range. This is far healthier than markets like France where the market is basically the Zoe.

    Having said that I look forward to more erratic but much larger numbers towards the end of the year.

  14. Don Zenga says:

    iMiev: Game over.
    Smart-EV: Will go solo without its gasmobile counterpart.
    eGolf: 2017 model -Missing without Action.
    Focus-EV: Hope the new Chief will give some direction.
    Soul-EV: Again the new Chief will give some direction based on redesign/Niro-EV.

    Plugin models outnumber Electric by 3:2 and yet Electrics match the sales of Plugins 1:1 in USA while in China, EVs are roaring ahead gaining shares from plugins and holding 80% share.

    So why is that the more and more automakers have plans for plugins.

  15. Don Zenga says:

    Tesla should start publishing the data on monthly basis starting from July.
    At least they can start with Worldwide # first.
    Later it can be on economic zone basis like
    China, EU, North America, Rest of the World.
    Finally on a country basis.

    71,762 Worldwide vehicle sales for April is quite high considering the fact that it’s a non quarter ending month. And this is despite the fact that China has not come back to normal.

    Important thing to note is that the subsidy in China for EV is cut and will be phased out totally by 2021. So with the decline in battery costs, automakers should be able to cut the vehicle price accordingly and bring it in line with gasmobiles. All countries can follow the same. Because automakers take all the subsidy money without taking any cut from their side.

    If GM takes the old Pontiac Vibe (CUV/Tall wagon) which has length that is 7 inches more than Bolt with the height and width roughly the same, applied the electric motors and battery and sold it under Chevy make as eVibe for the same 37.5K with around 200 mile range, then it could go head to head with Tesla Model-3 because of similar size and the extra functionality.

  16. Bob Nan says:

    Mitsubishi iMiev is officially closed and removed from the company’s website.
    Started as a car for mass sales, somehow it ended up as compliance car especially after the $6K price cut. And Ford did the same thing with the Focus. That was surprising.
    At least iMiev sold 50,000 + units worldwide. Adios.

    1. Asak says:

      Well, did you ever look at an i-Miev? The car is basically a piece of crap. It’s like a 1990s era Geo Metro on the inside (super cheap). Its range is absolute crap– just under 60 miles brand new. I actually sort of like the appearance, but I’m in to quirky things, most people probably hate it.

      In the end, low price is all it had, and it reflected that price. Also, good luck even finding one of you wanted to. No real surprise that it didn’t gain any traction.

    2. David Murray says:

      Good riddance to it! The i-Miev was an embarrassment to the EV movement. When people associated EVs with that vehicle, all it did was hurt the entire reputation of EVs.

  17. GRA says:

    Jay, your YTD total for the Mirai hasn’t been updated. By my count it should be 579 now. Also, the Honda Clarity FCEV leased 119 in May,almost doubling its total sales in the first four months (126, or 245 YTD), and tripling sales compared to its previous best month (Jan.- 42). If you’re going to list the Mirai, there’s no logical reason not to include the Clarity as well.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Lol, good timing, literally just did it as you were writing the comment.

      Honestly, we include the Mirai because there has been a lot of interest in it, and Toyota promotes the heck out of it – so people tend to be curious …not because it necessary should be there.

      If we were going one way or the other, we’d be more likely inclined to just removed the “also of interest” note if it got too complicated.

      Perhaps when the all-electric and PHEV clarity comes out – and if they sell in a volume enough to warrant a recap, we can put the fuel cell data in there too.

      1. Bob Nan says:

        Powered by an electric motor, the FCVs like Mirai and Clarity are also high efficiency vehicles, besides the Natural gas which is the feedstock for Hydrogen is much cleaner than Oil.

        Much much cleaner when compared to the Sands Oil from Canada and Venezuela.
        With the plugins increasing exponentially, there is no choice but to promote the FCVs aggresively by those 2 automakers.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          I added a note in about the Clarity (~119 sales in May) alongside the Mirai…so everyone can just pipe down about it already, hehe

  18. Jean-François Morissette says:

    Has the new eGolf finally arrived in the US?

    Or is it in June?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      It has not.
      And we hope so (language of late has been unspecific as to the month).

      1. Jean-Francois Morissette says:

        Oh Jay, I have seen some pictures in Quebec, the eGolf is arriving (it’s a first for us, it was not available before in the previous version). So maybe it will arrive in North America in June for real.

        By the way, I don’t want an eGolf for myself, I am just happy to see more models, more diversity, etc.

    2. Don Zenga says:

      VW will sell dGolf (Diesel). They may open a new lineup like dJetta, dPassat, dTiguan and so on to compete against e series of vehicles.

      If u r looking for an EV, Hyundai Ioniq-EV is the best choice: 30K (incl Dest Charge), 124 mile range and 119 cu. ft. of interior space which is more than Sonata/Passat.

      5 months of 2017 is over and do you think they will launch eGolf for the next 4 months (up to Sep) or 7 months if they want to sell it up to December for MY-2017.

  19. Spoonman. says:

    No Karma Revero deliveries?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      At least for now, we do not tally them. Karma doesn’t disclose monthly numbers, and the volume is hella low…so to attempt to do so would be a fool’s errand.

      We hope to get to be able to get an exact handle on numbers at year’s end/half-year (when there is more disclosures) – at which time we would update the list/add a note to reflect the results.

      1. Don Zenga says:

        When some people can buy BMW i8 plugin for 140K or Acura NSX hybrid for 160K, then there is market for the Karma Revero priced at 130K and comes with an impressive 31 mile range and a Solar rooftop to charge the battery.

        May be Tesla should add the solar roof to its Model-S.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          There is some demand, but I think how much/to what extent is very debatable. The first gen Fisker Karma was not a strong seller relatively speaking (for the time and pricing), and that brand was seriously damaged…both at launch with reliability/usability issues, then through the protracted bankruptcy.

          Although Wanxiang (nee Revero) is actually a much stronger/more reliable backer for the “Karma”, the stigma is still there, as is the Chinese association. The BMW i8 and Acura NSX have a badass-ery type image, and with those cars, 95% of Americans wouldn’t have to travel hundreds (or thousands) of miles for dealers/service, and potentially then wait months for repair parts on their BMW/Acura like they would have to on a Revero Karma.

          One has to remember that there was a competition for Fisker’s IP, assets and US certs when it was in Chapter 11…and Wanxiang didn’t originally win the bid. Ultimately they did, but there was promises/covenants to produce in the US, and bring the Karma back into production that secured them the “win”.

          Given the abnormally high pricing, the lack of any significant updating/redesign on the Karma, and the incredibly shallow dealer base, I don’t think it is a stretch to assume Revero has no serious intention of making this particular offering a mass market one for the US. Perhaps with the 2nd gen Atlantic platform (or something else there might be), but even at that, if you follow the R&D dollars since the purchase of Fisker’s assets, they are mostly to the Chinese factory and the Atlantic-based project there.

          Sidenote: Acura and BMW have only combined sold 1,985 NSX/i3s over the past 12 months (516, 1,469 respectively), that’s not a huge number…especially if you are assigning some percentage of that number as potential ~$130,000 Karma Revero sales over the next year


  20. Jean-François Morissette says:

    7 cars with 4-digits sales, is that a new record?

  21. JeffP says:

    Looks like plug-in vehicles sales topped 1% of the total new vehicle sales in the US in May, and Chevy’s plug-ins topped 2% of its total sales in May.

    Are those new high water marks?

  22. Don Zenga says:

    This is the best month with sales topping 15,000 mark again and reaching 1% is a cause to celebrate and congrats to all automakers. Chrysler has done excellent job with a 1,000 + sales (500e and Pacifica). Hyundai is slowly accelerating the delivery of Ioniq(Hybrid and Electric) and its one of the best EVs.

    Fiat 500 total sales is 1,240 units and out of that if EV had 665 sales, then its more than 50% share and this is the first time and a record. Is it because of attractive lease price.

    How did BMW 330e hit a high 475 mark. Its priced 10K more than Model-3. Were there any discount on it. Is 330e eating into the i3 sales. Its possible that a salesman can prompt a potential i3 shopper into 330e since both are in same showroom.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Your most probable reason for the success of the 330e (now that there stock) is not dis-similar to that of the Prius Prime.

      Specifically, that the 330e is net-cheaper than the near base 3-Series (as is the Prime to the standard Prius) once the federal credit is applied (especially so inside a lease). So most of the 475 330e sales are conquests from potential 3 series buyers (and why not?)…which is why we have always thought the potential for monthly sales has been well north of 500 units month for the BMW, it has just been the wait on inventory.

      The 500e split is pretty simple, FCA is stacking up the ZEV credits. Fiat consistently offers a variation of the $100/month, $1000 down lease in California (thanks to the fed cred/CVRP); whereas the base 500 (muchly inferior to the 500e) will set you back $230/month, $3k down. So the showroom floor play for Fiat salespeople on the 500e is a natural one.