May EV Sales Strong In US, Thanks To Some Help From The Tesla Model X

JUN 2 2016 BY STATIK 75

The arrival of reliable production for the Tesla Model X helped May EV sales in the US stay elevated

The arrival of reliable production for the Tesla Model X helped May EV sales in the US stay elevated

The resurgence of the US plug-in electric vehicle market continues to prove itself in 2016, crossing into the 5-digit mark for the 3rd month in a row.

For May, some ~11,423 EVs were sold, which was a 8% gain over the 10,557 sold in April, and up 7.2% from May of 2015.  (May 2016 had 24 selling days vs 26 in 2015)

Tesla sold some ~1,200 Model S sedans in the US, despite only re-starting deliveries on the refreshed model in the 3rd week of the month (InsideEVs/Michael B)

Tesla sold some ~1,200 Model S sedans in the US, despite only re-starting deliveries on the refreshed model in the 3rd week of the month (InsideEVs/Michael B)

As noted in the results, May’s result was slightly better than a year ago, but we should note that last year’s sales also ended up being the surprise best “non-December/tax season” result of the year – with some 12 EVs setting a new yearly high.

Truly, May of 2015 was the outlier of a pretty dismal 2015 for US EV sales.

Helping out EV sales the most for May was the Tesla Model X, as production seemed to run at a steady, yet controlled pace throughout the entire month; we estimated that some 1,600 were sold.  Of interest, the Model X also leapt past the Nissan LEAF on the sales chart into 4th.

During May, Ford (as a whole) produced over 2,000 plug-ins for the second monthin a row, while the Fusion Energi sold a year-high 1,453 copies.

Also lending a hand was the Chevrolet Volt, whose 1,901 sales wasn’t a new year high (that was set in April at 1,983 sales), but it was an all-time best for the brand for May…which had previously sold ~1,6XX Volts the past 3 years running.

A handful of refreshed 2017 Fusion Energis were sold in June...just enough to propel it to a new year-high

A handful of refreshed 2017 Fusion Energis were sold in June…just enough to propel it to a new year-high

Looking at the dynamics of the market, it would seem that all-electric offerings are under pressure from upcoming new and longer range releases in the next 12 months (Bolt EV, updated e-Golf, updated BMW i3, 2nd generation Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model 3, etc), while plug-in hybrids that are mostly immune from “range-based” concerns are selling well.

Naturally we would be remiss to not mention the “race for the top spot” for plug-in sales all-time in the US.  Thanks to another poor showing for the longer range (107 miles) 2016 Nissan LEAF, the Chevrolet Volt added almost 1,000 points to its lead – which now stands at 96,621 vs 94,288…numbers the Chevy will ultimately need all of in order to keep ahead of the next generation LEAF in 2017.

Editor’s Note: Whether or not May of 2016 was actually marginally lower or higher then 2015 we won’t be able to definitely say until some of the estimated data settles/is confirmed via Tesla and full month rebate statistics

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

Other Statistical Points of Interest from May 2016

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla Motors* – 2,800
  2. GM – 2,340
  3. Ford – 2,045
  4. BMW – 1,409
  5. Nissan – 979
  6. VW Group -847

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In May*

  1. PHEV – 6,019 – 52.7%
  2. BEV5,404 – 47.3%

New Year Highs Set In May By Model (previous 2016 high in brackets)

  • Ford Fusion Energi – 1,453 (1,331)
  • Audi A3 Sportback e-tron – 351 (332)
  • BMW i8 – 146 (130)
  • smart ED – 75 (70)
  • BMW 330e – 67 (24)

(*) estimated

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

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

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75 Comments on "May EV Sales Strong In US, Thanks To Some Help From The Tesla Model X"

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David Murray
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David Murray

Not bad considering the low gas prices and the fact the Prius PHV is no longer on the list (well, might as well not be on the list) I expect November and December to be the most interesting months this year since several new vehicles will be on the list.

Anthony
Guest

I look at the chart above and smile. Remember back just 4 years ago, and how there were only 9 EVs being sold in the US?

And even after all these years, Volt vs Leaf is still neck and neck.

TomArt
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TomArt

Thanks for the perspective! wow…

HVACman
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HVACman

Jay – Wouldn’t Ford, at 2,045 plug-in vehicles sold in May, be the #3 manufacturer?

suresh
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suresh

does worldwide sales figures include US or its the rest of the world?

European point of view
Guest
European point of view

Sales in the US in May this year are less than May 2015 , how can you say they are strong ???

voracity
Guest

Well, according to this:

http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html#autosalesE

The entire US car market is down in May 2016. Looking at market share, EVs were 0.71% in May 2015, and 0.74% in May 2016, so not too bad.

In reality, the US EV market share has been flat for almost 3 years. (It was at about 0.76% in the last quarter of 2013.) Note there is a very strong correlation with fuel prices. I’m not just saying that — I’ve done some quick calculations (taking world EV market share as a less fuel-sensitive baseline), and there’s a strong statistical correlation with fuel price over those 3 years (almost 0.8). That’s not conclusive of course, but it is suggestive.

Incidentally, if you were to assume you could do a straight adjustment of the current market share based on the ratio of today’s fuel price to that from 3 years ago, the current US EV market share would sit at 1.3%. That’s even more speculative than the above, but it’s fun to speculate. 🙂

Big Solar
Guest
Big Solar

what was the one “other” ev sold this year?

Mikael
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Mikael

Worse than May ’15 which was worse than May ’14.

When is the US market going to grow for real? Something drastic needs to be done.

carcus
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carcus

I blame it all on Nissan.

Nissan sprinted first out of the gate, leaving behind a high temp battery turd, … and then … what?

Carlos prances around, talks a big game, … and that’s about it.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Nissan and Renault are doing just fine globally. People are different and tastes are different, and more importantly, tastes change. It might come across as a shock to the kinds of people who troll this site, but most people do not blindly run towards the car with the most range or the car with the most powerful motor. Nissan had a rather successful car, that for a variety or reasons did not quite click in subsequent years in the US the same way that they did in Europe. They have a revamped car coming out soon. Things could easily change for the better or worse. It probably has nothing to do with specific EV-creds.

carcus
Guest
carcus

Nissan introduced the Leaf in the US Dec 2010 … 5 1/2 years ago. Shortly thereafter, hot weather battery issues became apparent.

It’s been 5 1/2 years, … so troll around the internet, and then tell me what Nissan has done that ACTUALLY (non Nissan advert) shows they’ve made some headway on the problem?

i.e.
— Better battery chemistry (so far, internet evidence is “Lizard” is none better)
— Air cooling (i.e. fans)
— Better air cooling (i.e. cabin A/C)
— Liquid cooling
— Freon coolling

— Hell, just stop offering the car in hot environments

.=== anything ??? How long should we wait for Nissan to “get busy” on the issue? 6 years? 8 years? 10 years?

Terawatt
Guest
Terawatt

Where can I get objective information about these claims you’re making? My impression is

– only a tiny tiny fraction of the battery packs have had any issues with heat, even in hot climates

– LEAF drivers are Nissan’s most satisfied customers, in the US as everywhere else

– Nissan honors the battery warranty it gave – and that it extended (including retroactively for 2011-2012 owners) when the “lizard” battery was introduced with the 2013 model.

Is this wrong?!? Do you have the numbers to show that it is wrong (or right, for that matter)? What’s your source?

And, out of curiosity, do you drive the LEAF yourself?

Carcus
Guest
Carcus

I’d start here:

http://www.electricvehiclewiki.com/Battery_Capacity_Loss

Then I’d spend some time on the Leaf owners forum to get more recent info.

Mark C
Guest
Mark C

I know the hot battery issue is worst in places like AZ & NV, but {and I may be alone in this thought} I believe in that climate change issue because here in AL, I’ve checked weather data over the past 40 years to confirm that it’s noticably warmer here too. I want a heat tolerant battery here, and I don’t have enough faith in the Nissan Leaf and it’s battery heat tolerance to buy one.

mike w
Guest

Exactly correct. Nissan was first out the door with a car and then spent 4 years trying to FIX their problem with chemistry instead of cooling. We gave up on Nissan, traded our 2011 Leaf for a 2016 Volt when the $6500 battery in the Nissan went bad. Super happy with the Volt and will never go back to Nissan!!!!!

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

Dan said:

“It might come across as a shock to the kinds of people who troll this site, but most people do not blindly run towards the car with the most range or the car with the most powerful motor.”

So, Dan, everyone who recognizes the reality that plug-in EVs with better range sell significantly better than those with shorter range is a “troll”? Gee, I guess that makes me a “troll” for pointing out that:

1. Tesla cancelled the Model S40 because only about 2% (or less) of customers ordered it.

2. It has been widely noted that over the past year or so, sales of current PEVs have fallen off sharply, mainly because potential customers are waiting for longer-range PEVs which will be coming in the next year or two.

* * * * *

When one starts accusing others of being a “troll” for pointing out entirely relevant facts… then one needs to look in the mirror to see who the actual troll is.

Josh
Guest

Because of Tesla’s delivery cadence (and large market share), you have to measure quarter vs. quarter not month vs month.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

Entirely correct.

It’s counter-productive to focus on the month-to-month rise and fall of sales. That can be greatly affected by short-term variations in production rate, as well as sales promotions.

It’s a rare year in which there won’t be at least one month with lower sales than the previous year. It’s pretty clear that this year will have better U.S./Canadian sales than last year… not that that’s saying much. What I’m interested in is to see if 2016 totals exceed 2014 totals. I’d like to think the low 2015 totals were an aberration. So far, though, I don’t see a lot of hope that 2016 sales will be higher overall than 2014 sales. 🙁

Josh Bryant
Guest

I actually created a spreadsheet with all the data and played around with the plotting. Here is an example:

Josh Bryant
Guest
Josh Bryant
Guest

Is there a spreadsheet version of this (and previous year’s) sales data?

I would like to have some fun doing some plotting of seasonality.

ffbj
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ffbj

Model X production problems seem to be fading as its delivery to China has been moved up a quarter.
Moved from 2017 Q1, to 2016 Q3.

Terawatt
Guest
Terawatt

Unless it’s X demand that’s fading!

ffbj
Guest
ffbj

Perhaps both, as they not mutually exclusive.

Tech01x
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Tech01x

That article is not accurate.

Tesla changed the Model X production allocation to prioritize China early, that’s true, but the decision was made last year. Basically, the Tesla executive was saying that Tesla chose to prioritize China over Europe for the Model X rollout.

ModernMarvelFan
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ModernMarvelFan

I am surprised that A3 eTron is doing worse than X5e…

Terawatt
Guest
Terawatt

Yup. As famously illustrated on Top Gear, BMW could slap its logo on any turd…

http://www.sniffpetrol.com/AdBMWshit.jpg

Chris B
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Chris B

I look at Ford’s numbers and think maybe they are the smart ones. They have “minimal effort”, lowest risk, practically least interesting PHEVs and yet their sales are about as good as anyone’s. Indeed, GM almost seems foolish to have bothered redesigning the Volt for the modest sales delta to gen 1. Ford is playing a card where they are making just enough investment to understand EVs and not get caught with their pants down when they eventually take off…shrewd move.

David Murray
Guest
David Murray

That’s essentially what I’ve been saying. It’s funny how inferior their product is, but still manages to sell well. It makes you wonder how many they could sell if they really put effort into it. For example, putting the PHEV drivetrain into some other vehicles. They don’t really advertise their plug-in offerings either. So my guess is, they are happy selling the number of plug-ins they are selling now. But I think when model-3 comes to market, the pressure is going to be on with all manufacturers. GM is going to be ready with Volt and Bolt. What is Ford going to have?

Terawatt
Guest
Terawatt

Money?

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

But I think when model-3 comes to market, the pressure is going to be on with all manufacturers. GM is going to be ready with Volt and Bolt. What is Ford going to have?

Yeah, that’s the $64,000 question. Will Ford’s mediocre, low-range PHEVs give them sufficient experience with designing and building PEVs, to really compete with GM’s Voltec technology (let alone Tesla’s tech), when EV sales really take off?

Ford refusing to develop a compelling plug-in EV seems to be a case of “penny wise and pound foolish”.

Anon
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Anon

Don’t forget Ford bought a Model X for $55,000 over sticker price, so they could reverse engineer it.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

You can be sure that most if not all other major auto makers have bought, or will soon be buying, one or more Model X’s to take test and take apart (and perhaps do a bit of reverse engineering on), too. Bought anonymously through third parties. It’s standard practice for auto makers to check out the competition.

It’s just that Ford, unusually, got outed in this particular case.

ModernMarvelFan
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ModernMarvelFan

“Don’t forget Ford bought a Model X for $55,000 over sticker price, so they could reverse engineer it.”

Reverse engineer all the “hubris”?

Pablo
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Pablo

Tesla’s guidance to sell between 80,000 and 90,000 vehicles this year means that they need to sell at least 7,000 vehicles per month for the rest of the year to get to the lower part of that goal. I think they’re more likely going to miss those sales figures. I’ll be curious to see what next month’s figures are since they claim to have fixed the remaining quality issues that plagued the TMX. Fingers crossed!

super390
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super390

Was that guidance for US sales or worldwide?

ffbj
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ffbj

Worldwide, and in regard to what Pablo said the 90k seems a stretch to me too, but I recently heard Elon allude to 100k possibly, or maybe I was just hearing things.

Josh Bryant
Guest

He said 80k – 100k at the shareholder meeting. I would take that to mean 80,001.

CDAVIS
Guest
CDAVIS

When Tesla Model 3 goes into production it will likely be the 800lb Gorilla on Jays’s monthly sales charts…perhaps eventually reaching 2X the combined total of all other EVs…or if Apple Car…

…it’s getting interesting.

MatteM3
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MatteM3

A bar chart of that would look fantastic. A big bar for TM3, probably a third of it for bolt and a dot for everybody else.

JyTesla3
Guest
JyTesla3

The real measuring stick is the outlander PHEV. If the outlander PHEV doesn’t success in the US, we might be in for a rough ride.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

“Helping out EV sales the most for May was the Tesla Model X, as production seemed to run at a steady, yet controlled pace throughout the entire month; we estimated that some 1,600 were sold.”

How can this be? The Tesla bashers assure us that the Model X is a failure and that most reservation holders have cancelled.

It’s almost like… what they say isn’t absolutely, completely, 100% true.

😀 😀 😀

JyTesla3
Guest
JyTesla3

Aren’t they still doing to original reservation? Let’s wait until all the reservations have been fulfilled.

Terawatt
Guest
Terawatt

I think you’d have to be far from neutral if you don’t asmit the X has been a disaster so far. I haven’t seen the numbers, but if it has a similar effect on Tesla in most people’s mind as it has in mine, there’s no way it can possibly be good, even if it was narrowly speaking making money.

Maybe I’m simply late to realize it, but before the X I often thought accusations that Tesla was about spin, hype, bling and pretension were off-target. The things they did made a lot of sense, even the more glitzy stuff. With the X here’s been a big departure into marketing nonsense territory. And the car itself arguably makes no sense at all – offering no more, and sometimes less, utility than a Model S.

I fear the X is going to be a drag financially as well as with respect to reputation for many years to come. The saving grace is just the thought that maybe, if not for the X, Tesla would have made all these mistakes with M3. Which would surely have ended the company.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu
Terawatt wrote: “I think you’d have to be far from neutral if you don’t asmit the X has been a disaster so far.” I certainly don’t pretend to be neutral when it comes to Tesla Motors. But neither do I think I’ve lost track of reality. And I would call the Model X very, very far away from a “disaster”. A bit more trouble-ridden than we hoped for, but it’s no Edsel! “Maybe I’m simply late to realize it, but before the X I often thought accusations that Tesla was about spin, hype, bling and pretension were off-target.” Tesla uses a level of hype in its PR that is significantly greater than most other auto makers. A level of hype which, as a Tesla fan, makes me squirm. Tesla’s actual achievements are awesome; why do they think (or does Elon think) they need to exaggerate? “I fear the X is going to be a drag financially as well as with respect to reputation for many years to come.” I seem to recall people predicting that over the early production problems with the Model S. Now, Elon has said that if he had to do it over again, he wouldn’t have… Read more »
Josh Bryant
Guest

Model X might not be a disaster, but it is not a runaway hit like the Model S.

It will sell well enough, because demand for that class of vehicle is very high. But I don’t expect it to runaway with the Lux SUV class because of all the well documented shortcomings in the “Utility” part of the vehicle acronym. (No fold flat seats, No roof racks, Limited towing range, etc.).

It is really the world’s coolest minivan, with 911 performance. Maybe the first minivan every build that guys will want to own.

Assuming the production woes don’t financially sink Tesla (unlikely now with the recent capital raise), it will be a good lesson learned heading into Model 3.

TomArt
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TomArt

The third row folds flat, but yes, I’ve heard that the second row does not, and that they really cut into the versatility for packing in big stuff.

ModernMarvelFan
Guest
ModernMarvelFan

Apparently because 2nd row don’t fold flat that Consumer Report finds the MOdel S more usable than Model X in carrying a bicycle.

That is totally a mistake on Tesla’s part for making a Crossover less utilitarian…

Four Electrics
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Four Electrics

The X may well be termed a disaster simply for delaying the Model 3, and it is undeniable that it has. The opportunity cost was staggering.

Bul_gar
Guest
Bul_gar

Why people buy that soap-dish i3?
Volt is much much better than i3.

JyTesla3
Guest
JyTesla3

Greenies hate GM because of the Hummer.
Conservatives hate GM of union labor.
Liberals hate GM because of the bailout.
Moderates hate GM because they got burned with shitty cars for years.

Terawatt
Guest
Terawatt

You can make the same quips about BMW. Or any large manufacturer with a long history 🙂

I would much rather have an i3, and I’d go for the 2017 BEV version, not the Rex.

While I’m sure the Volt is a good car, it certainly doesn’t have the flare of the BMW. Or the efficient production techniques. Or the recycled materials. Or the low weight and high stiffness that carbon fiber reinforced plastics do. And it’s not as quick or as easy to park. Finally it’s nowhere near BMWs image. I’m a one-man household and the i3 has plenty of space for me…

Bonaire
Guest
Bonaire

Flair? Basically “impress friends” stuff? I think that says it all. If one must buy a car to impress friends, maybe the friends should chip in and pay a little bit of the monthly payment.

ModernMarvelFan
Guest
ModernMarvelFan

Flair!

You also forgot the “image” that he mentioned.

Now, we all know why people buy BMWs… =)

It has been confirmed.

TomArt
Guest
TomArt

GM is a lightening rod, isn’t it…Generous Motors…Government Motors…

…still, they made great advances in labor relations, HUD, AWD, EVs, etc., in the 80s and 90s. However, they dropped all the vehicle advances after 1 production run each.

The Volt is the only real leap that they’ve made in this century, and fortunately, it has lasted more than 1 production run!

Josh Bryant
Guest

I am not a GM fan, but I strongly considered the Gen 1 Volt, instead leasing a Leaf.

My reasons, Volt was significantly smaller rear seat and cargo capacity. And for my very long commute, the economics of the LEAF made much more sense. Circa 2010, I was also concerned with the complexity of the dual drivetrain.

Turns out it was the LEAF that had more issues, but I made the right decision in the end.

Part 2.

We did try to lease a Volt at the end of my LEAF lease (for my wife actually), but the sales rep lied about it being in stock (said in stock online) when I called ahead. Then wanted to talk numbers, refusing to offer any of the national incentives I already knew about.

Finally he suggested that maybe we should check out one of their SUVs or Pickup trucks, because they were in the same color that my wife liked.

Maybe BMW just wants to sell the i3 more than GM wants to sell the Volt.

ModernMarvelFan
Guest
ModernMarvelFan

So, got to another Chevy dealer that will deal with you on the Volt…

Bloggin
Guest
Bloggin

I wonder how much the PHV vs BEV mix will change once the more affordable 200+ mile EVs are available.

Also with China’s 31mile baseline for an electric vehicle to benefit from incentives, the the next gen PHVs in the US that are sold in China should get a boost in EV range to 31 miles also.

Four Electrics
Guest
Four Electrics

It’s funny to note that the X has outsold the S two months in a row, but given the S refresh, it’s not significant other than to foreshadow a very large batch of poor quality cars in the final month of the quarter.

ModernMarvelFan
Guest
ModernMarvelFan

I wouldn’t put too much weight into it since Tesla shippment is always in discrete chunks and by allocations for regions. Model X is new which is more likely to be allocated to the US where the Model S will be varying more from country to country from month to month

Phr≡d
Guest
Phr≡d

grrr.. thot graduation presents would carry May – humbly wait for June numbers, based on the same anticipation..
(don’t know any HS/college grads that have Any interest in a vehicle that is Not electric – not that I know many)