U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Wow Us Again This May



May triumphs as another amazing month for the EV segment, and it’s not even the middle of the year.

Q2 2018 should prove incredible and it only stands to get better from here. By December, growth should be remarkable. For the month, an estimated grand total of 24,560 plug-in electric vehicles were sold. This moves the month into the number four spot overall historically for U.S. EV sales.

Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):

  1. March 2018 – 26,373
  2. December 2017 – 26,107
  3. December 2016 – 24,785
  4. May 2018 – 24,560
  5. September 2017 – 21,242

Details Here: Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard

Historical Analysis: Inside EVs Monthly Report Card Archive

The Tesla Model 3 topped our chart once again with a whopping 6,250 estimated deliveries. This makes it five months in a row that the Model 3 has been the leader, and May’s numbers set another all-time record. We assume that it will not leave that top position at any point in the foreseeable future and will continue to set and break records month after month. June should be pretty fantastic, however, many people still believe that Tesla will do everything it can to remain under the 200k mark prior to July. We’ll see how that all pans out soon enough and will be providing you with more related information in the near future.

The Toyota Prius Prime breaks its own all-time record and continues to hold the second-place position for the month and the year, with 2,924 sold. The Chevrolet Volt grabs up the third position for May based on our estimates (1,675), however, it’s not enough to push it into the top five on the year. Chevrolet Bolt sales were down again and at a low point for 2018 as inventories are drying up, more Bolt EVs were delivered to South Korea, and GM is preparing for another model year switch. Our estimates put the Bolt in the seventh spot for May (1,125), though it still remains in fifth for the year as a whole.

Overall for the year, the Tesla Model S and Model X land in the third and fourth positions on our chart after both met expectations with a decent sales month (5th and 6th for May, respectively). According to our research, Tesla sold an estimated 1,520 Model S sedans and 1,450 Model X SUVs.

The Nissan LEAF and Honda Clarity PHEV were the only other vehicles to sell over 1,000 copies in May. LEAF sales spiked significantly (1,576), driving it up to the fourth position for May. Additionally, this was the best showing for the LEAF since December of 2016. The Clarity keeps pushing along pretty incredibly, to say the least. Honda delivered 1,639 Clarity Plug-in Hybrids last month, putting it in the fourth spot on our chart for the month of May.

Until next month, we’ll leave you with some other compelling data and another look at the final chart.

Other Statistical Points of Interest from May 2018

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 9,220
  2. Toyota – 2.924
  3. General Motors* – 2,830
  4. BMW Group –  2,046
  5. Honda – 1,706
  6. Nissan –  1,576

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In May*

  1. BEV – 12,870
  2. PHEV – 11,690

*Based on estimates due to the lack of U.S. monthly sales reporting by Tesla and GM, as well as BMW i3 splits (BEV + REx)

Tesla Model 31875248538203875625018,305
Toyota Prius Prime1496205029222626292412,018
Tesla Model S80011253375125015208,070
Tesla Model X7009752825102514506,975
Chevrolet Bolt EV117714241774127511256,775
Chevrolet Volt*7139831782132516756,478
Nissan LEAF  1508951500117115765,292
Honda Clarity PHEV5948811061104916395,224
Ford Fusion Energi6407947827427403,698
BMW i3 (BEV + REx)  3826239925034242,924
BMW 530e2244136895187292,573
BMWX5 xDrive 40e2615966275634992,546
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**3754504804256502,380
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV3003233732732971,566
Fiat 500e**  2102352852152501,195
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron1451992141892671,014
Kia Niro PHEV155246227120218966
Hyundai IONIQ PHEV22178218180217815
Volvo XC60 PHEV109155167141214786
BMW 330e101142202166150761
Porsche Cayenne S-E11312119726559755
Volkswagen e-Golf  17819816412876744
Mercedes C350e29172208158166733
Kia Soul EV  115163157152133720
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid1249336275663
Kia Optima PHEV8610315614298585
Mini Countryman SE PHEV12710074106163570
Ford C-Max Energi2341421055718556
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV991069390126514
Mercedes GLE 550e44701819383471
smart ED  849010380110467
Ford Focus Electric  70731378388451
Honda Clarity BEV  203104485237444
Hyundai Sonata PHEV5254783867289
BMW i83239475764239
Mercedes GLC 350e5575964185
Volvo S90 T8 PHEV2729522930167
Hyundai IONIQ EV  49360732151
BMW 740e1823316017149
Mercedes B250e  40493373132
Cadillac CT6 PHEV624174230119
Mercedes S550e133119743
2018 U.S. Sales Totals12,04916,84526,37319,68124,56099,508
2017 U.S. Sales Totals11,00412,37518,54213,36716,59617,04615,54016,51421,24214,31517,17826,107199,826
2018 Worldwide Sales*82,00081,000141,000128,450159,346591,796

Above – 2018 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Monthly or Quarterly Totals, ** Estimated (Based on State/Rebate Data and other reports), Credit to HybridCars.com for assistance on Hyundai/Kia and some BMW data. BEV models are designated with the icon.

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

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60 Comments on "U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Wow Us Again This May"

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You forgot to add Worldwide sales for April to the totals.

#1 & #4 sales months are in 2018. That’s so nice. Hope by December, all the Top 5 will be in 2018. Wonderful.


We’ll need 4 months with over 26,107 sales. I expect July, August, September, and October will all easily clear that bar, so we won’t even need November or December involved (although I expect they’ll also clear that.)

If Tesla ever gets to 5k a week, 20K a month in Model 3’s alone. I have a feeling that will be the early S curve moment in EV adoption.

so what’s the growth YOY, about 50%? – looks likely that US numbers will hit 300k for 2018, maybe even 350k?

For YoY growth I get 38.4%, but of course that’s likely to keep increasing in future months, as TM3 production continues to ramp up sharply. If it’s not more than 50% by the end of the year, then something will have gone very wrong at Tesla!

Wow, Tesla has triple the sales of the next lowest manufacturer and of course the Model 3 which is still relatively early in its production ramp leads the pack too.

As the only thing the Prime has going for it is Toyota reliability, it is surprising that GM can’t beat this car.

…and price.
The Prime starts at $27k MSRP before $4.5k Fed rebate and ~$2.5-3k dealer discount (according to ev-vin.blogspot.com). This, plus Toyota’s prestige and Prius brand loyalty, makes the Prime rather hard to beat once Toyota decided to produce it in reasonable quantities.
They could sell more if they wanted – they aren’t making much of an effort in Europe, it seems.

Being the proud owner of an ’89 Camry I can’t argue that point. The thing runs like a champ, just replace all the electric components, and they can run forever.
GM is not interested in winning the game, they are just happy to be a part of it. That’s why Bolts are going into services where they will make money, rather than into the hands of buyers which loses them money, like in states with no CARB, no ZEV credits. That’s why so few Bolt owners in Canada, though demand is high.
GM is in no hurry to flood the world with a money loser. Once certain plants are complete and producing batteries, or if the tax credits are extended, doubtful, but entirely implausible, they may increase production.

Despite the 20 evs in 5 years, that was first said a year ago and again this year, time-elon-gation btw, pronouncements from GM I just don’t see it.
Ain’t gonna happen, no how no way. Maybe 5 Models in 20 years.

for someone who talks a big EV game and often running a big foul mouth, you drive a gas Camry? What a freaking loser and EV pretender you are…

What do you suppose he should do with his still functioning car?

Sell it of course.

He should do what all EV drivers have done- sell the ICE and make the transition. Or don’t. But not one EV driver over 25 years old has driven an EV from day one.

Sell it or convert it to an ev!

Studies indicate that it’s more environmentally friendly to drive an older car, than to buy a new one, even if it’s an ev. I drive very little as I retired, maybe 35 mi. a week.
Junking it and then buying a new ev is less good overall for the environment.

In addition it’s very cheap as the insurance and tabs are incredibly low.
Thanks for the kind words.

You have a typo for GM, should be 2800 (Volt+Bolt) for the #3 monthly spot.
Thanks for all your work!

Good catch! Thank you!

Wowed is not the word I would use. Slooow, but steady increase mostly by adding models and no real growth in existing models.

I am excited, at least, that adding models DOES increase EVs marketshare instead of cannibalizing it inside a static marketshare.

The existing car market works the same way: creating more and more models to try to fill more and more niches. Other than the four generic cars, the Camry, Accord, Corolla and Civic which have been on top of the sales charts for 30 years, nothing called a ¨car¨ sells well anymore.

How many more EV’s does Tesla have to deliver in June to reach that milestone of 200,000?

About 7,000?

Are they going to delay it till the first week of July?

June will be very interesting.

Well Nix, if Tesla is going to game the quarter they would probably have to start the M3 embargo next week. It’s starting to look like we might be wrong on this one.

Some instant karma for Honda. Well done.

I dont think I’ve ever seen commented on in this or any other similar report, AFAIK pretty much all these sales are production constrained.
So whilst they are reaching all time highs, they could be so much higher if manufacturers would just pull their finger out and produce what the customer wants. And this is for, with one or two exceptions, sub optimal cars in terms of price, range and body shape.
When Tony Seba rolls out his S Curve graph one of the thing i doubt he mentions is that this is probably the first product where (again with one or two honorable exceptions) the manufacturers are reluctant to sell the product !
Roll on 2020 when we can see if VW, BMW, Mercedes really are serious.

In every disruptive tech revolution, market leaders are reluctant to sell the new tech. That leaves an opening for new “young Turk” companies (like Tesla) to seize market share, and it’s why (for example) Eastman Kokak went bankrupt. Some current market leaders in selling automobiles will go bankrupt, too. We just don’t know which ones.

Its an easy shot to mention EK, many do, but I disagree with that analysis, they went bankrupt for the same reason that buggy whip manufacturers did, technology simply eliminated their main product. The fact they possibly foresaw digital (in a very klunky way) was never going to help them, the massive revenue stream from film was always going to be impossible to replace whatever they did.

Can you give an example regards the items on the S Curve where manufacturers actively resisted selling the new tech. Which manufacturers resisted refrigerators, TV’s, color TV’s, VCR’s, microwaves, dishwashers etc and tried to stymie their production and especially enmasse?

I can think of blackberry regards physical keyboards ( Nokia was mostly internal mismanagement regards OS ), everything else, pretty much everyone was onboard across the industry either because it was new with equal opportunities for all (eg microwaves, fridges, cars ) , or it replaced an existing item with one you could sell for more money (eg color TVs, broadband)

BlackBerry did not lose because people stop using phones, they lost because they did not keep up with the changes that Apple and others added to their smartphones.

Just a news item:

Pretty much it was the bikers fault, but a human would probably not have hit him, maybe.
Humans can view behavior, and think that guys an idiot, watch out. Not something AI is so good at, yet.
Anyway the gave a chunk of change, and he, and more importantly, his lawyer went away.

It’s going to be interesting to see how autonomous driving programmers react to situations like this. The most optimal solution won’t always be one that human drivers will expect. How much will programmers have to compromise on the optimal solution to avoid the car acting in a manner contrary to what human drivers expect? And will autonomous cars have a higher accident rate if they’re programmed to act more like human-driven cars?

It’s a very, very complex subject. Merely reducing the accident rate substantially should be pretty easy — in fact, it looks like Tesla has already accomplished that. But mixing human drivers in with autonomous vehicles is a more complex problem than I realized back when I rather optimistically (or naively) predicted that programming a self-driving car would be no more difficult than programming a driving simulation computer game with a collision-avoidance routine added.

I agree, I think the issue is that its not difficult to manage situations, the difficulty is *recognising* situations. Until you’ve done that you cant manage them.
So for example, its only easy to avoid hitting a large stationary object if you can recognise what is a large stationary object, something that AI seems to struggle with. We underestimate just how good animal brains are at these things, and wildly over estimate how easy it is to replicate that. Never mind a human driver; a horse , a dog or even a mouse wouldn’t just run smack into a big red fire truck.
There are many similar situations where whats easy for us is very very difficult for AI, and where the last 1% of recognition doesn’t take an extra 1% capability it may take a million times more than the preceding 99.

I’m trying to decide which PHEV to get. Looked at the Outlander PHEV, which is nice but I don’t really need a CUV unless it seats 7 and no seat memory (?). Volt doesn’t really seat 5, Bolt is too small. Pacifica doesn’t fit in my garage. Looking at the Clarity, but it’s ugly and kinda long, not sure if it’s going to fit in my garage. Also looking at the IONIQ or Sonata. Probably going with the Clarity because the AER and with the $7500 the price drops pretty low. Before not enough choices (still not enough for 7 seats), but now I can’t decide.

Sounds like you have a VERY specific niche you need to fill, and EV’s just aren’t there for you yet.

You should consider something like the Highlander Hybrid. Not a plug-in, but a good deal better than your typical gas burning SUV. I contemplated getting one (despite my anti-Toyota bias) but my wife prefers a minivan (even though none of them would fit in our garage). So, I’m leaning heavily towards the Pacifica Hybrid.

The Honda Plugin number is off by 30. Total 1,706 – Clarity PHEV 1,639 – Clarity BEV 37 = 30 (Clarity FC)
Which is the number of Clarity Fuel Cell car sales for the month.
I understand that the Plug-In Sales Scorecard doesn’t include Fuel Cell Cars.
But in my opinion they should be listed at the bottom with a note or something.
Anyway, Plug-In Sales are rising fast! GREAT!

They are listed at the bottom of the report card:

“Also of note: Toyota sold 102 Mirais in May. Honda sold 30 Clarity Fuel Cells. Hyundai moved 19 Tucsons.”https://insideevs.com/may-2018-plug-in-electric-vehicle-sales-report-card/

Are you saying that of the total Clarity BEVs 37 (includes 30 of which are FCV?). The numbers we received were 1,639 + 37 + 30 = 1,706, which is in the recap.

The reference is that the Recap says Plugins. But includes FCV’s. Which according to the Scorecard are not considered Plugins. This is just a technicality.
The Recap mentions FCV sales for the month, but there is no Running Total like with the rest of Plugins.

Agreed. We don’t really cover FVC’s here.

I keep monthly and cumulative tallies at http://www.altfuels.org/misc/evsales.shtml#fcv as a supplement to my “reprocessing” of InsideEVs plug-in data each month. Still trying to fill in gaps in my Tucson FCV time series, but there are few of those compared to Mirai & Clarity FCV.

Awesome. I don’t have Tucson data from prior to 2017. It may be in those report cards that Jay wrote, but I can’t say for certain.

I don’t understand the big difference in delivery numbers between InsideEV and Bloomberg Tracking although InsideEV has been accurate in the past and has been doing it a lot longer. How could they be so far off.

They track production, we track deliveries.

Tom Randall (who is one of the creators of the Bloomberg Model 3 tracker) Tweeted that our delivery numbers correlate well with Bloomberg production estimates. They say about 10,000 built, we say 6,250 delivered. Deliveries will always be less than production.



Bloomberg is a trend analysis. IEVs is reporting data. Even when Bloomberg knows it is wrong, they try not to tweak the algorithms too much. Once the shutdowns for adjustments stop and they reach sustained growth the Bloomberg model will start to settle in. Don’t throw in the towel on either IEVs or Bloomberg!

In addition to what Steven Loveday commented just above, I don’t think showing accurate data is the top priority for Bloomberg’s estimates. For example, it was reported that during a recent period they were deliberately underestimating their production numbers to make up for previously overestimating them.

Apparently at Bloomberg, two wrongs do make a right! 🙄


One of the MANY reasons why I don’t follow Bloomberg or most other MSM analysts.

A fun duel between worthy contenders the Ioniq & rare Ampera e Part I:

Tesla account for nearly 40% of it (PEVSs) alone!

For BEVs only, Tesla accounts for more than 70% of it alone!!

That is the good thing for Tesla, but a problem for the market. We need more choices and more models at different price class!

I was going to post something similar. Take out TSLA and TM and the numbers are pathetic at best. The progress sure is slow.

That is one thing I don’t think a number of Jaguar and Porsche fans don’t understand about the Tesla fans. We want the the other cars to be there, we want more models to get more people looking at electrics.

Plus, once the ICE mindset is broken (see what I did there) I am sure more of they will look at Tesla more closely instead of just dismissing them because they do not make noise/vibration/smells.

Jean-François Morissette

One thing that I expected is to see a new model appears on the chart now and then. So far, no new model has been introduced on the US market in 2018, am I right? There is just the new gen Panamera I think…

When should we expect to see more, and which ones will they be?

Tesla US deliveries as a share of total annual Plug-In deliveries in the US in 2017:

(Tesla Model S + Tesla Model X + Tesla Model 3) / 199,826

(27,060 + 21,315 + 1,772) / 199,826

50,147 / 199,826

That’s about 25.1% !!!

In 2018 this will be more than 50% !!!

US sales May 2018:
Tesla Model 3 – 6.250
Mercedes C class – 5.419
Audi A4 – 3.472
BMW 3 series – 3.428

Who could have imagined, in 2015, that Tesla Model 3 would exceed sales of its direct competitors in the US in just three years.
BMW 3, Audi A4 and Mercedes C have two versions (sedan and wagon) !!
In July, sales of the Tesla Model 3 will be higher than the sum of the sales of these 3 models (A4, C and 3)

Isn’t that amazing!?!?

Nice to see that the Pacifica Hybrid has cracked 500 sales in May. I am, however, disappointed that both Pacifica and Outlander sales have been so low. I recall here on IEVs and elsewhere so many people saying that if car makers were to sell a plug-in SUV/CUV and/or minivan, then it would be a game changer and sales would explode! I don’t know if the lackluster sales of the Outlander PHEV and Pacifica Hybrid is a testament to Mitsubishi and Chrysler, or if it’s a testament to the North American buying public. But it is disappointing and makes me think it wouldn’t make a difference if Toyota were to make a Highlander Prime or Honda were to make a Pilot Plug-in…the sales would still be terrible.

Jean-François Morissette

I think it still a question of availability. Here in Canada, in a roughly 10x smaller market, we have had 150 Pacifica Hybrid sales per month in the last few months, as well as nearly 600 Outlander PHEV per month in the last 2 months! The supply side is causing the low sales I think.

Well I was one of those that were waiting for the Mitsu Outlander PHEV about FIVE years ago!… guess what? I couldn’t wait any longer so I bought a Volt instead.

When you have an SUV PHEV and you keep delaying it year after year, people will just buy something else. In addition to this, the outlander EV range hasn’t appreciably increased over the years as well. Back when it was introduced, the range was probably fine for the time, but at present, I would not consider a PHEV that has an AER less than 30 miles. The outlander has a range of 30km (18 miles).

Mitsubishi produces a lot of industrial equipment, electronics, etc. etc. Yet their automotive division is so pathetic it’s actually quite sad.

@Morissette: I’m not so sure. I haven’t been to a dealer lot lately and I don’t know what the average time on lot the Pacifica Hybrid and Outlander PHEV has been, but I rather think it could be a combination of brand reputation and dealer greed/apathy (all of those stories of sales reps redirecting buyers of plug-ins).

@abc123: I agree and know how you feel. If Mitsu had brought the Outlander PHEV to the US three years ago, I would’ve been like “shut up and take my money!” Now, like you, I can’t see getting a PHEV with at least 30 miles AER. The AWD would be nice, but there are too many other areas where the Outlander underwhelms.

I like to think and hope it’s cause it’s Mitsubishi and Chrysler. We shall see.

@Steven: I would hope so, but I can’t help but wonder if the OEMs might be holding back or shelving any PHEV SUV/CUV/Minivan plans due to the lackluster sales of the Outlander and Pacifica.

GM disappointed me in two ways: 1) They should have, but did not, up-size the Volt to a mid-size like Toyota did with the Gen 2 Prius, which was a lost opportunity; and 2) they should have made the MPV5 concept a reality. GM sales would likely have been second only to Tesla and I would have been more than happy to have a Volt and a commercial MPV5 in my stable! So much for consumer choice.

Edit: I can’t seem to add paragraphs
Edit 2: Don’t know what happened but I seem to be able to add paragraphs again.