Nearly 103,000 Plug-In EVs Sold Worldwide In August, Toyota Prius Prime On Top

2 months ago by Mark Kane 64

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – 2017 August (data source: EV Sales Blog)

August was one of the best months ever for electric vehicle sales, with nearly 103,000 units estimated delivered, a number that was within a whisker (~1,000 registration) of the previous record set in December of last year.

Plug-in hybrid EV

2017 Prius Prime

Global sales during the month increased by 64% year-over-year, and suggests that September will bring us a new best-ever result, as the Fall has traditionally always meant big gains for the segment.

In addition, the net year-to-date totals are moving up fast too – by 47% overall, to roughly 651,000 sales.

For the first eight months of 2017 the most popular model was the Toyota Prius Prime, with over 35,000 deliveries – and this despite thin inventories…and also not being available for all eight months in many regions (for example, in Japan sales began in February).

As we mentioned last month, the BYD Song PHEV is finding a lot of traction, and has just broken into the “Top 10” after just five months of sales in China.


Among the manufacturers the competition tightened in August. Tesla is still out front with 59,000+ deliveries, and is just 2,000 ahead of BYD, as BMW fell down to third place with a total 55,683 of deliveries..

We have never seen such a close race for the first place this late in the year.  Looking ahead, Tesla will likely hold off BYD in September for the top spot, as the company is set to post a big end-of-quarter number.

With that said, and even with Tesla Model 3 deliveries likely to be brisk to end out the year, the smart money is on BYD ending the year in first, as the company is expected to move more than 60,000 units in the final four months.

World’s Top 10 Plug-In Car Manufacturers – 2017 August (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Our thanks to EV Sales Blog for tallying up and estimating the individual sales by OEM.

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64 responses to "Nearly 103,000 Plug-In EVs Sold Worldwide In August, Toyota Prius Prime On Top"

  1. Don Zenga says:

    Tesla is #1 by company and also has 2 models in Top-10 (Model S/X) which is really great.
    Soon BYD will start taking the lead as their sales are accelerating in the last 3 months.

    Hopefully the Model-3 production ramp up will also give Tesla an edge. BMW’s plugins may also increase.

    Worldwide sales has crossed 650,000 and needs another 350,000. That’s 87,500 / month in the next 4 months which is easily attainable.

    It’s getting interesting.

    1. DJ says:

      Only took 1 post to bring up Tesla. Imagine that.

      I suspect this trend with the Prime will continue with the Leaf picking up some steam as well.

      Will be interesting if/when the Model 3 actually begins delivering real numbers as well.

      1. Benedictus says:

        Really no surprise for the nr.1 of the list to be named in the comments.

      2. menorman says:

        Well, starting Monday, we should be getting our first look at the new Leaf in real life, including a report on actual range.

      3. Mark.ca says:

        Yes, DJ would like you to not talk about the article posted…because he’s uncomfortable reading about Tesla and anything about them.

      4. Don Zenga says:

        Tesla needs to be appreciated for these reasons
        * #1 in company wide sales.
        * They have 2 models in Top-10.
        * Their vehicles can run between 250 – 330 miles in EV mode while PP, Volt, C-Max can do only between 20 – 53 miles before feeling the thirst for gas.

        1. Roger from KY says:

          You’re comparing apples and oranges. A PP costs a third or a quarter of a Model S or X as well, depending on options.

          And the cars you cited are hybrids, which are transitional vehicles.

          But let’s pretend that’s not true, so you can pretend you have a meaningful point.

          Hint: plug in hybrids are widely available TODAY and will provide a TREMENDOUS number of EV mode miles in the coming several years, while EV’s are still gearing up.

          Stop making the imperfect the enemy of the good, especially when the pure EV is still only available at a trickle of production relative to the ICE or even the PHEV.

          1. mx says:

            Sadly, Toyota sells the PRIME Advanced and Premier at high prices, too bad Toyota buyers don’t shop around.

            BMW i3 REX substantially better in all categories.
            But, I guess if your happy with 20 miles range, 10 in winter…

            1. mx says:

              Leasing. You could lease an i3 for less money than an Advanced. That’s my point.

              1. mx says:

                But, I guess you can buy a Prime and then sell it in 3 years, kind of like a lease, to get a better Prime and the more advanced safety systems to come in 3 years.

                But, with Toyota poor track record of battery upgrading, you may be holding on to a Prime for 5 to 7 years before they upgrade, while everyone else has Far Better Product in 2 to 3 years.

            2. Rennie Allen says:

              Perhaps those purchasing Toyota assign value to reliability.

  2. Benedictus says:

    So Tesla will win the BEV game, big time. BYD and BMW both sell a lot of PHEV vehicles.

  3. Chester Koenig says:

    Nissan + Renault numbers are nice.

    1. William says:

      N. + R. + Mitsubishi alliance EV numbers are a tiny bit nicer (if Mitsu. was represented in a top 20 chart).

      Can the NRM alliance stay ahead of BYD or possibly Tesla in 2019? The next 18 months will be an interesting contest.

      1. john Doe says:

        If Renault sold the Zöe globally, I think they would be there already.

        Give a few month when Tesla has more experience in Model 3 production, and new Leaf sales really start. ..

        Doe BYD plan to sell their EVs globally soon?
        They are building factory after factory.
        They must soon start to export cars, or are the Chinese market so huge?

      2. Miggy says:

        If you count Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi alliance as one it puts them at number one spot.
        The Outlander is at number 11 so just out of the Top Ten on models.

    2. IanL says:

      I think my bias is showing, but I like to think that actually, the Renault Zoe has the most impressive stat in that list.
      It’s managed to comfortably break into the top 10, despite not being on sale in either the USA or China.

  4. JB says:

    I have looked at gen 2 and 3 Prius’s, Ford C-Max plug-in. I wanted back then, a plug-in hybrid but with enough range that I would seldom ever have the engine turn on. Never happened till this year. Still not enough range. Anyway I have 2 EV’s and love them. Never going back to gas. Need to have 2 categories, true EV’s and Hybrids. I am not being critical just a suggestion.

    1. john1701a says:

      Where do you draw the line? Some EV are far less efficient than others.

      1. Nick says:

        The least efficient EV still burns less gas than the most efficient hybrid.

        1. john1701a says:

          Disregard of energy efficiency is unacceptable. Simply switching from gas to to electricity is not a true solution.

  5. JB says:

    Oh, I forgot. What sets Tesla apart from all the others, is the founders had a dream, a passion to bring about change. I don’t see that with any other manufacturer. It is just a side product. I used to buy only Japanese cars. It seems like, since the Tsunami their passion for leadership has gone away. They had a chance to capitalize off their reputation and develop great, affordable pure EV’s. They hesitated. There going to be a lot of Kodak moments with the legacy manufacturers. The really sad part is that those CEO’s will still walk away with their golden parachutes upon failing.

    1. mx says:

      I have to admit you’re right.
      The BMW i8 competes with nothing else in the BMW line, and so too, the i3. Really only the 2 series is under any threat from the i3, and the 2 series has much better handling but the primitive ICE powertrain.

      And then they abandoned the i5. If you don’t make your product, the 3 series, obsolete your competition will do it for you. ( Tesla Model 3 ).

    2. EndResult says:

      Where can I buy that affordable Tesla – Oh yea, I can’t.

      E.M. is great at selling a $100k+ car with poor fit and finish. He is doing nothing to make EVs main stream – and do not spout off about the $60k model 3, currently there is no such thing as a $35k Tesla

  6. Harv Lipman says:

    Don’t know why there’s no mention of the Chevy Volt and the car the year the Chevy BOLT. They keep referring in the press to the Chevy Volt as a highbrid with it is not. The gasoline engine does not drive the car but only acts as a generator to provide power for the electric motors. That’s why it is eligible for the $7500 federal tax credit which is only available to full Electric vehicles! It has a much greater range both electric and in total than most of the other plugins on the market. My neighbor has a Tesla S and his wife has a Chevy Bolt And he says he enjoys Driving the BOLT
    more than the Tesla. It is quite a car.

    1. jdbob says:

      That’s quite a bit of mis-information for one post, well done! The engine does indeed power the wheels in certain driving modes on a Volt, that was shown to be true (despite early Chevy marketing) early on, like 6 or 7 years ago. The federal tax credit is based solely on battery size, it has nothing to do with whether it is a BEV or a PHEV.

    2. Mark.ca says:

      Harv, i guess fact checking is not your thing…

    3. Roger from KY says:

      Harv, in the real world the Volt burns gasoline to drive, once the low range battery is depleted. Full stop.

      Pretending that is not a hybrid isn’t meaningful.

      It doesn’t make it a bad thing — but it is a plug-in hybrid, as far as both fuel consumed, and the functionality it provides.

    4. Kdawg says:

      Chevy was shown in the chart. Despite not being sold outside the US, ~32K isn’t bad.

      Also see comments above. The Volt is a plugin-hybrid, or EREV, Extended Range Electric Vehicle. The Bolt EV is a pure BEV.

  7. Get Real says:

    I finally drove a Prime at my local Drive Electric event this year.

    Although the Volt is obviously a much better PHEV with its 50 plus miles of AER, I was still impressed with the Prime for the following reasons:

    IF your commute/daily driving is under 25 miles a day on mainly city streets you can stay majority electric.

    Its class-leading mpg of 50 plus it remains an excellent long-trip vehicle.

    The fact that Toyota (and other manufacturers too) are INCLUDING on all models now all the safety features:

    adaptive cruise control, AEB, forward collision warning, lane departure warnings, etc.

    This is an important advantage over GM’s rather expensive options/packages and this approach by Toyota is smart for lowering costs on these previously expensive features and a big plus in the marketing department.

    Finally and probably the biggest advantage, the relatively low starting price of $28,000 for a decent plug-in.

    I know the Volt is a much better PHEV but I think the Prime shows how adding a plug to an existing model makes it a much better car then its gas only twin.

    1. Roger from KY says:

      And it’s not a GM. When it comes to long term durability, GM is a big question mark. Consumer Reports is reporting the 2nd generation Volt as much worse than average re reliability.

      Middle class people need and want reliable cars more than they want pure virtue signaling.

    2. ekutter says:

      Besides, if your daily commute is under 25 miles, it is the most efficient electric running car out there. Rated at 25 KWh / 100 mi, it easily beats any other main stream PHEV or BEV. People seem to think everything is equal if its running on electric.

      1. mx says:

        I guess with it’s sales success, there must be a lot of people who only drive 10 – 20 miles a day.

        1. hitssquad says:

          @mx
          > I guess with it’s sales success, there must be a lot of people who only drive 10 – 20 miles a day.

          How do you figure? Is it illegal to burn gasoline?

    3. john1701a says:

      200-mile trip in my Prime today.

      Used only 20% of the capacity (saving it for tomorrow, since there’s no where to plug in). Despite most of the travel being at 70 mph and with the A/C, overall average was 61.3 MPG.

      That’s remarkable efficiency.

      1. Kdawg says:

        In a Bolt EV or Tesla, you would not have used any gasoline. Where is Toyota’s 200+ mile BEV?

        1. Ricardo says:

          Well, in a bolt or a Tesla he would probably be stranded. Since there was nowhere to charge… But hey. Small details right?

          1. Kdawg says:

            How do you know there was not a Supercharger or DCFC on they way/nearby?

  8. CCIE says:

    These are worldwide sales, the Japanese are extremely patriotic about car purchases (smart of them), and the Volt EREV is not available worldwide. That seems to explain why a sub-par PHEV like the Prius Prime is selling so well.

    1. Don Zenga says:

      +1
      Hope they buy Leaf-2 in big #. But we will know about this more than a month later.
      For some reason, the plugin sales in Japan is never published.

      1. Reaf says:

        Japan EV/PHV sales – August & YTD:

        Toyota Prius PHV – August: 1870, YTD: 20120
        Nissan LEAF – August: 538, YTD: 8876
        Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – August: 293, YTD: 3237
        Mitsubishi Minicab MIEV – August: 16, YTD: 246
        Mitsubishi i-MIEV – August: 12, YTD: 130
        Mitsubishi Minicab MIEV truck – August: 0, YTD: 13

        Tesla, BMW, Audi, VW, Daimler and Smart do not release their EV/PHV sales figures.

    2. Roger from KY says:

      If EV range were the ONLY factor in PHEV’s, you might have a point about the PP being “subpar”. It’s not, and you don’t, but thanks for playing.

      1. john1701a says:

        I’m looking forward to winter here in Minnesota with my Prime. The pre-conditioning, battery-warmer, and vapor-injected heat-pump will all get the opportunity to show others what EV efficiency is all about.

      2. CCIE says:

        The awful 0-60 times of the PP also qualify it as sub-par. But, it’s the small battery that really makes it a joke. Especially given that it’s their second attempt to make a PHEV.

        1. john1701a says:

          Same thing every time. A few are so focused on faster & further that they completely overlook the market as a whole… and end up laughing alone.

          It’s somewhat of a surprise at this point that the “vastly superior” attitude continues with a few. Everyone else has seen the importance of sales. Growth is essential. Catering to a small audience by highlighting power & performance is a waste. Mainstream buyers are unwilling to sacrifice their purchase priorities for that.

          Toyota nailed it with the balance of price & features. Ordinary consumers have taken notice. The motor & battery are right-sized for the price, allowing them to get a nice assortment of standard safety & comfort features too. For them, the extra power & capacity is unnecessary, simply not worth the tradeoff.

          1. CCIE says:

            Read the vast majority of comments in this or any article here that mentions the Prius Prime. Aside from and one or two, everyone either says that it should not even qualify to be mentioned here, or that it’s a sub-par PHEV.

            It sells well because the Volt is not available worldwide, the Japanese only buy domestic brands, and because Prius buyers don’t shop around.

            In the US the Volt, and in some cases the i3, would cost the same as a PP and are both superior vehicles. As I’ve often said, it’s just sad that PP buyers are short changing themselves.

    3. Reaf says:

      Not patriotic but logical. Why would you choose a 43kUSD* Golf GTE when you can buy a Prius PHV for 30kUSD* or an Outlander PHEV for 33kUSD* ? Chevrolet should try selling the Volt EREV in Japan at 35kUSD or less.
      *All prices indicated are MSRP before government incentives.

      1. CCIE says:

        I don’t know, and don’t have time to learn about, worldwide EV incentives. I do know that in the US the Volt is about the same price as the Prius Prime after all discounts and tax credits are takin into account. So, it’s only by a lack of research and irrational/outdated brand bias that anyone would chose the PP over the Volt.

        1. john1701a says:

          Tax-Credits will trigger phaseout for Volt next year. Prime already has some distinct advantages too:

          Prime technical advantages:

            –  EV is more efficient
            –  HV is more efficient
            –  Heater is more efficient
            –  Price is more affordable
            –  Dual-Wave glass
            –  Carbon-Fiber hatch
            –  Charge Mode

          Prime standard safety features:

            –  Dynamic Radar Cruise
            –  Pre-Collision Braking
            –  Lane-Departure Detect with Assist
            –  Automatic High-Beams

          Prime advanced tech options:

            –  Predictive Efficient Drive
            –  Sonar Parking Assist
            –  Rear-Cross Traffic Alert
            –  Blind-Spot Monitor
            –  Vehicle Proximity Notify
            –  Rain-Sensing Variable Wiper
            –  Active Grille Shutter
            –  Color Heads-Up Display
            –  11.6-inch Touch-Display
            –  Charging Cable Lock
            –  Heated Steering-Wheel

          Prime innovation design:

            –  Directed Heating & Cooling

          1. CCIE says:

            This Car and Driver comparison says it all, and is a nice neutral way of showing how wrong you are:

            http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2017-chevrolet-volt-premier-vs-2017-toyota-prius-prime-advanced-comparison-test

            The dead slow 0-60 times of the PP make it a terrible car to drive in general.

            Even if the tax incentives do expire for GM, the Volt is worth paying more for. But, I doubt congress will let the credits only expire for the US manufacturers who have been leading EVs (along with Nissan). Even if they do expire, GM will lower the price of the Volt to keep it competitive.

            1. john1701a says:

              Car & Driver is an enthusiast publication, in no way representative of mainstream purchases. That’s fine, but confirms my point.

  9. Don Zenga says:

    It does not matter whether one supports BEV or PEV, a monthly sales of 100,000+ is a cause to celebrate for all of us.
    Cheers!!!

    And let’s hope for a even better September.
    As the MY-2018 models roll in, we have to look at any increase in range and decrease in price.

  10. trackdaze says:

    Rolling twelve months now at 980,000.

    Next month 1 million plug ins will have been sold in a twelve month period.

    1. Tom says:

      By the end of 2018 that number might be 2 million.

  11. Kdawg says:

    100K/month worldwide. How much of the market-share is that for all vehicles?

    1. Rad says:

      100,000 per month would be 1.2 million/year. I believe worldwide sales are around 100 million, so roughly 1.2 percent. Someone correct me if you have better info.

  12. unlucky says:

    Prius Prime isn’t an EV. It can’t be at the top of the list. It can’t even be on the list.

    It’s a plug-in hybrid.

    1. john1701a says:

      100% of the commute in my Prime is electric, so I couldn’t care less what label it is given.

      I suggest you reevaluate priorities. Arguing semantics doesn’t accomplish anything.

    2. Spoonman. says:

      When I drive 35 miles in a day in my C-Max Energi, all on plug-in power, is my C-Max using gasoline because it has an engine?

      This is the silliest argument. If you only want to talk about BEVs go start a site called InsideBEVs.

    3. CCIE says:

      Agree that at some point we need to stop grouping PHEVs and EVs together. Especially ones that are really ICE vehicles will small electric motors, like the Prime.

      But, for the moment there aren’t enough EVs out there to cull the heard. So anything with a plug gets counted here.

  13. Terawatt says:

    > with Tesla Model 3 deliveries likely to be brisk

    Speaking of which, when will numbers be coming on TM3 deliveries in August and September? I thought we would get them immediately after each month as usual, but can’t recall how you come up with them (Tesla IIRC only publishes quarterly deliveries) and therefore guess this has something to do with the fact that deliveries now go to employees and/or the very limited volume. But it would be interesting to see if the numbers are to plan.

    Of course, whether Tesla is a bit behind or ahead of the plan at this point doesn’t necessarily give meaningful indication – there was almost certainly a large uncertainty, percentage-wise, in the estimates.

    I hope for October at least you’ll be able to give good estimates of TM3 deliveries in early November. Do you expect to..?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Welcome back, (=

      No, we had a good handle on July and August (August is on our scorecard as well)…cause there just wasn’t that many (~105).

      If you are referring to why no September EV sales report yet, the automotive economic calendar isn’t akin to the traditional one, so “month end” and “reporting day” move around – for September, that date is Tuesday, October 3rd.

      With that said, September is a rare bird in that we will basically know the exact Model 3 numbers, as Tesla (usually) reports their worldwide quarterly numbers on the first business day or within 48 hours after that quarter’s end.

      Basically, one assume the report no later than Monday (Oct 2nd) from Tesla (if it stays with the format of disclosure it has applied over the past ~3-4 years).

      As we know how many deliveries of the 3 were made in July and August, and we also know that all Model 3s in Q3 stayed inside the US, so (thankfully) it will be simple math indeed.

      …don’t worry, you can bet once that data is available, we will break it all down, (=

  14. Benz says:

    The 1,000,000th Tesla Model 3 will be delivered in 2020.

    The 1,000,000th Nissan Leaf will also be delivered in 2020.

    We know that the cumulative total of Nissan Leaf deliveries already has almost reached the 300,000 milestone. So, the Nissan Leaf does have a head start.

  15. Gasper Gartner says:

    I agree that PHEV and BEV should be counted separately, but I don’t agree that Volt is so much superior to Prius Prime. Looking at stats on Fuelly average drivers are not getting that superiority on gas station let alone the home plug, so what’s up with that?

    What we can learn from sales figures is what manufacturers are capable of producing BEV or PHEV with a profit, I mean listening statements from FCA CEO, that “don’t buy the 500e, becasue we are loosing money on it” just make me wan’t puke.

    On the right track are:
    – Tesla
    – Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi
    – Chinese
    – BMW
    – Toyota
    – Chevrolet (I’m woried)
    – VW (I’m woried)
    – Hyundai (I’m woried)

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