The BMW i3 Came Out Of Left Field In September To Sell A Record 1,710 i3s (seen above in new

The BMW i3 Came Out Of Left Field In September To Sell A Record 1,710 i3s (seen above in new "Fluid Black color)

2016 Chevrolet Volt <em>Just Missed </em>Being Counted In September, But The Race For Green Stickers In California Begins Next Week

2016 Chevrolet Volt Just Missed Being Counted In September, But The Race For Green Stickers In California Begins Next Week

Heading into September, we had hoped that electric vehicle sales in the US would rise over the previous month's result thanks to a resurgent newcomer arriving back into the fold.

Turns out we picked the wrong horse.

For the month, an estimated 10,134 plug-ins were sold, good for a 13% improvement over the ~8,972 moved in August.

We had expected that the next generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt would make it to market by mid-month, and show strong enough gains to propel the market higher.

But in the end that didn't happen, as some early quality control holds apparently kept the 2016 Volts 'in the pen' in September.

Thankfully, those cars are now released, and at time of press, are now being shipped to customers.

Instead, it was the BMW i3 who took center stage, selling 1,710 copies - which lead the company to be the 2nd highest seller of EVs for the month in America for the first time.

September i3 sales were quite an achievement for BMW, as the previous high water mark for monthly sales was 1,159 - set in October of 2014.  Before this month's result we had assumed (quite incorrectly) that US demand was not strong enough to push sales to this level.  We are happy to be wrong.

During September, Tesla also introduced the Model X (watch launch party/more details here), which was big achievement for the company as the all-electric SUV has been a long time coming.  But in regards to sales, it was insignificant to its sister-product, the Model S - which ended the quarter strongly (as per the norm), selling ~2,500 copies in our estimation.

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

Looking ahead:

Both The 2nd Generation Chevy Volt and Upgraded 2016 Nissan LEAF Arrive In October

Both The 2nd Generation Chevy Volt and Upgraded 2016 Nissan LEAF Arrive In October

As we mentioned before, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt didn't arrive in September, but all those sales are now making their way to California (and possibly 10 other states), and will start to tally for October as deliveries are made in a few days.

We have confirmed with Nissan that the 2016 LEAF (now with an optional 107 mile range - details) will be arriving in October. Unfortunately, a request to nail down exactly when those might start to arrive, has of yet, been unanswered.

We don't expect any volume production of consequence from Tesla in regards to the Model X.  Same goes for the Volvo XC90 plug-in, of which should start consumer deliveries in October.

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Going forward (and as we have been saying since last winter), the extended EV sales drought in the United States should now be behind us.  We look for monthly sales to show strong gains beginning in October, and continuing (for the most part) into the foreseeable future.

Some other Points of Interest from September

Tesla Stays #1 For Top EV Manufacturer In September - Helped Slightly By The Model X

Tesla Stays #1 For Top EV Manufacturer In September - Helped Slightly By The Model X

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla – 2,506*
  2. BMW - 1,892
  3. Ford - 1,672
  4. Nissan - 1,247
  5. General Motors - 1,142
Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In September*
  1. BEV – ~6,154 – 61%
  2. PHEV – ~3,980 – 39%
New 2015 Highs Set In September By Model (previous 2015 high in brackets)
  • BMW i3– 1,710 (1,089) - all-time high
  • Mercedes S550 PHV - 17 (10)
  • Tesla Model X - 6 (first month)
(*) estimated/Tesla North America

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