September plug-in sales sees a new all-time record set in the US
The Summer of 2016 saw some very strong growth for plug-in sales in the US (more than 50%), now it appears that the Fall will take sales up a notch further.
Tesla Model S is without sales equal in the US for 2016 (shown here from the 2016 Paris Motor Show)
For September, a new all-time record was set...and it wasn't even close.
During the month an estimated 16,794 plug-ins were sold a 67% increase over a year ago (10,134), and well higher than the previous record month - June 2016 (15,063).
2016 has also seen monthly gains all 9 months this year*.
For the year, ~109,702 plug-ins have now been sold, which is an improvement of 33% versus the 82,404 sold through the first 3 quarters of 2015.
Leading the way for September, as it seemingly does in the last month of every quarter, was Tesla Motors (have to hit those forecasts we suppose). For September, the company sold an estimated ~7,550 EVs domestically - with both the Model S and Model X having record months.
Overall for Q3 globally, Tesla delivered 24,500 EVs (15,800 Model S, 8,700 Model X).
Looking ahead, sales are only going to skyrocket higher, as two aggressively priced plug-in vehicles arrive in December:
- 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV - 238 miles of all-electric range from $37,495 (details)
- 2017 Toyota Prius Prime - 25 miles AER/54 MPG plug-in hybrid from $27,960 (details)
Also of interest: After selling a very unusual 371 Mirais in August, Toyota's fuel cell returned more to the norm in September - selling 69 copies.
Last update: Tuesday, October 13th, 2016, 9:02 AM
*On year of monthly sales improvements: We know someone is going to look at the chart and say, "hey, only ~11,423 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 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)
Individual Plug-In Model Sales Run-Down:
Next Generation, 2016 Chevrolet Volt
With all the renewed hype around the upcoming Chevy Bolt EV (and its announced 238 mile range), the Volt was clearly cast out of the spotlight in September.
After becoming the first plug-in vehicle to cross the 100,000 sold threshold in the US in July (selling more than 2,400 copies), the Volt has continued to be a strong seller.
For September, GM moved 2,031 more Volts, good for a gain of 114% over 2015's result. We should note that year ago comp's were against a reapidly declining inventory of first generation models - next month (October) brings the first true "apples-to-apples" comparison for the Volt (with 2,035 sold in October 2015).
So far this year, 16,326 cars have been sold, which is 76% better than a year ago (9,264) - amazing what a 2nd generation offering can do.
The summer surge can be attributed as much to the inventory situation as a renewed passion for the 53 mile extended-range EV. Have more cars...will sell more cars.
And thanks to the fact that the 2016 model year of the Volt was cut down early (in February of 2016), the 2017 edition has been in production ever since - so no awkward summer switch-over took place, no rebuilding of a new model year's stock on dealer lots. Just more and more cars (well north of 5,000 on average in September - an industry high for plug-ins)...that GM doesn't have to worry about selling down until this time next year.
It is no secret Nissan is struggling with the first generation LEAF in the US as it ages into a much needed upgrade shortly.
However, September was a rare month for sales gains in the US, up 5.5% to 1,316 units sold (details).
How rare? September's gain was the first for the EV in America in 20 months (you have to go back to December of 2014 to find the last year-over-year increase.)
Year to date, 9,238 LEAFs have now been sold, off 32% from the 13,630 moved through the first three quarters of 2015.
Previously in August, Nissan sold 1,066 LEAFs after selling a similar 1,063 in July. The LEAF has now hit "4 digits" for sales in four consecutive months in the US.
With a superior LEAF set to debut in the not-so-distant future, it appears Nissan is actively managing existing 2016 inventory lower in the US.
During September average stocked inventory of the 2016 plumbed new depths, to around ~1,500 units on average. Basically, until the inventory improves, it is impossible for Nissan to perform much better than it has of late.
Well, that is just about it for the Cadillac ELR, as an exhausted inventory has nothing much left to give.
After selling just 15 in July, sales in both August and September plumbed new depths, with just 6 sold in each month - bringing the YTD total to 523.
June was really the last hoorah for the plug-in, as Cadillac managed to find and sell 94 ELRs.
As for those dwindling inventory supplies, they now won't last long as GM discontinued ELR production at its Hamtramck, Michigan facility in February and the sell-off has been on ever since. Between dealers and what is in GM's pen we count maybe ~40 copies left at best before the car is gone forever. The ELR will shortly be replaced with the much larger CT6 plug-in sedan (details)
Of note: The 2016 edition of the ELR did gain some performance over the 2014 model (0-60mph comes up in 6.4 seconds - 1.5 seconds than the older model), despite still using the same 17.1 kWh battery found in the original, first generation Chevrolet Volt.
When it comes to plug-in vehicle sales in the US, no model is more unpredictable than the BMW i3.
When word broke of a new and improved i3 would hit the market in September (more details below), sales shot to a new 2016 high in July (1,479).
Then in August, with a huge TV advertising campaign on NBC airing during the Rio Olympics, sales fell back to 1,014 units for August, and plummeted to a six month low in September with just 391 sold.
What will happen next month? Who knows.
For September, both the i3 BEV (all-electric version) and the i3 REx (extended range petrol version) arrived in the US, but in some very limited numbers - which is the likely cause of the 77% fall-off against a year ago's result (Sept 2015 - 1,710). On average, BMW had about 500 copies in stock during the month.
During the month we also got all the US spec details on the new 33 kWh i3 REx (details), namely 97 miles of all electric range, backed up by 83 miles of petrol abilities - for a total of 180 miles of driving range; numbers that most US customers didn't seem all to please with (considering the 22 kWh 2016 version had a cumulative 150 mile rating)
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 (one time via Q3 data leaked directly from Tesla) by 469 units. The 2015 Model S sales chart was adjusted (one time - after the completion of the full year of estimates) 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 normally the last month of the quarter shows huge 200-300% gains for Model S sales over the month prior, Tesla had some big forecasts to hit in Q3 and really ramped things up in August, so September wasn't the huge percentage gains we have been used to.
However, numerically, the result has never been higher, as we estimate Tesla delivered 4,350 Model S sedans for the month.
Thanks to some end-of-quarter disclosures for the company, we can also say that some 15,800 cars were delivered globally during Q3, on the way to delivering 24,500 EVs cumulatively (including the Model X).
Interestingly, the mix of options/trim levels for the Model S has certainly shifted with the introduction of the 60 kWh cars. Watching production from Tesla's Fremont facility, we would say that 3 out of 5 cars were of the 60 kWh variety - so it appears that the increases sales volume of late is coming via a new/lower income bracket of owners.
At the same time, Tesla's most recent new "top of the line" model introduction - the P100DL, seems to have generated a rather muted increase for the demand curve (at least via deliver data so far), compared to previous premium debuts above the current Model S lineup.
Perhaps the P100DL was one too many upgrades too fast from Tesla, or maybe 0-60 in 2.6 seconds and almost 300 miles (for the P90DL) was just good enough for existing owners and they have decided to stick with the car they have. Or maybe the huge deals available recently on the outgoing P90DL cars in inventory temporarily affected P100DL sales.
Still we expect the "regular" 100 kWh Model S 100D to be well received when it does arrive, as it should have a range close to 340 miles (especially with Tesla underplaying the range on the P100DL at 315 miles) - unfortunately, the model doesn not appear to be on the fast track for production, and likely won't arrive until early 2017 in any volume.
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 leaked data for Q3 2016 put US deliveries at 5,428; our own estimate of ~5,800 is for North America, which includes Canada - of which, as of press, had logged an additional 233 registrations in July and August, with September still pending. So basically bang on for Q2.
For the Q2 2016, Tesla reported 4,625 Model X deliveries...and not to brag but, 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.
September was the month the Tesla Model X finally came into its own, both with an estimated 3,200 sales domestically, but also hitting 4 digits internationally for the first time as well.
Overall for the 3rd quarter, Tesla delivered 8,700 copies of the Model X globally, about half of the amount the company delivered of the Model S - which highlights some issues with the SUV's production from late in Q2 and even early in Q3.
Also of note the first deliveries of the P100DL edition of the Model X took a little longer to get off the ground than the Model S, as some apparent government rubber-stamping (or lack thereof) of the model delayed first sales until mid-month.
Volvo XC90 T8 PHV
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV:
The first (and widely anticipated) plug-in offering from Volvo to be offered in the US arrived late December, and the company posted 226 sales in its first full month in January.
Since then, the XC90 plug-in has found a consistent selling range in the '100s'
For September, that number was 148 copies, after previously moving 176 in August
The Volvo XC90 T8 (details) plug-in is rated at 394 hp, and gets 14 miles of estimated range (0-12 in pure all-electric mode) via a 9.2 kWh battery, and is the first to offer a standard 240v/120v dual charging cord set. Pricing starts at $68,100 in the US.
Check out a recent electric range and efficiency test drive video review on the XC90 T8 here.
It will be interesting to see how much demand there is for the first extended range PHEV in America once it really gets its footing (and some decent inventory).
Chevrolet Spark EV
Chevrolet SPARK EV:
With the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EV arriving at year's end, the Spark EV continues to "fill the gap" for pure electric vehicle sales at GM.
For September, a more than respectable 315 copies were sold...roughly in line with recent results this summer (August - 292, July -333)
The advent of a new "geared-to-income" EV rebate program in California this Spring lead to the monthly lease cost of the Chevy Spark EV to fall to....zero.
Yes, that is right, if you make under 3x the federal poverty limit (35k, or 73k for a family income for 4) - go find a dealer willing to knock off about $1,000 bucks and you get a free EV.
As one might expect under that program, Spark EV got a lot of notice and a sales shot in the arm shortly thereafter.
2017 BMW 330e - Like All Plug-Ins Sold In The US, It Wisely Is Offered In Black
One of the latest offerings to hit the US plug-in market is the new BMW 330e, the plug-in hybrid version of the company's high selling 3 series offering.
The 330e (from $44,695 including DST), physically arrived in April in a token amount, but it will take some months (if not the whole year) for inventory of consequence to arrive as the model has proven exceptionally (and unexpectedly) popular in Europe.
BMW noted in July that sales have gone so well that the 330e is effectively sold out for the remainder of 2016 (same goes for the just released 740e)...meaning the US will only get its rationed allotment of cars for quite some time.
For September, 54 BMW 330es found new homes in the US, after 51 were sold previously in August.
Ultimately, whenever BMW is able to build inventory, we expect the 330e to easily be able to see 500+ units per month.
For now, the best BMW has been able to stock of the 330e on average in the first few months since launch is about~100 units of inventory, a number that is not increasing. We expect to not see those higher inventory numbers (or sales) increase much until after the 2017 model year is introduced in the Fall.
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 has defined the word "consistent" when it comes to plug-in vehicle sales this year.
For September, 312 e-tron versions of the A3 were sold, the 8th time this year "300-and-something" have moved.
Just check out the last 5 months results: 312- Sept, 346-Aug, 349-July, 353-June, 361-May. Our prediction for October? Hrm, lets go with ~350.
Overall, almost 2,949 copies have been 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 69 consecutive months of record year-over-year sales in the US - just edging up about 2% in September.
Audi has also been proving the statement "you need to stock it, to sell it", as sales have grown stronger with inventory levels. There may be a slight hiccup with the inventory on themodel year changeover however as we did note that stock fell to under 1,000 units for the first time in quite awhile (off from a high around ~1,400 units).
Part of the reason for strong sales for the A3 e-tron is also the (relatively) low price. $37,900 gets you the Audi badge, 8.8 kWh of battery - good for 22-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 $2,800 of the base MSRP of the A3.
Check out our own early/pre-delivery review on the Audi A3 e-tron here.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED
Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED (B250e):
Perhaps it has because the bar has been continually lowered for the B-Class ED (now actually named the B250e), but the 51 sold in September seems like a reasonable amount vs demand for city EVs these days.
Previously in August, 57 were sold, while 50 were moved in July.
The B-Class has a bit of a rough go since its entry to the US. The original model year run (2014) was extremely short, the 2015 edition came late and without much fanfare or inventory, and the 2016 edition was hit early with a stop sale (which has now been resolved) then was cut-off at the knees with a lack of a "stock inventory" program by Mercedes.
It appears now that Mercedes has decided to make the B-Class a limited offering in the US until a new, longer range model arrives in the future (more on that below).
Last Fall we also heard news (via a normally very reliable source) that Mercedes was about to get serious with the B-Class ED, giving it an estimated 300 mile (NEDC) ~225 mile EPA range upgrade in next generation trim, while also removing the Tesla drivetrain/components to bring costs down.
Then in August we saw the B250e sister car in China get a new 62 kWh battery pack (likely good for close to 200 miles of real world range), that might foreshadow what Daimler has in store this autoshow season for the all-electric B-Class.
Oh you know the new BMW 740e comes in black!
BMW took the lead for "most plug-ins" offering in the US in September, as the 740e (details) joins the company's lineup.
How many did they actually sell? Apparently none...yet, as although the car is on US soil, it has not officially be released for public consumption still.
Like the BMW 330e, the 740e is both a new plug-in product, and one that is in high demand. Even before the first copy was sold in the US, BMW has announced that all the global production for the 740e is spoken for in 2016...which means the US will be getting a token amount over the next ~6 months or so.
What will the demand ultimately be for the 740e? It is hard to say, but the $89,100 starting MSRP (less federal credit of $4,500) makes it near price identical to the 740i xDrive, and only a couple thousand more expensive than the "base" 7 series (at $81,500).
Given that BMW sell some 1,000 copies of the 7 Series on average in the US, it is not unreasonable to think a few hundred of the 740e could be sold each month once they are stocked.
Look! It's the illusive Mercedes C350e
While again we didn't see that "first sale" made in September, we have been told that the C350e Plug-In Hybrid is indeed a real car, and is expected to be on sale soon - from a quite reasonable, $45,490.
That said, the extended range C-Series (which zips to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds) was originally expected to debut in the US in the Fall of 2015, then was delayed into 2016, then Spring of 2016, then....well, you get the picture.
Giving us hope that a copy or two will be sold in the near future? The C350e is now listed on Mercedes' US website, and dealers are listing the car as "in stock"
Ford Fusion Energi
Ford Fusion Energi:
Did the US consumer warm up to the refreshed, longer range 2017 Ford Fusion Energi (details) that debuted in June?
You bet they did, as Ford immediately crushed previous results, setting a new multi-year high that month, selling 1,700 copies of its (now) 21 mile, extended range EV!
Through the Summer and into September, the momentum has continue to roll for Ford. This month a near-record 1,652 were sold.
However despite 4 months of very strong sales, a very hot US market for the Tesla Model X, saw the all-electric SUV pass the Ford this month for the #3 spot on the top sellers list.
Looking at the inventory and it is easy to see why (and how) so many Fusion plug-ins have sold over the first few months of the year; the Fusion Energi has often won the crown for the "most stocked" EV in the US. Were it not for the recent surge in Chevy Volt inventory, it would still lead the pack...although the total available volume has fallen over the past four months, but still at a solid ~2,500 or so average in September.
2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In
Toyota Prius Plug-In:
Whoosh - is the sound of Prius PHV sales as the remaining inventory circles the drain (now out of production for over a year). It is all over. See you in late 2016 as the all-new Toyota Prius Prime hits the market (more on that later).
For September, Toyota managed to scrounge up 4 more copies of the old Prius plug-in to sell...a 100% increase over the 2 moved in August.
That being said, if the Prius Prime actually arrives with some time left in 2016, the company could still end the year with a bunch of sales on the book, as the new 25 mile Prius plug-in is expected to compete for the sales crown in 2017.
The new Prius Prime was recently aggressively priced from $27,950, subtract the $4,500 federal incentive the Prime qualifies for, and the upcoming 2nd generation plug-in Prius is more than $1,000 cheaper than the base hybrid.
Given that the standard Prius hybrid traditionally sells around 10,000 cars a month, the sales ceiling for the Prius Prime is certainly high - and we could be looking at the 2017 plug-in sales champ for next year...quite a turn around indeed.
Latest Plug-In To Arrive In The US - the 2017 Mercedes GLE 550e (which to no one's surprise, also comes in black)
Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e:
With all the fanfare of...well, absolutely nothing, the first GLE 550es quietly slipped on to Mercedes dealer lots in June.
The plug-in SUV then proceeded to sell 19 copies in its debut month, followed by 30 and 24 respectively in July and August.
For September, it was more of the same - with 26 sales logged.
We spoke with Mercedes about its GLE 550e, and as it turns out the SUV is available only as a special request factory order (by your local dealer, or by customer order)...and is not a "stock program" (think Ford Focus EV for a handy reference as to what this means).
Normally the sales recap would not be the place to go over the particulars of what a plug-in can do - but 99.9% of readers probably didn't even know it existed until we mentioned it, so here goes...
Price: from $65,550 Engine: 3.0 L turbo, combined with electric motor puts out 436 hp Acceleration: 0-60 in 5.3 seconds All electric range: 10 miles (12 blended) - 42 MPGe/now you know
Mercedes S550e Plug-In Hybrid
Mercedes-Benz S 550e:
When it comes to plug-in luxury, there is a new boss in town! Having arrived in 2015, the Mercedes S550e presents a level of refinement previously unseen in the EV segment for the US.
That said, the "new boss" comes at a hefty price, and only by special order.
For September, Mercedes set a new all-time high for sales with the S550e, selling 41 copies during the month - the previous best result was in February when 36 were moved.
Despite its huge footprint, and pretty heavy weight (just north of 5,000lbs), the electric motor and turbo 6 cylinder still manage to zip the Mercedes to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds, while giving the car 24 MPG in the city and 30 on the highway.
Currently, range is rated at 12+ miles with the Prius-like "electric + gas" tag, meaning you have to drive with a certain light-footedness to get the 20 miles on just electricity. The S550 has a 8 kWh battery on board, so expect about a $4,700 federal tax credit with your purchase.
NEW for 2017: The 550 H will be getting a new, larger battery - up to 13.3 kWh (details), which should give the massive tourer about ~20 miles of real world/EPA range. The plug-in luxury car will also be the first vehicle to offer a factory-installed wireless charging option in 2017, Mercedes notes this option will be made available on all new plug-in offerings in the future.
2016 Hyundai Sonata PHEV (... in black)
Hyundai Sonata PHV:
January was the first month the Sonata plug-in was even decently stocked, and Hyundai sold an estimated ~175 copies of the Sonata plug-in, foreshadowing that it will be a strong player in the EV space for 2016.
Since then sales have been steady, with an estimated 260 sold in September, after selling about 235 cars in August by our figuring.
(As always, Hyundai is not keen to split out a specific number themselves, so we have to go by what rebate and dealer information there is to go on).
The Sonata PHV should be a decent seller in the US as it offers an attractive mid-size PHEV value. The Hyundai has been rated at 27 miles of range and pricing starts at $34,600.
The only question now is if Hyundai will inventory it like sister-company Kia with the Soul EV (as in hardly at all). During July about 350-odd showroom copies were on hand on average in limited states - although the car is available by customer order in all 50 states, which could push sales abnormally higher than would be expected with present inventory levels.
With $4,919 dollar worth of federal credit also on the table thanks to the car's 9.8 kWh battery, the effective $29,681 price-point (+dst) is acceptable; however, when factored into a lease, it makes the plug-in version of Sonata almost as inexpensive as the petrol version.
It has been hard to get a read on the sales demand for VW's all-electric Golf for the most part this year, but the picture seems to be clearing up now.
After setting a year's best in August (with 454 copies sold), Volkswagen improved on that number again in Septenber, selling 529 copies ... close to the all-time high set in December of 2015 (608 sales)
Overall sales for 2016 are also now slightly higher (9%) against last year's results (2,782 vs 2,553).
We should note that these sales levels are not too bad considering a recently announced range upgrade coming mid-year for the 2017 edition (December/January-ish) - which has served to pretty much keep demand in check until that car's arrival.
As mentioned, some sales help is on the way, as Volkswagen will have a first mover advantage of some sort upgrading the range on today's e-Golf. The 2017 plug-in VW (details) will now feature a 35.8 kWh battery, increasing range to ~124 miles and will debut next month.
Also of interest, VW outlined its plans passed the refreshed e-Golf from the Paris Motor Show in October, stating that the all-electric I.D. will enter production in about 3 years time, and will have 400-600 km (249-373 miles) of range. (We should note that estimate was given on the optimistic Euro/NEDC scale - in term of real-world/EPA estimated miles, we would expect 180-270 miles...still a pretty big spread)
Ford C-Max Energi
Ford C-Max Energi:
If it wasn't for the impressive results of the Ford Fusion Energi, we probably would look at C-Max Energi results a lot differently.
For September, the C-Max Energi continued to perform well, selling 689 copies, close to the best result of the year...which fell in July with 755 sold.
The C-Max Energi now ranks as the 7th best selling plug-in for the US, just behind the BMW i3, but also finds itself being pursued by another BMW - the X5 plug-in, just a few hundred sales behind.
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).
For the short term future, Ford has confirmed the 2017 C-Max Energi will head into production this November, and it will also get a slight refresh (not the full treatment we saw in Europe, but a light alteration from the 2016 North American version).
Given the Fusion Energi's recent all-electric and MPG upgrades (see details above under the Fusion Energi recap), we expect the C-Max Energi to get a similar boost at the same time.
When it comes to sales, the BMW i8 (like its cousin i3) had a pretty rough start to the year. In fact it was terrible, but unlike the i3, sales have since stabilized and improved as 2016 has progressed.
In September, a solid 158 copies were sold after moving 145 i2s in August.
Year to date, 1,089 i8s have been sold, which is off 19% from 2015 when 1,342where moved though the first 9 months.
Heading into October, the inventory situation continues to be strong, as it seems every BMW dealer really enjoys having a a couple i8s in stock (one for the showroom window, and one to drive around him/herself). About ~400 are currently available for sale.
Also of note: More and more whispers point to the fact that the next BMW i8 will not only have a lot more power on tap (up to 750 HP), but that BMW will be offering the 2nd generation i8 as a pure electric car - perhaps in order to better compete against the likes of the new Tesla Model S P100DL.
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid:
The Panamera S e-Hybrid seems not able to recover from the arrival of sister SUV, the Cayenne S e-Hybrid...which is quite frankly a superior offering when it comes to "bang for the luxury buck".
After having a rare resurgent month in August (selling 59 copies - its best result since 2014), thing returned to normal in September with 28 sales being made.
Basically, the upcoming refresh probably can't come soon enough.
Speaking of which, the plug-in Panamera's replacement was announced this month - the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (yes, the name is just as dreadful).
Good news is that it gets AWD, twice the L2 charging speed (7.2 kW vs 3.6 kW), and a 50% larger battery that gives the Porsche 31 miles/50km of NEDC/EURO range...which translates to about 25 miles in the US (up from the 16 miles found in the original). Bad news? It isn't expected in the US until around June! Boo!
The high mark for sales on the Panamera was set in the very first month it went on sale, with an amazing 141 sold in January of 2014.
Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid
Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid:
While the Panamera S E-Hybrid struggles to prove viability, the Cayenne plug-in continues to put more butts in the seats. In September, the decent sales trend continued, as 131 Cayenne PHEVs were sold.
Amazingly, Porsche has only strengthened sales in the US this year, despite added pressure from the likes of the BMW X5 plug-in and Tesla Model X in the plug-in utility class.
There has even been enough demand of late for Porsche to introduce a premium "platinum edition" of the plug-in Cayenne.
And while the e-drivetrain/abilities of the Cayenne and Panamara are very similar, Porsche customers have spoken - they want the Cayenne, as sales of the plug-in SUV outnumber the sedan usually by a ratio of about 5-to-1.
Even Porsche seems to have noticed, as inventory of the plug-in SUV has only increased through the past few month, averaging close to ~400 units of late.
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).
So far in 2016, the Fiat 500e has remained a consistent performer, although the model itself has proven somewhat unreliable...at least if you go by national recalls (and fairly serious ones at that) - the 500e recently netted its 3rd such notice in June, due to a power inverter module that can experience voltage spike, which in turn can cause the propulsion system to shutdown at speed, which Chrysler says can "increase the risk of a crash".
Despite all that, the 500e remains the most popular compliance EV that many can buy, we estimate 440 copies were sold in September. For September, inventories of the 500e fell for the first time in awhile, averaging about 600 during the month according to our count.
The all-time high-water mark for sales was around ~1,310 of the 500e in March of 2015.
BMW X5 xDrive40e:
The BMW X5 plug-in has had an unexpectedly strong debut in the US...and it has only gotten stronger and stronger as more time passes.
In fact, it easily wins the award for "best newcomer" in 2016, which topped off by the all-time best 876 sales that were made in August!
Perhaps not unexpectedly, September sales dropped some while the company attempted to replenish new inventory on dealer lots. For the month, a still strong 482 plug-in SUVs were sold.
This month's result keeps the X5 plug-in solidly inside the "top 10" best sellers for the US, currently sitting in 8th place after passing the Fiat 500e in June.
Check out our first drive review of the 13 mile AER BMW x5 xDrive40e here.
smart ED - As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car
SMART ForTwo ED:
Daimler had been experiencing a slight rebound in sales for its 2 seat all-electric smart car early this year, but that ended in June as sales reached a near-low for 2016 with just 53 sales.
We say near-low because September is the new low water mark for the smart ED as just 44 were sold.
The malaise (and lack of dealer stock) may perhaps be in anticipation of a new, next gen offering that arrives in December with a new look, and a slight range increase - up to 85 miles.
The all-time record for sales in one month was set in December of 2014 when 351 were sold. The smart Ed ended 2015 with 1,387 sold - good for the 13th on the top selling plug-ins list for America.
Ford Focus Electric
Ford Focus Electric:
Do we really have to keep reporting on individual month's sales for the Focus Electric? Every month is practically a carbon copy of the last...serious.
Another month, another nap for those interesting in following the sales progress of Ford's first all-electric offering.
The Ford Focus is one of the longest available electric cars on the US market - and September marked the EV's 54th month to log sales in America, yet it never strays more than ~100 units from selling 150 copies per month.
Seriously - never more than 100. It seems almost impossible...yet there it is...the Focus Electric, selling 100ish cars month in and month out.
For September ...zzzz...82 more...zzzz....Ford Focus...zzz...Electrics were sold.
The model has sold between 53 and 198 sales per month in 51 of the past 52 months. With just one of those months passing the 200 level ever (August 2014 -264)
New hotness! In August we exclusively broke work on that long promised "100 mile" upgrade for the Focus Electric. The battery moves from 23 kWh to 33.5 kWh, which according to our calculations should net the all-electric Ford about 110 miles of range. The car also gets DC fast charging as promised - check out all the details here.
We should note that the 2017 Focus EV doesn't start production until mid-November, so this new, longer ranged Ford probably won't be available until very late in 2016. And while one might assume higher sales are in sotre as a result (they might for a couple months), it is still fairly unlikely as Ford doesn't promote/stock this plug-in as regular inventory - you basically have to go ask your Ford dealer to order you one.
Kia Soul EV
Kia SOUL EV:
Kia seems to be emulating the Focus Electric with the plug-in Soul EV...and that is not a good thing.
Having straying far from the 100 unit mark during in its first two years on the market, Kia broke with tradition entering year three! ...and sold 217 copies in September!
Ok, it's not that exciting of an accomplishment, it is a new all-time high for the brand.
Hey Kia, maybe its time to ship a few more copies to the US?
A note on the Kia numbers: Kia has decided to not split out data on the Soul EV from the regular petrol version, despite several attempts by ourselves to convince them it would be a good idea to do that. As Kia is one of the OEMs we don't have a strong relationship with, we defer to our friends at HybridCars.com to provide the sales info.
The cute-ute from Hyundai/Kia has a more than decent 93 miles of range (with more 103 miles of range in the city), and a price tag of $33,700 (full details, specs and picture can be found here). We expect the advent of the Kia Optima plug-in and the upcoming 110-mile Hyundai IONIQ Electric to signal the end of the Soul EV by 2017.
OTHERS: Plug-in vehicles that have ended sales/production are included in our chart under this heading. They include (but are not limited to) the Honda Fit EV, Toyota RAV4 EV, Honda Accord PHV, Porsche 918 Spyder