2017 World Green Car winner Toyota Prius Prime was also the Best Selling plug-in for the US in April

2017 World Green Car winner Toyota Prius Prime was also the Best Selling plug-in for the US in April

It was during our September 2015 plug-in sales report we said the following:

"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 (2015), and continuing (for the most part) into the foreseeable future."

Now, more than a year and a half later, we find ourselves reporting on April 2017's plug-in sales results, noting 19 consecutive months* of gains since 2015.  Quite a run indeed.

Looking at last month's result, it wasn't a flawless win for all electrified models in the US, as the BMW i3 and Chevrolet Bolt EV both under-performed expectations, but the majority of plug-ins did best their own results from a year ago; and it is that kind of deeper model depth that is the driving force behind the EV surge in America today.

Overall, an estimated 13,151 plug-ins were sold, a 25% gain over 2016.

For the year,  ~54,693 plug-ins have been delivered in America, which is a 43% improvement from the ~38,372 moved in a year ago.

During the month we saw a record 4 different plug-ins make their retail debuts:

  • Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
  • BMW 530e
  • Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Of the group, only the 33 mile, Pacifica Hybrid is expected to sell in larger quantities, but the BMW and Cadillac will be adding more diversity to the plug-in choices, while the Ioniq Electric is technically the most efficient EV ever (if you go by MPGe @ 136 MPGe).

The surprise hit for April 2017, and really for most of the year, continues to be the Toyota Prius Prime - selling 1,819 copies during the month (from less than 1,000 units of average in stock inventory).

The Prime's sales for the month landed it as the #1 selling plug-in for the month, as it just crested the 1,807 Chevrolet Volt's sold.  However, don't feel bad for the Chevy, as it managed to slip past the Tesla Model S in April to become the best selling plug-in offering for the year (as Tesla deliveries during the first month of every quarter are notoriously light).

Also to note:  April was a weak month for general/overall automotive sales, with deliveries off about ~5% during the month.  The car segment was especially weak, showing a drop of 11% (18% for the domestic automakers).

The BMW 740e sales took hold in April

The BMW 740e sales took hold in April

Also making moves of interest was the BMW 740e (details).  Although it is a premium product, not expected to sell in high quantities, the pricing on the plug-in version of the premium sedan is actually cheaper (post fed credit) than the traditional petrol model.  With that in mind, we had expected to see it eat away at some of BMW's core 7-Series business...and with 123 sales in April (vs 870 ICE sales), that seems to now be happening.

Some further stats can be found below the monthly sales chart below (Also, our all-time, month-by-month, historical data for previous years can be found here)

2017 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** FCA/Hyundai-Kia Do Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2017 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** FCA/Hyundai-Kia Do Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

Other Statistical Points of Interest from April 2017

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. General Motors - 3,113
  2. Tesla Motors* – 1,840
  3. Toyota - 1,819
  4. Ford – 1,774
  5. BMW - 1,213
  6. Nissan - 1,063
  7. VW Group - 793
  8. FCA* - 646
Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In April*
  1. PHEV – 7,589 -57.8.7%
  2. BEV – 5562 42.2%
(*) estimated

New Year Highs Set In April By Model (previous 2017 high in brackets)

  • Toyota Prius Prime - 1,819 (1,618)
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV - 1,292 (1,162)
  • Ford C-Max Energi - 749 (662)
  • Chrysler Pacifica Hybid* - 205 (12)
  • Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid - 185 (177)
  • Volvo XC90 T8 - 145 (103)
  • BMW 740e - 123 (42)
  • Kia Optima PHV - 86 (70)
  • Mercedes S 550 e - 81 (60)
  • Mercedes B 250 e - 66 (56)
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric - 19 (NM)
  • Cadillac ELR - 7 (3)
  • Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid -6 (NM)
The full monthly recap by individual plug-in (all-time) can be found on our Monthly Scorecard here.

*On year of monthly sales improvements: We know someone is going to look at the chart and say, “hey, only ~11,467 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 May 2016 (versus 26 in 2015)