Can anyone challenge the Toyota Prius Prime for the plug-in sales crown at year's end for the US?

Can anyone challenge the Toyota Prius Prime for the plug-in sales crown at year's end for the US?

A year ago, there were many questions, and differing opinions on how Toyota's second generation Prius plug-in would fare in the ever-more crowded US market.  Now, despite almost no inventory from which to sell from, the most popular question is:

"Who will compete with Toyota Prius Prime for the title of best selling plug-in at year's end?"

The Chevrolet Bolt EV set a new all-time high for sales in May

The Chevrolet Bolt EV set a new all-time high for sales in May

For the second month in a row, and with little-to-no inventory on hand, the Prime was the best selling plug-in vehicle in America, selling 1,902 copies.

The average turn on inventory was firmly in single digits for the bulk of the month, and less than 1,000 cars were on hand (regionally) heading into June.

Translated:  We have not yet seen the true demand of the 25 mile extended range Prius

Overall for May 2017, an estimated 16,788 plug-ins were sold, a solid 46.3% gain over the 11,467 sold a year ago, and also an all-time record for the month.

For the year,  ~71,758 EVs have now been delivered, 44.7% more than the first 5 months of 2016 (49,839).

May 2016 also marks the 20 consecutive month* of year-over-year gains in the plug-in segment, and the first time ever than 7 different offerings sold at least 1,000 vehicles.  At the current pace of US electrified sales, 2017 sales project out to be just under 230,000 units.

Hot on the heels of the Prius Prime for the sales crown, was the Chevrolet Volt at 1,817 deliveries with the Tesla Model X (~1,730) and Model S (~1,620) estimated not too far behind.

Sitting in the 5th spot overall was the Chevrolet Bolt EV; fresh with much deeper inventory, the Bolt EV managed to sell 1,566 copies, its all-time best result to date.

Other surprises from May 2017:

  • Ford C-Max Energi closed in on almost 1,000 sales (950)
  • Fiat 500e continues to be a California/Oregon compliance beast, crossing 3k for 2017
  • Actual inventory for the BMW 330e lets us seen some of the car's true sales potential (475 sold)
  • the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, despite another ON/OFF month for delivery holds (see note on that in individual sales recap sheet here), still managed to push an estimated ~700 units out the door.  Could a full month of deliveries and actual dealer stock mean 4 digits?  We don't see why not...although it won't be in June thanks to a recall
More specific background on the major individual models can be found on our expanded May round-up 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 (Thanks to HybridCars for assist on Kia 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 (Thanks to HybridCars for assist on Kia data)

Other Statistical Points of Interest from May 2017

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. General Motors - 3,399
  2. Tesla Motors* – 3,350
  3. Ford – 2082
  4. Toyota - 1,908
  5. BMW - 1,612
  6. Nissan - 1,392
  7. FCA* - 1,150
  8. VW Group - 850
Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In May*
  1. PHEV – 8,530 -51.5%
  2. BEV – 8,038 48.5%
(*) estimated

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

  • Toyota Prius Prime - 1,908 (1,819)
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV - 1,566 (1,292)
  • Ford C-Max Energi - 950 (749)
  • Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid* - 705 (335)
  • BMW 330e - 475 (365)
  • BMW X5 xDrive40e - 433 (397)
  • VW e-Golf - 381 (342)
  • Volvo XC90 T8 - 146 (145)
  • BMW 530e - 147 (13)
  • Mercedes S 550 e - 83 (81)
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric - 75 (19)
  • Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid - 16 (6)
The full monthly recap by individual plug-in (all-time) can be found on our Monthly Scorecard here.  Updated (Chrysler recall info) - June 12th, 2017

*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)