Sales of plug-in vehicles in the US continue to show strong growth in 2017...and we haven't even gotten to the "good part" yet.

For August, some 16,623 plug-in vehicle deliveries were made, an improvement of almost 15% over the ~14,592 sold a year ago.

In fact, last month marks the 23rd consecutive month* of record gains in the US market for plug-ins, and as mentioned this is the "low point" of the growth curve for America moving forward.  For 2017 YTD, ~121,501 plug-ins have been moved, up 31% from 2016 (~92,211 sales).

Tesla Model 3 - show here being accessed remotely via mobile app- looks to re-write the EV sales record books at year's end

Tesla Model 3 - show here being accessed remotely via mobile app- looks to re-write the EV sales record books at year's end

While a handful more of Tesla model 3s went out in August, expectations are for some pretty lofty returns on the latest Tesla in Q4 - perhaps upwards of 25,000 copies.

Add in the soon-to-arrive deeper inventory of the Toyota Prius Prime with the 2018 model year's debut in a month's time, the Chevrolet Bolt EV just going national in the last week or so, the newly re-designed/longer range Nissan LEAF (full details here) arriving in December ...and the typical year-end EV sales spike - thanks to how the $7,500 federal credit works, and we'd be shocked to not see 100,000+ plug-ins be sold in the last 4 month's of the year.

Getting back to the "here and now", three offerings all sold around 2,000 copies in August to move the needle higher in the US:  the Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Bolt EV, and the Toyota Prius Prime.

Interestingly all of the top 3 sellers in the US for August are expected to put up big gains in September. As noted the Bolt EV deepens its nation-wide advance, the Prius Prime's inventory doubled in the last weeks of August, and there is an almost unprecedented amount of US Model S customer order in Tesla's production queue.  In other words, if you are betting on EV sales for September - take the over!.

Also of note for August EV sales:

  • The Tesla Model S widened its lead for the US sales lead in the month, as the Chevy Volt seems to be having some trouble this Summer competing against its stablemate Bolt EV.  GM made 4,708 Volt sales over the past 3 months vs 6,424 a year ago...bringing the YTD comparisons into the red this month for the first time in 2017
  • the BMW i3 continues to flounder in the US, sales were 50% lower in August than a year ago. Perhaps the introduction of a new, sportier i3s edition (details) will help sales somewhat (although we tend to think that a price cut and adding some range would be the more obvious choice to help sales rebound)
  • smart, despite losing  2/3rds of its US dealers for the 2017 model year as the petrol versions fade out, the new 2017 smart Electric Drive arrived in August, selling almost 3 digits worth of the re-designed city car.  As for the loss of all those dealers?  It really doesn't effect smart ED sales, as the bulk of the monthly EV totals have always been from the remaining 1/3

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 August 2017

Yupe, the Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid has arrived in the US (albeit in limited numbers so far)

Yupe, the Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid has arrived in the US (albeit in limited numbers so far)

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 3,800
  2. General Motors – 3,576
  3. Toyota – 1,820
  4. BMW Group – 1,729
  5. Ford – 1,598
  6. Nissan – 1,154
  7. VW Group – 625
  8. Daimler - 419
Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In August*
  1. BEV – 8,743– 52.6%
  2. PHEV – 7,881 -47.4%
(*) estimated

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

  • Chevrolet Bolt EV – 2,107 (1,971)
  • BMW 530e - 345 (343)
  • Kia Soul EV - 300 (171)
  • Volvo Xc90 T8 PHEV - 265 (202)
  • Kia Optima PHEV - 182 (130)
  • Mercedes C 350 3 - 212 (210)
  • smart Electric Drive - 94 (22)
  • Mini Countryman PHV - 86 (75)
  • Tesla Model 3* - 75 (30)
  • Volvo SC60 PHEV - 65 (13)
  • Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid - 23 (22)
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)