If you thought it couldn’t get any better, we’ve only just begun.
December marks the 27th month of consecutive sales gains* for plug-in vehicles. This is a huge accomplishment, and it will only get better from here.
Numbers are now all in and we hit a record 26,107 plug-ins sold for the month of December, which is a slight gain over last year's monthly totals of 24,785. This makes last month a new leader, closely followed by last year's December results and this year's 21,325 sold in September.
Sadly, we were just shy of the 200,00 mark as anticipated. Nonetheless, totals for 2017 ring in at an impressive 199,826. Just a mere handful shy of the year's lofty goal. Still, this puts us largely ahead of 2016's number of 158,614. Remember, this December only includes 26 selling days, compared to 27 in December of 2016.
With Tesla Model S and X sales up, along with Chevy’s Bolt and Volt sitting at a combined 5,164, BMW making new strides (even better than November's efforts), and Model 3 sales finally spiking (1,060), we almost pulled it off. The Toyota Prius Prime also sees a record month with 2,420 delivered. Not to mention a major bump in Honda Clarity PHEV/BEV sales (898 and 527, respectively for December).
Questions entering December (with answers in parentheses as they come in):
- The Chevrolet Volt has struggled to maintain sales now that the 238-mile Bolt EV has arrived. It has seen deliveries drop year-over-year for 8 months in a row. Will strong sales in December end the streak? (Nope)
- On the other side of the coin, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is on a 9-month sales growth streak, can GM best the 2,987 sales made in November to make it 10 months in a row? (Yep)
- Will the Tesla Model S reclaim the top spot after two consecutive off months, knocking the Bolt out of first place, with a storm of end-of-the-year sales? How about the Model X? (Yes, both the Model S and X surpassed the Bolt for December sales)
- Will this be the month that the Toyota Prius Prime breaks the “2k barrier” for the first time? (Yes, the Prime sees a record-breaking month with 2,420 delivered)
- In the continuing battle of “new 2018 offerings that disappointingly aren’t stocked so well”, who will manage to sell more – the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Volvo XC60 PHEV, Volvo S90 T8 PHEV or the new Mini Countryman Plug-In? (the Volvo XC60 PHEV pulled it off with 174 deliveries)
- Will Honda manage to stock the Clarity PHEV and secure a significant sales boost? (Yes! Honda reported 898 Clarity PHEV sales).
- How will BMW fare to end the year, after its major butt-kicking in November? (BMW kicked butt again, with 2,653 sales)
Also of note: Toyota moved 296 Mirais in December, good for a total of 1,835 for 2017.
Last update: January 4, 2018 at 12:15 PM
*Regarding "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)
Below Chart: An 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)
|2017 U.S. EV SALES||JAN||FEB||MAR||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT||NOV||DEC||TOTAL|
|Tesla Model S*||900||1750||3450||1125||1620||2350||1425||2150||4860||1120||1335||4975||27,060|
|Chevrolet Bolt EV||1162||952||978||1292||1566||1642||1971||2107||2632||2781||2987||3227||23,297|
|Tesla Model X*||750||800||2750||715||1730||2200||1650||1575||3120||850||1875||3300||21,315|
|Toyota Prius Prime||1366||1362||1618||1819||1908||1619||1645||1820||1899||1626||1834||2420||20,936|
|Ford Fusion Energi||606||837||1002||905||1000||707||703||762||763||741||731||875||9,632|
|Ford C-Max Energi||473||639||662||720||950||936||844||705||683||569||523||436||8,140|
|BMW i3 (BEV + REx)||382||318||703||516||506||567||601||504||538||686||283||672||6,276|
|BMWX5 xDrive 40e||262||275||397||291||433||488||463||317||333||329||929||832||5,349|
|Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**||12||0||0||335||705||355||125||425||475||875||570||720||4,597|
|Audi A3 Sportback e-tron||387||400||414||301||294||324||218||129||85||17||38||270||2,877|
|Hyundai Sonata PHEV||190||175||295||280||220||255||205||185||190||210||135||195||2,535|
|Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV||96||83||103||145||146||202||174||265||236||174||204||368||2,196|
|Kia Soul EV||117||152||171||167||129||100||145||300||255||210||207||204||2,157|
|Ford Focus Electric||56||228||407||125||132||110||148||131||131||115||121||113||1,817|
|Tesla Model 3||30||75||117||145||337||1060||1,764|
|Porsche Cayenne S-E||177||121||126||185||174||195||160||178||124||73||38||23||1,574|
|Kia Optima PHEV||10||61||70||86||85||78||130||182||228||235||213||134||1,512|
|Honda Clarity BEV||34||15||52||34||459||527||1,121|
|Honda Clarity PHEV||5||898||903|
|Volvo XC60 PHEV||13||65||97||100||82||174||531|
|Mini Countryman SE PHEV||10||75||86||80||56||96||72||475|
|Mercedes GLE 550e||52||59||47||36||33||41||27||23||14||8||41||82||463|
|Hyundai IONIQ EV||5||19||75||58||43||66||36||28||23||79||432|
|Cadillac CT6 PHEV||8||16||20||22||23||27||27||29||35||207|
|Volvo S90 T8 PHEV||5||28||32||52||117|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||99||99|
|Chevrolet Spark EV||4||4||3||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||7||2||23|
|Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid||2||1||3||2||1||0||0||1||1||2||5||0||18|
|2017 U.S. Sales Totals||11,005||12,377||18,541||13,365||16,596||17,046||15,540||16,514||21,242||14,315||17,170||26,107||199,818|
|2016 U.S. Sales Totals||6,221||7,763||13,857||10,531||11,467||14,863||13,067||14,592||17,224||11,007||13,237||24,785||158,614|
|2017 Worldwide Sales*||41,372||53,561||94,650||71,762||91,417||102,130||92,835||104,225||124,197||125,447||148,903||176,618||1,227,117|
* Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals
** Estimated (Based on State/Rebate Data and other reports)
Credit to HybridCars.com for assistance on Hyundai/some BMW data.
Individual Plug-In Model Sales Recap For Major Models:
(limited to vehicles with ~500 sales/or potential for 500 sales in a given month)
Next Generation, 2017 Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt entering December found itself continuing an unfortunate streak of eight consecutive months of year-over-year losses.
Combined September, October, and November sales have been some 2,236 sales lower than last year.
With December sales in, we can now make it nine in a row, as 1,937 were sold, some 47.5% lower than a year ago (3,691).
It has become more than obvious that the Volt's stablemate, the Chevy Bolt EV, is stealing the Volt's thunder. For as many months as the Volt has been down and dropping, the Bolt has been up and gaining. Keep in mind, this is definitely not a bad thing, it's just different ... and, in all honesty ... better. It means less gas burned!
For 2018, 20,349 Chevy Volts have been sold, down 17.7% from the 24,739 sold in 2017.
Chevrolet Bolt EV - looking to make its mark in 2017
Chevrolet Bolt EV:
The Chevrolet Bolt EV was technically available nationwide in August, but few copies landed in those 30-odd new states during that month.
This began to change in September. More evenly spread inventory led to rapid Bolt EV sales growth, notching 2,632 sales during that month.
October brought 2,781 deliveries, but November took that number even higher, as 2,987 sales were made. Now, for December, GM moves 3,227 Chevrolet Bolts, finishing 2017 with a 10-month streak of sales gains
Chevrolet has sold a grand total of 23,297 Bolt EVs to close out 2017.
2018 Nissan LEAF gets a new look, more range!
The Nissan LEAF entered December as the oldest offering on the U.S. market - going on 85 months now.
And as everyone knows by now, it has been replaced by the updated 2018 Nissan LEAF, which debuted in September (full details here).
Is the new LEAF better?
Yes, in every way, including ~43 more miles range (up to 150 miles from 107) for $700 less when it arrives in the U.S. this month. Not enough? A ~225 mile, higher performance trim level arrives later in 2018 (as a 2019 MY car).
Unfortunately, Nissan USA is apparently not as capable as Nissan Japan, which managed to launch the new LEAF as planned in October (to some very impressive results), while the U.S. (and Europe) have to wait until January. This wouldn't be a problem if the wind-down of the first-gen 2017 model wasn't pre-planned to be defunct by October.
The resulting gap between the 'new' and 'old' has left Nissan with almost no remaining inventory, which caused sales in October to drop to just 213 deliveries, ending an impressive 8 month run of four-digit results. In November, that number dropped further, to 175 sales. This month, Nissan delivered 102 LEAFs, to make it 11,230 for the year. This is down some 20% from last year's 14,006 total.
See you soon 2018 Nissan LEAF!
2017 Toyota Prius Prime
Toyota Prius Prime:
After setting a new high of 1,908 in May, it was expected that with deeper inventory the Prime would be headed much higher.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and a 'doubling' of stock (to around 2,000 units), only resulted in 1,899 sales in September. An additional 50% gain in inventory for October (up to ~3,000) actually resulted in a lower number - 1,626 sales.
For November, inventory levels stayed fairly strong, averaging slightly more than October, which translated into better sales, but still a relatively disappointing 1,834 deliveries, given the higher expectations for the year's end.
For December, the Prime see a record sales month, with 2,420 sold. This puts the 2017 total at 20,936, landing Toyota's plug-in the fourth place spot overall for the year as a whole.
The Toyota Prius Prime not only features its own unique look but 25 miles of all-electric range.
How has the Toyota found a selling range of ~2,000 units a month? The plug-in Toyota is priced right - from $27,950, which after the $4,500 federal credit gives the Prime a selling price of $23,450. This price-point comes in at over $1,000 cheaper than the base hybrid Prius, which should translate into long-term sales success once the EV is well stocked.
The BMW i3 entered the U.S. market with a bang in 2014, but it's too bad that the initial fireworks display of sales back then was the peak - we just didn't know it at the time.
For 2017, BMW i3 sales are a mixed bag.
Sales got off to a rough start, with just 182 moved in January, and 318 in February. The tune changed drastically in March (which given the i3's track record is not all that surprising) with 703 sales made, a 118% gain over March of 2016. However, for several months after March, sales hovered around 500-600 units, until October when almost 700 were yet again moved.
For November...trashbags, as the company recalled all of its i3 vehicles due to a safety issue (for people who chose to NOT wear their seat belts if you can believe that) and put a 'stop sale' on the model for a time. Just 283 i3 vehicles were sold during a month that is historically one of the best in terms of EV sales.
Quite frankly (and notwithstanding this recall), the i3 as it stands today is likely too expensive for plug-in vehicle buyers. So, if BMW wants to sell the EV in volumes like it did in the past, it's going to have to sharpen its pencil considerably.
In late August, BMW proved it still really didn't understand the issue behind lackluster sales or the i3 itself, by releasing a new, slightly sportier trim level - the i3s (full details here). The car gets some new styling details, some wider tires and some extra performance (+10 kW), but what the public really wants is a longer range option and a price cut (the new i3s is ~10% more expensive in most markets).
Over the course of the last several days, the first 2018 models have been delivered. It was also reported that a larger battery (long-range) model is set to arrive in late 2018.
December i3 sales have accelerated from November's totals considerably. The German luxury automaker delivered more than double last month's total, at 672 to close out the year with 6,726 sold.
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). For this reason, we never know for sure what the monthly numbers total up to until Tesla's quarterly (or annual) updates add more clarity. However, we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what's 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. This is surely not how it works in the real world. We simply report from the data we accumulate ourselves, including first-hand accounts available from the factory and from the community itself, and the number is what it is (see below).
Revisions/disclaimer to the accuracy of prior estimates: The 2016 Model S chart has been adjusted (via U.S. Q3 data leaked directly from Tesla) by 469 units in Q3, and 525 units in Q4. The 2015 chart was adjusted (one time) 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're not analysts or portfolio managers and we don't own any positions in Tesla the company.
While Tesla continues to conform to a familiar quarterly pattern of prioritizing international production early in the quarter before transitioning to domestic output, there has been somewhat of a change/reshuffling of priorities we have seen this time around.
The name of that priority is Model 3.
As we mentioned over the past three to four months, it appeared Tesla knew fairly early that volume production would not be close to guidance by the end of Q3, and quickly refocused in an attempt to make that a reality by the end of Q4 (investors need to be kept happy we suppose).
The end result is that production energies and skilled labor normally assigned to Tesla's original EVs are being diverted from the Model S and X to getting the Model 3 back on course.
Knowing this, it seems Tesla is picking and choosing how it will skillfully hit its "100K" delivery target for 2017. This also means that sales figures for the Model S for this December are down some from last year's number. We estimate that Tesla delivered 4,975 Model S vehicles last month, compared to last December's 5,850. This puts year-end Model S sales totals at an estimated 27,060.
Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X:
Like the Model S, Tesla does not report Model X sales, so we do our best to estimate monthly results for North America using all the data at our disposal (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S)
Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Oct 11th):
Tesla's recently leaked U.S. sales data for Q3 2016 put U.S. deliveries at 5,428. Our own Q3 estimate was 5,800 for North America, which includes Canada (which ended Q3 with 389 registrations for the quarter), meaning 5,787 were actually sold. Though we don't attest to being experts, we were only off by 13 units in Q3.
Previously in Q2 2016, Tesla reported 4,625 Model X deliveries. 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.
Since we don't want to bore you by explaining the same thing twice, have a look at the Tesla Model S recap (above) and then come back here.
All done? Good ... welcome back.
Like the Model S, Model X production will also be sacrificed late in the quarter as Tesla attempts to prove itself more capable of building the Model 3. Tesla directed to some 10% less production of the Model S & X in Q4. Keep in mind, however, that all cars and regions are not created equal.
While the Tesla Model S has proven itself to be the more "in demand" offering of the two, the Model X is definitely the higher margin EV. Thus, as Tesla finds itself (unfortunately) not likely to be able to satisfy all demand for the year-end rush, it will be satisfying its demand for higher margin cars.
Nutshell: If you live in the US and ordered a top-of-the-line Model X P100D in September and also a base Model S 75D, your Model X likely went into production early in November, and it's now sitting in your driveway, whereas that Model S (or base Model X) was still waiting for production, or just entered Tesla's production queue with a delivery ETA just before Christmas.
For this reason, and this reason only, we estimated the Model X outsold the Model S in November with some 1,875 deliveries.
For the month of December, it looks as though the situation is back to normal, aside from the addition of ramped up Model 3 production. We estimated that Tesla delivered 3,300 Model X SUVs last month. This puts the Model X year-end sales total at an estimated 21,315.
This is the first Tesla Model 3 (#001), naturally, it arrived in black - lord of all colors. Want to buy it any other way? $1,000
premium fine for bad taste.
Tesla Model 3:
Just ~16 months after orders opened, and ~10 years since it was first announced (then known as the "Bluestar"), the first Model 3s were delivered on July 28th, 2017! One can check out the full delivery ceremony and all the newly released specs (220-310 miles range, 0-60 mph in 5.1-5.6 seconds) on our full recap here.
As with Model S & X sales, Tesla is not planning to release monthly Model 3 sales in the US at this point in time. Until then, we'll do our best to estimate monthly results for North America using all the data at our disposal (For more info on that, check out our Model S disclaimer).
Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Nov 1st): Q3 sales of the Model 3 was adjusted up 2 units.
Thankfully, in the early days (Q3 2017), pegging Model 3 sales in the U.S. was a pretty easy task, as the complete delivery volume for July took place live at the July 28th delivery event in Fremont, California. The first 30 cars were delivered to Tesla employees/stakeholders in the U.S., and one could almost count the individual cars as they left Tesla's Fremont factory in August.
For September, we had Tesla's quarterly disclosure that put deliveries at 222 cumulatively for the quarter, meaning about 117 were delivered. Truthfully, the monthly numbers were meaningless in Q3. Instead, all eyes were on production. While the company guided to some 1,630+ to be produced, just 260 were built.
Of course, much chatter arose as to why. Tesla generically blamed "production bottlenecks." The company, looking to re-assure, said at the time:
"We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term."
From our perspective, Tesla realized fairly early in July that the September goals would not be met. Following the future 'S-Curve' goal into year's end was going to be problematic. It appears from that moment on, rather than working on"near-term" production and deliveries, Tesla has been working more proactively with the main goal of simply being able to show volume production by year's end - something originally targeted for the end of September.
While this thought process was never officially confirmed by the company, a quasi-confirmation came with the admission that Model S and X production would be off 10% in Q4. Additionally, we are now seeing the effects of manpower being transferred into transitioning the Model 3 production from "burst" output (or start and stop if you will) to a more consistent, ordered structure.
While it's only speculation on our part (as it has been for the past three to four months while watching the happenings around the car), we felt Tesla was desperate to provide confirmation of a "decent" sustained production level for the Model 3 by end out the year ... and we were right.
To that end, progress to a certain degree was definitely made in November, as more cars than ever did actually find employee driveways (and orders also opened to the public mid-month ... well at least to the first batch of locals anyway). Though Tesla only delivered an estimated 345 Model 3s in November, this number was a notable jump from prior months.
Tesla just reported delivering 1,060 Model 3s this December, for a grand total of 1,772 on the year. Additionally, Tesla dialed down the target of 5K a week, to 2.5K now, and set the 5K production level back to June (essentially a six-month delay at this point).
Adding up all Tesla vehicles delivered in the U.S. in 2017 brings us to an estimated 50,147. Global deliveries passed the 100K mark for the year as a whole (~103,000), making this Tesla's best year yet, despite Model 3 shortfalls.
Chrysler Pacific Hybrid (plug-in)
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid:
Editor's note: FCA does not split out sales data for the plug-in Pacifica, so we try out best to estimate that number from month-to-month until hard/verifiable data is gleaned.
The much-anticipated plug-in extended range passenger van arrived in January, albeit in stealth, stuttered, and very limited in fashion.
Due to some odd quirks with production timing and plant scheduling, we had an on/off/on/off/quasi-on start for the Pacifica Hybrid as it relates to deliveries. Then there was QC holds, then launch delays.
Finally, the Pacifica Hybrid officially arrived on "Earth Day" April 22nd, 2017, and customers enjoyed a good three to four weeks of arriving inventory ... until the wheels fell off (not literally).
By June 10th, a nationwide recall was announced, and all 1,677 Pacificas sold in the U.S. and Canada had to head back to Chrysler to get a faulty diode replaced that could cause loss of power when in operation. We won't get into all the details from there (check out our June sales report for more info).
Thankfully, by September, the kinks appeared to have been worked out just in time to see its Windsor, Ontario assembly plant go down for the entire month of October for pre-scheduled updating of the facility to comply with U.S. regulatory/safety tooling on the Grand Caravan.
Nonetheless, customer orders and dealer stock are once again flowing and the 2018 model has arrived. For the Pacifica Hybrid, we estimate 720 deliveries in December, up 150 units from November's estimates.
2017 BMW 330e - Like All Plug-Ins Sold In The US, It Wisely Is Offered In Black
Arriving on the U.S. market about a year ago was the BMW 330e, which is the plug-in hybrid version of the company's quintessential 3 Series offering.
While the 330e (from $44,695 including DST), physically arrived in April 2016 in a token amount, it took BMW almost a year to stock the plug-in very robustly.
Like almost all iPerformance offerings in November, the BMW 330e reached a near 2017 high during the month, selling 477 copies. December's total hit 363 sales.
Given the still relatively limited inventory of the 330e on BMW lots so far in 2017 (about ~200 as of the time of this writing), there is a lot of upward sales potential for the car. However, as it has now been on offer for 21 months in the U.S., maybe BMW really doesn't care to displace any more petrol 3 Series transactions.
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's a capable offering (featuring a 2-liter inline turbo-four), which should satisfy the traditional BMW crowd and see strong sales.
The electric motor delivers 87 horsepower with a maximum of 184 pound-feet of torque. When combined with the petrol engine, the total output jumps to 248 horsepower, with a peak torque of 310 pound-feet. This all allows for a 5.9-second zero-to-60-mph sprint and a top speed of 140 mph.
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:
After selling ~400 copies a month in Q1 (387, 400, and 414), Audi slipped in Q2 and Q3.
The reason for the failure to stock and sell?
VW Group likes to allocate a certain number of model year plug-in vehicles to the U.S., and if they run out ... oh well. This was exactly the case for the Audi over the summer and into the fall.
How bad did it get?
We could only find 17 examples of the A3 e-tron at dealers nationwide when we did an inventory in October. Leading us to say, "Hey Audi, make with the 2018s already!"
Fortunately, they seem to have heard us, as the first handful did indeed arrive in November, but that is a literal handful. Hopefully, Audi can take advantage of the strong incentive to buy in December by stocking the A3 e-tron a little better ... but we aren't getting our hopes up.
For December, sales improved significantly, to 270 deliveries, from last months puny 38. However, this is less than half of the 589 delivered in December of 2016, and down to 2,877 for the year, compared to last year's 4,280.
The A3 e-tron has a low price inside Audi's lineup. $38,900 gets you the Audi badge, 8.8 kWh of battery - good for 17-odd miles of real-world driving ... and a federal credit of $4,158, which is significant because this brings the e-tron package down to within $3,500 of the base MSRP of the A3.
Another reason for decent sales numbers on the A3 e-tron; you can't get the "Sportback" version of the Audi in any other trim level in the U.S.
Ford Fusion Energi
Ford Fusion Energi: YET
The refreshed 2017 Ford Fusion Energi (details) was a fairly big hit in 2016, showing marked improvements throughout the year.
Heading into 2017, the Fusion Energi crossed back into "four-digit land" in March, as 1,002 Energis were moved ... joining a club of just five others at that level. The month of May showed a repeat of such numbers, but sales have stayed in the 700s ever since.
For November, that number was 731. For the year, just over 8,700 have been moved. This makes the Fusion Energi the 7th best selling plug-in for America to date.
December sales are up a touch, with 875 sold, for 9,632 on the year.
Looking at the inventory in the past, it was easy to see why (and how) so many of the new Fusion plug-ins have been sold. The Fusion Energi often won the crown for the "most stocked" EV in the U.S., until Chevy got crazy with the Volt and Bolt EV.
With that said, Ford had been struggling to keep production on pace with demand (or rather managing inventory lower). After having almost 3,000 in stock in mid-June, that number fell below 2,000 units by the start of September, as the industry-wide summer shutdown/changeover to MY 2018 was underway. This inventory level flatlined throughout October and November.
Congratulations Volkswagen, you win our "jackass of the year" award.
After a rocky start with the continued dieselgate fallout, the longer range 2017 e-Golf was promised to the U.S. after production started in Germany in late 2016.
Well, guess what? For the next nine months, all VW did was have the "old & busted" 2016s clogging up dealer lots - refusing to clear them out to make way for the new hotness.
Finally, the 2016s were gone by the start of fall, and like a magical unicorn, the new/longer range 2017 edition has appeared! And yes, you heard that right, VW was so slow with the upgraded model that they are just now introducing a "2017" model as everyone else has switched to the 2018s.
Despite the lack of 2017 e-Golfs for the bulk of the year, the older model sold decently well (relatively speaking based on historical sales). VW moved about ~300 copies a month on average this year until September. With the 2016s exhausted, and only just over 100 copies of the "new" 2017s on hand, VW moved 187 e-Golfs in September, for a 2017 low.
During October, 2018 MY inventory grew to ~350 odd units, which resulted in marginally better October sales of 203 units (down 50% from a year ago), before November returned more to the norm with 289 sales (off 5% from the 305 moved in November 2016). For December, sales were up a bit, as VW moved 343 e-Golfs. Down 100 unit from the 443 sold in December 2016.
So, we can finally say that VW has 'reset' the e-Golf for stronger sales, and there is a shot (provided demand is still there) for the company to eclipse the "500 level" for the first time in 2017 next month ... and avoid being dropped from our volume-seller recap summaries in 2018.
The 2017 plug-in VW debuted at the LA Auto Show in November (details - launch gallery/video) and now features a 35.8 kWh battery, increasing range to ~124 miles.
Ford C-Max Energi
Ford C-Max Energi:
Normally we reflect on what a plug-in model's sales were in the past, before passing along the deliveries for this month, followed by a quick look at the months ahead.
For the C-Max Energi, there is no future, as Ford announced that the plug-in version of the C-Max would not be entering 2018 model year production (while the standard hybrid would be getting one more year).
This decision gives Ford the unfortunate distinction of being the most successful plug-in offering in the U.S. to get the ax.
On the positive side, the decision was made to make room for a new offering - or two. The Ford Escape Energi -- which was out testing in the U.S. as early as this past June -- and potentially a Focus Energi (if one believes Ford's trademark application for the name heralds such an offering). We should note that the Escape Energi will not be arriving until next year, which makes the decision to cut the C-Max plug-in today a little more puzzling.
Anyway, with inventory starting to dwindle, Ford moved 569 C-Max Energis in October, near a year low (set in January), then just 523 in November.
December is down a bit at 436, for 8,140 delivered in 2017.
When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we have another Tesla on our hands here (as in they don't report sales).
FCA has been giving us a bit of the stonewall treatment when it comes to reporting 500e sales.
UPDATE: After having some initial 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). For 2016, the yearly estimated total was adjusted upward (once) by approximately 500 units over the full 12 months.
It's interesting to note that sales this year peaked in January (of all months) at an estimated ~752, though sales have stayed strong for most of the year.
This remained true until summer. For some odd reason that we don't quite understand, the 500e seems to sell less in the summer. It might have something to do with FCA's production timing, which seems to always 'short the distance' it needs to bridge the gap between the previous model year and the next.
Although sales hung around 300 for several months in a row and dipped down to an estimated 215 for November, the 500e ends the year with a bit of a surge.
For December, we estimate that 385 500es were sold.
2018 BMW 530e
Welcome to the "big time" BMW 5 Series! By "big time" we mean selling more than 500 copies and getting an individual recap on our sales scorecard.
Originally, we had expected that the BMW X5 40e would be dropping off the list this month, but the SUV surprised us with strong November sales (more on that below), keeping itself on the list for another season.
Back to the 530e.
The plug-in hybrid's $52,400 starting price point makes it the cheapest of the 5 Series to own, and thus a strong seller. After crossing 500 sales in both September and October, an amazing 872 were moved in November - shooting the plug-in BMW up our sales chart. For December, we see 706 moved.
If BMW were able to maintain anywhere close to the sales of the past 3 months, we could find the 530e cracking the "top 10" for plug-in sales next year.
BMW X5 xDrive40e:
The BMW X5 plug-in had an unexpectedly strong debut in the U.S. in 2016, which only got stronger over the year.
In fact, the electrified BMW SUV had seen sales as high as 876 units in 2016 (August 2016).
Then 2017 happened, and sales disappointed. During the first 10 months, numbers ranged from the 260s to the 480s.
With just 329 sales in October, and 333 in September, we confidently predicted the X5 plug-in would be leaving our recap list in 2018 ... then November happened. The month brought an all-time best 929 deliveries, which made the BMW the sixth best selling plug-in for the November! In December, sales are down a touch to 832.
While inventory is still low (~450 units), we're happy to be able to report that the 2018s are now steadily arriving in volume. Hopefully, enough plug-in SUVs will eventually arrive that BMW can once again make a push to achieve the four-digit mark!