We've completed yet another month of 2018, and soon enough, we'll know just how plug-in sales panned out, along with a better forecast of the year ahead.
January got off to a slow (and a bit scary) start, but deliveries were still higher than that of 2017. For February, we should begin to see better results, especially since Tesla Model 3 production is ramping up and 2018 Nissan LEAF stock is growing (although it will likely be one more month before we see notable LEAF numbers and it seems Tesla Model 3 production is hitting some shaky ground as of late). New offerings like the Kia Niro PHEV and Hyundai IONIQ PHEV are entering their first full month of sales, and others, like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Honda Clarity PHEV have had a few months to settle in.
Last Month's Results - January 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card
2018 Nissan LEAF
While 2017 plug-in sales fell just shy of the 200,000 mark, it was still an extremely impressive year as a whole. Hitting that mark for 2018 should happen well before the end of the year. However, there are several variables involved in determining where we might be by the end of this year. Will we see 300,000?
Be on the lookout for our upcoming 2018 yearly sales prediction post coming soon, compliments of contributor Josh Bryant.
The biggest variable is the Tesla Model 3. If you asked Tesla, the automaker would tell you it could clear the "multiple hundreds of thousands" mark on its own, but that potential has yet to be proven. Model 3 production guidance has been continually missed and pushed back, and now, the automaker is struggling to fill a multitude of Model S and X orders, along with potential ongoing Model 3 production problems.
Many of you have asked ... What's the situation with the all-new second-generation 2018 Nissan LEAF? Fortunately, it has arrived and is now being stocked nationwide. Unfortunately, inventory is small, and many of these first vehicles are already spoken for. A Nissan dealership rep told us that another larger round of vehicles will be arriving in the coming weeks and will be more widely available. So, it looks like it will be March before LEAF sales begin more respectable upward momentum. Let's hope February brings a pleasant surprise, but it's unlikely.
Then, there's the story of Chevrolet's plug-in siblings, the Volt and Bolt, neither of which had a stellar January. We can expect the Volt's downfall to continue, but how low can it go? The Bolt didn't fare terribly in January. In fact, sales were up a touch from last year, but it could have been so much more promising. We can only cross our fingers that February begins forward momentum.
Will the Chevrolet Bolt step back up to the plate this month?
With January a bit on the scary side, what will February bring? What confidence might it secure for the year as a whole? What questions come to mind?
Questions entering February:
- Now that the all-new 2018 Nissan LEAF has arrived, has inventory grown enough to spawn decent sales numbers?
- After the Chevrolet Bolt's somewhat weak showing in January, will it redeem itself this month?
- The Chevrolet Volt continues to struggle to maintain sales now that the Bolt EV and a handful of PHEV rivals have arrived. It has seen deliveries drop year-over-year for ten months in a row. Will strong sales in February finally end this streak?
- Will the Tesla Model 3 prove more sales growth and stay at the top of our scorecard for the second month in a row, despite potential production concerns?
- How much will Tesla Model S and Model X sales be impacted by the continued rise in Model 3 deliveries? Musk says orders are very strong. Will this make a difference?
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV sales tripled from its first U.S. sales month to January. Will we see such continued growth into February?
- Will the Toyota Prius Prime continue to impress?
- In the continuing battle of “new 2018 offerings that disappointingly aren’t stocked so well”, which will manage to come out on top – the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Volvo XC60 PHEV, Volvo S90 T8 PHEV or the Mini Countryman Plug-In?
- Will Honda manage to boost inventory for the Clarity PHEV and secure a more significant sales boost than was reported in January, meaning it may find a new home in our recaps for next month?
- How will the Honda Clarity BEV fare?
- We've removed the VW e-Golf from our recaps due to weak sales. Sales dropped again in January. Will this month sing a familiar tune?
- How will the Kia Niro PHEV and Hyundai IONIQ PHEV perform in their first full month of U.S. sales?