This April gives ultimate confidence that 2018 plug-in sales are on the rise toward a massive year.
April marks the 31st month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains* for plug-in vehicles, with an estimated total of 19,681 sold. This makes it the fifth best month of all time for the EV segment.
January 2018 EV sales had us a little worried. The rise was not as expected, but it turns out it was not indicative of what was ahead. February came and we had to wait forever to get the final numbers, but, in the end, it was worth the wait. The month exceeded our forecast significantly. Then, March blew the roof off for plug-in sales. It ended up being the best month of all time for the segment and the strongest quarter to date.
Last Month's Results - March 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card
It seems like just yesterday we were reporting March EV sales. April came and went with a vengeance, so here we are again. We considered only running sales articles on a quarterly basis now that GM has decided to change its reporting schedule (and Tesla has been following this method all along). But, as the segment grows, there is an increasing number of other major players.
In the event that other automakers change to quarterly reporting, we may have to reconsider. For now, you can still count on your monthly dose of InsideEVs sales reporting, although, as stated above, we may adjust the format as time goes on.
For April, we estimated at least 18,500 plug-in cars sold. However, the odds were in our favor, and sales approached the 20,000-mark.
Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):
- March 2018 - 26,373
- December 2017 - 26,107
- December 2016 - 24,785
- September 2017 - 21,242
- April 2018 - 19,681
Follow Here: Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard
Let's take a look how the month played out.
Nissan finally began to move a notable number of copies of its all-new 2018 LEAF in February, at 895. However, we were confident that March would be the turning point ... and it was (Nissan moved an impressive 1,500). We anticipate that number to continue into the second quarter, with the potential to soar. The automaker delivered 1,171 LEAFs in the U.S. for the month of April.
While the Tesla Model 3 continues to suffer production issues, March was an incredible month for Tesla's hugely popular new small sedan. In fact, in regards to EVs, it was the best month of all time for any automaker in the U.S. This was true not only for the Model 3, but also for Tesla as a whole.
Tesla sold 3,820 Model 3s in March, for a total of over 8,000 in Q1. To top it off, the Silicon Valley automaker delivered an estimated 10,000 vehicles in March in the U.S. alone, over 6,000 of which were the company's Model S and Model X. To top it off, Tesla took the lead for global EV sales for March and the quarter.
For April, we estimate Model 3 sales at 3,875. This is essentially flat from the previous month, but there was one less working day, potentially four less selling days (although Tesla doesn't play by the same rules as legacy automakers), production output was about the same, and Model 3 production saw a brief shutdown. Based on our estimations, Model S and X sales are up a touch from last year, though pretty consistent, at 1,250 and 1,025, respectively.
GM boldly decided at the end of the first quarter that it will switch away from monthly sales reporting. Instead, the automaker will follow Tesla's lead and only release numbers at the close of each quarter. So, it will be July before we have a solid handle on Chevrolet Bolt and Chevrolet Volt deliveries. Between now and then, we'll make an attempt to estimate sales to keep our chart complete. Keep in mind, when GM shares quarterly sales in July, we'll watch and update our official numbers.
With that being said, we see Bolt deliveries at 1,275 for last month, as well as a welcome surprise from the Volt, as sales are at an estimated 1,325. These numbers put the Bolt right on target with expectations, at an almost flat number compared to last April. As we anticipated, Volt deliveries are down year-over-year, however, GM has upped production and inventory of its aging plug-in while beginning to reduce Bolt allocations. In late March, the automaker also resumed Bolt deliveries in South Korea, ahead of schedule.
The Toyota Prius Prime, Honda Clarity PHEV, and BMW i3 are also worthy of mention. Of course, the Prime has maintained second place on our sales chart by a pretty wide margin thus far this year. The Clarity PHEV secured an almost miraculous December, which was its first full month of sales. It succeeded again in February, edging it closer to the top competitors in the segment, but March is when it really started to shine, with over 1,000 deliveries. Though i3 sales were weak throughout 2017 and opened this year the same, March saw a surge.
Prime sales are in and show continued success, claiming the second spot once again on our chart thus far, only exceeded by the Tesla Model 3. Toyota sold 2,626 copies last month. Honda did a solid job keeping inventory up for the newly popular Clarity PHEV, with 1,049 sold in April. BMW i3 sales are just about flat from last April, at 503.
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?
The year ahead holds amazing promise for the segment, however, every time we enter a new quarter, there are many questions and it's hard to know exactly how everything will pan out.
Questions entering April:
- Will 2018 Nissan LEAF sales continue to rise, or was March an exception?
- With no sales data from GM until July, will Chevrolet Bolt and Volt inventory be proof enough of sales ups or downs? (We've dug deep and consulted help. That said, estimated Bolt sales are flat at 1,275, and although estimated Volt sales are still down, 1,325 is super promising)
- Will the Tesla Model 3 remain far above all others, despite continued production problems and the recent shutdown? (There's no question here. Yes!!! Estimates show 3,875 deliveries)
- How much will Tesla Model S and Model X sales be impacted by the continued rise in Model 3 deliveries? (Not so much. We're nearly flat with previous year estimates and actually up some. Model S - 1,250 and Model X - 1,025)
- The Toyota Prius Prime rocked the end of Q1. Will April sales continue a trend toward to top? (Of course! Toyota sold 2,626 Prime plug-ins for April)
- Honda Clarity PHEV deliveries closed out the 1st quarter impressively. Can they rise even further? (Clarity PHEV sales were flat in April, at 1,049)
- The BMW i3 finally made a more healthy showing in March. Was it simply an end-of-quarter surge or do we have another true sales rival with the potential to move in in the top ten? (One and done for the i3. This month is back to the norm at 503 copies moved)
Also of note: Toyota sold 76 Mirais last month. Honda sold 156 Clarity Fuel Cells. Additionally, 15 Hyundai Tucson FCEVs were moved in April.
Last update: May 8, 2018
***InsideEVs good friend and contributor Wade Malone provided assistance with sales estimations and related analysis.
*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)
|2018 U.S. EV SALES||JAN||FEB||MAR||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT||NOV||DEC||TOTAL|
|Tesla Model 3*||1875||2485||3820||3875||6250||6062||24,367|
|Toyota Prius Prime||1496||2050||2922||2626||2924||2237||14,255|
|Tesla Model S*||800||1125||3375||1250||1520||2750||10,820|
|Tesla Model X*||700||975||2825||1025||1450||2550||9,525|
|Chevrolet Bolt EV*||1177||1424||1774||1275||1125||1083||7,858|
|Honda Clarity PHEV*||594||881||1061||1049||1639||1445||6,669|
|Ford Fusion Energi||640||794||782||742||740||604||4,302|
|BMW i3 (BEV + REx)||382||623||992||503||424||580||3,504|
|Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**||375||450||480||425||650||710||3,090|
|BMWX5 xDrive 40e*||261||596||627||563||499||515||3,061|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||300||323||373||273||297||390||1,956|
|Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*||145||199||214||189||267||240||1,254|
|Kia Niro PHEV*||155||246||227||120||218||205||1,171|
|Hyundai IONIQ PHEV*||22||178||218||180||217||210||1,025|
|Volvo XC60 PHEV*||109||155||167||141||214||170||956|
|Porsche Cayenne S-E*||113||121||197||265||59||160||915|
|Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid*||1||2||49||336||275||250||913|
|Kia Soul EV*||115||163||157||152||133||145||865|
|Mini Countryman SE PHEV*||127||100||74||106||163||175||745|
|Kia Optima PHEV*||86||103||156||142||98||125||710|
|Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV*||99||106||93||90||126||105||619|
|Mercedes GLE 550e*||44||70||181||93||83||120||591|
|Ford C-Max Energi||234||142||105||57||18||6||562|
|Honda Clarity BEV*||203||104||48||52||37||95||539|
|Ford Focus Electric||70||73||137||83||88||50||501|
|Hyundai Sonata PHEV*||52||54||78||38||67||60||349|
|Mercedes GLC 350e*||5||57||59||64||60||245|
|Volvo S90 T8 PHEV*||27||29||52||29||30||40||207|
|Hyundai IONIQ EV*||49||3||60||7||32||28||179|
|Cadillac CT6 PHEV*||6||24||17||42||30||35||154|
|2018 U.S. Sales Totals||12,049||16,845||26,373||19,681||24,560||25,378||124,886|
|2017 U.S. Sales Totals||11,004||12,375||18,542||13,367||16,596||17,046||15,540||16,514||21,242||14,315||17,178||26,107||199,826|
|2018 Worldwide Sales*||82,000||81,000||141,000||128,450||159,346||591,796|
Above - 2018 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Monthly or Quarterly Totals, ** Estimated (Based on State/Rebate Data and other reports), Credit to HybridCars.com for assistance on Hyundai/Kia and some BMW data. BEV models are designated with the icon.
Individual Plug-In Model Sales Recap For Major Models:
(Limited to vehicles with ~500 sales/or potential for 500 sales in a given month)
2017 Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt entering January found itself continuing an unfortunate streak of nine consecutive months of year-over-year losses. 2017 fourth-quarter sales alone were down some 3,000 units from the previous year.
January sales made it ten months of losses in a row, as 713 were sold, some 55.7% lower than a year ago (1,611). For February, the Volt continued its downturn with a total of 983 sold, which was 46% lower than last year's impressive 1,820. However, it's up significantly from this January's numbers.
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!
GM sold a total of 1,782 Volts for the month of March, which was one of its more impressive showings as of late, but still down 16.4% from last year's 2,132. However, this is a huge and welcome sales surge for the Volt.
As we previously explained, GM has decided to stop providing monthly sales figures. Sadly, we won't have a firm grasp on Volt sales now until July. With that being said, we are estimating April 2018 deliveries at 1,325, which is higher than may be expected. Keep in mind, however, that Volt production and inventory are on the rise.
Chevrolet Bolt EV
Chevrolet Bolt EV:
The Chevrolet Bolt EV made its debut in December of 2016, as a 2017 model. However, it wasn't technically available nationwide until August of 2017, but only a handful of copies landed in those 30-odd new states during that month.
That 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. For December, GM eclipsed the 3K threshold by moving 3,227 Chevrolet Bolts, finishing 2017 with a 10-month streak of sales gains.
Unfortunately, in January only 1,177 Bolts were delivered, which a mere 1.3% gain over last January's 1,162. For February, GM delivered 1,424 Bolt EVs, up 49.6% from last February's 952 sold. Bringing Q1 to a close, GM sold 1,774 Bolt EVs in March, up 81.4% from last year's 978.
Estimating Bolt EV sales for the month of April brings us back to some normalcy, and right on target with last year's figures (1,292). We are putting GM's BEV delivery number at 1,275 for April 2018.
2018 Nissan LEAF
The Nissan LEAF entered February as the oldest offering on the U.S. market - going on 88 months now.
As you all know 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. Not enough? A ~225 mile, higher performance trim level arrives later in 2018 (as a 2019 MY car).
Sadly, Nissan USA proved 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) had 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' left Nissan with almost no remaining inventory, which caused sales in October to drop to just 213 deliveries, ending an impressive eight-month run of four-digit results. In November, that number dropped further, to 175 sales. December, the best-selling month for EVs, saw only 102 LEAFs delivered. We're pretty sure Nissan is wishing it had done things differently, as the LEAF closed out 2017 down some 20% overall.
Fast forward to today, when the LEAF was supposed to have been rolling off of lots two months ago, and that's not quite how it worked out. Cars didn't begin arriving until January in small numbers and they were pegged for reservation holders. Nissan told us it would be mid-February before another shipment of LEAFs became available at dealers for new buyers, which we figured would result in a sales bump, albeit small.
In January, Nissan delivered 150 LEAFs, down 80.6% from last January's 772. For February, sales increased to 895, which was hugely promising, only down ~14% from last year's numbers. As a point of reference, last February, Nissan delivered over 1,000 LEAFs.
For March, Nissan delivered 1,500 LEAFs, which is on par with numbers from March of 2017 (1,478). However, it's a leap from February's 895.
Sadly, LEAF sales don't grow as we hoped for April. It's not bad, however. Nissan moved 1,171 copies this April. Let's hope that accelerates as the year moves on.
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 saw a record sales month, with 2,420 sold. This put the 2017 total at 20,936, landing Toyota's plug-in the fourth place spot overall for the year as a whole.
Toyota delivered 1,496 Primes for the month of January, up 5.1% from last January's figures. February Toyota Prius Prime numbers were super-impressive, with 2,050 sold. This is up a whopping 50.5% from last year's monthly figures!
Toyota sold 2,922 Prime plug-ins this March, up again from last year's numbers by an impressive 74.1%.It's also up significantly from last month's figures, and we're pretty confident that the Prime will continue to rein No. 2 to the Tesla Model 3.
Yes yes yes, Toyota's popular plug-in continues to hold the number two spot with 2,626 delivered in April.
The Toyota Prius Prime not only features its own unique look, but also 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 if the EV can remain 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 were 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).
Now, 2018 models are being delivered, and it was also reported that a larger battery (long-range) model is set to arrive in late 2018.
December i3 sales accelerated from November's totals considerably. The German luxury automaker delivered more than double the previous month's total, at 672 to close out 2017 with 6,726 sold.
For January, BMW delivered 382 i3s. This is exactly the same number as last January. February brought a 96% bump in i3 sales from the same month last year, with 623 sold.
It looks like the i3 is going to start gaining interest once again. We've now seen two consecutive months of excellent sales growth. BMW sold an impressive 992 copies in March, which is the best showing for the car since August of 2016. This is up 41.1% from last year's 703, and a big bump from last month's 623.
It looks like March was a one and done success story for the i3. April sees 503 copies moved.
2014 Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S:
Tesla doesn't 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 report it, 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 TSLA 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 in 2017, 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. Tesla seems to be more focused on net sales than setting a specific S and X target, but international deliveries also play a role. All-in-all, we may see Model S and X sales flat or even lower over the course of 2018.
Additionally, the automaker just pushed back Model S and X delivery timelines by several months. It was said that this is due to a spike in orders for the vehicles, likely due to the attention Tesla is getting from the Model 3, and also because many people are having to wait so long for their Model 3 that they've opted for an S or X instead.
With all of this considered, it's becoming increasingly clear Tesla is picking and choosing how it will skillfully hit its delivery targets. This means that sales figures for the Model S for December and January were down from last year's numbers.
We estimated January Model S sales at 800. February's estimate came in a bit higher, at 1,125, although this is still a notable drop from last year's 1,750.
March sales mirrored 2017 as expected, at 3,375, to round out the quarter fairly close to targets.
We know full well that Tesla's Model S and X U.S. deliveries are generally lowest in the first month of the quarter. As stated above, the automaker has made it increasingly clear that S and X sales will likely match last year's targets, remaining pretty flat for 2018 due to the Model 3 focus. April sees an estimated 1,250 Model S deliveries, which is up marginally, though pretty consistent with last April's 1,125.
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 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 were 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 has been sacrificed 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 of 2017. Keep in mind, however, that all cars and regions are not created equal.
Aside from lower sales volume due to the Model 3, for the months of December and January, Model X sales seemed to be business as usual (despite the long-winded explanation above). In December, we estimated that Tesla moved 3,330 electric SUVs compared to the 3,875 sold in the same month of 2016. We estimated January 2018 Model X sales at 700, down a touch from last year's 750.
Our estimates for February put Model X deliveries at 875 (to reconcile the quarter, we've bumped this number up to 975), up a fair amount from January's estimates, as well as February 2017 numbers (of course, last February, Model X production was somewhat limited, as our estimates show the automaker delivered 800 during that month).
For March, sales were consistent with 2017, at 2,825, to finish the quarter fairly close to targets.
Last year, April Model X sales were quite low, much like that of January and February. We saw the same trend the first few months of 2018. However, it should be noted that as 2017 moved forward, the X began to rise in popularity and did a better job of mirroring sales with the Model S. While it appears Tesla still sold more S' vehicles in the U.S. again this month, the divide is more closely matched. We estimate 1,025 Model X SUVs delivered this April.
Tesla Model 3
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 28, 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 U.S. 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 2017 sales of the Model 3 were adjusted up 2 units.
Thankfully, in the early days (Q3 2017), estimating 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 2017. 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 several months while watching the happenings around the car), we believed Tesla was desperate to provide confirmation of a "decent" sustained production level for the Model 3 by the close of 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 publicly reported delivering 1,060 Model 3s in December, for a grand total of 1,772 on for 2017. 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 brought us to an estimated 50,147. Global deliveries passed the 100K mark for the year as a whole (~103,000), making 2017 Tesla's best year yet, despite Model 3 shortfalls.
While Model S and X sales were both down a handful for January, based on our estimations, Model 3 sales were up again compared to last month's numbers (one would sure hope so!) However, they're not up as high as projected or expected.
We estimated January Model 3 sales at 1,875. Basically, we took the 860 vehicles in transit in December, plus the ~500 vehicles produced in each of the first two weeks of January (and those 15 extra vehicles from December that Tesla assured were ready to go but not yet scheduled for delivery), and projected that the automaker was able to successfully deliver these cars prior to the close of the month. This makes sense since the Tesla was still (and still is) looking at three to six weeks for the entire process to unfold.
For February, we must assume that most of the remainder of the Model 3s manufactured in January made their way into owners' driveways. Added to this, we gather that some early February production was delivered prior to the 28th of the month. We should also point out that an anonymous source with close ties to Model 3 production made us aware that the line has been down for as much as a week at a time over the course of the last month or so due to timing issues with the robots. This was later verified by the automaker. Our February Model 3 delivery estimate was 2,485.
As expected, Tesla has dialed up Model 3 production for March considerably, and according to the automaker's Q1 sales report, future prospects are looking up. You can read the whole report by clicking here.
Tesla delivered a grand total of 8,180 Model 3 sedans for Q1 2018, with March sales at an impressive 3,820.
One less day in April, similar production numbers in comparison to March, and a brief shut down mean that last month's Tesla Model 3 deliveries remain very consistent with the previous month. Now that fixes have been made in Fremont and the Gigafactory, we should look forward to a surge for may, followed by a leap in June to end Q2. Still, our Model 3 April delivery estimate of 3,875 is impressive considering the circumstances, and there's no doubt the popular electric sedan will again dominate our sales chart.
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 our 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 of 2017, 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 22, 2017, and customers enjoyed a good three to four weeks of arriving inventory ... until the wheels fell off (not literally).
By June 10, 2017, 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. With January being a low-volume month, we put Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid sales estimates at 375. For February, we estimated Chrysler delivered 450 Pacifica Hybrids.
Our March estimate sees 480 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids delivered.
After three months below 500 sales, the Pacifica Hybrid may soon lose its spot in our recaps. However, we've kept it around for now in case the rest of the year begins to show promise. However, April's numbers don't help its case. We estimate FCA sold about 425 copies.
Ford Fusion Energi
Ford Fusion Energi:
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.
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 2017, 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 through the end of 2017, for 9,632 deliveries.
Fusion Energi sales were in January, at 640. Deliveries climbed in February to 794, very close to last year's 837.
For March, Fusion Energi sales were flat from February's number, with a total of 782 sold. However, this is down considerably from last year's 1,002 moved in March.
April sees a total of 742 Ford Fusion Energi's sold. It seems about 700 is the new magic number for Ford's midsize plug-in.
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.
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, followed by 706 in December - shooting the plug-in BMW up our sales chart.
For January, deliveries slide down significantly to 224. February starts to move back up, with 413 deliveries.
BMW 530e deliveries were on the uptick for March, with a total of 689 sales.
BMW moved 518 copies in April.
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 were down, but still strong at 832, pushing the just out of the top ten for the year as a whole.
While inventory is still low, we're happy to be able to report that the 2018s are here in volume. Hopefully, enough plug-in SUVs will eventually arrive that BMW can once again make a push to achieve the four-digit mark!
BMW X5 plug-in sales plummeted in January to 261. For February, we saw a bump back up to 596, keeping the X5 safe in our recaps.
March numbers remained consistent, as BMW delivered 627 plug-in X5s.
For April, X5 sit at 563, which again is right on target with the last few months.
Honda Clarity PHEV
Honda Clarity PHEV:
The Honda Clarity PHEV just arrived in November of 2017. Only 5 copies were sold that first month, followed by an incredible 898 in December. At that point, we were going to add the new plug-in to our recaps, but we decided to give it a few months to settle in.
January deliveries fell to 594, however, that's still outstanding for a new addition to the segment. February brought a nice surge back up to 881 sold, pushing the Clarity PHEV within reach of the best-selling vehicles in the segment.
Now, the Clarity PHEV finds a new home in our recaps, and it's obvious it earned it well. The addition of the Clarity was much-needed, as it comes at a time that we have recently eliminated the Volkswagen e-Golf, Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, Ford C-Max Energi, and Fiat 500e due to not meeting the sales threshold.
The Clarity PHEV starts at $33,400 before rebates. It's powered by 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors, with a total system output of 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. The Clarity boasts a 47-mile EPA all-electric driving range, making it the closest PHEV all-electric range competitor to the Chevy Volt. Charging takes 2.5 hours with 240-volt power or about 12 hours on a 120-volt household outlet.
Honda has reported a total of 1,061 Clarity PHEVs sold in March.
Clarity PHEV sales were flat in April, at 1,049.