May 2018 plug-in sales should continue to set records and paint a picture of a promising future for the segment.
May marks the 32nd month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains* for plug-in vehicles.
It has been a very interesting year for electric vehicle sales with a lackluster January, the longest reporting holdup ever in February, and a record-breaking March. April also landed in the fifth-highest spot for all-time EV sales. There's no doubt May will secure a place in the top five as well, and if the stars align, it could grab the third spot overall, historically.
Last Month's Results - April 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card
Check This Out: All-New Monthly Sales Report Card Archive
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
The Tesla Model 3 has achieved a much higher rate of production output and been more consistent as of late. Three shutdowns have worked to make improvements in both build quality and speed. March was an incredible month for Tesla's hugely popular new small sedan. This was true not only for the Model 3, but also for Tesla as a whole. The Silicon Valley automaker had sold 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. In fact, in regards to EVs, it was the best month of all time for every automaker in the U.S.
The Model 3 stayed at the top in April, with an estimated 3,875 delivered, for a total of over 12,000 for the year. Model S and X sales were flat, which was to be expected, since historically the automaker has delivered less in the U.S. in the opening month of each quarter. We expect May to pan out similarly, with S and X sales close to those of last year, though Model 3 sales are sharply rising.
Nissan pulled an impressive March, but April was a bit of a disappointment as its all-new 2018 LEAF didn't sell as many copies as we'd expected or hoped. However, we're confident that sales will continue to be respectable for the remainder of 2018, with a boost once the longer range model arrives late in the year.
GM switched away from monthly sales reporting at the end of Q1. Going forward, 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 offer estimated sales to keep our chart complete.
The Toyota Prius Prime, Honda Clarity PHEV, and BMW i3 also deserve mention. The Prime has maintained second place on our sales chart by a wide margin thus far this year. The Clarity PHEV commanded an outstanding December, which was its first full month of sales. It kicked it again in February, edging closer to the top competitors in the segment, but March and April were when it really started to shine, with over 1,000 copies delivered. Though i3 sales were weak throughout 2017 and opened this year the same, March saw a surge. Sadly, sales for BMW's quirky EV plummeted in April. What will May bring for these contenders?
While 2017 plug-in sales fell just shy of the 200,000 mark, it was still an incredibly telling 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 December. Nonetheless, sales exceeding 300,000 copies for the segment are expected.
The year ahead continues to hold considerable promise for the segment, however, until this second quarter comes to a close, it's difficult to predict precisely how everything will pan out. Will this month take our sales chart past the 100,000 mark? It seems feasible for sure. We can't wait to find out.
Questions entering May:
- Will the Tesla Model 3 sales continue to soar above all others, despite the recent shutdown?
- Will 2018 Nissan LEAF sales spike, 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?
- Can Tesla dial-up Model S and Model X sales as high as last May, despite the impact of the Model 3?
- In regards to the Toyota Prius Prime ... how high can numbers soar?
- Honda Clarity PHEV deliveries continue to impress. Will we start seeing a trend of even bigger surges as the year moves forward?
- BMW i3 sales tanked in April. Can it regain some of its former status this month?