SALES ARE TRENDING UPWARD, BASED LARGELY ON THE RUNAWAY SUCCESS OF TESLA’S MODEL 3.
Electric vehicles registered 360,273 sales in the U.S. during 2018, according to InsideEVs.com, which is the industry’s highest level to date. Nearly 48,000 EVs were sold in the U.S. during December alone. By comparison, 107,330 EVs were delivered to customers during all of 2017.
Tempering these figures, however, is the fact that much of the increase can be attributed directly to Tesla, specifically its Model 3 sedan. With the vehicle's initial production problems solved, Tesla sold a whopping 139,782 Model 3s last year. To put that in perspective, the Model 3 on its own outsold the entire product lines of Lincoln, Jaguar/Land Rover, Mini, Mitsubishi, and Porsche during 2018.
Sales of the Tesla Model X, riding high on the swelling popularity of sport-utility vehicles, were up by nearly 5,000 units, while the Model S sedan, suffering the fate of conventional sedans, dropped by a couple thousand last year. Meanwhile, deliveries of the Chevrolet Bolt EV dipped by 22.7% while the Nissan Leaf finally showed renewed gains with sales up by around 31% during 2018.
Older EVs with operating ranges at less than 100 miles per charge aren’t faring well, however. Sales of the Kia Soul EV, Volkswagen eGolf, and the now discontinued Ford Focus Electric all showed substantial losses during 2018. Perhaps ironically, the only gainer in this crowd is the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, which is the model having the slimmest operating range on a charge next to a golf cart, at a mere 58 miles. Its sales more than doubled from 544 units in 2017 to 1,219 deliveries last year. In its favor, it’s also the least-expensive EV sold in the U.S., starting at $24,650, which is effectively slashed to $17,150 for those who can claim the $7,500 federal EV tax credit.
We’re featuring the seven best-selling EVs for 2018 in the accompanying slideshow. Sales figures are based on actual reports and educated estimates culled from InsideEVs.com’s Monthly Plug-In EV Sales Scorecard for December 2018.
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