November Sales Of Plug-In EVs Rise In US – For 26th Month In A Row, BMW Surprises

DEC 4 2017 BY JAY COLE 91

GM’s Chevy Bolt EV (seen here flanked by “future” EVs) lead the charge of plug-in sales in November for the US

Sales of plug-in electric vehicles sang a familiar tune in November for the US…as in“up, up, up”.  

With that in mind, expectations for 2017’s final months were a lot higher earlier in the year – but the virtual no show of the Tesla Model 3, and the actual no show of the new 2018 Nissan LEAF (now arriving in January), kept the lid on the pending “EV explosion” – now tentatively set for January.

The BMW 530e was the surprise hit of November,
selling 872 copies –
an all-time high!
(InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

For the month some ~17,178 plug-ins were sold, good for a 33% gain over the 13,237.  November’s results was the 26th consecutive month of plug-in sales gains in America.

Cumulatively, 173,941 delivers have been made – 30% more than a year ago.

In the absence of the Model 3 and new LEAF, the Chevrolet Bolt EV made the most of its time as the lone long range, affordable all-electric offering in America – selling almost 3,000 copies; making the 238 mile Chevy the best selling EV in the US for the third time over the past 4 months.

At the same time, the Chevrolet Volt was passed during the month by the Toyota Prius Prime, falling into 4th place on the year’s best seller’s list – the lowest showing to date for the Volt.

However BMW stole all the headlines this month, as its iPerformance offerings (think plug-in versions of popular petrol models) crushed all expectations, selling a combined 2,398 units, almost doubling any prior effort.  The charge was lead by a resurgent X5 40e with 929 sales, and the 530e with 872 deliveries of its own.

Looking ahead, the Kia Niro PHEV and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are both still pegged for a December release, but neither are expected until the latter part of the month, so they will likely not be impacting next month’s sales in a significant way.

2017 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Estimated (Based on State/Rebate Data and other reports), Credit to for assist on Hyundai/some BMW data

Other Statistical Points of Interest from November 2017

BMW’s iPerformance sales was lead by the X5 xDrive 40e …with almost 1,000 deliveries in November!

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. General Motors – 4,725
  2. Tesla* – 3,555
  3. BMW Group – 2,821
  4. Toyota – 1,834
  5. Ford – 1,357

All-Electric Vehicle Market Share vs PHEV In November*

  1. PHEV – 8,994 -52.4%
  2. BEV – 8,166– 47.6%

(*) estimated

New Year Highs Set In November By Model (previous 2017 high in brackets)

  • Chevrolet Bolt EV – 2,987 (2,718)
  • BMW X5 xDrive 40e – 929 (488)
  • BMW 530e – 872 (583)
  • Tesla Model 3* – 345 (145)
  • Honda Clarity BEV – 459 (52)
  • MINI Countryman PHV – 96 (86)
  • Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid – 29 (27)
  • Chevrolet Spark EV – 7 (4)
  • Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid – 5 (2)
  • Honda Clarity PHEV – 5 (new model)

The full monthly recap by individual plug-in (all-time) can be found on our Monthly Scorecard here.

Categories: Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Sales, Smart, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

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91 Comments on "November Sales Of Plug-In EVs Rise In US – For 26th Month In A Row, BMW Surprises"

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I just leased Honda Clarity Electric with 20,000 miles/year. Can’t beat $199/month with $899 down with California $2500 rebate and SCE rebate.

Everything is great except for charging and battery information.

With all the PHEVs in transit it’s hard to imagine the Clarity won’t hit the model recap list next month.

As it should. It’s really not a bad car, especially since it’s a bit bigger than the Volt with virtually identical performance. A lot of people have jumped to Chevy, but a lot more wouldn’t be caught dead in one but will gladly buy the Clarity PHEV. Plus, the uncertainty of the tax credit is surely going to send some people running to their local dealer sooner than they would’ve otherwise had planned to.

There’s no uncertainty about the tax credit. There was some, but it was quickly clarified and it continues according to plan. And with Honda’s numbers, there’s no reason to fear it runs out soon either.

Not true! There is no tax “reform” bill yet. It has to go to conference and then the house and senate have to vote on EXACTLY the same bill and then the orange unit has to sign it.

If you have a republican senator or representative call, write, or email to tell them to vote NO and stop the giveaway to the very rich.

Given that Tesla, GM and Nissan are all going to have their credit cut in half next year, and then cut in half again 6 months later, I would be ok with the reconciliation process eliminating the credit at the end of 2018. And I have a feeling that might just happen.
No need to reward the slackers and watch the Big 3 penalized for bring attractive electric cars to the market in reasonable numbers before the other car makers have.

Agree +100

Tell them not to give money to the very rich, just what do you think one of the core principles of the Republican party is?

Keeping your own money that you earned is not being given to you by the Federal Government.

You may want to update yourself on the most recent Republican tax relief bill changes. The house removes the credit, the senate preserves it (or vice versa).

Whether or not the credit is maintained will be decided as the bills are reconciled.

I can’t see how it will survive. They need to come up with serious money to make up the deficit. I guess there is a possibility that this entire joke of a tax reform will not pass but considering who the politicians represent i say it will pass.

I can’t see how it doesn’t survive.

The controlling votes on whether the bill passes or not is in the Senate not the House.

The Senate’s Gang of Eight is perfectly ok with no bill on the President’s desk.

The Clarity PHEV looks like a really great car. I’m still struggling to understand why the BEV version couldn’t have included more range. I guess it just reflects that this model was designed to be a PHEV (whether with gas or hydrogen range extender), and didn’t include enough space for sufficient batteries.

Still, if VW van manage to shoehorn in enough batteries to hit 125 miles of range in the Golf, it still boggles my mind that Honda couldn’t do the same in a larger car like the Clarity.

With 2017 sales EV’s increasing, the US will save by not importing approx 1 tanker full of oil over 12 month period. That alone will help in preserving EV American driver’s pocket book and rebuild wealth. This is huge going forward.

I heard that some dealers were offering $0 down on the Clarity EV and someone up in Sacto area got one for $169/month. Really not a bad deal at all, especially given the roominess of the car. By next summer, the CCS network in CA should be sufficiently robust enough to allow it to be able to reach most corners of the state without a problem.

IF you don’t consider stopping every 75 mintues a problem.

Having less than 200 miles of electric range makes longer trips really questionable. Even if it’s technically possible, you have little margin for error and have to keep stopping every hour.

With 200 miles of range you can stop just about when you need to use the restroom or get something to eat, so you’re not effectively losing as much time vs a gas car (you’d have to stop anyway, even if for a shorter time). With less than 100 miles that’s not the case.

The charging network is nice in that if someone is relocating from SoCal to NoCal they can theoretically make the drive in their car, but it’s not really great for a trip.

It’s ok, but e-Golfs were going for closer to $100 a month a while back. I’d say that $169 is about what the Clarity BEV should be going for considering its short range.

All those are pretty good, 2017 clarity is basically like a 2015 VW eGolf or bmw i3, great second car for a two car family. I am going to keep ours until our model 3 reservation comes up.

Well, and the fact you have to look at it every day.

“Everything is great except for charging and battery information.”

You mean you also love the fact that you go over 20mph with any kind of acceleration requirement, the engine turns on?

I got the electric version, not the PHEV. The Volt has way better battery and energy usage information.

The charging status light in located next to the plug. I plug in last night and it stated 72 miles of range, WTF. You got to drill into the menu to see the battery status.

Let me tell you, no physical button, touch screen sucks. Honda better spend some money on better programmers.

Just opening any door (including the hatch) on Prime will automatically pop up battery-status on the screen. It’s quite handy.

Yeah but doesn’t opening any door on the Prius also cause the engine to turn on? 😉 :p

congrats on the move to pure EV! Nice win on your lease, that’s a nice price.

Thanks. This EV was the only lease option available to handle my 20,000 miles/year commute. The lowest range EV with the most lease mileage.

“I got the electric version, not the PHEV. The Volt has way better battery and energy usage information”

Got it. My mistake.

So, what do you think about the right turn signal/camera set up for “blind spot warning”?

You would think they would put the camera on the driver side rather than the right/passenger side.

Yeah, I can’t seem to handle the Honda touch screens. They almost make the Cadillac CUE or Ford Sync seem to be better.

Now, I would agree that BEV version of the Clarity is the best of the 3 in my short driving experience of all 3. But that 80 miles really sucks. That is so 2010…

“So, what do you think about the right turn signal/camera set up for “blind spot warning”?

You would think they would put the camera on the driver side rather than the right/passenger side.”

You can have the camera on all the time by pushing the center button on the turn signal switch. I just turn my head and never look at the screen.

Regeneration is control by paddle shifters. I prefer the L in the Volt.

“Yeah, I can’t seem to handle the Honda touch screens. They almost make the Cadillac CUE or Ford Sync seem to be better.

Now, I would agree that BEV version of the Clarity is the best of the 3 in my short driving experience of all 3. But that 80 miles really sucks. That is so 2010…”

Not much choices out there.
1. Kona EV (not out yet)
2. Bolt EV (No ACC, slow DCFC)
3. Ioniq unlimited (couldn’t find it in stock at $300/month)
4. Kia Niro EV (not out yet)
5. Model 3 (questionable relibility, not out yet)
6. I don’t buy German vehicles.

Wifey will be driving the Clarity until we find a new car for her (her lease expired).

I saw on Ford’s website that the 2018 Focus Electric will specifically be limited to a certain set of states, unlike the 2017 which was sold (in very small quantities) nationwide.

By limiting the 2018 FFE even more than before and discontinuing the C-Max, how will Ford manage to hit its requirements in 2018?

Jean-François Morissette

That is a good question, I don’t know exactly the rules, but knowing how many large gas-guzzlers Ford sell, I would expected them to be required to be quite agressive to compensate for the low-mpg of their entire fleet.

They can buy someone else’s credits.

Jean-François Morissette


If I remember well, the CAFE rules and EPA rules don’t apply to trucks, but to cars, so they can sell their huge F-series without taken their horrible performance into account…

Ford Focus Electric, Hyundai Electric and eGolf numbers are disappointing. But the real bummer is the Model 3 number. GM doing Ok with the Bolt.

“the real bummer is the Model 3 number”

I think about 400,000 people agree with you…

That statement is not correct. You can order the FFE in any state (just like a Tesla) but it is only stocked at dealerships in certain states. One of the big problems with FFE orders is that it can take three to six months to deliver. If you ordered a Focus Electric and a Model 3 the same day you would still get the FFE first.

Wow, is Hyundai even trying? Even compliance cars like the Clarity EV are outselling it…

I would guess that Clarity number is mostly PHEVs.

Oh, were they actually able to start selling PHEVs in November? I haven’t yet seen any on the road or a dealer’s lot, but I have seen the Electric in both places (and one Fuel Cell on the road).

I’m surpriced myself.
I’ve been driving the ionic for a week, and it just worked. Was (and feels)very energy efficient. That was the first model with the small battery. The new one, I’m not even sure I’ve seen it in real life.
People wait in line. Unlike other manufacturers, Hyundai have not advertised this model at all.
KIA advertise their EVs, VW advertise, Mercedes used too (not it’s just information that you can order the new model), Nissan advertise, Peugeot advertise the old iOn, Renault advertise the Zöe, Twizy and Kangoo.. and so on.
It’s clearly a car people are waiting for, but it does not look like they want to sell it. Almost like the Opel Ampera..
Maybe Hyundai loose money on this model?

There are three versions of the Hyundai Ioniq; a mild hybrid, a PHEV, and a BEV. Which version are you talking about?

If it’s the BEV version, the Ioniq Electric, then Hyundai is facing much higher than anticipated demand, so there’s no reason to advertise. They can’t possibly increase sales for the current model year, since demand is already so much higher than supply.

Hopefully they’ll ramp up production for the next model year.

I got inside the clarity fuel-cell vehicle at the LA Auto Show. A very pleasant car to sit in. Rear seats were very luxurious and comfortable also.

Does it have a different interior than the electric version?

Does anyone know what the plug-in vehicle percentage was for BMW sales last month? I will bet it was pretty high. Especially considering they only had a partial month of I3 sales.

Yes it was pretty impressive: 15.3%! (BMW Group including Mini).
YTD it is close to 6%

Oops, that was wrong. 8.7% (BMW Goup)

Looks like 2017 will be the.first year that US EV sales top 200,000

Has to be a record December.

Jean-François Morissette

I think we can not entirely rule it out.

The dominos are certainly lined up to make it a reality.

…especially given all the fear about the Fed tax credit being repealed (whether warranted or not). I would be VERY surprised if we don’t see the 26,000 EV sales needed in December to reach 200k for 2017.

Jay – I’m curious why you said earlier that 200k in 2017 was off the table. We need 26,059 in December, only 5% above last year. The worst month this year was +15% or so.

Leaf will hurt, but Tesla guided higher (a big chunk out of inventory) and Chevy should be higher. The rest looks like a wash, with some (e.g. Ford) being down but newer models like Clarity and Pacifica being up.

The 200k number might come down to last bust of Model 3 production (vs. deliveries). If they get them into customers driveways, maybe 200k happens. If the are “in transit”, probably going to be just short.

We would be talking about being just short of 300k if Tesla could have kept Musk’s unrealistic deadlines, lol.

2018 will be very exciting with volume Model 3, volume LEAF v1.75 and a full year of nationwide Bolt availability.

Chevy and BMW should have a big surge in Dec I would think. The tax rebate purchaser crowd. And hey if congress kills the tax credit, you’re going to see a giant end of month sales rush.

Let’s hope all sales go to zero

Per “Let’s hope all sales go to zero”… Did you mean Gas Guzzler sales to Zero? Yessss!

“…to zero”

You do realize that many (maybe most?) BMWs are built-to-order, as custom/bespoke from the factory, right? There’s surprisingly little dealer plan inventory just rotting out on lots. So any new BMW PHEVs are likely to be subbed by each buyer for “clean” diesels that offer basically identical performance. Hard to tell from your name if you’re being tongue-in-cheek. Zero PHEVs would simply mean a lot more diesels. It wouldn’t mean many more BEVs. Folks are already purchasing all the BEVs they care to, given current BEV technology.

Gassy, clearly you got cut off in the middle of your post. Let me finish that for you:

Let’s hope all sales go to zero tailpipe emissions EV’s.


Cheers to another awesome month for Plug-Ins. We are on an awesome run.

Ok, where were those 7 Spark EVs hiding? 0 sales for 3 months, then 7 pop outta nowhere!

Maybe someone on the reporting side at Chevy had a sloppily written 1 they misinterpreted as a 7? 🙂

possibly on the back lot of some dealership and because of the Bolt they were finally able to convince people to buy!

Most likely commands from Detroit to get rid of the rest of the inventory before EOY. So those with remaining inventory had to deal.

Very nice increase over last year! So I’m guessing that the sales in December will be a bit below 30k pushing the yearly sales just over 200k. That’s a decent >25% year over year increase while the car market as a whole is around 1%. Hopefully Tesla will get the model 3 sales going next year and then a bunch of competitors show up too, it’s going to be a wild ride!

With “only” 25% YoY increase, sales will be 3.5 million in 2030. I think the transition will be faster than that when prices come down and range goes up so my prediction still stands that ALL new cars in 2030 will be electric!

200k maybe not, but how about 1 million worldwide! BOOM!

I went to a Chevy dealer to check out Bolt. The roofline is blocking left view. So it is a no go for me. I hopped in a Equinox next to it, the ergonomics and view was much much better, so I will wait when it’s on line in 2019~2020.

I’m not sure what you mean by the roof line blocking the left view, but you know you can raise and lower the seats, so it may have been set too high for you.

Sat in the back of the Bolt this weekend. Roofline definitely comes down on the side where your head would hit in in an accident. No wonder the test dummies hit it I the side impact test where the roof actually starts to fold up. The i3 is much roomier in the side roof area, and it’s roof doesn’t even begin to buckle in the crash test.

Looks like with the typical Tesla every-third-month sales bump in the US, that it will probably be a close race to a Model S/Bolt/Model X top three finish at the end of the year.

Based on my own informal research, Chrysler could have sold a lot more Pacifica Hybrids last month. Any given dealer had at least a half dozen Pacifica Limiteds on the lot, but the Hybrid Limiteds were as rare as hen’s teeth. I may have bought the last one available in Houston, DFW, Austin, San Antonio.

I would chalk the November numbers up to supply limitation; not the usual ignorant dealers.