October 2017 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

NOV 1 2017 BY JAY COLE 94

Heading into October we knew three irrefutable truths:

  1. Plug-in sales would be way up compared to a year ago, marking a 25th consecutive month of gains (…because sales have been very strong in 2017, and October of 2016 was also a bit of a train wreck relatively speaking)
  2. Tesla would once again give itself a self-inflicted sales wound in the US as it continues to manage its business on a ‘quarterly’ basis …meaning month 1 of a new quarter equals a non-US production focus
  3. Almost everything ‘not Tesla’ would start to receive the sales double bump of; a new model year, and the start of the Fall selling season (when buyers start to think about their tax returns and receiving that $7,500 Federal credit in the new year)

The Chevy Bolt EV passes both its stablemate Volt and the Tesla Model X to take up the #2 spot on the US best selling plug-in list!

For the month, some ~14,598 plug-ins were sold, representing a 33% gain over a year ago when 11,007 were delivered.

For the year, an estimated 157,039 sales have been made – a gain of 30% after 10 months (vs 120,592).  We should also note that this years results are near equal to the full year total from 2016 (158,614).

Last month (September) with Tesla operating at max capacity for US deliveries, a new year high was set for 2017 plug-in sales, when an estimated 21,325 vehicles were sold (details).

Powering the gains in October was the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, both putting up year-highs.  For the Bolt EV, some ~2,800 sales were good enough to leap over both the Tesla Model X and Chevrolet Volt to occupy the 2nd overall spot for plug-in sales in the US this year.

One new model had its first full month on the US market, the Volvo S90 T8 PHV, selling some 28 copies.  The Volvo becomes the 40th plug-in model to sell at least 10 vehicles during the year.

Questions entering October (with answers in brackets as they come in):

  • The Chevrolet Volt has seen a lot of internal competition for sales with the 238 mile Bolt EV, and has seen year-over-year sales drop for the past 6 months…can Chevy’s first plug-in stop the streak there?  Or will the unfortunate streak reach 7 months?  (Nope, down 38% in October)
  • On the other side of the coin, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is on a 7 month sales growth streak, can GM best the 2,632 sales made in September to take it to 8 months in a row?  (Definitely)
  • Will this be the month that the Toyota Prius Prime breaks the “2k barrier” for the first time? (Despite more inventory, it was not)
  • The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has finally arrived at dealers in October (although the factory is just completing a 4 week shutdown for a safety retooling), can the 33 mile extended range van surprise us and take down Ford’s plug-in hybrid offerings on the best seller list this month?
  • In the continuing battle of “new 2018 offerings that aren’t stocked so well”, who will manage to sell more – the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid, Honda Clarity Electric, Volvo XC60 PHEV, Volvo S90 T8 PHEV or the new Mini Countryman Plug-In? (the XC60 PHEV takes it home with 100 sales this month)

Also of note: Toyota sold 249 Mirais in October, totaling 1,293 sold in 2017 (vs 813 a year ago through October)

Last update: Saturday, November 4th, 4:41 PM

*On 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: A 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)

2017 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** FCA/Hyundai-Kia Do Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data (Thanks to HybridCars for assist on Kia data), Honda Clarity estimated for Aug/Sept

Individual Plug-In Model Sales Recap For Major Models:

(limited to vehicles with ~500 sales/or potential for 500 sales in a given month)

Nest Generation, 2016 Chevrolet Volt

Next Generation, 2017 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt:  

Entering October, the Chevrolet Volt had found itself in competition not only with its ‘year ago self’ but also the recently released (nationwide) Chevy Bolt EV.

The result had been 6 months of yearly comp fails, and some even bigger number Q4 2016 numbers ahead to beat (2,191  – 2,531 – 3,691).

Now we can make it seven in a row, as Volt sales fell almost 40% versus October 2016, with just 1,362 cars delivered (down from 2,191).  Previously in September, sales were off 28.% at 1,453 sales vs 2,031 from September of 2016.

Year to date, 16,710 plug-in Chevys have been sold, off 10% from the 18,517 sold through October of 2016.

It now seems assured the net total of Q4 from last year won’t be bested, as the Volt’s assembly facility is overloaded with too many ‘car’ offerings, and a nationwide overstock of those models had GM putting the plant on a “modified” (reduced) work schedule from October 20th through mid-November…at which point, the plant will be shuttered until January.

GM does appear to be aware that it sold almost 8,500 Volts in Q4 of 2016, and that modified work schedule has not included a plan to manage Volt inventory lower.  In actual fact, it has surged to over 6,000 units in stock – nearing an all-time high according to our accounting.



Chevrolet Bolt EV - looking to make its mark in 2017

Chevrolet Bolt EV – looking to make its mark in 2017

Chevrolet Bolt EV:   

The Chevrolet Bolt EV was technically available nationwide in August, but few copies landed in those 30-odd new states during the month.

That began to change in September, and with the more evenly spread inventory, Bolt EV sales continued to grow, notching 2,632 sales during the month – the 7th consecutive month of gains.

For October, it was once again a story of ‘higher highs’, ans another all-time record was set with 2,781 deliveries; a result which moved the Bolt EV into the #2 slot for best selling plug-in offerings in the US – passing both the Tesla Model X and Chevy Volt.

Thanks to stronger recent sales, the 238 mile EV’s inventory has been thinning into the ‘sweet spot’ for GM at around 50 days, averaging about 4,500 Bolt EVs in stock .

With national distribution widening more evenly over the next few months (and the end of the 2017 tax season – for claiming the $7,500 EV fed credit), we still expect to ultimately see the Bolt EV hit the ~3,000 level before the year’s end.




2018 Nissan LEAF gets a new look, more range!

Nissan LEAF:    

The Nissan LEAF entered October as the oldest offering on the US market – going on 83 months now.

And as everyone knows by now, it will be replaced in about 3 months time, as the updated 2018 Nissan LEAF debuted in Septmeber (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 when it arrive in the US in January.  Not enough?  A ~225 mile, higher performance trim level arrives later in 2018 (as a 2019 MY car).

Despite the buying public long knowing the new (and better) LEAF was coming (we had been pounding the table that both a 40 kWh and a 60 kWh offering was to arrive going on two years), the ‘old LEAF’ has continued to sell well, thanks primarily to deep discounting.  In fact, LEAF sales had notched year-over-year gains in all 8 months of 2017.

However, that is all over now, as the 2017 MY production taps are shutdown, and Nissan has managed inventory down to less than 300 units – causing October sales to fall to just 213 deliveries.

For the year (through September), 10,953 LEAFs have been sold, a gain of 3% over 2016 when 10,650 were moved over the same time in 2016.

Production of the new LEAF is underway now, with the first few copies of the 2018 LEAF reported to arrive in the US regionally in late December, with the first wave of depth arriving in January.





2017 Toyota Prius Prime

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime: 

After 18 months of waiting for the  first generation Prius plug-in to be replaced, the Toyota Prius Prime (details) arrived on US dealers lots on November 8th, and sales have been brisk.

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, the Summer brought ‘really low’ inventory from Japan and sales dropped into the 1,600 range.

However that inventory situation started to change in August, as dealer stock moved from under a 1,000 units to more than 2,000 exiting September, bring sales back to around the 1,900 level.

By the end of October, almost 3,000 Primes were in stock, but sales dropped slightly to 1,626 units, indicating that perhaps the plug-in Prius won’t be the sales winner that we (and Toyota) were expecting; although to be fair, the inventory (or lack thereof) is still pretty ‘messed up’ (technical term) across the country.

The Toyota not only features its own unique look, but 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 is applied gives the Prime an effective price of $23,450, a price-point that is actually more than $1,000 cheaper than the base hybrid version…which should translate into long-term sales success once the EV is well stocked.




BMW i3

BMW i3:  en!

The BMW i3 entered the US market with a bang in 2014, but it is 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, things started rough, with just 182 sales logged 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 201 – but that had been the lone bright spot has sales hand languished ever since.

…until October, when BMW didn’t set a new year-high, but did once again show some signs of life, moving 686 i3s.

Fort he year 5,321 have been sold, off 14% from the 6,205 sold through the first 10 months of 2016.

Quite frankly, 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 is going to have to sharpen its pencil…and by a lot.

In late August, BMW underlined they 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 price cut (the new i3s is ~10% more in most markets), and a longer range option.






2014 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales (apparently because the public can’t handle the concept of regional allocations and delivery lead times)… so we never know for sure what the monthly numbers total up to until Tesla’s quarterly (or annual) updates add more clarity, but we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what is 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…it just doesn’t work like that in the real world.  We simply report from the data we accumulate ourselves, the first hand accounts available from the factory and from the community itself when available – and the number is what it is (see below)

Revisions/disclaimer to accuracy of prior estimates: The 2016 Model S chart has been adjusted (via US 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, 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 are not analysts, portfolio managers and we do not own any positions in Tesla the company.

Welcome to a new fiscal quarter and all the realities that brings for Tesla deliveries both in the US and around the world!

As per past norms, Tesla is forsaking US order production to have an international focus.  And while it is hard to judge the timing and scope of such things, it appears to us that the current run of Model S vehicles being built for export is both longer and deeper than ever before.

This may be due to the company guiding for an new net delivery record in the second half, with the majority of those gains to come in Q4.  Put another way, Tesla spent a good part of September, and an even longer part of October (pretty much the whole month) producing a ‘pile’ (technical term) of cars that will leave the US and turn into foreign sales in December.

But the rest of the world’s gain, is the US consumer’s loss, as once again there was virtually nothing ‘new’ arriving for the would-be American Model S buyer.  Many orders placed in early October were still getting the production ETA of December/early January (when normally one might expect to see late November/early December).

Bottom line, most Tesla vehicles sold in the US were from already built stock (or slow to arrive/picked-up orders originally intended to be counting in September/Q3), we estimate 1,120 were delivered.  And if you work for Tesla in Fremont, you probably shouldn’t make any extended Holiday plans…because between the S,X and 3, you are gonna be working.





Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X: Like the Model S, Tesla does not itself report Model X sales, so we do our best – with all the data at our disposal to estimate monthly results for North America as best we can (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S)

Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Oct 11th):

Tesla recently leaked US sales data for Q3 2016 put US 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 – and not to brag…but that means 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 where within ~200 units.

Once again the Model X was following in the footsteps of the Model S, and Tesla’s overall international production plans for late September and October.

With little-to-no production happening of late on US ordered Model X utility vehicles, deliveries unsurprisingly pulled back as the company focused on building EVs that would ultimately be sold in December overseas.

Unfortunately for the Model X, it had fewer already build inventory vehicles available to be picked up in October then the Model S, which hit monthly sales even harder than normal, with an estimated 850 deliveries  for October.

As noted with the Model S, an higher-than-normal amount of vehicles have been built over the past ~5 weeks for international markets (as compared to prior quarterly norms), which seems to be where Tesla feels it will be seeing the record deliveries it needs to hit its H2 sales forecast.

The international focus/extended production run, the upcoming Holiday season, and the Model 3’s production, seem to be stretching the company to do a lot of different things all at once this quarter, and if anything is going to ‘break’/be sacrificed to hit volume targets this quarter, it appears Model X deliveries this December will be it, as ETAs given on new US orders placed in early October were as late as we have ever seen them.

Update (Nov 1st, 4:55PM): More back-pats for us on Tesla happenings, as the company revealed during its Q3 earnings report that production of some of its EVs would be scaled back in Q4 due to a focus on the Model 3.

“…we plan to produce about 10% fewer Model S and Model X in Q4 compared to Q3 because of the reallocation of some of the manufacturing workforce towards Model 3 production. “



Tesla Model 3

This is the first Tesla Model 3 (#001), naturally it arrived in black – lord of all colors. Want to buy it any other way? $1,000 premium fine for bad taste.

Tesla Model 3:  It has arrived!

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 28th, 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 US at this point time.  Until then we do our best – with all the data at our disposal to estimate monthly results for North America as best we can (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S).

Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Nov 1st):  Q3 sales of the Model 3 was adjusted up 2 units.

Thankfully, in the early days (Q3 2017), pegging Model 3 sales in the US was a pretty easy task, as the complete delivery volume for July took place live at the July 28th delivery event in Fremont, California, as the first 30 cars were delivered to Tesla employees/stakeholders in the US, 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, all eyes were on production, and while the company guided to some 1,630+ to be produced, just 260 ultimately where built.


Much was made as to why the miss, with Tesla generically stating “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”

Note for the future: “near-term” to Tesla does not mean within a month, as October was basically a wash for the company that had self-forecast to produce ~5,000 copies during the month (via the “S-Curve” chart).

From our prospective, Tesla realized fairly early into July that the September goals would not be met, and by extension the future ‘S-Curve’ goal into year’s end.  It appears from that moment on, rather than working on”near-term” production and deliveries, Tesla has been working more proactively with a main goal of simply being able to show volume production by year’s end – something originally targeted for the end of September.

Once again, it isn’t about these early results, but rather just that Tesla has the ability to eventually fill those near half a million reservations in a timely fashion, as customers won’t wait forever, and sales are definitely being lost today due to the abyss of uncertainty, and the lack of demo models at Tesla showrooms.

For October, with non-existent volume production happening, we estimate Tesla delivered 145 Model 3s –  on much (much) lower than forecast production which has still yet to find any reasonable footing.

Update (via Q3 earnings report and subsequent conference call):  Tesla noted its difficulties with the Model 3 production ramp, and said that only up to a run rate of 500 units/per week (in short bursts) have yet been achieved for some of the more tricky components.

“Several manufacturing lines, such as drive unit, seat assembly, paint shop and stamping, have demonstrated a manufacturing ability in excess of 1,000 units per week during burst builds of short duration. Other lines, such as battery pack assembly, body shop welding and final vehicle assembly, have demonstrated burst builds of about 500 units per week and are ramping up quickly. “

Tesla also pointed out what specific was the largest “bottelneck” to volume Model 3 production.

“To date, our primary production constraint has been in the battery module assembly line at Gigafactory 1, where cells are packaged into modules.”

As we noted earlier (back-pats to us), Tesla confirmed a change in production targets publicly  for the first time…moving the Q4 goalposts back to Q1 of 2018.

“Based on what we know now, we currently expect to achieve a production rate of 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by late Q1 2018…With respect to the timing for producing 10,000 units per week, it has always been our intention to implement that capacity addition after we have achieved a 5,000 per week run rate. “





Chrysler Pacific Plug-In Hybrid

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid:  

The much anticipated plug-in extended range passenger van arrived in January, albeit in stealth, stuttered… and very limited in fashion.

Due to some odd quirks with production timing and plant scheduling we have had a 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 22nd, 2017, and customers enjoyed a good 3-4 weeks of arriving inventory…until the wheels fell off (not literally).

By June 10th a nationwide recall was announced, and all 1,677 Pacificas sold in the US and Canada had to head back to Chrysler to get a faulty diode replaced that could cause lost 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 mid-August, salable vans began to re-appear at on Chrysler dealer lots – at least of the 2017 MY variety, and deliveries were back underway.

Better still, the 2018 model year vans started to arrive in late September…and did they ever in October.  Inventory of the 33 mile, extended range van tripled by month’s end, hitting 4-digits for the first time – despite the fact the FCA plant with the worst luck (Windsor, ON)  spent the month offline (October 2nd – 30th) for Grand Caravan/US regulatory safety tooling .

As part of the inventory surge was also the customer order surge,  and Chrysler made a lot of (very patient) customers happy this month, finally getting their long-ago ordered vehicles.

For September we estimate the 1,175 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids were delivered.



2017 BMW 330e - Like All Plug-Ins Sold In The US, It Wisely Is Offered In Black

2017 BMW 330e – Like All Plug-Ins Sold In The US, It Wisely Is Offered In Black

BMW 330e:   

Arriving on the US market about a year ago was the BMW 330e, which is the plug-in hybrid version of the company’s high selling 3 series offering.

And while the 330e (from $44,695 including DST), physically arrived in April 2016 in a token amount, and it took BMW 9 months to begin to stock the vehicle even marginally.  A process which has finally started to take hold in mid-2017.

By May 2017 some decent inventory arrived, and sales followed, as the 330 sold 475, then 499 in June.

Unfortunately, the 330e fell back this Summer and notched a 4-month low in September with just 329 sales, then went ‘one-worse’ in October, recording 292 sales – which was still good enough to keep it moving up the sales charts into 13th, passing a couple poorly stocked offerings from the VW Group – the VW e-Golf in July and the Audi A3 e-tron in August.

On the inventory side, the 330e peaked at around 750 cars in July, before falling back to almost 400 units waiting on the new 2018 model year, which began to arrive in September, but not fast enough to outpace sales, and averaged about 500 units in October.

Given the limited inventory of the 330e on BMW lots so far in 2017, the is potentially a lot of upward sales potential for the car…but as it has now been on offer for 20 months in the US, maybe BMW really doesn’t care to displace any more petrol 3-series transactions.

As for the specs, the final EPA ‘real world’ range rating of just 14 all-electric miles  (via a 7.6 Kwh battery – 5.7 usable) was a disappointment for some hoping for a number closer to 20, but with a 75 mph top speed in “Max eDrive”, it is a capable offering (featuring a 2 liter turbo inline 4) and should satisfy the traditional BMW crowd and be a strong seller.

The electric motor develops 87 hp with maximum peak torque of 184 lb-ft, when combined with the petrol engine, the total output jumps to 248 hp, with a peak torque of 310 lb-ft, allowing a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and  a top speed of 140 mph.




Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:     

After selling between about ~400 copies a month in Q1 (387, 400 and 414), Audi slipped in Q2 and Q3.

With now just few reaming 2017 model year copies left for sale, A3 e-tron sales slipped down to an all-time low in October with just 17 copies moved

The reason for the failure to stock and sell?

VW Group likes to allocate a certain number of model year plug-in vehicles to the US, and if they run out…well, too bad, more ain’t coming – which was the case for the Audi over the Summer and now into the Fall.

How bad has it gotten, we could only find 17 example of the A3 e-tron at dealers nationwide when we did an inventory search at month’s end.

Hey Audi, make with the 2018s already!

In 2016, 4,280 copies were sold…a not insignificant contribution to the US plug-in vehicle sales scene.  That said, Audi is still certainly not in the “big boys” category for EV sales, but also is definitely not in the “also rans” either.

The A3 e-tron has a low price inside Audi’s lineup. $38,900 gets you the Audi badge, 8.8 kWh of battery – good for 17-odd miles of real world driving…and federal credit of $4,158, which is significant because this brings the e-tron package down to within $3,500 of the base MSRP of the A3.

Also a reason for decent sales numbers on the A3 e-tron…you can’t get the “sportback” version of the Audi in any other trim level in the US.





Ford Fusion Energi

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 “4 digit land” in March, as 1,002 Energis were moved in March…joining a club of just 5 other at that level.  A level which the company returned to in May…but could not maintain, as just 707 copies were sold in June, and an near equal amount in July and August at 703 and 762 deliveries respectively.

In September, Ford completed the “boringest” sales report of all time, as all three of their plug-in offerings reported near identical result, with the Fusion Energi notching 763 sales…up an impressive 1 unit.  For October, that report variation was turned all the way up to a … 1 or 2 (out of 11), as 741 were sold.

Looking at the inventory in the past, it was easy to see why (and how) so many of the new Fusion plug-ins were sold;  the Fusion Energi often won the crown for the “most stocked” EV in the US … before 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 they are managing inventory lower)…after having almost 3,000 in stock in mid-June, by the start of September that number fallen below 2,00 units, as the industry-wide Summer shutdown/changeover to MY 2018 was underway – a level the car stayed at throughout October.





Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf:     

Congratulations Volkswagen, you win our “jackass of the year” award…and 2017 isn’t even over yet.

After a rocky start with continued dieselgate fallout, the longer range 2017 e-Golf was promised to the US after production started in Germany in late 2016.

Well, guess what?  For the next nine months all VW did was have the “old & busted” 2016s clogging up dealer lots – refusing to clear them out to make way for the new hotness.

Finally the 2016s are gone, and like a magical unicorn, the new/longer range 2017 edition has appeared!  And yes, you heard that right, VW was so slow with the upgraded model that they are just now introducing a “2017” model as everyone else has switched to the 2018s.

Despite the lack of  these 2017 e-Golfs for the bulk of the year, the older model sold decently enough (relatively speaking to historical sales), moving about ~300 copies a month on average this year until this past month.

With the 2016s exhausted, and only just over 100 copies of the “new” 2017s on hand, VW moved 187 e-Golfs in Septemeber – a 2017 low.  Entering November, dealer stock grew to ~350 odd units, which resulted in marginally better October sales of 203 units (down 50% from a year ago).

The 2017 plug-in VW will now feature a 35.8 kWh battery, increasing range to ~124 miles and debuted at the LA Auto Show in November (details – launch gallery/video).





Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi:   

If it wasn’t for the impressive results of the Ford Fusion Energi every month, we probably would have looked at the C-Max Energi’s results a lot differently.  And in June AND July…we finally did.

Last year…for just one month, the plug-in C-Max manged to step out of the Fusion’s shadow for the first time, and sold an all-time best 1,289 copies – 17% more than the Fusion Energi.

But in June and July, that trick was repeated back-to-back, as the C-Max Energi sold an impressive 936 copies, 33% more than the Fusion Energi (707) in June, then again 844 to 703 in July (+20%).

However things regressed back to the norm mid-Summer, as the smaller Ford plug-in couldn’t make it three consecutive wins in a row.  For August 705 were sold, 683 in September…and a fairly anemic 569 in October (which still represents almost half of the total C-Max sales in the US).

Will the C-Max Energi ever get its due as a top-selling plug-in model for the US?  It will not. Especially as we spotted the new Ford Escape Energi plug-in out testing in the US in June…a model which, along with a Focus Energi (a trademark application for which we recently uncovered), basically signifies the end of the C-Max Energi.

Update (November): And sure enough – the plug-in C-Max’s run is over.  Despite the fact the regular C-Max Hybrid continues one last year’s production (through May 2018), the plug-in Energi version is not getting a farewell season to say good-bye.





2014 Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e:   

When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we have another Tesla on our hands here (as in they don’t report sales).

Chrysler/Fiat has been giving us a bit of the stonewall treatment when it comes to reporting 500e sales.

UPDATE: After initially have some issues getting data on the plug-in Fiat, more registration and rebate data is now available. That being said, the number is estimated. Historically, the average margin of error per month has been about ~40 units in those moments when some confirmed data leaks out (usually from a recall).  For 2016, the yearly estimated total was adjusted upwards (once) by approximately 500 units over the full 12 months.

For most of 2016, the Fiat 500e was a consistently solid performer, but 2017 results have really result move even higher (amazing what ~$100 lease deals can do!)

It is interesting to note that sales this year peaked in January (of all months) at an estimated ~752 sales, but the sales have stayed strong for most of the year.

And by most of the year, we mean up until Summer, as for some reason the 500e seems to sell less in the Summer – we aren’t quite sure why, but it might have something to do with FCA’s production timing, which seems to always ‘short the distance’ it needs to bridge the gap between the previous model year and the next.  Currently, about 200 2017s are in stock in California and Oregon, a year-low according to our calculations…if the 2018s don’t arrive soon, the 500e will be in danger of falling into the 2-digit range for sales very soon.

For September we estimate that 310 500es were sold.



BMW X5 xDrive40e

x5 xDrive40e

BMW X5 xDrive40e: 

The BMW X5 plug-in had an unexpectedly strong debut in the US in 2016…and only get stronger over the year.

In fact the electrified BMW SUV has seen sales as high as 876 units in 2016 (August 2016).

However, 2017 has been a bit of a disappointment for the X5 plug-in, as inventories have stayed frustratingly low (insert this complaint for almost all BMW plug-ins found in America), and sales are sure to show a year-over-year loss at this point…barring a Christmas miracle.

After a lackluster August (317 sales) and September (333 sales), it was pretty much more of the same, as 323 copies moved during October.

And while inventory is still low (~450 units), we are happy to be able to report that the 2018s were steadily arriving in October, representing about 90% of the current stock.  Hopefully enough plug-in SUVs will eventually arrive that BMW can once again make a push to try and break into the 4-digit mark!

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

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94 Comments on "October 2017 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card"

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Jay is estimating only 115 Tesla Model 3’s delivered in October.

Hmmm, my guesstimate a few months ago of ~20,000 produced (not necessarily delivered) by the end of the year is looking rather too optimistic!



I got so excited about being the first to post to a “Monthly Plug-in Sales Scorecard” article that I didn’t notice that is the Model 3 delivery estimate for September, not October!

Sigh… “Rashin fashin”, to quote Muttley.

Jay stated:
“Spoiler alert: its low 3 digits.”
Regarding Model 3 delivery.

We will have to see tonight 🙂

Don’t expect anything drastically different. I’m thinking 250 or less this month.

But yes your 20,000 is looking pretty unlikely lol. But my pessimistic ‘couple hundred’ estimate was way wrong too.

Better to be pessimistic then pleasantly surprised rather than optimistic and dissapointed, I’d say! lol 🙂

Deliveries in the 200’s would mean Tesla is a full 2 months behind. Deliveries in the 3-500’s would mean they are about a month and a half behind.

Under 200. Only 145ish. I didn’t even have a category for under 200. Apparently that equals 3 months delay….


Yeah, that is pretty low. On the low end of my already incredibly low expectation for this month.

It is just an estimate of course, but Jay and team know what they’re doing.

I hope they push past the production trouble they’re having with no other major issues.

Well, it turns out the actual InsideEVs’ estimate for October wasn’t that much larger than the September estimate.

So if I could edit the OP, I could just correct the “115” to “145” and, sadly, leave everything else as I wrote it. 🙁

Read article again; the 115 estimate is for Sept. Oct. guesstimate will be released later today (Wed.)

So the Bolt EV is the top seller again? Not bad at all!

Again? Oct is the first month that Bolt outsold all plugins.

#1 seller in July too

Good to see the Bolt selling well in the USA but Worldwide sales are still low.

Bolt EV looks like it’s the runaway winner for October, unless Toyota did something crazy with the Prime.

Yup, it is very nice of Tesla to step back and focus on exports every 3rd month, and let the Bolt have it every 3rd month.

BTW — how are Bolt exports going again?

Better than Model 3.

They’ve exported about a thousand Bolts to Canada and some number (I think less than that) of Ampera-es to Europe.

Only that few sales outside of the US? That hurts. Clearly no real effort to sell Bolts outside the US, just a token number of sales.

After 1 year on the market 10% of all EVs ever sold in Canada (not 10% this year) will be Bolts.

That’s not just a token effort. Canada is a small market for EVs. It’s growing though. I hope GM’s efforts grow with it.

It’s definitely just a token effort. We’ve already seen many comments, and maybe an article or even several here at InsideEVs, about how much demand for the Bolt EV is going unmet in Canada, S. Korea, and Europe.

See discussion on the InsideEVs forum:


The whole rest of the world isn’t limited to just Canada. I realize you want everybody to completely ignore the rest of the world besides the US and Canada. But the comparison was made to the Tesla Model S which is a global car, not just a North American market car. So that’s the goalpost that was set when the comparison was made.

I would suggest that you let the person who made the original comparison know that it is a logical fallacy to try and black out the rest of the global deliveries and ignore their existence when trying to compare Model S sales to Bolt sales.

Any news on the Outlander and Niro?

Jean-François Morissette

And the Ioniq PHEV, and the XC60 PHEV?

RE: declining Volt sales.

The Bolt is probably affecting Volt sales to a degree, but the Prius Prime and now Pacifica Hybrid are also usurping sales as well I’m thinking.

GM better have a mid-cycle refresh ready for the Volt in 2019 or else it’s going to keep fading into the background. And it may not survive for a Gen 3 regardless (though the rumored Voltec-CUV would be a welcome replacement).

It’s probably on the way out. The Volt.
On your other point I agree, those cars took sales from the Volt.

Volt needs to be moved to a Malibu-sized car. Testing both a couple months ago, the Bolt EV had so much more room than the Volt. With my 15 year old son hitting 5’10”, our family of four just couldn’t fit in the Volt.

Yes, either a Malibu or a CUV.

The relatively small size of the Volt certainly made sense a decade ago when they started on the original design. Heck, having the additional 2 rear seats and large hatch was a huge improvement over GM’s prior EV, the EV1.

Bumping the tech up to follow the latest trend of smaller cars being replaced by CUV’s and midsize cars would be their best bet to recover sales. The GEN II was a major move in the right direction, but didn’t go far enough.

GM still #1 for the month at 4150 in sales!

The Prius Prime may have more inventory than in the past. But there are still not any for sale in the Dallas area and I have yet to see one on the streets. So obviously there are quite a few regions that have still not seen any inventory.

I have seen more Bolts in the Dallas area.

But there are two Primes right near me. One seems to be in the other building of our apartment complex. Either that or they visit someone who lives here several times a week. The other one I see on my commute.

It isn’t a bad looking car in person. At least compared to the standard prius.

I disagree. The front is…..*small wtf*, side profile *wtf*, but the rear is *OMGWTFFFFF*.

“He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones!”
So we have a Bolt owner saying that the Prius Prime is ugly… LOL!
I think the Bolt is an impressive car, but it got whacked pretty severely with the ugly stick. The part that is most irritating about the Bolt’s look is that it didn’t have to look like it did. The Buick Encore may not be on the exact same platform, but it is similar in size and capacity. And it is kind of cute in a way.
A few tweaks of the exterior and the Bolt could have been cute rather than dorky.

Show 100 random people pictures of a Bolt and Prime side by side, ask “Which one is uglier?” and I’m pretty sure 90%+ will choose the Prime as the ugly one. With 80% of the 10% choosing the Bolt being current/former Prius owners.

I would never argue that the prius prime is anything but ugly, but the bolt is no beauty, either. I just find it amusing that the guy with the second ugliest girl at the dance, so to speak, is throwing shade at the ugliest girl there.

Not even close to the same!

Bolt is a good looking vehicle that pretty much fits in with the rest of Chevys car lineup. I only think the prime looks halfway decent because of the absolute disaster that is the standard Prius.

But if you like the encore styling (which I agree is very nice for a CUV or SUV) then your EV is coming soon!

Saying that the Bolt fits in with the Sonic is not exactly heaping a great deal of praise on the Bolt.

“Honestly, son, your car bears a striking resemblance to that Aveo over there.”

The Encore has been showing up in my neighborhood in northern Virginia lately, piloted by upper middle class soccer mom’s mostly. It isn’t my favorite look, but it definitely is more attractive than the Gen 1 Leaf, for instance. But given the fact that I drive a Gen I Volt, I am probably not the person to be saying that any other drivers car is ugly! LOL!

But there is a Encore-like EV coming soon? From whom? You aren’t talking about the Mitsubishi are you?

I really have thought that the Bolt would have been better off as a Buick that looks as much like the Encore as possible, with a slightly lower overall height to give the CdA a chance to be at least decent.

Thanks for the reminder, Jean-Francois! That is probably what Wade was referring to as well. I posted after that article that I thought it would be a great idea if GM did build that vehicle, but I have to wonder if and when it will actually show up.
It would be very cool if they started a bit of a buzz about it late this year and started selling it in August of next year. Even with slightly less range than a Bolt it would be a huge hit if it looks more like the Encore and less like a Bolt. Power seats would make a lot of people happy, and faster real world charging would be nice, too.
Here is hoping that it shows up soon! I mean, Jay is saying that the Mitsu Outlander PHEV is showing up in December, so anything can happen.
Maybe even EEStor will actually deliver? Nah, that is a bridge too far.

^ what he said above me. Very literally, an encore-styled BEV from buick is coming in a year.

Yeah my wife has a G1 Volt. I think the Bolt is better looking, personally. Of course, when I had a Spark EV, the Volt was the looker lol!

I prefer the styling of the G2 Volt or Model 3 over the Bolt. But I haven’t bought a car purely on looks since high school. For every day use, I’d rather have the Bolt. 🙂

True the rear end aint a looker. It is kinda ridiculous.

But I find the front and profile views to be better than the standard prius.

The front view is – objectively speaking – 10x better. 😉

*cough cough* BMW i3 rear end *cough cough*

Lol the i3 has a rather unfortunate rear end as well.

But I’d find driving behind an i3 more pleasing than a prius prime any day!

It’s terrible looking. And yes, far worse than a Bolt.

The silly lips-shaped taillights and the bubbled rear window.

Oh and those strip foglights in large holes on the front.

Toyota was really settling into a look with the Prius before the current gen Prius and Prime. I don’t know why they screwed that up.

The BMW i3 is like a carbonated beverage that has lost its fizz. In my opinion the Tesla Model 3 is the best electric car on the market (with the exception of other Teslas), but if the BMW i3 had an all-electric arrange of 200 miles per charge or more I would definitely ask for my deposit back from Tesla. I will be willing to overlook the charging infrastructure issues with the BMW i3. I think the infrastructure problems will be resolved in the near future, but the mileage on the BMW i3 is lame, and even with their future BMW i3 (2018) they can’t get it up.

As it drives very well, and there’s a REX version for Rural America, it’s really the perfect car for 4 adults. The ride, the materials and the acceleration are excellent.

Like GM, some BMW dealers will help you buy the car with a price discount, and others want full list. That may be holding back sales, you really need to visit 2-4 dealers to find the right one. The dealership going for a monthly sales record.

The perfect car for 4 adults wouldn’t require that the front driver/passenger undo their seatbelt for a person to get into or out through the rear doors.

The ride is poor in the back and the materials are so poor for a car this price. The pet hair on plastic decor is inexcusable.

Indeed there are good deals in my area if you shop around.

Looks like 22k for the Bolt will come in pretty close. The slow ramp-up continues though I think they have hit the top and will now decline. They worked down the high inventory due to the shutdowns.

I think sales of the Bolt will continue to go up through the end of the year, before falling victim to the traditional January freeze in sales that all cars suffer (both ICE and EV but worse for EV’s).

1) Inventory is still poorly distributed across all markets, with too much concentration in CA. As that is fixed sales outside of CA should continue to rise.

2) All EV’s get a 4th quarter boost due to tax incentives. The Bolt should ride that wave too through the end of the year.

3) GM’s sales model is one of on-lot inventory sales instead of relying on customer special orders. That typically means about a 60 day delay in the sales pipeline, with the average day on lot of 60 days for this sales model. That means all the states that were added just in the last months are just getting their sales pipeline established and isn’t mature yet. As it matures, the sales numbers for cars that started showing up on the lot in some states in the last couple of months will follow.

#1 selling EV for the month and #2 for the year so far?

It’s amazing to me people keep trying to call the Bolt a failure or a miss.

Since the sales numbers are now making them look silly, the Bolt trolls will probably resort to calling it a “dorky clownmobile” or something along those lines, like we already see above.

Closest dealer with Prius Prime is at 170 miles from me, and several thousands above MSRP!. If I would want some different trim or reasonable price, the distance increases to 500-800+ miles.

Somebody would really need to want it badly over regular Prius to put all the effort to buy it at this time.

Thanks Jay for a great article and wrap up. IF “S” sales are so small for this month, I don’t understand how it is the sales leader for the month and the BOLT ev is only #2. But whatever – I see you’re not mentioning the GM JOKE, the ct6 PHEV at a whopping 27 units.

Its interesting that My nephew, who pays for insurance on both my ev’s (its a win-win – he gets to drive, pays for any dings (tires and rims) and I have no insurance cost), when I have to take the ELR in for routine service, he HATES it when he has to give up the ELR and drive the BOLT. I ask him whats going on? and he says ‘Should’ve bought the new VOLT!’ (hehe) – so that millenial likes the looks and features of the new VOLT much better – it should still be doing much better in sales than it is.

Just for clarification, do the “sales” numbers include the leased vehicles as well?

I get that this story is about the US sales for Oct, but the most beautiful number on that chart is the Worldwide results that they’ve now added for Sept. 123,391 – crushing the previous best month. Not just the last Sept. Best month period.

Just more tar on the face of those Bolt critics… LOL.

Loving it!!


What is up with the Audi A3 Sport etron? Have they discontinued it for 2018, or is there a production gap between 2017 & 2018? Sales are falling off the cliff.

Should have read further before my post. Looks like 2018 is just delayed.

It certainly has been below the 500/potential for 500 a month for quite a while, but Jay keeps the hope alive 😉

Jay et al

As per wsj auto stats, Tesla sold 2,600 sedans and if Model-S has 1120, then another 1,480 are Model-3.
Is that correct ?
Or may be wsj is wrong with such a high # or probably their Model-S sales estimate is higher.

Also in the next 7 weeks (In fall), these 4 plugins are arriving. If anyone has immediate plans for buying a vehicle, please wait until the arrival of these models.
Mitsubishi-Outlander (hopefully)

The worldwide sales of 123,391 in 2017-09 which is nearly 20% more than the 103,000 sales of 2016-12 is awesome and that too in a non year end month.

That’s the sweet news for us now. Anyway more plugins are on the way and this should fill the void left by Model-3.

I wouldn’t call that awesome.

About half the models listed will manage to seize only around 1% or less of the total annual plug-in sales, and that itself is a tiny percentage of all cars sold across the country.

Compared with the growth rate of more popular technologies such as smartphones or flat screen TVs and monitors it is rather a poor sales performance. At a point where there were many models to choose from, these items were exhibiting annual growth of thousands of percent.

If you actually think that any sort of automobile, EV or gasmobile or otherwise, will ever drop in price as steeply as flatscreen TVs or cell phones have…

Well then, I have some riverfront property in central Florida to sell you.

P.S. — If you’re the same “Excoriator” who used to write frequent EV-hater posts on the old TheEEStory forum… how is your beloved “clean diesel” tech doing these days? :LOL:

I wasn’t suggesting that the price would drop dramatically. I was suggesting that these cars are NOT growing in popularity as fast as hoped, and a growth rate of 20% is far from ‘awesome’ unless one is very easily awed.

They are not even growing as fast as Hydrogen cars for instance, despite there being only two models available and very few places where you can tank up with hydrogen.

P.S. Clean Diesels are doing fine, by the way. A lot better than the ludicrous capacitor flop did.

Looks like our Excoriator is a Diesel supporter. So 10% decline in diesel vehicle sales in the Diesel heartland of Europe is going good in his opinion.

It’s really good that diesel vehicle sales are declining, because the saved diesel could be used power ships, barges and locomotives which normally run on more dirtier bunker fuel. And what do we do with that bunker fuel; the refineries can blend and produce gasoline from them, which can be used in plugins hybrids and hybrids.

In fact I’m pretty indifferent to whether diesel or gasoline is used in cars. Properly engineered, both are much better than they were. My preference is that the fuel should be synthesised from atmospheric CO2 however using renewable power, rather than using petrochemicals.

I’m fine with hybrids if they reduce fuel consumption but I’m not a believer in batteries as a solution to road transport. Hydrogen is a much better long term solution.

I would make the point that in Europe, well over half the population do not live in homes with drives or garages and cannot buy any sort of plug-in car for overnight charging.

The point of my post here, however, is to question the word ‘awesome’ as applied to sales growth in plug-ins. In fact the growth in sales is rather less than the growth in the number of models available each year, which means sales per model is, on average, falling. Some do much better than average, of course, but that means others do worse.

Jean-François Morissette

Jay, could you explain a little bit more how you estimate the Tesla Model 3 sales for the month?

Jean-François Morissette

I don’t think it will get over 16000, maybe 15000 for the month. Still not bad.

Jean-François Morissette

Even worse than expected…still, this is growth.

I think the BMW 530e now deserves to be displayed in the detailed analysis 🙂

Indeed hoping the 530e gets in the detailed analysis before the end of the year. Looking at the chart it looks like it has the highest sales for a new model this year. Also looks like BMW broke the 2000 sales barrier this month, possibly the first time they have beat Tesla?

” The plug-in Toyota is priced right – from $27,950, which after the $4,500 federal credit is applied gives the Prime an effective price of $23,450, a price-point that is actually more than $1,000 cheaper than the base hybrid version”

A base model hybrid Prius has been launched at $ 23,475 to stem the sales decline. So now the starting price of Prius-H and Prius-P are same. Still the sales of hybrid version is going down sadly.

Please convey this to your friends and relatives who don’t want to buy plugins.

“Hybrid vehicles like Toyota-Prius, Hyundai-Ioniq and Kia-Niro are more spacious and go between 50 – 55 MPG and yet cost lower than the standard non-hybrid versions of mid size sedans in their same make like Toyota-Camry, Hyundai-Sonata and Kia-Optima. And its worth buying these hybrid vehicles.

And Buick-Lacrosse hybrid is $1,500 cheaper than Buick-Lacrosse non-hybrid while the Lincoln-MKZ hybrid costs the same as Lincoln-MKZ non-hybrid .

For many years, the media said that hybrids don’t get the return on investment on the extra cost paid and many people are still under that wrong impression”.

Sorry but one of the biggest reasons for EV sale bottleneck seems to be an expensive, slow charging, high maintenance battery cooling/heating etc…

I think the model 3 delivery for october is higher. The highest vin seen as end of september was 531. And at this time they delivered 222. Yesterday the highest vin seen was 869. So when you take the first 300 numbers away even then you come on a number about 250 – 300.

Just my opinion.

Carsalesbase.com has the Mirai selling 249, rather than the 203 reported here. I have no idea which one is correct.

Honda sold 34 Clarity FCVs for the month too.

NP. I wonder how accurate these figures are anyway. In big companies it is not unusual for the right hand to be unaware of the activities of the left foot!

The big news in this month’s sales report is the 1175 sales of the Pacifica plug-in hybrid, vaulting it into the top 5 sales.

This is the kind of numbers I’ve been expecting since it was introduced, and I think there’s room for quite a bit of growth. Price and utility of the Pacifica are great.

Could you color differently the plugin hybrids and battery EVs? I just don’t know what to do with the BMW i3, but it would be interesting to see the sales figures of the BEV and REx version listed separately (if possible).