October 2018 EV Sales: What To Expect?


How about another record-breaking month?

October 2018 will mark the 37th month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains for plug-in vehicles.

Each month InsideEVs tracks all the plug-in EV sales/deliveries for the United States by automaker. The 2018 calendar year has been the most fascinating thus far in the history of the segment and it only stands to get better. The year started with somewhat lackluster sales, but the momentum quickly shifted. Now, each month is almost sure to blow the roof off of the past. In fact, four of the five best-selling months of all time for electric vehicles have all happened this year. We have no doubt October will make the list and push December 2017 off, though it won’t top the list. We think it will easily secure the new third-place position and possibly slot number two, but the latter would be pushing it.

Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):

  1. September 2018 – 45,589
  2. August 2018 – 36,380
  3. July 2018 – 29,514
  4. March 2018 – 26,373
  5. December 2017 – 26,107

As of the end of September 2018, an estimated 234,635 plug-in electric vehicles had been sold in the U.S. this year. We’re down to the final quarter before the year goes into the archives (and the record books). It’s looking like we’ll see some 350k EVs delivered in the U.S. in 2018 by the time the year comes to an end.

Check Out: Contributor Josh Bryant’s 2018 yearly sales predictions here

Much of the success of that estimate depends on how many Model 3 vehicles Tesla delivers through the end of the year. Model 3 production seems to be pretty consistent with last month, so we may not see another monumental rise in October, but we’re sure to report another ridiculously promising number. Additionally, we have to ask ourselves if any other automakers are going to ramp up their efforts in this final quarter, or if numbers will remain relatively flat.

In October 2017, an estimated 14,315 plug-ins were sold in the U.S. This September we saw well over a 100-percent gain from last year’s numbers. Can October pull that off as well?  Will we see deliveries north of 28,000 this October? But, of course! We believe the number will be even higher. Realistically, there’s a small chance Tesla could double last October’s U.S. EV delivery number on its own. Wouldn’t that be a fantastic record to report? We’d love to say that we’re sure this will be the case, but our early estimates put Tesla’s U.S. deliveries a wee bit shy of pulling that off. Nonetheless, the Silicon Valley automaker stands to prove epic progress once again.

October is a bit of a crapshoot when it comes to estimating early numbers. In fact, it’s one of the toughest to glean thus far. While we’ve noted above that Tesla will continue to prevail, other automakers seem to take a rain check in October, at least in comparison to September numbers, as well as other previous months. This statement is clearly substantiated if you look at our data from prior years or look at automakers’ U.S. sales in October in general. Still, we can always hope that EV sales will continue to develop and move forward.

As far as our initial estimates tell us, we’re looking at some 34,000 (and hopefully many more) electric cars sold in the U.S. this October, though we’re honest enough to say that the window is rather wide. We hope to see at least 36,000 sold, but we would be content enough to report that 32,500 EVs made their way into new owners’ driveways this fall. Either way, the number will knock last October out of the water and will prove that the month can really shine, despite the past, albeit primarily Tesla that is once again raising that bar.

Keep yourself tuned in and refreshing the pages during the coming days as we put the numbers to the dialogue. We will begin reporting EV sales Thursday morning (November 1, 2018) and continue through Friday and into the early part of the following week. For now, below are some questions to ponder. If you have a compelling question, drop it in the comment section and we’ll consider adding it to the monthly report card.

In the meantime, what are your estimates? We’d really love to know what you think, especially since October is so difficult to estimate.

Questions entering October:

  1. Will Tesla Model 3 U.S. deliveries rise again even though we’re at the beginning of a new quarter?
  2. How significant of a drop in domestic Model S and Model X sales will we see due to overseas deliveries and the neverending Model 3 delivery ramp?
  3. Is October the month that Toyota Prius Prime deliveries bounce back even more convincingly after a few months of slow rise?
  4. Now that the Chevrolet Volt has surpassed the Chevrolet Bolt EV for overall sales on the year, what story will the first month of a new quarter tell?
  5. 2018 Nissan LEAF U.S. sales have been on the increase again. Will sales improve as the year moves on?
  6. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid sales have really impressed, especially in the last five months. How many did Honda deliver in October?

***InsideEVs’ journalist Wade Malone provided sales estimations and related analysis.

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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41 Comments on "October 2018 EV Sales: What To Expect?"

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BTW, I read that GM releases monthly sales information to the US Treasury or some other govt dept due to a special arrangement.

Do you have any details or the original article you heard it from by chance? That would save me hours every month. :0

I know GM reports to the IRS but the info is not made public sadly… Even if it were, it would not be in time for sales week each month.

From here
it states that
GM said it will continue providing monthly sales data to the U.S. Federal Reserve, other government agencies and industry associations across the globe, but those data won’t be made public.

Point 5. When will the new 1019 LEAF be available? Yes I think people will wait, and when it comes out they won’t be able to keep up with orders.

“Point 5. When will the new 1019 LEAF be available? Yes I think people will wait, and when it comes out they won’t be able to keep up with orders.”

Just in time for the 1066 Norman invasion of England 🙂

Really? I’m sure it will sell but not that great.

If they really want it to sell well, they need to add CCS (in addition to Chademo) and they need to get the charging speed up over 100KW. I doubt that they do either of those things.

There’s a much shared twitter picture of the e-plus successfully charging at 102 kWh.

2019 Leaf’s are out. If you mean the one with the LG pack, that’s looking like Spring ’19. We don’t know yet how many they can make of that version.

Point 5. How were you able to access the internet if you have time-traveled to a period earlier than 1019?

Tesla Model 3 deliveries in the US in October 2018:

How about 24,000?

21,000 is my guess. If they’re a little under 5,000/wk, so after four and a half weeks its probably at least 21,000, maybe 22,000.

Agreed. There isn’t a big quarter end rush this time either.

So they go down. I don’t see it

Why don’t you see it?

I’d guess closer to 21,000 unless the Bloomberg tracker is significantly off. It seems as if Tesla is working on improving quality on the Model 3 production lines while they prepare for release of the SR pack. We may see them testing faster run rates and working out kinks at those run rates to prepare for the significant burst of orders that will occur once the SR is available.

Point 3. Prius Prime is a looser dependent solely on loyal Toyota customers who wouldn’t consider any other brand. I suspect this customer base is slowly eroding.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Prime is less than half oof Prius liftback sales, and it’s effectively cheaper than the HEV, soo I expect it woon’t loose sales this moonth.

The Toyota hate on this site is ridiculous.

Nah, that’s just an honest assessment. ~10 mile range in 2018 is pathetic. We all know Toyota can do much better but they DON’T. That’s why they get mocked.

Honest, no. The rating is 25 miles. There is no reason whatsoever to claim only 10, especially when owners routinely see 30’s when no climate-control is used.

You conveniently forgot to mention that Prius Prime is the least expensive PHEV you can purchase. For many people with short commutes, this could be their cheapest way to reduce their carbon footprint (in transportation sector).

Why would any legacy automaker focus on conquest sales? That certainly didn’t work for GM. Their own customers haven’t been interested in a compact hatchback. Toyota on the other hand, is targeting Prius owners and Toyota showroom shoppers, with Prime. The upcoming Corolla PHEV will obviously target Corolla shoppers. We could easily see the RAV4 hybrid offering a plug later too, targeting RAV4 shoppers.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

They have to focus on their existing customers because it’s not attracting new customers.
Prius+Prime sales continue to fall.

Prime is limited rollout, only available to certain areas of the country and currently in burn down to clear inventory prior to mid-cycle. That’s a major contributor to the flat (not falling) sales.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Keep telling yourself that, if it makes you feel better.
Prius+Prime sales fell year-on-year again in the USA in October 2018. 5,773, down from 6,158 a year ago.
That’s 24 consecutive months.
I’m not surprised that Toyota’s going to change the HEV design to be like the Prime. At this rate, when it’s time for Gen 5, there will only be the 2,000 Prime buyers left.

That year-on-year difference is only 1.7% (385 units), which is very much within the flat realm. As for 24 consecutive months, that’s quite a stretch. Most deliveries for even the earliest orders didn’t begin until 20 months ago… which meant unsold deliveries for immediate purchase took an additional 6 months beyond that. That perspective also requires putting on the blinders to ignore the rest of the worldwide rollout. Toyota rolled out to a wide variety of markets all at once, a move most automakers avoid… especially with new tech. Despite that, they were also to produce & sell over 51,000 the first year. Manufacturing that dual-wave glass and the carbon-fiber hatch isn’t exactly a well established process yet. Lastly, I took the time to check the math and your numbers are very misleading. (Nov 17 to Oct 18 = 26,778) (Nov 16 to Oct 17 = 19,483) That’s a significant growth rate, so significant you don’t even have to use a calculator. That “fell” claim has been revealed as greenwash if you choose to cherry-pick a mix of plug & no-plug. RAV4 hybrid sales represent a growing market too, especially with the next-gen rollout happening in a few months.

Point 1. Tesla is supposedly in ramp up mode for Model 3, but insider info from electrek and Bloomberg has been telling us no net ramp up and rate has been significantly lower than last week peak of 5.300 in September. I am really conflicted by this dramatic disparity, is Tesla lying to us? I think if October Model 3 sales are about 21k, then Boomberg is right, but if about 25k then proof of ramp up.

Ramping isn’t a smooth process. It requires taking portions of the line down as you have people working on them. And then it turns out some of your hypothetical improvements didn’t work out as well in practice, so then something goes wrong and the line has to pause again to debug that.

Tesla tries to make the riskier changes at the start of the quarter. So the first month of the quarter is always the bumpiest, and sometimes has lower output than the previous month.

Count on there being an improvement from the previous beginning of the quarter, July’s 14250, not necessarily an improvement on September’s 22250.

I should have checked Bloomberg’s Tracker before I made this post. They say current production is 114,517 and last month was 94,269 so production of 20,248 and some of that going to Canada. So max Model 3 USA sales around 19k.

Bloomberg tracker uses VIN registrations as the majority of its input so it is notoriously unreliable on a short term basis. Maybe across a quarter it comes in ok. It tends to oscillate wildly.

Point 2. I expect sales pattern in Tesla Models S & X to remain, 2k to 2k5 for October.

Q4 2018 is going to be very good.

And October 2018 will set the bar high for November and December:

How about 46,000 Plg-In sales in the US in October 2018?

Each month it looks like you guys estimate “tens” of sales for the Hyundai Sonata PHEV, then the worldwide Hyundai plug-in numbers come out and they’ve sold under ten. Am I misreading the articles, or will you be revising those numbers (small as they are)?

Last quarter I adjusted our methods, tracking inventories more regularly for sales estimates… to be closer to what I do for GM and Tesla.

As you can tell from our sales chart, Sonata has been trending down since about midway this year. October will be the worst yet although still another 2 days for me to track.

I’m expecting about 5 sonata phev sales this month.

Wheee… go Hyundai…

Will likely review the months before I started at the end of the year and adjust.

Ugh…those Toyota brand loyalists need to consider better options. The Volt, Model 3, Bolt, are all much better green/eco cars.

(Yes, the little ~10 miles range Plug-in Prius is better than most cars but it is really WAY BEHIND what else is available. We all KNOW that Toyota can do much better. )

Why are you spreading greenwash like that? 25 miles is the rating. In this video I filmed a few months ago had the A/C on with temps in the low 90’s. Out on a country highway, I got 26.7 miles range…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sKsIkxmZ4U

Also, don’t forget a major factor for keeping range on the modest size was to keep price in check. MSRP is affordable even without the tax-credit as a result.

Toyota stopped selling the Plug-in Prius 2 years ago. That had 10ish miles EV range. The Prime is the only PHEV they have been selling for the last 2 years, and it has 25 miles range.

My estimation is 28k- 31k cars. That’s why I believe they can sell 100k this Q

There’s a new recall for Pacifica Hybrids which estimates ~10,000 affected vehicles. Does that affect the estimated sales totals?

Should have added the link to the recall.

When will you guys release official numbers on Tesla? Today? Tomorrow? Next week?