Op-Ed: 2018 U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Predictions

Red Tesla Model 3 front


Tesla Model 3 and Model S

Tesla Model 3 and Model S

It is time again to peer into the crystal ball of US Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales and see what 2018 has in store for us.

2017 was a banner year, posting gains over 2016 in every single month driven largely by the return of a Prius with a plug and Chevy Bolt reaching nationwide availability.

Related – Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard

I sheepishly avoided doing last year’s post when Tesla failed to provide any guidance on 2017 Model 3 sales. This year things are a little more clear on Tesla’s plans with the Model 3 and we can speculate on how that will influence other plug-in sales.

Here are links to other past posts, and, as always, feel free to post your own predictions in the comments below.

Op-Ed: 2016 Plug In Sales Predictions for US

Op-Ed: 2015 Plug In Sales Predictions for US

Op-Ed: 2013 Plug In Sales Predictions for US

2018 Plug-In Sales Predictions for the US

Summary of Plug-In Predictions

Total Sales (325,000: +60%)

I am changing things up this year and going to hit on the total volume first, before breaking into the individual vehicles.

Last year, sales reached 199,826, or 200k in round numbers, which was a 26% increase over 2016. This year, I expect an even larger increase in the overall market. The primary driving force is Tesla reaching steady production of Model 3, and even more importantly, the attention Model 3 will draw to the market.

I have always seen the plug-in vehicle market like a brand within the regular auto market. Tesla offers the halo products, while other offerings fill the gaps in price, form, and function. Tesla receives outsized media coverage (positive and negative) for the young automaker’s relative size in the industry, which will only grow this year.

There is a combination of factors this year that will drive the entire segment to grow: US Federal Tax Credit will begin to fade for some OEMs, new offerings on the market, increase in the CARB compliance requirements, and Tesla’s delay in delivering base Model 3.

Overall, I see the plug-in market growing to 325,000 vehicles in 2018, which is an increase of over 60% from 2017 numbers.

Tesla (Model 3, S and X)

Even with the production woes associated with the Model 3 launch, it is a lock to top the sales chart for 2018. The most recent guidance is for Tesla to reach production of 5,000 per week around the mid-point of the year, so sales will be heavily backloaded this year. In the past, production rate has not equaled total deliveries divided by the number of weeks, so I see Tesla getting 25,000 out by mid-year and another 75,000 out the rest of the year. So, 100,000 in total for 2018. There will be disruptions in production as tweaks to manufacturing continue. Put about a +/- 25k error band on that number with the remaining uncertainty in the production ramp.

Model S and X are a bit more clear, Tesla has seemed to top out production of each which results in about 25,000 per model of domestic sales or 50,000 combined for the U.S. in 2018 (100k worldwide). Model 3 attention and delays will keep the order book full for these models.

Electric cars

Chevy (Bolt, Volt)

Chevy Bolt burst onto the sales scene in its first full year on the market, taking the #2 sales position only behind the Model S. The combination of the tax credit clock starting to tick for GM and the delay in Model 3 base models will clear all the inventory of the Bolt for 2018. Sales will be production limited, which our best guess is at around 30,000 units for the Bolt. It should have a lock on the #2 sales position this year.

Volt has gotten pushed aside a bit due to the Bolt attention, but look for some great deals tied to the tax credit and some built up inventory at points this year. GM will still figure out a way to move 20,000 Volts. Let’s hope 2019 is the year Voltec makes its way into the CUV market.

Nissan (LEAF)

As delayed as Model 3 has been, it would be easy to argue the 2nd generation of the Nissan LEAF is far more overdue. The 2018 version could arguably be called the 1.5 since the full 60 kWh pack won’t be on the market until 2019. Nonetheless, Nissan knows how to sell on price. Once production gets ramped up for the 40 kWh 2018 model, Nissan will be going after impatient Model 3 reservation holders fiercely. Nissan will also have the full tax credit for a couple more quarters than Chevy and Tesla. I see Nissan reaching close to 30,000 sales, but coming in a hair shy of Bolt sales due to the lag in getting vehicles out early in 2018.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Is this real? Is the Outlander actually in the SUV center of the world after years of delay? It seems so. Unfortunately, Mitsubishi as a brand doesn’t carry the same weight in the US anymore and its dealership network doesn’t match others (like alliance brother Nissan). I only see 10,000 making their way into driveways this year, but it might put a scare into the domestic SUV makers to start offering plugs.

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota restarted the sales of Prius with a plug-in late 2016, now known as the Prius Prime. In my opinion, the newest Prius is among the ugliest cars on the road today, but the Prime is the least offensive trim. Despite its looks, the Prius has a massive brand following and outstanding Toyota reliability backing it. With CARB requirements jumping up this year, Toyota will make sure to keep the plug-in variant stocked. I see 25,000 being sold this year.

2018 BMW i3 Sport


While BMW’s i3 and i8 was their big splash on the EV scene, BMW has taken Ford’s playbook and beat them at it. Adding a plug to all the normal offerings as a premium trim is starting to see some real success. These PHEV sales now outpace the i3 and i8 sales, and 2018 looks to continue this trend. The variety of offerings from BMW should make up for any specific models falling off this year, I see 25,000 headed off the lot.


Ford’s plug-in lineup is stale and shrinking at this point. C-max Energi is now out of production, just selling out the remaining inventory. Fusion Energi is hanging on for another year and Focus Electric remains a mostly compliance / build-to-order offering. 2019 may be the year Ford puts some fresh models on the market, but we know how the timing of new plug-in releases tends to go. For 2018, I will generously put Ford at 10,000 sales, since they have gotten aggressive on pricing when inventory starts to pile up.

Honda Clarity

After years of having their head firmly in the sand, Honda has come up for air with the multiple drivetrain Clarity offering. Early returns show that Honda might be serious about selling in volume, especially in increasing CARB requirement states. If they can get the loyal fans to convert to the plugs, Honda looks to push about 20,000 into driveways for 2018.


Despite standing alone with a great plug-in minivan called the Pacifica Hybrid, Chrysler has been plagued with production problems getting this offering on the market. This offering should be doing better. Hopefully, this is the year things turn around and 10,000 go off the lot. They also have the 500e doing its compliance thing, notching another 5,000 in sales this year. That is about 15,000 in total for 2018.

Category: BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Sales, Tesla, Toyota

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82 responses to "Op-Ed: 2018 U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Predictions"
  1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    Tesla Model 3 sales will be 3187.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      For march…..lol

      1. Another Euro point of view says:

        For full year 2018 :-):

        Model 3: 90k
        Model S: 24k
        Model X: 22k

        Full 2018 year loss: $2.5B +/- $0.4B

        New equity raise: by beginning Q3 2018

        Sales figures in Europe: less than for 2017

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          What do you see driving the 2018 Europe sales down?

          If International S/X sales are down, US sales might jump slightly during the tax credit crunch.

          1. Another Euro point of view says:

            1/ In the market segment occupied by Tesla in Europe novelty matters often more than the actual “services” provided by the car. This aspect is starting to wear out regarding Model S & X (mainly Model S)

            2/ I follow closely the Norvegian’s blogs as I consider Norwegian EV market with its 35%+ EV penetration as the “canary in the mine” regarding EV adoption for the rest of the world. They are obviously eagerly waiting for Jaguar I-pace, Audi eTron quattro, both cars to be on sale in Europe as from Q4 2018. This alone should shave off some percents of Tesla sales in 2018 across Europe. Mercedes EQ following closely thereafter could also take some percent out of Tesla sales (people delaying purchase to compare).

            3/ European EV world news is full about new CCS fast chargers networks slowly coming online and Tesla buyers start to resend fact that Tesla’s do not yet have a CCS charging port on their cars. If you have a look on site Electrek, there is a recent article about a new European ultra fast charging network, in the comments section, one getting the most positive votes is a Dutch Tesla owner stating that he won’t buy a Tesla again unless those are equipped with a CCS compatible charging port. This is just an anecdote but probably symptomatic of it all.

            4/ Tesla sales figures so far in 2018 in Europe are really not good. We will agree that it is much too early to draw conclusions but in case this month of March does not show an improvement then that may start to validate the above 1/ to 3/.

            1. Josh Bryant says:

              Interesting, thanks for your perspective on it.

              I am guessing Tesla will look to the US and China to fill any void from the euro market this year.

      2. chrishu says:

        40k model 3 , 2018 (production rate 2500/week end of q2 2018, sustained rate 1000/week end of q2 2018, production rate 5000/week end of q4 2018, sustained rate 2500/week end of q4 2018)
        120k model 3, 2019
        (production rate 10000/week end of q4 2019, sustained rate 5000/week end of q4 2019)
        240k model 3, 2020

        240k model 3, 2021
        (sustained rate 10000/week end of q4 2021)
        480k model 3, 2022

        Better have lower numbers and get us surprised, then have to high numbers.

        1. Will says:

          Lol, I will say 78k-80k TM3, 20k TMS, 15k-18k TMX. Bolt will be 33k-38k since you will see chevy poaching TM3 buyers. Volt is now a 12k-14k. Clarity,Prime, and Ioniq is stealing from them. Next year will see GM full lineup of phev in thier cars, volt crossover. Leaf will get 36k-39k. Carity will get 25k-27k since its bigger then prime and volt. Prime 22k-25k. Euro carz will get slam with trump trade tariffs

  2. Magnus H says:

    SI there a follow-up to the 2016 predicitions? It’s always fun to see how right/wrong predictions were.

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      I can do that Magnus. Look for it in a month or so.

  3. Jean-François Morissette says:

    That looks about right.

    All the others are your margin of error?

    Daimler, Volvo, Hyundai-Kia, etc?

    1. Jean-François Morissette says:

      And the whole Volkswagen group (Audi, VW, porsche)?

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        Yeah, I used to do a write up for every model on sale, but that is getting a little to far.

        I just tried to cover the highest volume and a couple other news relevant ones.

        For the US Ford has been up there a maker in US sales despite their limited offer endings. So I thought it was worth commenting on how that will come to an end.

        Also the Outlander PHEV delay has been such a story over here, I felt like i needed to cover it.

        For this year, there really isn’t anything new or high volume from VAG. WV and Porsche will definitely be in it for 2019 assuming they hit their launch dates and plans to make the new offerings available in the US the same year. There is often a delay for the European plug ins hitting the US.

  4. CarGuy says:

    Sticking my neck out there.
    400,000 for 2018 US plugin vehicles sold. That is unless there is a trade war, real war, or other crazy events.

  5. TheWay says:

    I was hoping it would break 400k :/

  6. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    The total this year is so utterly dependent on Tesla Model 3 sales that any estimate is going to be, more or less, an estimate of how well or how poorly Tesla does the ramp up on TM3 production. As everyone knows, so far it’s doing remarkably badly.

    Last year I guessed that Tesla would deliver at least 20,000 Model 3’s… and look what happened! Perhaps it’s pusillanimous of me, but I’m going to decline to make any guess. I don’t see much point in making an estimate when things are this much up in the air.

    Here’s hoping Tesla surprises us all — in a good way — and delivers well over 100,000 Model 3’s this year! 🙂

    1. TheWay says:

      It depends on Tesla in more than one way. For example, Tesla may chose to on purpose slow down deliveries in the US and divert to Canada or maybe germany(for tax break in germany that will expire soon). Then use this time to bring up production to 7k-8k per week and then go over the 200k. In this way they can pretty much insure every US preorder gets the full tax break.

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        There is no evidence that Tesla has the homologation worked out for any other countries yet. I could see shipments to Canada before the end of the year, but not before June.

        They don’t even have the software to run the rear seat heaters. There is much more software work to get sales compliance in another country.

        For Europe it is even worse since they need the final assembly capacity to mate the battery with vehicle in the Netherlands to avoid some of the import taxes (as they currently do for S and X).

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          You have a very good point, and one that is new to me. Well argued, sir!

          On the other hand, Tesla did sell the Model S before it set up that European “final assembly” factory to reduce import fees and tariffs. Therefore, your argument — persuasive as it is — may not be the last word on the subject.

        2. WadeTyhon says:

          I agree completely with your assessment and I’ve come to the same conclusions. There is no real chance for them to ship the Model 3 abroad in meaningful numbers before July 1st.

          No country outside of Canada has received earlier estimated delivery times. And the only expected deliveries to Canada would be for the LR non-AWD models. I don’t think that’s going to be the best selling model in Canada. They’ll only be able to move so many of this model to offset US sales.

          So far X, S sales are continuing in the US at a pace only slightly lower than last year. And deliveries both in the US and abroad are receiving the same delays for the X and S. They certainly wouldn’t significantly reduce production of these highly profitable vehicles intentionally.

          The only way Tesla doesn’t hit 200,000 units next quarter is if they miss their production targets significantly again. It’s possible but it wouldn’t be intentional. And it would have to be a pretty big miss reaching well under 2,000/ week by the end of Q2.

    2. Josh Bryant says:

      I understand your point, and that is primarily why I skipped on predictions last year.

      Now that there are Model 3s on the road to owners and Tesla has been more open about the problems/solutions with production, I feel certain they will be making volume before the end of 2018.

      The +/- 25k is to (hopefully) cover how long that takes to actually happen.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I enjoyed the article, Josh. I admire your willingness to stick your neck out and make a prediction! I hope my comment didn’t come across as suggesting you shouldn’t have, because that’s not what I was trying to say.

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          No offense taken. I join in the comments to provide more detail on why I put the predictions where I did.

          If I included all of my thoughts in the article, it would be far too long and probably unreadable. Lol

  7. BillT says:

    It all comes down to how fast the elephant in the room (model 3) can ramp up production. Nobody knows nothing (including in my opinion Tesla themselves) when it comes to that. I think 2019 will really be the year the EV sales flywheel starts accelerating.

    1. David says:

      Tesla has been very consistent dramatically missing Model 3 production goals. I don’t see it being produced in real quantity until 2019 or later.

      1. Nix says:

        “I don’t see it being produced in real quantity until 2019 or later.”

        The Model 3 is the best selling EV in the United States. Do you consider the best selling EV in the US not to be “real quantity”?

    2. Ziv says:

      3 sales in the US have been going up approximately 300%, 70%, 8% & 30% over the past 4 months. If they can manage to eke out 30% gains the next 4 months, they will be in the 5500-6000 range for May and 7300-8000 for June. Those aren’t incredibly rapid gains, but they will end up with 3 sales over that of even the best single month that the S has ever had, for US sales at least. And it will mean that the 200,000’th Tesla won’t sell until July, thereby ensuring that Tesla gets the full credit for all US sales for an extra 3 months.
      Whatever happens, the next year is going to be interesting.

    3. Dan says:

      It will also be the year that tax credits start phasing out for T and GM which will be the real test of the market for EVs.

      Politics may enter here too as many non US suppliers start bringing a significant volume of EVs to the US market. Will the credits stay with current rules or maybe be extended for all or cancelled for all as US companies (T and GM) max out.

      Best IMHO would be an extension for all to a date (rather than # sold) with a slow phase out so as to not penalize the early movers (T, GM and Nissan)

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        Late last year, I had the same thoughts on the tax credit. But I don’t think that window is open anymore now that the US passed the new tax laws.

        Politics aren’t my specialty, so I could be totally wrong.

        It will be painful to watch years of Honda and others getting a $7500 perk over all the other automakers after fighting plugs for so long.

  8. Benz says:

    Total combined orders from US customers for the Tesla Model S and the Tesla Model X in 2018 will be more than 50,000.

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      Combined orders might be, but Tesla has stated they will not raise production of Model S/X. So that just means longer wait times.

      Unless you think their international sales will fall dramatically.

      1. Benz says:

        Total global combined orders from all customers for the Tesla Model S and the Tesla Model X in 2018 will be more than 150,000. Tesla will receive a large portion of these orders (75,000+) in Q4 2018.

        Yes, the wait time is going to increase (as from H2 2018).

  9. David Murray says:

    I mostly agree with this assessment. I’ve made similar predictions in the past and turned out to be wrong on the Volt and Prius Prime. I’m really surprised these two vehicles aren’t selling better than they are. I can blame the Volt’s performance on GM and its dealers not really being interested in selling it. None of the dealers around me even have any Volts in stock, and I only found 1 Bolt EV. The Prime, on the other hand, really surprises me. I figured Toyota and its dealers would be pushing this hard. Yet, most of the Toyota dealers in my area aren’t even stocking the Prime either. So both of these vehicles could probably sell double or triple what they are if the manufacturers wanted to.

    One thing that might change is once Tesla is pumping out 5,000 Model 3s per week, the other manufacturers might start to look like they have pie in their face. So they might start pushing their vehicles a little more. I’m sure as Model 3s start to show up more on the street and people start thinking maybe they could actually get one, only to find out they still have to wait over a year to get it, they could certainly investigate a Volt, Bolt, Leaf, or whatever.

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      I understand your point of view David. Since I am in Houston, the situation is as bad if not worse.

      It was just a couple weeks ago I saw my first Bolt in the wild. I have never seen a Prius Prime. So that means I have seen more McLaren plug in (two P1s) than those two models combined.

      Living here would make you think that Tesla is the only automaker selling plug ins.

    2. Josh Bryant says:

      As far as Model 3 wait times pushing sales of other EVs, this was a primary factor in deciding the numbers. I tried outlining that in the introduction, but maybe it wasn’t clear.

      I expect Bolt and LEAF to be in limited supply in late 2018. The tax credit clock will be looming, and wait times on base Model 3 will still be long.

      1. William says:

        I don’t see the 2018 Leaf being in “limited supply” in Q4. It would seem, that the pending arrival of the 60 kWh 2019 Leaf, would put the damper on the year end 40 kWh Leaf demand. I hope I’m absolutely wrong, and the Leaf and Bolt sell like hot cakes in a Q3 head to head battle to wring out all the excess EV inventory.

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          I wouldn’t hold my breath on the 60 kWh LEAF trim. Plus they will be priced enough to separate the offerings.

          I see the LEAF selling to people stretching their budgets doing mental math of 35k – 7,500 on the Model 3. Some of these people will justify a little less range for a competitive lease on the 40 kWh Nissan LEAF.

          1. Will says:

            New leaf e+ will be in the 38k-40k price range, with alot of features including power seats and sunroof???

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “As far as Model 3 wait times pushing sales of other EVs, this was a primary factor in deciding the numbers. I tried outlining that in the introduction, but maybe it wasn’t clear.”

        Oh, I think you made your “A rising tide lifts all boats” argument pretty clear, altho you didn’t use that phrase.

        But I’m rather skeptical of that scenario. Tesla and BYD are the only EV makers who control their own battery supply, so are the only EV makers who can crank up production on fairly short notice. I don’t know just how long a lead time LG Chem and other battery makers would need to significantly increase supply beyond what was originally ordered, but when LG started selling its new lower-cost batteries, they were taking orders two years in advance.

        I have not seen anything which suggests to me that the lead time for increasing battery supply orders is less than two years, altho it’s possible it won’t actually take that long. However, I will be quite surprised if any EV maker selling in the U.S. market this year, other than Tesla, manages to increase its production by a significant amount beyond what they intended at the end of last year.

        (Of course, we’re not all going to agree on what is a “significant amount”. Let’s say, increase by more than 15% for models selling 5000 per year or more. Increasing the percentage on low-volume “compliance cars” would of course be a lot easier.)

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          I would be surprised if new battery supply agreements were needed to sell:

          30k Bolt
          20k Volt
          30k LEAF
          25k Prime

          I think the Volt will benefit the most this year from limited inventory of other EVs, mostly the Bolt.

          I see it going something like:

          Buyer: The Model 3 looks cool, but I can’t get one this year and it is a little more than I wanted to spend. But hey, Chevy Bolt has great reviews and also 200+ mile range from a brand I know.

          [trots down to dealership]

          Buyer: Do you have any Bolts I could drive, I am really looking for an EV?

          Dealer: Nope, just sold the last one. We do have a few Volts. Its an EV, but its really not. You charge it and stuff, but you also put gas in it. Make sense?

          Buyer: [Confused look]

          Dealer: I have the keys, lets go drive it.

          Buyer: This is fun to drive.

          Dealer: Did you know the $7500 tax credit is about to expire?

          Buyer: Oh no, I better buy it today!

          P.S. We all know the credit just gets cut in half, but I can only imagine how that gets spun during “numbers” time at the dealer.

  10. Spoonman. says:

    Are you guys going to be able to get the BMW/Mercedes/Volvo/Kia/Hyundai PHEV sales this year, or will all of those end up being estimated?

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      I don’t do the hard work of counting the sales, so I will wait for one of the editors to chime in on this one.

  11. Najeeb says:

    350+ sounds good estimate. I agree pretty much with your estimates for all individual OEMs. I think the 3 should b be able to go 150k. The others might not grow as much.

  12. VazzedUp says:

    Took a test drive in the Pacifica this weekend. With Fed and CO tax credits (if you can claim), makes this a great deal, only issue we could find was the uncertain towing capacity, we were told 2,000lb, but can find no definitive mention on the website. By far the best value for moving many people and stuff.

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      I agree. It is disappointing that it hasn’t been more of it hit. That blame falls totally on Fiat for all the initial issues with the vehicle though.

      Here is to hoping it is all sorted now.

    2. David says:

      Chrysler has stated that the Pacific can NOT be used for towing.

      I agree that it is not clear on the website and they hide that statement. It says it clearly in the users manual.

      I would already have bought one if it could tow.

  13. leafowner says:

    VW and Mercedes? How about some of the others?

    I’m betting we hit 400k this year….I think we will see between 150-200k of the Model 3’s being made — 80+% in the US

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      Sorry, I had to draw the line somewhere. Neither really has anything high volume or new out this year.

      Next year VAG should definitely have something headed across the pond.

      It would be awesome if Tesla could get to 200k Model 3 this year, but I just don’t see it happening from where we are today. I would also venture to say that 95%+ of the sales willl be US this year.

      Canada will probably start shipping. But I think the boats will be waiting for January 2019.

      1. Juraj says:

        I made some math about 2 weeks ago about M3 prod numbers when Elon said 2.5k Q1, 5k Q2. I was assuming the growth to 7.5k Q3 and 10k Q4 and I ended on 200-230k for 2018. Now, I would say the Q4 goal was very ambicious, but still, it should give us at least 150k produced, even with lines not running for a week or two as it was the case last week.

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          Based on the last conference call 10k per week production of Model 3 is delayed indefinitely, as in they gave no timetable. I take that to mean, they are not allotting capital to build out that production capacity until 5k per week is real and producing positive cash flow.

          It is a dangerous trap to take Tesla’s production rate and multiply by the number of weeks to get production output. During past production ramps, Tesla has had many weeks of downtime on entire segments of the production line as they improve tooling processes and add new features. Think white interior, AWD, standard battery, to name the ones we know of. This will cause weeks of very low to no production.

  14. dan says:

    I know that the Volt is getting a little long in the tooth but you didn’t have to go there with that photo for the Bolt & Volt. 🙂

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      LOL I didn’t even notice that photo caption. Hilarious.

      Volt is still awesome tho. B)

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      😆 😆 😆

      Thanks! I hadn’t noticed the caption either.

      Who is the editor who’s getting snarky? Steven Loveday, or someone else? Come on, we do want to pay attention to that man behind the curtain! 😉

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        I did get some editing help with the photos, but I am not one to name names 🙂

        1. Steven Loveday says:

          Haha, funny.

  15. David says:

    I wish:
    – The Pacifica could tow. We would have bought it already if it could
    – The Outlander could tow a decent load, 3500lbs like in Europe.
    – A $35k Model 3 actually existed
    – A 200+ mile LEAF with TMS was available.

    I think the Clarity would be the dark horse. It seems like a really good car, ideal PHEV for about the same price as an Accord. If people catch wind of it and can handle the looks and don’t just want to avoid an EV, Honda may be production constrained.

  16. Gabriel says:

    My dissenting opinions:

    – Nissan Leaf won’t sell as well due to Bolt competition and expectations for the standard Model 3.
    – BMW will just keep around last year figures, again due to Leaf and Model 3 competition.
    – Outlander will sell around 5000 units, deducing from other ICE-transformed-to-PHEV sales figures.
    – Honda Clarity will sell 10000 units, at best. The PHEV version will compete against Volt and Ioniq PHEV (both slow sellers) and the BEV has a too short range to be competitive those days (look at the Mercedes-Benz B250e). There is little indication that either sales or availability will improve.
    – Bolt should sell a little better, at 40k units.
    – It is a bit difficult to predict Tesla Model 3 deliveries, but I think that getting to 200k in the end of this year is not impossible.

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      Thanks for your counter opinions. I’ll do my best to defend my numbers 😉

      – I agree that the LEAF doesn’t stack well against the Bolt, but Nissan has more current EV owners that might be looking to upgrade. For example see how hard the Prius market has been for others to crack.
      – I think BMW really is serious about selling plugs despite not having a 200 mile EV right now. They are the best in the business at creative lease deals. There is lots of room in the tax credit to package the PHEV trims as cheaper leases than standard lesser models.
      – Man, if you are right, Honda is in a world of hurt. They really need those CARB credits as one of the top selling automakers in California. There are some die hard Honda fans out there that would at least be tempted by the PHEV. I still think 20k is totally doable if they ship nationwide.
      – I still have to see to believe more then 30k+ Bolts, just based on production limitations. Hopefully you are right.
      – 200k Model 3 in 2018 would be incredible. 130k would be 26 consecutive weeks of 5k unit production. Meaning zero downtime for tooling AWD, standard interior, and standard battery. That would also mean 65k between now and June 30th, based on the current production rate guidance.

      1. Gabriel says:

        After your arguments I revise clarify my points:

        – I still maintain my opinion about Honda, Nissan and BMW. It is getting hard to sell sub-200 miles today range BEV cars today given the availability of other options for a reasonable price. Even if the Model 3 still is not widely available, people are more likely to wait a year to upgrade than to get one now that will lose resale value sharply later.
        – I agree that the Bolt may face serious supply problems that would limit the ability of selling 40k units. If that turns out to be true, even 30k units may be difficult to attain.
        – I didn’t mention about the Prius Prime, but my guess it will win more market over the regular Prius, but also lose a little to other PHEVs options, thus I agree with your figure.
        – 200k this for the Model 3 is a distant possibility, 5% I would say, but not completely ruled out. If I was to give a likely figure, I would go for a bell shaped curve centered around 140k.

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          Thanks for following up.

          I see your point with Honda, et al. It will be interesting how that plays out. Those automakers could be desperately buying carb credits very soon.

          Looking forward to seeing how the year plays out.

    2. Will says:

      Lmao TM3 is not going sell 200k if they can’t sell 10k in 2 quarters

      1. Will says:

        Therez 10 clarity models here in NE ohio. Honda is a reliable brand, its the dealers that need to step it up and sell it but honda engineers f up with that ugly back design. Everything fine until you see the back

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          Is the Clarity being produced in Ohio? I know Honda has always had production in the state.

          1. Will says:

            Good question. Accords, ridegelines are made here that i know of

            1. Josh Bryant says:

              I did some searching and couldn’t find any mention of the production location.

              I did check for VINs on listings, and it looks like it starts with a J, just like my old S2000. So that would mean Japan production.

              Maybe they move it over here at some point.

              1. Nix says:

                Yup, the PHEV’s are VIN code C in the 11th digit, which is Sayama, Saitama, Japan

    3. Doggydogworld says:

      Gabriel – Remember, these numbers don’t include Canada, where both Bolt and Model 3 will sell this year. Your numbers are almost impossible based on production capabilities.

  17. CDAVIS says:

    OP Josh Bryant said: “Tesla receives outsized media coverage (positive and negative) for the young automaker’s relative size in the industry, which will only grow this year.”

    Or Tesla is receiving balanced-sized media coverage considering:

    1) Tesla is predicated by OP to represent up to ~50% of the 2018 EV market share equaling the combined next 8 highest volume EV car makers!

    2) The automotive industry consensus is that ICE is on a clear path of phase-out to be displaced by EV. Tesla is currently EV King. So currently its literally a battle of Tesla vs. all the other car makers in terms of who wins the future of automotive. That is media worthy.

    3) Just about every car maker is making a slew of EV centric media announcements and often those announcements include (by the car maker itself) indirect or direct reference to Tesla… thus Tesla is also dragged into competitor’s media mentions. Example:

    “Jaguar I-Pace Versus Tesla Model X – Race Video”: https://insideevs.com/jaguar-pace-versus-tesla-model-x-race-video/

    I agree with OP’s 2018 predictions except Tesla Model 3 I’d allow margin of +75k / -25K.

  18. Josh Bryant says:

    The EV market is still less than 2% of the US auto market. That should certainly change this year.

    I believe Tesla gets the outsized media coverage mostly because of TSLA. The financial news covers Tesla almost more than the automotive news.

    If you forget the financial makets for a minute and just think about the auto industry, Tesla is approaching the production capacity of Porsche. But each model release or production timetable is much more scrutinized on Tesla. They earned it by the way Tesla conducts reservations and Elon Musks use of social media.

    Back to the point of 2018 sales, the media megaphone is going to help sell all plug ins this year.

    Once consumers see big news on eye popping Tesla sales, and see cars with plugs from their favorite automakers, it will no longer seem like a risky proposition for their next vehicle. PHEV will continue to be the gateway plug.

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      I tried to reply to CDAVIS, comment fail.

    2. CDAVIS says:

      @Josh Bryant said: “The EV market is still less than 2% of the US auto market. … If you forget the financial makets for a minute and just think about the auto industry, Tesla is approaching the production capacity of Porsche. “

      But does that Porsche context represent well Tesla’s true current market weight?

      Tesla has on book ~470k paid reservations plus’s an additional ~700k “high-interest “ consumers of which 350k will likely convert to paid reservations in 2018 (CDAVIS prediction due to added Model 3 reservations & 2018 intro of Model Y) = 820k likely paid reservaions on book for 2018… those represent consumers side-lined to make Tesla their next car. It’s a huge market distruption of consumers willing to wait-out Tesla ramping up production.

      That’s a massive capture of market share by Tesla that is easily obscured if focusing on trailing production numbers.

      Regarding TSLA press… yes Tesla gets a bunch of that in the financial media but if Tesla were private it would likely get the same amount of automotive centric news.

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        Its a good point that their sales tragetory is far higher than Porsche. There is no great comparison for Tesla in the auto world.

        Porsche does have 100+ years of auto heritage that helps as far as traditional media coverage. It is also involved in the racing world witch Tesla willfully ignores.

        On the other side, Tesla pretty much owns the tech media world. Engadget does auto reviews now, mostly of just Tesla cars. The “computer on wheels” gets them big coverage on the tech world, which is far bigger than the auto business at this point.

        1. Will says:

          I like how the”paid reservation” means sales to people on here. Its not a confirm order unless fianance is in order and tesla gets its all the money and right now its 59k. How many persons are converting those reservation into orders is the big question?

  19. TM says:

    2022 (2023 if things go badly) for 1,000,000 in sales
    Hope it comes sooner, but things take time.

  20. Doggydogworld says:

    Your numbers add to 335k, seems like the VW/Mercedes/etc. would put it over 350k total….

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      Yeah, you busted me.

      As an engineer I think in terms of significant figures. I this case I have about 1.5 significant figures (which isn’t a real thing).

      In terms of 50k increments, 350 is my closest guess. I could have said 367,273. But that would have implied that I know within +/- 10 vehicles the total sales.

      In reality, I will be off an pretty much every prediction and the automakers I left off the list will fill in to get the number in the ~350k range as opposed to 300k or 400k.

  21. Benz says:

    Tesla Model 3 deliveries in 2018:

    More than 100,000

  22. Eddie says:

    325,000 is a lofty #. The good news for the estimated number is; within the Electric car #’s are the hybrids Prius Prime 25 miles on battery then it runs on gas. The EV Fords run 20 miles on batteries then they runs on gas. Shouldn’t we really consider these type cars hybrids.
    We are funding those with tax rebates – crazy. The US sold 105,000 Electric only, the kind of car when the battery ran out it would need to be plugged into a charger. Those are “Electric” vehicles. If electric only vehicles were on the list we will not hit the 325,000. Tesla is very good at what they do – marketing. If the 400,000 us customers want an electric car go get one now. $7,500 Federal tax break many states have their own breaks on top of that in many cases you can receive $10,000+ buy now it won’t get any better.
    The problem is consumer demand is not there. Tesla holds back orders, gets in the news each month – BRILLIANT!

  23. BenG says:

    Always fun to speculate.

    The one vehicle that I have a fairly strong opinion that you are wrong on is the Prius Prime. As the lowest priced ‘full’ sized Prius after tax credit, I think Toyota can sell a heck of a lot more of these than they have been, if they want to. And, comments of Toyota execs back when the Prime was introduced indicated that they saw the Plug-in Prius as the next big thing … comparing it to the second generation Prius liftback which was the first hybrid to achieve true mass volume.

    Now that they have a year’s production under their belt to iron out any potential problems they will ramp up volume and we’ll see wider availability and some dealer and/or manufacturer incentives.

    I expect 40,000+ Primes to sell in the US this year.

    1. TM says:

      I should go for a test drive in one of these. See how it compares to a PiP

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