September 2014 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card


September's Results Won't Surpass The All-Time Best Set In August - But Still Very Strong

A Resurgent Tesla Model S Helps Push Plug-in Sales Into 5 Digits For The 5th Month In A Row

Normally each month we tout that fact that no one month’s plug-in sales has ever failed to delivered an improved result over the prior year. Counting September, that record now stands at 45 consecutive months.

While The Retooling Of Tesla’s Fremont Assembly Facility Perhaps Didn’t Go As Fast As Hoped, The Fruits Of That Labor Showed In September

While The Retooling Of Tesla’s Fremont Assembly Facility Perhaps Didn’t Go As Fast As Hoped, The Fruits Of That Labor Showed In September

And while apparently we just did tout that again, the real story is the return of US deliveries of the Tesla Model S in a big way – and the continued dominance of the Nissan LEAF.

After production and deliveries shifted away from the US in July and August, and a Fremont production facility retooling perhaps didn’t go quite as smoothly as expected, Tesla delivered EVs at an unprecedented rate for the 2nd half of September. While Tesla doesn’t publically disclose monthly sales, we can confidently say they have never delivered as many cars as they have in the last 3 weeks of the month.

Last month in August an estimated 11,803 plug-ins were sold – the 3rd most all-time in United States, which was an impressive result with Tesla basically down for the count.

Now that all the numbers are in we can say that September should have easily set the new benchmark for electric vehicle sales in the United States.  Only problem was that Toyota, GM and Ford didn’t get the memo, as sales of the Prius PHV, Chevrolet Volt and Energi twins were about 4,000 short of their historical norms.

For September an estimated total of 10,538 plug-ins were sold in the United States, good for a 18% improvement over the 8,927 sold in September of 2013.

Overall, 87,337 EVs had been sold so far in 2014, which is a 26.6% improvement over last year’s 68,939.

Nissan Parks Itself In First Place For US Sales With Its 19th Consecutive Record Month

Nissan Parks Itself In First Place For US Sales With Its 19th Consecutive Record Month

Heading into September results the big questions were (with answers as they come in):

  • Can Nissan set a 20th consecutive monthly sales record with the LEAF? And if so, can they beat the ‘pure EV sales record’ which they just set last month with 3,186 LEAFs sold? (Yes they can, and no they can’t)
  • The Chevrolet Volt, while still slightly down year-over-year, has improved month-over-month sales for all of 2014…can the 2,511 from August be topped? The numbers are starting to get pretty high. (Nope) – lowest result since January)
  • After only selling 300-odd copies in its first 3 months, the BMW i3 surprised us all by notching more than 1,000 in August (1,025); was that just a blip, or can the electric BMW stay in the four figures? (Indeed, the did…but just)
  • The Toyota Prius PHV was the 2nd best selling plug-in for America through July, then Toyota stopped shipping inventory to the US which cause August sales to tumble. Will August hold the same fate?  (Yes..but worse)

Additionally, waaaaaay down at the bottom of the story is the 2014 YTD chart as well as the complete 2013 results.



2014 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt: After improving month-to-month sales throughout 2014, the Volt took a step back in September, selling just 1,394 copies, which was off by about 45% from August when 2,511 Volts were sold. This was also Chevy’s worst showing since January of this year when 1,252 were sold.

For the year to date 14,540 cars have been sold – which is down 13.2% from 2013 when GM moved 16,760 Volts.

Before 2014 model year production of the Volt ceased, GM decided to once again have production of the extended range car go nuclear heading into the summer. Then once model year 2015 production began, GM kept up that same torrid pace, which led us to wonder “what was up?” as more than 10,000 units were available at one point.

It turns out “what was up?” was that GM was planning to shutter the plant in late August for about 8 weeks as some of that $449 million dollar investment went into a Hamtramck facility upgrade in anticipation of the 2nd gen Volt as well as some other unnamed plug-in vehicles (*cough* CUV *cough*) as well as a new Cadillac offering.

Given the current pace of Volt sales, 2015 inventory (and therefore sales) look to be quite thin for the last month of the year…notorious for being the month that plug-in vehicles are most in demand.




2014 Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF: In September, Nissan logged its 20th month in a row of record sales, moving 2,881 LEAFs in America.

September’s result was a strong 35.7% improvement over the 1,953 units sold in the same month in 2013.

Previously in August, a record 3,186 LEAFs were sold, which was also up 31.7% from a year ago. (full story)

So far this year, Nissan has sold 21,822 LEAFs, which is a big 36% improvement over 2013, when 15,896 were sold.

“Nissan LEAF owners have turned into some of our best marketers, and they jump at any opportunity to share their enthusiasm with friends and family,” said Toby Perry, director, Nissan EV Marketing of this month’s result.

Despite the recent torrid pace of sales of late, the new production levels of the 2015 MY has had no trouble maintaining inventory at Nissan dealerships around the country, which granted is still about 50% too low (in our opinion) at around 4,000 copies.






2014 Cadillac ELR

2014 Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR: After a strong summer (relatively speaking) sales season for the ELR, the electric Caddy returned more to the norm – selling 111 copies in September.

Last month in August, like its sister car the Chevrolet Volt, the Cadillac ELR set a new year high for sales. But unlike the Volt, the 196 ELRs also represented a new all-time best at the time for the premium extended range plug-in!

To be fair, as much as $30,000 off the MSRP was reportedly being offered to bring down ELR inventory, so one has to consider what GM has had to do to move triple digits of the car.

Heading into October just over 1,200 ELRs remained to be sold, as production of the Caddy stopped several months ago, and will not restart in November with the Chevy Volt.

Look for the deals to continue as GM looks to sell off the 2014s they still have. Cadillac did confirm that the ELR will continue, but will skip model year 2015 and will receive some “engineering enhancements” for MY 2016. (full story on that here)

The refreshed Cadillac ELR will debut at the 2014 LA Auto Show in November






2015 BMW i3

2015 BMW i3

BMW i3: Gah…so close to matching last month’s pretty impressive result!  For September 1,022 more i3s were sold in America.

Previously in August, after what could only be considered 3 floundering months of initial sales, BMW turn up the promotion in August and sold 1,025 copies of the i3!

On a technical level, August did actually mark the 3rd month in a row sales have have increased, previous results all numbers in the 300s. Last month (July) 363 i3s were sold.

Previously in June, BMW sold a slightly less than expected 358 units, which was still up 7% from May.

Perhaps helping out sales recently is the increasing availability of the i3 at the dealership level, which crested the 2,500 level at one point in September.

In July, BMW also launched a new low cost DC fast charger that uses the new CCS (COmbo) standard. BMW says it will charge the i3 80% in about 30 minutes (max power 24 kW) and costs just $6,458 to dealers and approved BMW partners.



2014 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales… so we never know for sure what the monthly numbers total up to until their quarterly updates, but we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening.

Unlike other (like all) publications, we don’t simply take an expected number of sales for the Model S given by analysts for the quarter and then divide it by 3 to get a monthly number and hope it all works out…it just doesn’t work like that, even for the larger OEMs.

We actually put in a little research/tracking effort into the estimated number of deliveries in the US and attempt to explain what is happening behind the scenes. (and so far, that has worked out pretty good)

September was definitely the month of the big comeback after Tesla has foretold that US deliveries would virtually non-existent in July through late August to both deliver the Model S overseas (think China, Japan, UK, etc) and to retool their only production facility in California.

That shut down in their Fremont assembly facility was planned for about two weeks to both prepare for the upcoming Model X, but more specifically to expand Model S production by 25%.

It turned out that the factory work didn’t go all that smoothly, as planned US deliveries of the 85 kWh Model S for late August just didn’t happen, which lead to a lower than expected result in August. The plant did eventually get pumping – and in a big way – but the earliest set of “new wave” deliveries for the US didn’t happen until late into the second week of September.

However, the intense pressure to meet CEO Elon Musk’s prediction of 7,800 deliveries and 9,000 cars produced has now put US deliveries into overdrive.

“After considering our planned production and the need to have more vehicles in transit (including the new RHD models), we expect to be able to deliver about 7,800 Model S vehicles in Q3. Without the planned factory retooling shutdown, Q3 delivery expectations would have been approximately 9,500 vehicles.” – Tesla CEO Elon Musk in July

Can Tesla deliver/build enough EVs in September to make the quarter? We think it will be close.

For September, we estimate Tesla delivered 2,500 Model S sedans – which would be a new ‘best effort’ month for the company.





2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED: Different month- same story. No cars – no sales, as 65 B-Class Electric Drives were sold in September.

Last month in August, which was the B-Class ED’s first full month on the market, it continued to be a limited inventory story (see below), as just 51 EVs were sold from a very short supply.

That came after 41 copies were sold in July.

We don’t expect to see any depth of sales for the electric Mercedes until at least December as Daimler isn’t shipping any inventory of consequence, as unfortunately the automaker decided to electrify a model halfway through its shelf life (more than 350,000 petrol cars have already been sold worldwide).

An unintended side effect of that decision to electrify a ‘long-in-the-tooth’ car is that there is now already a refreshed and “facelifted” 2015 model incoming (pics and story here) for the B-Class Mercedes – first sales of the B-Class ED (and nat gas version) begin in Europe on November 3rd.

For the US, the B-Class will be available only in limited states for 2014 (CA, CT, MD, OR, NJ, NY, RI and VT) — and then nationwide to the unwashed masses in early 2015. “Job 1” of B-Class ED production was completed on April 11th (full story here).

The B-Class ED starts from $41,450 ($100 more than the BMW i3) and has an all-electric range “officially” of 87 miles.

However, for an extra $600, one can purchase the extended range package which allows the driver to access more of the B-Class ED’s 36 kWh battery, and allows for an expanded driving range of 104 miles. A fact that we think might sway more than a few people away from BMW’s $700 cheaper, 81 mile i3…at least whenever they start shipping inventory.



BMW i8 Finally Arrives In US In August!

BMW i8 Finally Arrives In US In August!

BMW i8: As expected, sales of the BMW plug-in supercar shot higher in September as 58 copies were sold in the car’s first full month on the market.

For the i8’s debut month in the US for August, BMW sold 9 copies.

The ultra-high end plug-in from BMW arrived on August 16th in the United States. (Check out a nifty video of its journey from production here)

Interestingly, BMW gave away the keys to 7 cars at the launch, then auction one off for charity for $825,000 at the Concours d’Elegance. So who got number 9? Some member of the unwashed masses? Probably that darn Jay leno again…he was at the launch too.

It is still hard to say what the ultimate demand will be for the i8, but we can report that the BMW i8 has seen a sharp jump in US production volume over the summer. As our own George Betak reports, “The car has reached a run rate of about 100 units per month. If this pace holds, a lot of us should start seeing this futuristic sports car on the road very soon.”

We think any results over that of what Porsche can achieve with the Panamera S E-Hybrid should be considered a success.





2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: Sales of the plug-in Porsche strengthened in September as 82 more copies were sold, bringing the YTD total up to 694 … not bad for a car whose average retail price is about $115,000.

Previously in August and July 68 and 63 (respectively) were moved.

Outside of a big sales month in June (111), Porsche seems to have found a comfortable sales level of around 60-80 copies sold per month in the US, while selling about 200 per month worldwide.

Ironically, the S e-Hybrid has almost seen its last days for strong sales after only being out a year we feel, as the new Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid (photos, specs here)looks to eat the plug-in Panamera’s results for lunch starting in November.

And as the new electric Porsche SUV starts at just $76,400, we are eager to add that offering to the sales scorecard soon…there just isn’t enough “non-cars” in the EV space.

The high water mark for sales on the Panamera was set in the first month of the year, with an amazing 141 sold. Currently there is about 200 S e-Hybrids in dealer inventory in the United States.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid has a combined 416 hp output (333 hp electric) and can get north of 60 mph in about 5 seconds, with a top speed of 167 mph. Pricing starts at $99,000. Also of interest, the S E-Hybrid is currently available at all Porsche dealers nationwide – a rare thing these days.




2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevrolet SPARK EV: The little electric Chevy retreated to its lowest sales level of the year with just 51 sold during September.

Previously in August, a bit of a strange thing happened for the Spark EV as all the sales were retail for a change (no fleet – which often moves the needle a little erratically). In total 80 of GM’s little EV were sold.

fleet-inspired May of this year however set the new benchmark for sales on the Spark EV with 182 sales.

Earlier this spring, we learned that although the Chevy Spark EV had been cancelled for Europe, but it will be reborn in 2nd gen trim as a Opel Something-Or-Other in about 2 years.

Since then, the rumor du jour has been that the next generation of Chevrolet Sonic will actually be that car…and have a 200 mile range (full story here)

General Motors closed 2013 with 539 Spark EVs sold over all. For 2014, that number has already been well passed this past August, with 844 sold.

However, no one should read anything into any monthly sales number when it comes to the Spark EV … at least if they are trying to get a handle on Spark EV demand, as GM basically sets their own monthly sales number by curtailing inventory. GM could sell a lot more if they wanted to. We figure that any 3-digit number probably satisfies GM’s internal projections for the car




Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To The US In November

Volkswagen e-Golf: The first all-electric car from VW to the United states arrives in November at selected dealerships.

When the Volkswagen e-Golf does arrive in the US, it will come only in the premium SEL trim, which brings with it a price point of $35,445 – meaning the car will very specifically compete with the top-of-the-line Nissan LEAF SL (from $ 35,020).

Full details on the e-Golf specs, pricing and photo galleries can be found here.

Range has not yet been published officially but the EPA, but with a 24.2 kWh LEAF-like battery, we expect a range of about 80 miles for the electric VW.

Also this month, InsideEVs exclusively learned details on a launch leasing program that sees the e-Golf available from $299/month on a 36 month term with $2,000 down.






2014 Fiat 500e

2014 Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e: When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we have had another Tesla on our hands here (as in they don’t report sales).

Chrysler/Fiat had been giving us a bit of the stonewall treatment when it comes to reporting 500e sales. But thankfully that ‘black hole of knowledge’ seems to have ended, thanks to data from Baum & Associates via (big props).

For September 137 electric Fiats were sold, which follows the 166 sold in August.  Fiat has turned into a steady performer – selling about 150 each month of the year so far.

As promised earlier this year, the Fiat 500e sales footprint in the US ventured outside California, as the EV is now on sale in Oregon.

Still in play is a $199/36 month lease deal ($999 due on signing), but for model year 2015 there has been some changes to 500e, a new dash, some new cupholders, and a couple new exterior colors that, well…don’t thrill us too much.

As for the car itself, the 500e’s 24 kWh lithium battery has been rated by the EPA to produce 87 miles of all electric range, and MPGe efficiency in the city is pegged at 122, and 108 on the highway, for a combined 116 MPGe figure.




2012 Mitsubishi I (2014s incoming)

Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Another uninspiring month of sales was logged by Mitsu in September with its 62 mile EV, as just 15 were sold.

Previously in August, 20 more i-MiEVs were sold.

Mitsu continues to learn the lesson of “If you don’s ship any inventory, its hard to sell cars.” Considering there is only about 60 copies of the new 2015 model exiting August, the result was decent; taken any other way…well, it sucked.

For September inventories expanded by about 33%, unfortunately 33% of nothing is still nothing.

The good news for this summer is that ACTUAL NEW 2014 i-MiEVs have finally arrived at dealerships in the US after a 1 year hiatus! So if you REALLY want one…you can indeed find them.

Going forward, the return of the 2014 i-MiEV from $22,995 means there is going to be a lot of i-MiEV sales to some point…when they feel like selling them.

The new pricepoint of $22,995 also INCLUDES standard fast charging and a host of other standard features that used to be options. The MSRP price reduction equals $6,130 less than the outgoing 2012 model. Want to know more about the new cheapest EV in America? Click here!

Our forecast for i-MiEV sales for 2014? Next to nothing until the Fall, then all they can build and ship (which might be a problem according to Mitsu’s Chief) thereafter.



2014 Honda Fit EV

Honda Fit EV: As remaining Fit EVs to be sold dwindle, so does the sales. For September just 27 copies were moved.

Previously in August, 55 Fit EVs were sold. A new yearly high!!! Ok, it is a little hard to get excited about electric fit sales…but we tried our best.

Previously in July, 42 electric Hondas were sold, which was down 27% from 2013 when 63 were moved. For the year (thru August) 345 have now been sold.

So, the story continues to be: Inventory, where is the inventory?

Well, there isn’t any, and it isn’t coming as Honda is building about 40-odd units a month until the fall…when they will DISCONTINUE production of the car – that story here. Honda has an estimated 90 Fit EVs left to sell out of inventory heading into September.

So why is the Fit EV America’s most in demand car to be cancelled? Well, Honda has found the holy grail when it comes to selling a limited number of compliance vehicles. Lease them out cheap ($259/month including partial insurance with nothing down)…and give customer unlimited mileage on those leases. (all the details here)

So if you get one…count yourself “lucky”.



As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

2014 smart ED – As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

SMART ForTwo Electric Drive: “There can be only one” …champion of the “B” Division of EVs.

And that champion is the smart ED.

For September, the littlest EV sold an amazing 182 copies, leading the “small and compliance” segment of the US industry for the umpteenth time.

The summer of the smart ED continued last month in August as 208 more EVs were sold in August.  Previously to that in July, the company set a personal sales record in with 298 sold.

The smart EV is now technically available nationally, although there isn’t inventory yet spread out across the country to make physical sales everywhere.

The smart ED is the first plug-in for America to be offered with a “battery rental” option, which brings the cost of the Smart ED down to $19,990, but adds a $80 month battery rental payment, as well as includes a wider (and longer) battery warranty.

Check out all the specs, options and pricing here. The 2-seat Smart electric car gets 68 miles of range from a 17.6 kWh battery.





2013 Ford Fusion Energi

2014 Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi: Over the past four months Ford had surprised us in a big way with strong sales results.

You will notice the ‘had’ in that sentence, has just 640 were sold in September, a result that was even outpaced by its stablemate C-Max Energi for the first time in 2014.

Earlier this year, Ford set a new all-time best, and sold an astounding 1,939 copies of the electric Fusion in June…which was 44% better than May, the previous best month on record for the Ford.

Of note in June not related to sales: The Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi, both had their EPA ratings slashed by the company, and compensation cheques are heading out to owners.

Both Energi vehicles now have a 88 MPGe rating (down from 100 MPGe), a 38 MPG extended range efficiency (down from 43 MPG) and a 19 mile all-electric range (down from 21 miles) – full story on that here.

For 2013, the Fusion Energi was the surprise hit of the Ford family, finishing the year with just over 6,000 sold – not bad considering it was only introduced in February. The upward trend has continued throughout 2014.

The Fusion Energi basically offers the same package as the C-Max Energi, but in a larger sedan package. The third plug-in to be offered from Ford has just been rated by the EPA at a combined 88 MPGe and has an electric range of 19 miles.



2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In

Toyota Prius Plug-In: “THUNK!”  – was the sound of Prius PHV sales in September as just 353 were sold, off 71% from a year ago.  Easily Toyota’s worst result ever (not counting its limited release debut month in February of 2012).

This result comes after an August that logged just 818 electric Prii sold, also off significantly (52%) from a year ago.

We do have to note – that result was/is not a reflection on the demand for the car as…well, there isn’t any. Toyota has less than 100 model year 2015s at dealerships to end out the month.

For September, inventory continued to be extremely tight, but not quite as stressed as August; when about 300 units were in stock nationally at month’s end. In other words, someone at HQ made a big allocation error and is probably getting ready to fall on their sword at any moment.

Previously, sales of the Prius PHV were strong in July as 1,371 were sold, a 61% improvement over 2013. In June 1,571 plug-in Prius were sold.

Year-to-date through August, 11,842 plug-in Prii have been sold so far in 2014, 49% more than last year, when 7,974 moved off lots. The Toyota Prius PHV fell out of 2nd place this month on the EV sales charts, past by the Chevrolet Volt.

Much like the Nissan LEAF was for almost all of 2013, the Prius PHV has been a demand vs allocation story over the past 5 months since Toyota reduced the price of the plug-in by $2,010 to $4,620.

The allure of the car, now from $29,990, has essentially meant Toyota can set the amount they want to sell as a function of how many they build.




2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi: After cresting the 1,000 sales mark for the first time in August, the C-Max Energi took a decent step backwards in September, as just 677 cars were sold.

That previous August result (1,050) had represented the strongest showing of the year, so there may have been some exhaustion at the dealership level heading into this month.

Of note in June not related to sales: The Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi, both had their EPA ratings slashed by the company, and compensation cheques are heading out to owners.

Both Energi vehicles now have a 88 MPGe rating (down from 100 MPGe), a 38 MPG extended range efficiency (down from 43 MPG) and a 19 mile all-electric range (down from 21 miles) – full story on that here.

For 2013 overall, 7,154 plug-in C-Maxs were sold, good for being the 5th best selling plug-in for America.

In 2013, the high water mark for the C-Max Energi was set in October as 1,092 plug-ins sold. It would not surprise us to see the C-Max Energi live only as long as it takes to introduce a Focus Energi.





2014 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric: Gosh darn it to heck (sorry for the strong language) Ford.

After finally cresting the 200-sales level in August (with a all-time record 264 units sold), the Focus Electric once again sold “100-and-something” cars – for September that number was 176.

Previous to last month Ford had 18 consecutive months of 100ish sales.

Will we have to go another year and a half to revisit higher sales?  It’s hard to say that August wasn’t just an anomaly now – one thing is for sure, we can continue to proclaim the Ford Focus Electric as the “Oak Tree” of plug-in sales – slow and steady.

Also as announced recently, the Focus got a slightly refreshed look for the 2nd half of 2014. And if you squint really hard, you might be able to spot the changes in the 2015 Focus Electric here.

And no, the battery intrusion into the trunk has not changed – that will have to wait for a full platform upgrade in about 3 years – provided the car continues to be produced alongside the rumored Focus Energi.







2014 Toyota RAV4 EV (+1 to kdawg for the file)

2014 Toyota RAV4 EV


With the finish line in sight, Toyota seems to be putting the sales accelerator (almost said gas pedal) to the floor.  In September 125 more electric SUVs were sold.

Last month, Toyota set a new yearly high as the model goes into the sunset with 228 sold.

The highest selling level for any one month for the RAV4 EV was August of 2013 when 231 sold.

Overall, Toyota has experienced a resurgence of sorts over the past 12 months, and they are now decently on their way to selling the required number of EVs to satisfy CARB compliance (~2,600). Once there, the RAV4 EV is no more. To date through August, 2,255 have been sold in total. Using our l33t calculator skillz (and about 70 units that would head to retail), we figure there is about 275 left for Toyota to sell.

Speaking of which (CARB compliance), the vehicle displacing the RAV4 EV, the Toyota FCV made its official debut in the US in late June…if you are into that sort of thing, check out the story on Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle here.




2014 (yes, 2014) Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

2014 Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

Honda Accord Plug-In: In September 42 Accord PHVs were sold.

Honda sold 46 more of the plug-in car that no one knows about in August.

Relatively speaking, when looking at the summers results, the Accord plug-in has had some decent results by its (pretty low) standards, as 46 were sold in August and 41 in July.

August’s 46 sales also ties the high water mark for 2014 (May also notched 46 Accords sold). The all-time “record” for sales in any one month was October of 2013 at 71 units.

So, to say Accord PHEV sales are flat in the US would be an understatement. For the year-to-date 221 have been sold, which is off 13% from last year’s 254 result.

Practically speaking, the Accord plug-in is the anti-Fit EV, as they just can’t sell these things. And that have something to do with pricing, as the Accord PHEV doesn’t come cheap; Honda has put a sticker of $38,780 on the car, which was markedly higher than consumer expectations for the car.

We expect Honda to revisit incentives on the car in the near future – or maybe just stop offering it entirely. The Accord plug-in has a 13 mile all-electric range, and has been given a MPGe valuation of 115 MPGe, the highest rating of any plug-in extended range vehicle.



2014 will see the introduction of quite a few new plug-in models, many of them being the premium variety.

America's First Widely Available Plug-In SUV Arrives In November...and yes, it is available in black.

America’s First Widely Available Plug-In SUV Arrives In November…and yes, it is available in black.

Here is a list of what is on the horizon, and when it is expected:

    • Kia Soul EV: The cute-ute from Hyundai/Kia has a more than decent 93 miles of range (with more 103 miles of range in the city), and a price tag of $33,700. While the car was expected to launch in the US in November, we’ll eat our hat if it doesn’t start showing up on dealer lots in October. (full details, specs and picture can be found here)
    • Tesla Model X: December 2014 – Tesla has said they will make first delivery in 2014, but real production doesn’t get started until April 2015so if your last name is Musk or Jurvetson, you might get one in 2014
    • Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid – Priced rather reasonably from $76,400 and with an all-electric range of 22 miles (full details, specs and pics here), the Cayenne S e-Hybrid will be the first real plug-in SUV to go on sale nationally in the United States on November 1st.


BELOW: Chart of 2014 results so far, as well as 2013 year end results:

2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals from Earnings Report (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers, Q2 7,579 total-approx reported International registrations, Q3 7,785 total deliveries ~ 3,900 US) *Fiat 500e data estimated for Jan/Feb

2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals from Earnings Report (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers, Q2 7,579 total-approx reported International registrations, Q3 7,785 total deliveries ~ 3,900 US) *Fiat 500e data estimated for Jan/Feb

2013 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla Numbers have been included in this graph. Tesla Total US Sales Based On Quarterly Disclosures (Q1 & Q2 from filings, Q3 based on shareholder letter, and Q4 based on company estimate of half of sales out of North America) *Fiat 500e estimated based on available data.

2013 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla Numbers have been included in this graph. Tesla Total US Sales Based On Quarterly Disclosures (Q1 & Q2 from filings, Q3 based on shareholder letter, and Q4 based on company estimate of half of sales out of North America) *Fiat 500e estimated based on available data.

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35 responses to "September 2014 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card"
  1. GeorgeS says:

    YTD total sales as of Aug were up 28%.
    I thought it was closer to 32%.
    Maybe this months numbers will bump us a bit.

    When naysayers speak about poor EV sales one can round up a bit and tell them that we are posting 30% sales increases.

    1. Lou Grinzo says:

      The naysayers (far too polite a term, in my opinion) will still be braying about “low EV sales” when those cars have 50% of the market — “If EVs are so wonderful, why are half of all cars sold still fueled with gasoline???”

      I am pretty happy with these results, overall. I wish GM’s dealers get their heads out of the sand and push the Volt more, and I certainly wish Honda and Toyota would have their “come to electricity” epiphany (both things I predict will happen in time), but for now, steady growth at roughly 30% ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at.

    2. sven says:

      To play devil’s advocate, naysayers will say EV sales in 2014 are still well below 1% of total US auto sales in 2014. Through August 2014 EV sales are a paltry 0.686% (76,799/11,191,068) of total US auto sales. Through August 2014, EV sales have increased by 16,787 units over 2013 EV sales through August 2013 (76,799 – 60,012). Total US auto sales over the same time period increased by a whopping 554,977 units (11,191,068 – 10,636,091).

      The increase in EV sales through August, even the total EV sales though August, amounts to nothing more than a rounding error when compared to total US auto sales.

      I’m just trying to put some perspective on the sales numbers in the EV scorecard and the long way to go before EVs become main stream and make a significant impact on US gasoline consumption and CO2 emissions.

    3. Bonaire says:

      Sept doesn’t look that good. Tesla will not follow in October the same way as Sept. We are on track for my early-year projection of 30% annual YoY overall growth. So much for doubling plug-in sales. The market and gas prices just don’t offer enough demand. Maybe next year when Volt 2 comes out and other changes coming, we will see more demand based on enhanced features of the next generation vehicles.

      30% this year is somewhat healthy (any business would love 30% annual growth, actually). But will it be possible to do that again next year?

  2. Lou says:

    Love reading these numbers. I would like to know what kind of numbers there might be for used EV’s? Not sure how anyone could calculate them, but it would be fascinating to see the effects of the many EV’s coming off of lease and being sold at (sometimes greatly)reduced prices.


  3. George B. says:

    Thanks for the report! The i3 came in at 1,022 units. Not bad. I would have guided a bit lower this time, but it’s not surprising to see, given that August incentives carried over into September.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Yes same here, I think If you would have asked me a week or so ago where I though sales would end up for September, I would have probably thought the 750-850 range

      /always nice to have numbers come in stronger than expected

      1. George B. says:

        Yes, exactly! I would expected the sales number to come in a bit above 800, but 1,022 is good too. We are starting to see more of them on the road in California 🙂

      2. Josh says:

        Any chance they reported BEV vs. REx?

        1. George B. says:

          Josh, I hope that they will start reporting that too. If not, we can get the breakdown from their production figures. My latest data indicates that the BEV has been catching up, and we might close out the year with a ratio of 1:1.

  4. ArkansasVolt says:

    When is Toyota going to start shipping more inventory for the PiP?

    1. JP White says:

      Probably never now they have the ultimate answer. The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle. Can’t remember its name.

      Toyota don’t like the concept of a plug-in for reasons best known to them. They will bring out the Hydrogen Vehicle and announce it a success. They will starve PiP inventory and point to the sales numbers and declare it a failure and discontinue the PiP.

  5. Blind Guy says:

    “*cough* CUV *cough*”

    Jay, do you know something that you’re not telling us? Or do you have your fingers crossed for a GM EREV CUV, like I do *cough*.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      Looked at your PM’s lately in the GM-Volt forum? I sent you one but didn’t hear back.

      1. Blind Guy says:

        I don’t go to that part of the forum because I can’t clearly hear the audio test to get past the bot protection LOL. I will get my wife’s help to pass the video test so I can get a new password :/

    2. JRMW says:

      Exactly! CUVs and SUVs are some of the most popular styles in America. And there are none in the EV world (I don’t count the RAV4 that Toyota refused to sell

      Same with AWD.

      I’ll believe people don’t want EVs and PHEVs only if manufacturers make styles that Americans want and they still don’t sell

      1. Thomas J. Thias says:

        “Exactly! CUVs and SUVs are some of the most popular styles in America~”

        Hi JRMW,

        The US story when it comes to available Electric Fueled Suv’s is one thing, Globally, the story is different.

        Hows bout 36,000 cumlative global sales thus far of the Mitsubishi Outlander!


        California regulations on Traction Battery cell monitoring requirements to date have kept this Mitsubishi Outlander off shore.

        “Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV | ASIA Cross Country Rally 2013”

        Link Goes To Impressive YouTube Video-

        Link Goes To Inside Evs’ Mark Kane Range Report-


        Thomas J. Thias


    3. Puzzlegal says:

      What’s a CUV?

  6. GeorgeS says:

    Doesn’t look like we will get our 30% pop in month over month numbers.

    We need 2528 more and Ford’s probably only good for 1000 and the rest is chump change.

    1. GeorgeS says:


      Ford could hit 2000. So maybe we will get there.

    2. David Murray says:

      I would expect Ford to sell over 1,000 of just the Fusion Energi alone. So I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Ford got 2,500 or possibly as much as 3,000 if they have a really good month.

  7. David Murray says:

    Damn.. Has Toyota just basically discontinued the PHEV version? What is going on there?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Appears to be a US allocation issue out of Tsutsumi on the 2015 Prius PHV … looks like the summer bridge came up a bit short – those 6,000 units sold in Q2 really caught everyone by surprise.

  8. Bill Howland says:

    From the chart it looks like the PIP and Tesla Model S are neck and neck sales wise.

    No need to criticize the PIP since it is an EV and people are buying them.

    You’d never know it here though.

    1. David Murray says:

      Indeed.. Since I live in Texas, I have never seen one before. And just imagine how many Toyota could sell if they were to sell it in all 50 states?

      1. Thomas J. Thias says:

        Well Mr. Murray, the Toyota Prius Plug-In with its EPA cetified range of 11 miles, electric + gas and 0-6 miles all electric, means plugging in over 6 times a day to aviod the use of gas over a daily 38 mile commute- OUCH!

        CITATION- Fuel Economy Dot Gov –

        Link Goes To Comparison-

        This is the, ‘take your gas and shove it’ mentality that rocks me driving a Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle where I have hit 10,000 miles on one tank of gas!

        Citation- OnStar captured data.

        Link Goes To My Volt Stats Dot Net Data-

        A handfull of Stunning Cadillac ELR Extended Range Electric Luxury Coupe owners are showing insane fuel economy statistics as well averaging over 121 Mpg via OnStar captured data.

        Simple metric-

        Miles driven Vs gas burned.

        Link Goes To volt Stats Dot Com ELR-

        To Jay, Mark, Eric and the Electrified Gang of Merry Global Electric Fueled Vehicle Journalists at InSide EVs, the Worlds Premier EFV Portal-

        Well Done!


        Thomas J. Thias


        1. Puzzlegal says:

          I think the right measurement isn’t “how many miles can you go on electricity?” it is “how much gas do you use in a year for all your vehicles, including rentals?”

          The volt sort of sucks once it runs out of juice, and that happens on any long trip. If most of your driving is a mid-length commute, it can be a really practical vehicle. But it much of your driving is in long stints, it’s not.

          I have the Cmax. The PiP might have been a btter choice, except that I didn’t like the visiblity, and it turns out that my husband’s commute juuuust fits in the Cmax’s range. Different strokes for different folks.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            ‘Volt sort of sucks…’. Man, you’re a hard grader. Driving 70 mph in a Volt, I can get 39 or 40 mpg in the spring and fall, although admittedly a Prius would do better.
            But high 30’s is very good on an absolute scale.

            And, don’t discount the amount of totally gas free miles you’d get in a volt since, as a for instance, a VOLT is a more ELECTRIC car than a LEAF since the typical Volt is driven further in totally electric mode than an electric Leaf. This is no doubt due to the fact that you can’t run a Leaf totally out without getting stranded, but you can run a volt’s battery totally out all the time worry free. Hence the Volt is typically being used for more driving jobs and also therefore more of those miles are being driven electrically without having to resort to a gas powered second vehicle.

          2. Stephen says:

            You have to be driving 100+ miles trips regularly for the Volt to use more gas than a Prius. For a hybrid it is still the car that will use the least gas for the average driver.

        2. David Murray says:

          Besides the fact that your obviously very biased about the Prius PHV, what is the point of your post and how does it in any way related to my original post you were replying to? And apparently you’ve bought into the 6-mile electric range nonsense too.

  9. Daniel says:

    Jay, I’ve been following the monthly report for a while now, and I really appreciate your work. I know someone always asks you this- Can you clarify which factors you consider in your Tesla estimate outside of the quarterly estimated number and anecdotal conversations?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey Daniel, thanks for the kind words.

      The Tesla estimate (as there is no definitive XXX number per month ever given by the company) is based on the information at hand and what we can research

      There is three basic places info can come from. First (and easiest) is ‘general’ knowledge – ie) press releases, tweets, quarterly reports, conference calls, etc.

      Then past that from reports out of the Fremont facility directly – which can still be tricky to figure out what goes where, how many/how fast.

      Also (and probably the most reliable) is actual on the ground delivery reports, ie) how many cars were batched out in a day, how many persons reported taking delivery, etc. And also some sales/registration data can be had on a regional/state level, so you can then take that number and compare it to a known previous quantity from a prior quarter in the same location, and then extrapolate a wider net.

      Basically you scrounge up all you can, and take a shot at it. It’s not perfect by any stretch and one months valid data point can sometimes run into the next (or previous) months numbers in actual fact, but we have had US sales estimated within about 150 units per quarter on average so far to date…so not too bad.

      Sidenote: Verification is trickier recently because Tesla is hesitant to specifically break out domestic sales from international ones during the quarterly update – generalities seem to be the norm.

      …would be nice Tesla just reported the number, would save us probably 20 hours of work each month trying to get an accurate picture on EV sales overall.

  10. David Murray says:

    Well, now that the Ford numbers are in.. I guess that answers a question I’d been wondering about. I wondered if all of the potential Prius PHV customers who couldn’t get a car due to lack of inventory instead bought another PHEV. But considering the Volt and the Energi models are down too, I guess not. September did not do well for PHEVs.

  11. GeorgeS says:

    month over last years month numbers didn’t hit 30% this month. Ford only hit 1200 instead of 2000.
    But we still managed to get a 25% pop this month.

    I’ll take that.

  12. GeorgeS says:

    you should count the 2 fords together.
    That way they would be ahead of Toyota in the standings… it should be.