September 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card
September U.S. plug-in EV sales set to be record-breaking by breaking broken records.
***UPDATE: We’ve added our estimated Hyundai/Kia data to complete the sales chart.
***UPDATE: We’ve added Volvo and Porsche estimated data.
***UPDATE: BMW reported a grand total of 1,858 plug-in electric car sales in September. We have the i3 and i8 in the chart already. We’ve added our estimates for the automaker’s other vehicles.
On another, not so great note, Mercedes-Benz electrified sales were down a whopping 58.7 percent in September. The company only sold 159 plug-ins last month. We’ve now added those estimates to the chart as well.
September 2018 marks the 36th month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains for plug-in vehicles.
Every month InsideEVs tracks all the plug-in EV sales/deliveries for the United States by automaker and brand. The 2018 calendar year has been the most interesting in the history of the segment, to say the least. Deliveries started off slow, but the momentum quickly changed. Now, each month is set to blow the ceiling off the past. In fact, four of the five best-selling months of all time for electric vehicles have all happened this year. September has already topped the list.
While July didn’t quite reach our estimate of 30K plug-in electric vehicles sold, it was still another promising month for the segment. Historically, July sales have failed to pass June sales, primarily because June is the end of the quarter. With that being said, August deliveries have always exceeded that of July and this August was no exception. In fact, it soared to the top of our list of the best months of all time for electric car sales. Now, September is basically behind us … a month that historically fares well as it’s the end of Q3. For reference, in 2016 and 2017, September was the second-place month in EV deliveries for the year, only exceeded by that of December.
Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):
- September 2018 – 44,589
- August 2018 – 36,380
- July 2018 – 29,514
- March 2018 – 26,373
- December 2017 – 26,107
Through August, an estimated 190,046 plug-in electric vehicles had been sold in the U.S. in 2018. We’re down to only one quarter left before the year goes into the archives (and the record books). This month’s results seal the deal for a year that will eclipse the 300K-mark. Perhaps 350K is more like it!
In September 2017, an estimated 21,242 plug-ins were sold in the U.S. This August we saw nearly a 100-percent gain from last year’s numbers. Can September pull that off as well? Would it surprise you if sales surpassed 45,000 in the U.S.? That sure would be epic and not impossible.
According to our research, Tesla’s numbers are up again for the month of September, and substantially. While other automakers are blaming hurricanes for decreased sales, it seems Tesla is hurricane proof. It comes as no surprise that the Tesla Model 3 sees continually increasing delivery numbers, and the end of the quarter push was monumental. Our early projections were right on target.
As far as U.S. Model S and Model X sales are concerned, Tesla has been able to keep overall numbers close to flat or even increasing, despite the impact of Model 3 production. Our early September projections supported this and Tesla’s quarterly release coincides quite nicely.
Based on our detailed estimates, Tesla delivered 22,250 Model 3 sedans in September and was still able to maintain last year’s total Model S and X deliveries in the U.S., at 3,750 and 3,975, respectively.
Now that September has come to a close, we have official Q3 delivery figures for the Chevrolet Bolt and Volt since GM has decided to discontinue monthly sales reporting. For September, we provided an early estimate of Chevy’s plug-in figures. Comparing those numbers with GM’s actual report shows that our estimates have continued to remain on target.
GM delivered 5,429 Volts and 3,949 Bolt EVs in Q3, which correlates nicely with our September delivery estimates of 1,549 Bolt EVs and 2,129 Volts.
Nissan LEAF sales in May were the highest the car has seen since December of 2016, at 1,576. However, as we expected, June couldn’t stand up to the previous month. We hoped for a spike in July, however, deliveries dropped again. We began to conclude that due to the continued criticism of the LEAF’s lack of active thermal management for the battery pack and the prospects of the much-improved 2019 model coming soon, Nissan may continue to have a difficult time in the interim. Nonetheless, LEAF sales grew in August and escalated even further in September.
The automaker is continuing to make strides. Nissan delivered a total of 1,563 LEAF vehicles this September.
The Toyota Prius Prime was due for another huge sales month soon. Deliveries peaked in May, at an all-time best for the model, at 2,924. Not to mention equally impressive numbers in March and April. While the last few months remained positive, the trend has started heading south. In July, Prime sales dipped below the 2,000-mark for the month, but started to rise again in August.
We’re happy to report that Prius Prime deliveries are continuing to head up, at 2,213 for the month of September.
Like the LEAF, the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid made great strides in May. It also pulled pretty promising numbers for June and July. If the ball keeps rolling as it is now, we hope to be able to report a consistent ~1,500 or more copies moved from here on out. Let’s cross our fingers and assume Honda can keep inventory strong as the end of 2018 draws closer.
Fingers crossed and success it is. Honda broke records selling 2,200 Clarity models in September. Based on our estimated splits, the automaker delivered a record 2,028 Clarity PHEVs on the month.
As far as all the other models go, collectively — aside from the Tesla’s lineup — we expect total numbers to be up at least ten percent from August sales. If this proves true, we could be looking at some 43,000 electric vehicles delivered in the U.S. in August.
Keep yourself tuned in and refreshing the pages during the coming days as we put the numbers to the dialogue.
Questions entering September (with answers in italics as they come in):
- How high will Tesla Model 3 U.S. sales soar above all others? (Incredibly high, at 22,250. In fact, less plug-in cars were sold in September 2017 in total!)
- Will Tesla’s end-of-quarter U.S. delivery numbers for the Model S and Model X be as impressive as that of the past despite the growing Model 3 delivery ramp? (Surely impressive. Tesla’s total number of Model S and X vehicles delivered this September is almost spot on from September 2017.)
- Is September the month that Toyota Prius Prime deliveries bounce back more convincingly? (Yes. Prime deliveries are headed up, at 2,213 on the month.)
- Now that the Chevrolet Volt has surpassed the Chevrolet Bolt EV for overall sales on the year, what story will the quarter tell as GM finally reports official sales? (Volt sales are way up to end the quarter, at an estimated 2,129 based on our data and GM’s delivery report. Bolt EV sales, while not up as high, increased as well, at 1,549.)
- 2018 Nissan LEAF U.S. sales were on the rise again in August. Will sales improve as the year moves on or continue to slide as customers are waiting for the upcoming 2019 model? (Yes. Nissan LEAF deliveries improved yet again, at 1,563 for September.)
- Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid sales have really impressed, especially in the last four months. How many did Honda deliver in September? (Honda sold a whopping 2,200 Clarity models in September. Based on our estimated splits, the automaker delivered a record 2,028 Clarity PHEVs on the month.)
Also of note: Toyota sold 159 Mirai vehicles in September. Honda delivered an estimated 50 Clarity FCEVs in September.
Last update: October 5, 2018 @ 9:20 AM ET
*Keep in mind that we use the words sales and deliveries synonymously. In order for a car to count as SOLD, it has to be paid in full (or leased) and be in the possession of the consumer.
***InsideEVs’ journalist Wade Malone provided in-depth, detailed, and heavily researched sales estimations and related analysis.
Below Chart: An individual run-down of each vehicle’s monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers. (Previous year’s monthly results can be found on our fixed Scorecard page here)
2018 Monthly Sales Chart
|2018 U.S. EV SALES||JAN||FEB||MAR||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT||NOV||DEC||TOTAL|
|Tesla Model 3*||1875||2485||3820||3750||6000||5902||14250||17800||22250||78,132|
|Toyota Prius Prime||1496||2050||2922||2626||2924||2237||1984||2071||2213||20,523|
|Tesla Model S*||800||1125||3375||1250||1520||2750||1200||2625||3750||18,395|
|Tesla Model X*||700||975||2825||1025||1450||2550||1325||2750||3975||17,575|
|Chevrolet Bolt EV*||1177||1424||1774||1275||1125||1083||1175||1225||1549||11,807|
|Honda Clarity PHEV*||594||881||1061||1049||1639||1445||1440||1495||2028||11,632|
|Ford Fusion Energi||640||794||782||742||740||604||522||396||480||5,700|
|BMW i3 (BEV + REx)||382||623||992||503||424||580||464||418||461||4,847|
|Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**||375||450||480||425||650||710||450||654||637||4,831|
|BMWX5 xDrive 40e*||261||596||627||563||499||321||431||264||225||3,787|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||300||323||373||273||297||390||350||366||378||3,050|
|Kia Niro PHEV*||155||246||227||120||218||281||225||346||313||2,131|
|Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*||145||199||214||189||267||238||220||240||230||1,942|
|Volvo XC60 PHEV*||109||155||167||141||214||226||185||210||215||1,622|
|Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid*||1||2||49||336||275||168||195||200||210||1,436|
|Mini Countryman SE PHEV*||127||100||74||106||163||211||210||128||140||1,259|
|Hyundai IONIQ PHEV*||22||178||218||180||217||143||180||43||11||1,192|
|Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV*||99||106||93||90||126||133||115||125||120||1,007|
|Kia Soul EV*||115||163||157||152||133||57||130||33||18||958|
|Porsche Cayenne S-E*||113||121||197||265||59||12||15||45||60||887|
|Honda Clarity BEV*||203||104||48||52||37||126||120||75||122||887|
|Kia Optima PHEV*||86||103||156||142||98||83||90||39||17||814|
|Mercedes GLE 550e*||44||70||181||93||83||75||85||90||42||763|
|Ford C-Max Energi||234||142||105||57||18||6||4||4||12||582|
|Ford Focus Electric||70||73||137||83||88||50||46||7||4||558|
|Hyundai Sonata PHEV*||52||54||78||38||67||62||60||20||15||446|
|Mercedes GLC 350e*||5||57||59||64||66||60||65||27||403|
|Volvo S90 T8 PHEV*||27||29||52||29||30||35||30||40||45||317|
|Hyundai IONIQ EV*||49||3||60||7||32||47||35||21||12||266|
|Cadillac CT6 PHEV*||6||24||17||42||30||18||26||23||11||197|
|2018 U.S. Sales Totals||12,049||16,845||26,373||19,556||24,310||25,019||29,514||36,380||44,589||234,635|
|2017 U.S. Sales Totals||11,004||12,375||18,542||13,367||16,596||17,046||15,540||16,514||21,242||14,315||17,178||26,107||199,826|
|2018 Worldwide Sales*||82,000||81,000||141,000||128,450||159,346||157,933||144,975||172,400||1,067,104|
Above – 2018 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Monthly or Quarterly Totals, ** Estimated (Based on State/Rebate Data and other reports). BEV models are designated with the icon.
Individual Plug-In Model Sales Recap For Major Models:
(Limited to vehicles with ~500 sales/or potential for 500 sales in a given month)
The Chevrolet Volt entering January 2017 found itself continuing an unfortunate streak of nine consecutive months of year-over-year losses. 2017 fourth-quarter sales alone were down some 3,000 units from the previous year.
January 2017 sales made it ten months of losses in a row, as 713 were sold, some 55.7% lower than the previous year (1,611). For February, the Volt continued its downturn with a total of 983 sold, which was 46% lower than 2016’s impressive 1,820. However, still up significantly from the previous month’s numbers.
It started to become more than obvious that the Volt’s stablemate, the Chevy Bolt EV, was stealing the Volt’s thunder. For as many months as the Volt was down and dropping, the Bolt was up and gaining. Keep in mind, this definitely wasn’t a bad thing, just different … and, in all honesty … better. It meant less gas burned!
Fast-forward to 2018 and GM sold a total of 1,782 Volts for the month of March, which was one of its more impressive showings in some time, but still down 16.4% from last year’s 2,132. However, this was a huge and welcome sales surge for the Volt.
As we previously explained, GM has decided to stop providing monthly sales figures. With that being said, we estimated April 2018 deliveries at 1,325, which was higher than may be expected. Keep in mind, however, that Volt production and inventory are on the rise. Our research for May suggested that our grasp of Volt inventory and sales estimations was on par. While down a touch year-over-year, the Volt impressed again, with 1,675 copies moved.
Official Volt sales from GM were right on target with our estimates at the end of Q2 2018. Chevrolet sold 4,336 Volts in Q2, for an estimated total of 1,336 for the month of June. While the quarterly total was down year-over-year, Volt deliveries are gaining ground as expected.
According to our estimates, Chevrolet sold 1,475 Volts in July and 1,825 Volts in August.
To close out Q3, Volt sales are up nicely. According to our estimates and GM’s quarterly report, GM sold 2,129 in September.
Chevrolet Bolt EV:
The Chevrolet Bolt EV made its debut in December of 2016, as a 2017 model. However, it wasn’t technically available nationwide until August of 2017, but only a handful of copies landed in those 30-odd new states during that month.
That began to change in September 2017. More evenly spread inventory led to rapid Bolt EV sales growth, notching 2,632 sales during that month.
October 2017 brought 2,781 deliveries, but November took that number even higher, as 2,987 sales were made. For December, GM eclipsed the 3K threshold by moving 3,227 Chevrolet Bolts, finishing 2017 with a 10-month streak of sales gains.
Unfortunately, in January 2018 only 1,177 Bolts were delivered, which was a mere 1.3% gain over last January’s 1,162. For February, GM delivered 1,424 Bolt EVs, up 49.6% from last February’s 952 sold. Bringing Q1 to a close, GM sold 1,774 Bolt EVs in March, up 81.4% from last year’s 978.
Estimated Bolt EV sales for the month of April brought us back to some normalcy, and right on target with last year’s figures (1,292). We put GM’s BEV delivery number at 1,275 in April 2018. For May, our estimates showed 1,125 Bolts delivered.
For Q2, GM reported 3,483 Bolt EV deliveries, down ~20% from the same quarter last year. Based on our estimates, that was 1,083 for June.
Moving into July and a brand new quarter, we estimated that GM delivered a total of 1,175 Bolt EVs for the month. August estimates indicated that GM sold 1,225 Bolt EVs in August.
As Q3 comes to a close, Bolt EV sales are back up a bit, at 1,549 deliveries for September, based on GM’s quarterly total and our estimates.
The Nissan LEAF entered February as the oldest offering on the U.S. market – going on almost 90 months now.
As you all know, it has been replaced by the updated 2018 Nissan LEAF, which debuted in September (full details here).
Is the new LEAF better?
Yes, in almost every way, including ~43 more miles range (up to 150 miles from 107) for $700 less. Not enough? A ~225 mile, higher performance trim level will arrive for the 2019 model year. To top it off, it will finally have active thermal management for the battery pack.
Sadly, Nissan USA proved not as capable as Nissan Japan, which managed to launch the new LEAF as planned in October (to some very impressive results), while the U.S. (and Europe) had to wait until January. This wouldn’t be a problem if the wind-down of the first-gen 2017 model wasn’t pre-planned to be defunct by October.
The resulting gap between the ‘new’ and ‘old’ left Nissan with almost no remaining inventory, which caused sales in October 2017 to drop to just 213 deliveries, ending an impressive eight-month run of four-digit results. In November, that number dropped further, to 175 sales. December — the best-selling month for EVs — saw only 102 LEAFs delivered. We’re pretty sure Nissan was wishing it had done things differently, as the LEAF closed out 2017 down some 20% overall.
2018 cars didn’t begin arriving until January 2018 in small numbers and they were pegged for reservation holders. Nissan told us it would be mid-February before another shipment of LEAFs became available at dealers for new buyers, which we figured would result in a sales bump, albeit small.
In January, Nissan delivered only 150 LEAFs, down 80.6% from last January’s 772. For February, sales increased to 895, which was hugely promising, only down ~14% from last year’s numbers. As a point of reference, last February, Nissan delivered over 1,000 LEAFs.
For March, Nissan began to dial it up and delivered 1,500 LEAFs, which is on par with numbers from March of 2017 (1,478). Sadly, LEAF sales didn’t grow as we had hoped for April, as Nissan moved 1,171 copies. However, fortunately, deliveries spiked in May, to a whopping 1,576.
Once again, June’s results were not as great as we’d hoped. Still, Nissan delivered 1,367 LEAFs, down about 9% from the previous June and also down from May’s 1,576.
In July, Nissan reported a total of 1,149 LEAFs sold in the U.S., down considerably from June and down about 10 percent year-over-year. Nissan delivered a total of 1,315 LEAFs in August, up significantly from July’s total, as well as that August 2017.
We’re happy to report another improvement for Nissan LEAF sales. The automaker sold an impressive 1,563 this September.
Toyota Prius Prime:
After setting a new high of 1,908 in May 2017, it was expected that with deeper inventory the Prime would be headed much higher.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and a ‘doubling’ of stock (to around 2,000 units), only resulted in 1,899 sales in September. An additional 50% gain in inventory for October (up to ~3,000) actually resulted in a lower number – 1,626 sales.
For November 2017, inventory levels stayed fairly strong, averaging slightly more than October, which translated into better sales, but still a relatively disappointing 1,834 deliveries, given the higher expectations for the year’s end.
For December, the Prime saw a record sales month, with 2,420 sold. This put the 2017 total at 20,936, landing Toyota’s plug-in the fourth place spot overall for the year as a whole.
Moving into 2018, Toyota delivered 1,496 Primes for the month of January, up 5.1% from last January’s figures. February Prius Prime numbers were super-impressive, with 2,050 sold, which was up a whopping 50.5% from last year’s monthly figures!
As 2018 moved on, it continued to get better, as Toyota sold 2,922 Prime plug-ins in March, up again from last year’s numbers by an impressive 74.1%. The total was also up significantly from February’s figures, making us pretty confident that the Prime would continue to rein No. 2 to the Tesla Model 3 for the foreseeable future.
Yes yes yes, Toyota’s popular plug-in continued to hold the number two spot on our chart, with 2,626 delivered in April and 2,924 in May. However, somewhat surprisingly, Toyota Prius Prime sales were down for June compared to the previous three months, at 2,237. Nonetheless, this number was up 45% year-over-year.
Heading into July 2018, we were not so happy to report that Toyota sold 1,984 Prime Plug-in models. Nearly 2,000 EVs in a month is still good, but that marked the second month in a row that Prime sales dropped. Good news arrived in August, although it could have been better, seeing Prius Prime sales on the way back up was promising. Toyota sold 2,071 copies in the U.S. in August.
And, it’s headed up again. Toyota delivered 2,213 Prius Primes in September.
The BMW i3 entered the U.S. market with a bang in 2014, but it’s too bad that the initial fireworks display of sales back then was the peak – we just didn’t know it at the time.
For 2017, BMW i3 sales were a mixed bag.
Sales got off to a rough start, with just 182 moved in January, and 318 in February. The tune changed drastically in March (which given the i3’s track record is not all that surprising) with 703 sales made, a 118% gain over March of 2016. However, for several months after March, sales hovered around 500-600 units, until October when almost 700 were moved yet again.
For November…trashbags, as the company recalled all of its i3 vehicles due to a safety issue (for people who chose to NOT wear their seat belts if you can believe that) and put a ‘stop sale’ on the model for a time. Just 283 i3 vehicles were sold during a month that is historically one of the best in terms of EV sales.
Quite frankly (and notwithstanding this recall), the i3 as it stands today is likely too expensive for plug-in vehicle buyers. So, if BMW wants to sell the EV in volumes like it did in the past, it’s going to have to sharpen its pencil considerably.
In late August 2017, BMW proved it still really didn’t understand the issue behind lackluster sales or the i3 itself, by releasing a new, slightly sportier trim level – the i3s (full details here). The car received some new styling details, some wider tires and some extra performance (+10 kW), but what the public really seemed to want was a longer range option and a price cut (the new i3s is ~10% more expensive in most markets).
2018 models began to be delivered in December and i3 sales accelerated from November’s totals considerably. The German luxury automaker delivered more than double the previous month’s total, at 672 to close out 2017 with 6,726 sold.
For January, BMW delivered 382 i3s, which was exactly the same number as last January. February brought a 96% bump in i3 sales from the same month last year, with 623 sold.
It looked like the i3 was going to start gaining interest once again. We saw two consecutive months of excellent sales growth. BMW sold an impressive 992 copies in March, which was the best showing for the car since August of 2016. This was up 41.1% from last year’s 703, and a big bump from February’s 623.
Unfortunately, the jump in interest may have been short-lived, as April saw 503 copies moved and May sales dropped to 424. For June, BMW i3 sales were back up a touch, as well as up 2.3% year-over-year, with 580 delivered.
BMW i3 sales were back down in July, at 464 delivered. This was also down 23 percent year-over-year. For August, BMW reported sales of 418 i3 vehicles, down again from July, and the second-lowest delivery number for 2018 thus far.
BMW reported 461 i3 sales for September.
Tesla Model S:
Tesla doesn’t give out exact monthly sales (apparently because the public can’t handle the concept of regional allocations and delivery lead times). For this reason, we never know for sure what the monthly numbers total up to until Tesla’s quarterly (or annual) updates add more clarity. However, we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s happening.
To come to an estimated monthly number, we don’t simply take the quarterly estimate given by Tesla and divide it by 3 and hope it all works out. This is surely not how it works in the real world. We simply report from the data we accumulate ourselves, including first-hand accounts available from the factory and from the community itself, and the number is what it is (see below).
Revisions/disclaimer to the accuracy of prior estimates: The 2016 Model S chart has been adjusted (via U.S. Q3 data leaked directly from Tesla) by 469 units in Q3, and 525 units in Q4. The 2015 chart was adjusted (one time) by 498 units to compensate for confirmed full-year numbers. The 2014 sales chart was adjusted (one time – again after the end of the full year of estimates) 611 units to compensate for full-year numbers. While past success is no guarantee of future results, InsideEVs is quite proud of its sales tracking for the Model S over the years.
That being said, we only estimate this number because Tesla does not report it, and to not put a number on Model S sales would be to paint an even more inaccurate overall picture of EV sales. Despite our fairly accurate track record, we’re not analysts or portfolio managers and we don’t own any positions in TSLA the company.
While Tesla continues to conform to a familiar quarterly pattern of prioritizing international production early in the quarter before transitioning to domestic output, there has been somewhat of a change/reshuffling of priorities as of late.
The name of that priority is Model 3.
As we mentioned in 2017, it appeared Tesla knew fairly early that volume production would not be close to guidance by the end of Q3, and quickly refocused in an attempt to make that a reality by the end of Q4 (investors need to be kept happy we suppose).
The end result is that production energies and skilled labor normally assigned to Tesla’s original EVs were diverted from the Model S and X to getting the Model 3 back on course. Tesla seems to be more focused on net sales than setting a specific S and X target, but international deliveries also play a role. All-in-all, we may see Model S and X sales flat or even lower over the course of 2018.
Additionally, the automaker recently pushed back Model S and X delivery timelines by several months. It was said that this was due to a spike in orders for the vehicles, likely due to the attention Tesla is getting from the Model 3, and also because many people are having to wait so long for their Model 3, so they’ve opted for an S or X instead.
With all of this considered, it’s becoming increasingly clear Tesla is picking and choosing how it will skillfully hit its delivery targets. This means that sales figures for the Model S for December 2017 and January 2018 were down from the previous year’s numbers.
We estimated January Model S sales at 800. February’s estimate came in a bit higher, at 1,125, although this was still a notable drop from last year’s 1,750. March sales mirrored 2017 as expected, at 3,375, to round out the quarter fairly close to targets.
As stated above, the automaker has made it increasingly clear that S and X sales will likely match last year’s targets, remaining pretty flat for 2018 due to the Model 3 focus. April saw an estimated 1,250 Model S deliveries, which was up marginally, though pretty consistent with last April’s 1,125. May saw an estimated total of 1,520 Model S sedans delivered in the U.S. For June, our research indicated that Tesla delivered 2,750 Model S vehicles to the U.S. market.
Our estimates revealed that Tesla delivered 1,200 Model S sedans in July, compared to last year’s 1,425. Tesla delivered 2,625 Model S sedans in the U.S. in August based on our estimated data.
In September, our estimates show that Tesla was able to keep Model S sales up despite the impact of the Model 3. We report 3,750 Model S deliveries in the U.S. last month.
Tesla Model X:
Like the Model S, Tesla does not report Model X sales, so we do our best to estimate monthly results for the U.S. using all the data at our disposal (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S)
Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Oct 11th):
Tesla’s leaked U.S. sales data for Q3 2016 put U.S. deliveries at 5,428. Our own Q3 estimate was 5,800 for North America, which includes Canada (which ended Q3 with 389 registrations for the quarter), meaning 5,787 were actually sold. Though we don’t attest to being experts, we were only off by 13 units in Q3.
Previously in Q2 2016, Tesla reported 4,625 Model X deliveries. Our estimated scorecard got within about ~55 units of the actual number (accounting for just a handful of international Model X deliveries). In Q1 we were within ~200 units.
Since we don’t want to bore you by explaining the same thing twice, have a look at the Tesla Model S recap (above) and then come back here.
All done? Good … welcome back.
Like the Model S, Model X production has been sacrificed as Tesla attempts to prove itself more capable of building the Model 3. Tesla directed to some 10% less production of the Model S & X in Q4 of 2017. Keep in mind, however, that all cars and regions are not created equal.
Aside from lower sales volume due to the Model 3, for the months of December and January, Model X sales seemed to be business as usual (despite the long-winded explanation above). In December 2017, we estimated that Tesla moved 3,330 electric SUVs compared to the 3,875 sold in the same month of 2016. We estimated January 2018 Model X sales at 700, down a touch from last year’s 750.
Our estimates for February put Model X deliveries at 875 (to reconcile the quarter, we’ve bumped this number up to 975), up a fair amount from January’s estimates, as well as February 2017 numbers (of course, last February, Model X production was somewhat limited, as our estimates show the automaker delivered 800 during that month). For March, sales were consistent with 2017, at 2,825, to finish the quarter fairly close to targets.
Last year, April Model X sales were quite low, much like that of January and February. However, it should be noted that as 2017 moved forward, the X began to rise in popularity and did a better job of mirroring sales with the Model S. We are seeing the same trend in 2018. While it appeared Tesla still sold more S’ vehicles in the U.S. again this April, the divide was more closely matched. We estimated 1,025 Model X SUVs delivered this April and 1,450 in May. According to our data collection, as Q2 came to a close, Tesla delivered an estimated 2,550 Model X SUVs in June 2018.
According to our data collection, Model X deliveries in July reached a total of 1,325. Last year, Tesla sold 1,650. Model X deliveries in the U.S. surely impressed in August according to our estimates, as Tesla sold a whopping 2,750.
Tesla Model X U.S. sales for September blew last year’s number out of the water, at 3,975 based on our estimates.
Tesla Model 3:
Just ~16 months after orders opened, and ~10 years since it was first announced (then known as the “Bluestar”), the first Model 3s were delivered on July 28, 2017! One can check out the full delivery ceremony and all the newly released specs (220-310 miles range, 0-60 mph in 5.1-5.6 seconds) on our full recap here.
As with Model S & X sales, Tesla is not planning to release monthly Model 3 sales in the U.S. at this point in time. Until then, we’ll do our best to estimate monthly results for North America using all the data at our disposal (For more info on that, check out our Model S disclaimer).
Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Nov 1st): Q3 2017 sales of the Model 3 were adjusted up 2 units.
Thankfully, in the early days (Q3 2017), estimating Model 3 sales in the U.S. was a pretty easy task, as the complete delivery volume for July took place live at the July 28th delivery event in Fremont, California. The first 30 cars were delivered to Tesla employees/stakeholders in the U.S., and one could almost count the individual cars as they left Tesla’s Fremont factory in August.
For September, we had Tesla’s quarterly disclosure that put deliveries at 222 cumulatively for the quarter, meaning about 117 were delivered. Truthfully, the monthly numbers were meaningless in Q3. Instead, all eyes were on production. While the company guided to some 1,630+ to be produced, just 260 were built.
Of course, much chatter arose as to why. Tesla generically blamed “production bottlenecks.” The company, looking to re-assure, said at the time:
We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.
From our perspective, Tesla realized fairly early in July that the September goals would not be met. Following the future ‘S-Curve’ goal into year’s end was going to be problematic. It appears from that moment on, rather than working on “near-term” production and deliveries, Tesla has been working more proactively with the main goal of simply being able to show volume production by year’s end – something originally targeted for the end of September.
While this thought process was never officially confirmed by the company, a quasi-confirmation came with the admission that Model S and X production would be off 10% in Q4 2017. Additionally, we saw the effects of manpower being transferred into transitioning the Model 3 production from “burst” output (or start and stop if you will) to a more consistent, ordered structure.
While it was only speculation on our part (as it was for several months while watching the happenings around the car), we believed Tesla was desperate to provide confirmation of a “decent” sustained production level for the Model 3 by the close of the year … and we were right.
To that end, progress to a certain degree was definitely made in November, as more cars than ever did actually find employee driveways (and orders also opened to the public mid-month … well at least to the first batch of locals anyway). Though Tesla only delivered an estimated 345 Model 3s in November, this number was a notable jump from prior months.
Tesla publicly reported delivering 1,060 Model 3s in December, for a grand total of 1,772 on for 2017. Additionally, Tesla dialed down the target of 5K a week, to 2.5K now, and set the 5K production level back to June.
Adding up all Tesla vehicles delivered in the U.S. in 2017 brought us to an estimated 50,147. Global deliveries passed the 100K mark for the year as a whole (~103,000), making 2017 Tesla’s best year to date, despite Model 3 shortfalls.
While Model S and X sales were both down a handful for January based on our estimations, Model 3 sales were up again compared to last December’s numbers (one would sure hope so!) However, they weren’t up as high as projected or expected.
We estimated January Model 3 sales at 1,875. Basically, we took the 860 vehicles in transit in December, plus the ~500 vehicles produced in each of the first two weeks of January (and those 15 extra vehicles from December that Tesla assured were ready to go but not yet scheduled for delivery), and projected that the automaker was able to successfully deliver these cars prior to the close of the month. This makes sense since Tesla was still looking at three to six weeks for the entire process to unfold.
For February, we assumed that most of the remainder of the Model 3s manufactured in January made their way into owners’ driveways. Added to this, we gather that some early February production was delivered prior to the 28th of the month. We should also point out that an anonymous source with close ties to Model 3 production made us aware that the line was down for as much as a week at a time over the course of the prior month or so due to timing issues with the robots. This was later verified by the automaker. Our February Model 3 delivery estimate was 2,485.
As expected, Tesla dialed up Model 3 production for March considerably, and according to the automaker’s Q1 sales report, future prospects were looking up. You can read the whole report by clicking here. Tesla delivered a grand total of 8,180 Model 3 sedans for Q1 2018, with March sales at an impressive 3,820.
One less day in April, similar production numbers in comparison to March, and a brief shut down meant that April’s Tesla Model 3 deliveries remained very consistent with the previous month. Knowing that fixes had been made in Fremont and the Gigafactory, we looked forward to a surge for May, followed by a leap in June to end Q2. Still, our Model 3 April delivery estimate of 3,750 was impressive considering the circumstances, and there was no doubt the popular electric sedan would continue to dominate our sales chart.
Tesla has successfully ramped up Model 3 production considerably as of late. Despite the shutdown, our estimates show that the month of May was a huge gain from prior months. According to our research and data collection, we saw May’s Model 3 deliveries at 6,000. During the month of June, Tesla ramped up Model 3 production even further, resulting in our delivery estimate of 8,300, which was supported by Tesla’s delivery report. However, we discovered that at least 2,300 of those made their way into Canada, while an estimated 5,902 were delivered in the U.S.
Disclaimer/Historical accuracy: We’ve adjusted Tesla Model 3 delivery estimates down ~3% for Q2 2018 due to new information confirming deliveries to Canada, which was previously unavailable (August 10, 2018).
Tesla delivered a whopping 14,250 Model 3 sedans in the U.S. this July, according to our researched estimates. As if that wasn’t good enough, an estimated 17,800 Tesla Model 3 sedans were delivered in August.
What can we say here? There are really no words. According to our estimates, Tesla delivered 22,250 Model 3 sedans in the U.S. in September.
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid:
Editor’s note: FCA does not split out sales data for the plug-in Pacifica, so we try our best to estimate that number from month-to-month until hard/verifiable data is gleaned.
The much-anticipated plug-in extended range passenger van arrived in January of 2017, albeit in stealth, stuttered, and very limited in fashion.
Due to some odd quirks with production timing and plant scheduling, we had an on/off/on/off/quasi-on start for the Pacifica Hybrid as it relates to deliveries. Then there was QC holds, then launch delays.
Finally, the Pacifica Hybrid officially arrived on “Earth Day” April 22, 2017, and customers enjoyed a good three to four weeks of arriving inventory … until the wheels fell off (not literally).
By June 10, 2017, a nationwide recall was announced, and all 1,677 Pacificas sold in the U.S. and Canada had to head back to Chrysler to get a faulty diode replaced that could cause loss of power when in operation. We won’t get into all the details from there (check out our June 2017 sales report for more info).
Thankfully, by September, the kinks appeared to have been worked out just in time to see its Windsor, Ontario assembly plant go down for the entire month of October for pre-scheduled updating of the facility to comply with U.S. regulatory/safety tooling on the Grand Caravan.
Nonetheless, customer orders and dealer stock began flowing once again and the 2018 model has arrived. With January being a low-volume month, we put Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid sales estimates at 375. For February, we estimated Chrysler delivered 450 Pacifica Hybrids. Our March estimate saw 480 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids delivered.
After three months below 500 sales, the Pacifica Hybrid was set to lose its spot in our recaps. However, we’ve kept it around for now in case the rest of the year begins to show promise. While April’s numbers (425) didn’t help its case, our May estimations showed Chrysler moved some 650 Pacifica Hybrids and June remained mostly consistent with May’s findings, at 710 deliveries on the month.
This July, we estimated Pacifica Hybrid sales back down again, at 450. However, our estimates for August show that Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan deliveries climbed significantly, to 654.
According to our estimates, Chrysler delivered 637 Pacifica Hybrids in September.
Ford Fusion Energi:
The refreshed 2017 Ford Fusion Energi (details) was a fairly big hit in 2016, showing marked improvements throughout the year.
Heading into 2017, the Fusion Energi crossed back into “four-digit land” in March, as 1,002 Energis were moved … joining a club of just five others at that level. The month of May showed a repeat of such numbers, but sales have stayed in the 700s ever since.
Looking at the inventory in the past, it was easy to see why (and how) so many of the Fusion plug-ins were initially sold. The Fusion Energi often won the crown for the “most stocked” EV in the U.S., until Chevy got crazy with the Volt and Bolt EV.
With that said, Ford began struggling to keep production on pace with demand (or rather managing inventory lower). After having almost 3,000 in stock in mid-June 2017, that number fell below 2,000 units by the start of September, as the industry-wide summer shutdown/changeover to MY 2018 was underway. This inventory level flatlined through the end of 2017, for 9,632 deliveries.
It seems the story has remained that same as 700 is the new magic figure for Ford’s midsize plug-in. May came in right on target for the Fusion Energi, at 740 sales. However, the automaker only delivered 604 Fusion Energis in June.
Fusion Energi sales dropped again in July, to 522 delivered. It seemed Fusion Energi sales were slowly dying away. The magic number of ~700 was no longer consistent. To add to the bad news, Ford reported deliveries of only 396 midsize plug-ins for August.
Ford sold 480 Fusion Energis in September, still not back up to the 700 or so we were hoping for.
Welcome to the “big time” BMW 5 Series! By “big time” we mean selling more than 500 copies and getting an individual recap on our sales scorecard.
The plug-in hybrid’s $52,400 starting price point makes it the cheapest of the 5 Series to own, and thus a strong seller. After crossing 500 sales in both September and October of 2017, an amazing 872 were moved in November, followed by 706 in December – shooting the plug-in BMW up our sales chart.
For 2018, 530e sales have been mostly rising, aside from a small drop in April. In May, BMW sold an impressive 729 530es. This was up considerably from 2018’s previous numbers, aside from a good showing at the end of Q1. June revealed another spike in deliveries, to 942, which was an all-time high for the plug-in 5 Series!
Our estimates revealed that BMW moved 536 5 Series plug-ins in July 2018, which was down from the previous few months, but still right on target with expectations. In August, our research proved some forward momentum, as we estimated that BMW delivered 749 5 Series plug-ins.
Our estimates indicate that BMW delivered 756 530e vehicles in September.
BMW X5 xDrive40e:
The BMW X5 plug-in had an unexpectedly strong debut in the U.S. in 2016, which only got stronger over the year. In fact, the electrified BMW SUV had seen sales as high as 876 units in 2016 (August 2016).
Then 2017 happened, and sales disappointed. During the first 10 months, numbers ranged from the 260s to the 480s.
With just 329 sales in October 2017 and 333 in September, we confidently predicted the X5 plug-in would be leaving our recap list in 2018 … then came November. The month brought an all-time best 929 deliveries, which made the BMW the sixth best selling plug-in for the November! In December, sales were down, but still strong at 832, pushing the X5 just out of the top ten for the year as a whole.
While inventory is still low, we’re happy to be able to report that the 2018s are here in volume. Hopefully, enough plug-in SUVs will eventually arrive that BMW can once again make a push to achieve the four-digit mark!
Sadly, it hasn’t happened yet, as May saw 499 BMW X5 plug-ins delivered. Down a touch, but mostly on par with previous sales data. The automaker sold 321 X5 plug-ins in June.
According to our research, BMW delivered an estimated 431 X5 plug-ins for the month of July. This was up considerably from June’s results, but still consistent with trends. However, August estimates showed a drop, as our data revealed that BMW sold an estimated 264 X5 plug-ins on the month.
According to our estimates, BMW sold 225 X5 plug-ins in September. Down once again.
Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid:
The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid arrived in November of 2017. Only five copies were sold that first month, followed by an incredible 898 in December. At that point, we were going to add the new plug-in to our recaps, but we decided to give it a few months to settle in.
January deliveries fell to 594, however, that’s still outstanding for a new addition to the segment during a weak sales month. February brought a nice surge back up to 881 sold, pushing the Clarity PHEV within reach of the best-selling vehicles in the segment.
Now, the Clarity PHEV finds a new home in our recaps, and it’s obvious it earned it well. The addition of the Clarity was much-needed, as it comes at a time that we have recently eliminated the Volkswagen e-Golf, Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, Ford C-Max Energi, and Fiat 500e due to not meeting the sales threshold.
The Clarity PHEV starts at $33,400 before rebates. It’s powered by 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors, with a total system output of 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. The Clarity boasts a 47-mile EPA all-electric driving range, making it the closest PHEV all-electric range competitor to the Chevy Volt. Charging takes 2.5 hours with 240-volt power or about 12 hours on a 120-volt household outlet.
For May, Honda moved 1,639 Clarity PHEVs. The automaker sold a total of 1,445 Clarity PHEVs in June.
Honda sold 1,615 Clarity models in July. The automaker doesn’t provide a breakdown between BEVs, PHEVs, and FCEVs, but according to our estimates, some 1,440 of these cars were likely of the plug-in hybrid variety. In August, Honda reported a total of 1,689 Clarity vehicles sold. Our research showed that some 1,495 Clarity Plug-In Hybrids were delivered for the month.
Honda sold a whopping 2,220 Clarity models in September. Based on our estimated splits, the automaker delivered a record 2,028 Clarity PHEVs last month.