September 2018 EV Sales: What To Expect? Tesla Estimates Projected


We feel like a broken record reporting every month about broken records.

September 2018 will mark 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. We have no doubt September will top 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):

  1. August 2018 – 36,380
  2. July 2018 – 29,514
  3. March 2018 – 26,373
  4. December 2017 – 26,107
  5. June 2018 – 25,019

Thus far, an estimated 190,046 plug-in electric vehicles have 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 could seal the deal for what may be a year that eclipses the 300K-mark, but there’s no way to know for sure.

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

Much of the success of that estimate depends on how many Model 3 vehicles Tesla delivered in September, as well as how many end up in U.S. customer driveways in Q4. Additionally, we have to ask ourselves if any other automakers are going to ramp up their efforts, or if numbers will remain somewhat flat.

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?  Will we see deliveries north of 40,000 this September? We believe the number will be even higher. Would it surprise you if sales surpassed 45,000 in the U.S.? That sure would be epic!

How might this huge number play out?

Below are early estimates for GM and Tesla deliveries that are informing our expectations for the month of September. These are not our final sales estimates.

These early estimates are based on data through Friday, September 28th. For these early estimates, projections were made for Saturday and Sunday U.S. sales for Tesla. Depending on how well Tesla executes deliveries over this weekend, we could see the final number increase or decrease slightly. For GM, because the quarter ends on a Sunday, we expect that Monday, October 1 sales will be included in Q3 totals. So, projections for Chevy Bolt/Volt were made for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday deliveries. Bolt inventories have increased to 4,000 units in transit or at dealers, giving it healthy inventories headed into the end of year sales rush. But our early estimates indicate only slight improvements for the month of September for the Bolt.

If Tesla is able to meet our expectations this weekend, we should see approximately 4,000 Model S sedans and 4,000 Model X SUVs delivered in the U.S. in September. More importantly, we expect the Model 3 to again set multiple new records, exceeding 22,000 Model 3s in the U.S. for the month. We also estimate that GM delivered just over 1,300 each of the Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Volt this month.

Disclaimer: These early estimates are based on projections for the last few days of the month, so they are not our final sales numbers. Keep in mind our delivery numbers are for U.S. deliveries only. We are also expecting as many as 2,000 Model 3 deliveries to Canada as well this quarter.

We’ll finally know this week how our estimates stack up, since GM is expected to report quarterly numbers on Tuesday. We will not have final Tesla estimates until we complete our tracking for the weekend and Tesla provides their quarterly sales. Last quarter, Tesla provided their data very early, on a Monday morning several days before we expected them to. So we are providing our early look a day earlier than we have in the past. At the moment, we are not sure when Tesla will release their final numbers. But, when they do, we’ll make any necessary final adjustments and post our final estimates on the Plug-In Sales Scorecard.

Keep yourself tuned in and refreshing the pages during the coming days as we put the numbers to the dialogue. We will begin reporting EV sales Tuesday morning (October 2, 2018) and continue through the end of the week. However, Tesla may jump the gun and release its report on Monday, October 1. For now, below are some questions to ponder. If you have a compelling question, drop it in the comment section and we’ll consider adding it to the monthly report card.

In the meantime, what are your estimates?

Questions entering September:

  1. How high will Tesla Model 3 U.S. sales soar above all others?
  2. 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?
  3. Is September the month that Toyota Prius Prime deliveries bounce back more convincingly?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid sales have really impressed, especially in the last four months. How many did Honda deliver in September?

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

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

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65 Comments on "September 2018 EV Sales: What To Expect? Tesla Estimates Projected"

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Zachary Hafen

Over 22,000?! That would put sales of the Model 3 at 54,000+ for Q3, not including Canada sales!! 😀


It’s pretty much what I expected: since production seems to have ended up somewhere between 52,000 and 53,000; and with the huge delivery push lately, it seemed likely that the number of vehicles in transit would be reduced by a couple thousand…


What’s up with the Bloomberg Model 3 tracker these days. Does it have a blind spot when cars are targeted for outside of the US delivery?


It is too heavily targeted on VIN-numbers. I suspect Tesla purposely hold back new VIN-numbers for the last few weeks to hide the true numbers from the tracker.
Can’t wait for the Tesla Q3 numbers!


The total number is actually not that far off at this point; the weekly sales for the last two months or so are just completely wrong, since Tesla registered some huge new batches of VINs a couple of weeks ago, and has been assigning VINs from all across the range since then… So both tracking registered VINs, and VINs seen in the wild, initially resulted in huge overestimates, and now huge underestimates.


Tesla does not hold back VIN registrations, this data comes from vehicle registration not Tesla. Tesla had a huge back log of registrations which they have now mostly worked through. Lack of new registrations does not mean low production!


Funny thing is that I have seen some articles that assumed the Bloomberg tracker actually indicated some renewed production problems… I guess few of these people are reading Electrek 😉

I wonder how much this might have affected the stock price over the past weeks…

Taylor Marks

For all the crap people are giving Bloomberg over their tracker’s current weekly production estimate, it seems likely that their total production number will end up being higher than what InsideEVs is saying.


As I pointed out myself, the total estimate for the quarter is close enough. However, the ostensible up and down trend with no rooting in reality, creates phony concerns about future trends among some analysts/investors…


I’m sure Bloomberg had a huge effect, since there was nothing else going on to affect the stock price 🙂


Concerns tend to add up, rather than cancel each other out.

Yves Laurin

They are having problem lately to track model 3, they found out last month that they where well over and substract 4000, not sure how precise it is right now


Tesla Model 3 deliveries in the US in September 2018 will be more than 20,000.

But 22,000 would be really good.

Tesla Model S: 4,000
Tesla Model X: 4,000

Wow, that would be awesome.


Fantastic. 30k from Tesla alone means 40k+ is not out of reach. That would be almost double sept 2017.

Madan R

20,000 + 4,000 + 4,000 or Model-3/S/X sounds reasonable.


I think it would be ironic if the Tesla roadster in space, collided with Teslstar.


The roadster is way past Telstar and headed to the asteroid belt.

Some Guy

There is a nice website that shows where the Roadster currently is located and projects it’s speed relative to the Earth, Mars and Sun
It has come quite far.


LOL… Love the fuel economy figure 😉


reminds me of ‘watchmerot’, only this is real.


What if it comes back 200 years later as a sentient being named T’sla, looking for the creator, “Musk”.

Dan F.

It will be time for the carbon based units to hide. Or call Capt. Kirk.


ST: The Motion Picture

Anthony Fiti

22,000 for the US would be crazy great.

It definitely puts them at the higher end of their range for Q3.

I’m hoping that they get to 54 or 55k units, and then set the Q4 target at between 65 and 70k units.


These are deliveries. Production seems to have ended up right in the middle of Tesla’s Q3 guidance, if Electrek’s source is indeed reliable.

As for Q4… Not sure what to hope for — but I’d say 70,000 – 80,000 at least?


I got 20k-21k model3s

Micke Larsson

K = Kelvin
k = kilo = 1 000


Cop pulls over a Model 3 for having a computer screen.



Taylor Marks

So you think Tesla delivered 54K Model 3 to the US in Q3 + 2K to Canada, for 56K total? That sounds excessive – puts you above what most others are predicting. But OK – that’ll be fantastic if it’s true.

Comparing it to other vehicles in the US, that would put it at around #16 of all vehicles in the US for the month of September, and cause the 2018 ranking to jump from #61 to #50. If they maintained the rate of 22K per month for the rest of the year, that would have them land at #34 for the year.


What other prediction have you seen for deliveries?

I for my part think it’s reasonable to assume that deliveries are somewhat above production, considering the major push over the past weeks…


If they hit the mid range of their production guidance for q3 (say 53k) plus reduce “in transit” vehicles from 11k to 8k with their recent delivery push, that would get them to 56k. So it doesn’t seem out of reach.

Taylor Marks

Why wouldn’t you assume that they have another 10K+ vehicles “in transit” going from this quarter to next quarter? If they’re building 7K vehicles per week and it takes over a week to get them from the West coast to the East coast, is it not reasonable to assume that they have at least 5K in transit?


There have been some claims — a lot of claims — that Tesla’s deliveries last month hit a major bottleneck, and that Tesla produced many thousands more cars than were delivered; a significantly higher percentage than normal.

With the major push for deliveries this month, including pressing some volunteer Tesla enthusiasts into service to help with that, there is an expectation that Tesla will be able to reduce the number of cars caught in transit; hopefully reduce the percentage of undelivered cars enough to push up the deliveries by at least a couple of thousand units.

But this involves a lot of speculation and guesswork.


Pressing? People have been *asking* whether they can help…


1. Tesla said they would reduce cars in transit in Q3
2. They had huge delivery events (especially in CA) the last two weeks
3. Stalkers who send drones up near staging lots show inventories declined a bit

Taylor Marks

Oh, I forgot to look at this from a Manufacturer basis. 22K Model 3 + 8K others gives them 30K total.

In August, they were basically tied for 16th with BMW in monthly US Sales – some sources said that they were just ahead, others said they were just behind. For September, I expect they’ll slide up to #13, overtaking BMW, Mercedes, Mazda, and Lexus, and putting them just behind Volkswagen (or maybe even ahead? August seems like it was an unusually good month for VW.) We’ll probably see them overtake VW and Dodge before the end of the year. We might see them sometimes best RAM. But other than that, this will be boring for awhile… it’s a big gap to reach Kia (generally selling ~50K per month) and beyond. Maybe in two years when the Model Y is available we’ll see them overtake Kia, Hyundai, Subaru, and Jeep. Getting to the top will probably require an even cheaper model than the Model 3 and Y.

For US sales YTD, Tesla should move from #22 up to #19, overtaking Mitsubishi, Infiniti, and Acura to be just behind Chrysler.

Madan R

36th month means 3 complete years of YoY sales increase.
With August having a high sales of 36,380; September overtaking that cannot take it for granted. I would say 95% probable.
Tesla could hit 28,000 with the sales of Model-3/S/X. Will others pull another 8,000. That sounds possible with Prius plugin, Clarity plugin, Bolt, Volt and Leaf leading the charge.


There is no way September doesn’t top August. It would mean non-Tesla models would have to be *way* lower than last month, as well as last year.


“We feel like a broken record reporting every month about broken records.”

😆 😆 😆

Steven, that’s got to be the most clever comment on repetitive record breaking I’ve ever seen. (Thumbs up!)

I’ve gotten a bit jaded about reading the same thing every month, but complaining about the situation would be pointless and counter-productive. I do understand why IEVs needs to keep reporting this. I do understand that few of your readers visit every single day.

It’s an interesting insight that you’re even more tired of writing the same thing month after month than some of us are reading it! 😉

Keep up the good work, Steven. And wow, what a busy weekend for IEVs staff!


“…we expect the Model 3 to again set multiple new records, exceeding 22,000 Model 3s in the U.S. for the month.”

Is this the first time InsideEVs has scooped their own estimates for Tesla deliveries; the estimates used in their Monthly Plug-in Sales Report Card charts?

Looking at some of IEVs’ numbers for Model 3 delivery estimates:

Jun: 14,250
July: 17,800
Aug: 22,000+

July’s figure is 1.249 x June’s figure. If we apply the same ratio to the July figure, we get ~22,200. So that would be right in line with IEVs’ estimate.

Not that this proves anything of course; it would be somewhat coincidental for two months in a row to show exactly the same ratio/ percentage of increase in deliveries.


You seem to be off by a month?…


Small data point: I was at the Mt. Kisco Tesla dealer in NY on Friday, and the rep there mentioned that they had over 150 Model 3 deliveries on Friday, and “more than twice as many” scheduled for Saturday. That’s 400+ by one dealer in two days… he showed me their staging lot/warehouse, with well over 1000 Model 3s ready to go. Pretty exciting stuff.

Madan R

Please post that cumulative plugin vehicle sales also, we would like to see whether Model-3 overtakes at least 1 model.


To get a better picture on the true growth of EVs and hybrid, we need separate total numbers for hybrids and non-Tesla EVs. The separation of EVs and Hybrids are meaningful. The fast growth of Model 3s obscures the data. And the data for model S and X are not meaningful as both are at the saturated point of their high-end market.


It is going to be very interesting to see how everyone starts reacting to all Teslas out in the world. Will others ask questions? Get test rides? Become interested?

Where I live, I can’t leave my house without seeing Model 3s everywhere. I want to ask some gasoline distributors if gasoline sales have flattened out. Because between the Model 3s, i3s, Volts, LEAFs, Bolts, Model S, Model X, etc…it has to be starting to reduce gasoline demand.

Madan R

My estimate for Tesla is 25000 per month.


Anyone following the Bloomberg tracker?

Seems production is dropping off sharply?


It’s A Trap!


21k-22k for model 3. If below then there’s issues


Model S and Model X sales will be higher this month and every month until the $7,500 full rebate sunsets.


I hope The Stock Hits North of $400.00 YR. End. & Keeps On Going North Ward Forever …I wish Tesla ..(All EV Co.s),, Nothing But Great Success, They Deserve It !

Ron M

I’m expecting 420 very soon.


What will they be thinking at GM?

They must be working on a new EV model.

At least, I hope that they are working on a new EV model.


A lot more than one, going by official statements…