September 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Soar In U.S.


September shatters records and goes down in the history books, but it will soon be surpassed.

Based on automakers’ sales reports and our estimates, we report a total of 44,589 plug-in electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in September, compared to last year’s 21,242 and last month’s 36,380.  Needless to say, it was the best month of all time by leaps and bounds! Not to mention the monumental level of records broken by the Tesla Model 3.

Again, four out of five months in 2018 have claimed a spot on our list of top months of all time for U.S. EV sales. To say that Tesla is ludicrously dominating the U.S. market – as well as making waves globally – would honestly be an understatement. Anyone have a more assertive word than “ludicrous”? We’re taking suggestions. Anyhow, way too much news on that to share here, but check out our news feed for significant coverage.

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

  1. September 2018 – 44,589
  2. August 2018 – 36,380 
  3. July 2018 – 29,514
  4. March 2018 – 26,373
  5. December 2017 – 26,107

The Tesla Model 3 topped our chart by a landslide, with 78,132 estimated deliveries. This makes it nine months in a row that the Model 3 has been the U.S. EV sales leader. It is so far beyond all other models there’s just no way to compare. It also accounts for about half of all EV sales in the U.S. for September and about one-third of all plug-in electric car sales for the year to date.

If you include the Model S and Model X (3rd and 4th on the year, respectively), Tesla delivered an estimated 29,975 vehicles last month, which accounts for about two-thirds of all EVs sold in the U.S. in September. Based on our estimates – for the year as a whole – Tesla has sold a whopping 114,102 vehicles in the U.S. out of a total of some ~234,635 overall EV sales to date. Soon, the automaker should be accounting for over half of all electric vehicles sold in the U.S. for 2018. Whether or not you’re a Tesla fan, this is truly incredible news for EV market share and adoption.

Ok, time to move forward to the other top-selling electric vehicles in the U.S. this September:

Not surprisingly, the Toyota Prius Prime lands in the four-spot for the month and the second-place position for the year as a whole, with sales on the rise from last month, at 2,213.

The Chevrolet Volt once again significantly surpasses its EV stablemate to grab up the fifth-place position for September based on our estimates (2,129) and remains in the fifth position for the year thus far. Chevrolet Bolt sales were up nicely as well, at 1,549, to put the Bolt in the eighth spot for September and the sixth place position for 2018 as a whole.

The Honda Clarity PHEV and Nissan LEAF were the only other vehicles to sell over 1,000 copies in September, landing the cars in the fifth and sixth positions on our sales chart for the month and No. 7 and 8 on the year, respectively. LEAF sales improved from last month and last year, totaling 1,563 for September 2018. The Clarity dials it up substantially, with an estimated 2,028 Plug-in Hybrids delivered in the U.S. last month. This also means that Honda soars past BMW on our list of top EV manufacturers and nearly catches Toyota!

We’ll leave you with some other final data points and another look at our completed sales chart.

Other Statistical Points of Interest from September 2018

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 29,975
  2. General Motors* – 3,689
  3. Toyota – 2,213
  4. Honda – 2,200
  5. BMW Group – 1,858
  6. Nissan –  1,563

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In September*

  1. BEV – 33,811
  2. PHEV – 10,778

*Based on estimates due to the lack of U.S. monthly sales reporting by Tesla and GM, as well as BMW i3 splits (BEV + REx), and multiple automakers refusing to reach out or reply related to individual EV sales.

Tesla Model 318752485382037506000590214250178002225078,132
Toyota Prius Prime14962050292226262924223719842071221320,523
Tesla Model S8001125337512501520275012002625375018,395
Tesla Model X700975282510251450255013252750397517,575
Chevrolet Volt*713983178213251675133614751825212913,243
Chevrolet Bolt EV11771424177412751125108311751225154911,807
Honda Clarity PHEV*594881106110491639144514401495202811,632
Nissan LEAF  150895150011711576136711491315156310,686
Ford Fusion Energi6407947827427406045223964805,700
BMW 530e*2244136895187299425367497565,556
BMW i3 (BEV + REx)  3826239925034245804644184614,847
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**3754504804256507104506546374,831
BMWX5 xDrive 40e*2615966275634993214312642253,787
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV3003233732732973903503663783,050
Kia Niro PHEV*1552462271202182812253463132,131
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*1451992141892672382202402301,942
Fiat 500e**  21023528521525022522075941,809
Volvo XC60 PHEV*1091551671412142261852102151,622
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid*12493362751681952002101,436
BMW 330e*1011422021661501381061921951,392
Mercedes C350e*29172208158166176165170821,326
Mini Countryman SE PHEV*127100741061632112101281401,259
Hyundai IONIQ PHEV*2217821818021714318043111,192
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV*9910693901261331151251201,007
Kia Soul EV115163157152133571303318958
smart ED  84901038011012610310898902
Porsche Cayenne S-E*1131211972655912154560887
Honda Clarity BEV20310448523712612075122887
Volkswagen e-Golf  1781981641287632183214840
Kia Optima PHEV*861031561429883903917814
Mercedes GLE 550e*4470181938375859042763
Ford C-Max Energi234142105571864412582
Ford Focus Electric  70731378388504674558
BMW i8323947576445726755478
Hyundai Sonata PHEV*525478386762602015446
Mercedes GLC 350e*557596466606527403
Volvo S90 T8 PHEV*272952293035304045317
Hyundai IONIQ EV4936073247352112266
BMW 740e*182331601716401825248
Cadillac CT6 PHEV*62417423018262311197
Mercedes B250e  404933730010133
Mercedes S550e*13311977810876
2018 U.S. Sales Totals12,04916,84526,37319,55624,31025,01929,51436,38044,589234,635
2017 U.S. Sales Totals11,00412,37518,54213,36716,59617,04615,54016,51421,24214,31517,17826,107199,826
2018 Worldwide Sales*82,00081,000141,000128,450159,346157,933144,975172,4001,067,104

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.

Categories: BMW, Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, Sales, Tesla, Toyota

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52 Comments on "September 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Soar In U.S."

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(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Expect Tesla to deliver only a couple hundred more than the 22250 August for October.
If not that, a couple hundred less.

If Tesla *only* continues to deliver 22000 Model 3 each month, then by the end of next year there will be 425,000 of them on the roads, which is incredible.
Of course the reality will be even better than that as Tesla continues to ramp up production.
When you include Model S and X, I believe it is very possible that there will be over 1 million Teslas on the roads worldwide by end of next year.

By the end of next year, there will be 485K Model S and X combined on the road.
As of the end of September, there’s around 84K Model 3 on the road.
For them to manage 1M Teslas on the roads by the end of next year, they’ll need to average on 431K / 65 weeks = 6631 Model 3 per week over the next 5 quarters.

Hm… not impossible, but it won’t be easy, either. We’ll see.

Well then I expect that there will be a million on the road by then,
I also expect as TM3 reservations begin to decline sometime near the end of next year Tesla will begin producing TMY at Fremont factory.

Only 6,631 on average over the next 5 quarters would actually be quite a disappointment, considering that they are already beyond 4,000, and want to reach 10,000 some time next year…

Yeah, with logistics improving but no end-of-quarter rush, I expect them to deliver about as much as they produce this month… And production is unlikely to exceed 22,000 or so — unless the last week was indication that they can actually sustain >5,000 per week now, rather than just another one-time push. (Which would also require the expansion of cell production beyond 20 GWh per year running rate to be already in place…)

I hope Tesla will maintain or increase the September level of deliveries throughout the fourth quarter.
People who are Federal Tax credit eligible are counting on it.

Volt#671 + BoltEV + Model 3

Tesla deserves some praise. No one has invested the time and money to build a great EV except Tesla.

True, which is really rather sad considering all the advantages the ev has over the ice.

>> Not surprisingly, the Toyota Prius Prime lands in the four-spot for the month and the second-place position for the year as a whole, with sales on the rise from last month, at 2,213. Actually, it should be at least somewhat surprising that was achieved despite large areas of the country not ever getting any real inventory. Rollout basically hasn’t started in many regions yet. Here in Minnesota, some dealers only had a handful available for the entire year. Thoughts dwell on that holdout possibly being due to a mid-cycle upgrade on the way for 2019. Toyota tends to quietly advance without much indication of when & how progress will take place. After all, the Prime/PHV design was a worldwide effort with lots of new tech and the opportunity to be used for other hybrids. In fact, we’ll be seeing a plug-in hybrid of Corolla in China next year. There are also rumblings of CH-R hybrid getting the plug-in treatment, an easy step since it shares the same platform as Prius. We also see the great potential the next-gen RAV4 hybrid (just revealed in Paris a few days ago) has for support of a plug. Don’t forget about the upcoming… Read more »

Thing is, “offering a plug” is *not* easy. Not only does it require a much larger battery — along with a place to fit it without compromising passenger/cargo space — but also a more powerful motor, and well adapted control software. The Prius Prime falls short on all of these measures — so when they expand their PHEV lineup, I certainly hope they will actually do better than that, not just more of the same…

Like so many others, the assumption of how power is achieved is quite incorrect. In fact, that is so wrong, it’s easy to understand why countless posts on this website don’t recognize what has happened so far or what is to come. Prius already has enough electric power. The traction-motor was always under-utilized due to lack of a large enough battery-pack. The draw simply wasn’t available with less capacity. Combine that with a one-way clutch to add thrust from the generator-motor, you end up with a surprising increase for EV driving. True, the stack packaging could be better, but that kind of improvement is what mid-cycle updates can deliver. We know for a fact the initial rollout of Prime focused on delivering a robust pack that offered much more punch for an affordable price… low enough to make it directly competitive with traditional vehicles. Size simply wasn’t a priority for 2017. As for well-adapted control software, there should be no dispute that was delivered already. The system is remarkably efficient, seamless, and adaptable. Don’t overlook the fact that CHAdeMO charging is offered in Japan and speed of Charge-Mode is more than double the current L2 rate. Lastly, don’t forget that… Read more »

The Prime activates the combustion engine when more power is requested — so clearly the electric motor is *not* powerful enough on its own. A good PHEV like the Volt has powerful motors that offer just as much power in all-electric mode as with the combustion engine running.

As for the software, at least some reviewers complain that it tends to start the combustion engine for no apparent reason (even when not much power was requested), making it impossible to actually drive all-electric even on short commutes.

Incorrect. That belief is the result of poorly informed writers rushing to deliver a review. Never trust at face value any article information coming from someone who sat behind the wheel for only a few hours. Most of what you get is anecdotal observations based on assumption.

In this case, the review assumed “EV-AUTO” mode meant as much EV as possible. It doesn’t. That actually means you are instructing the system to start the gas-engine to maximize EV by saving it for the less demanding parts of driving.

Owners… those who actually drive a Prime on a regular basis… will tell you not to use that mode if you want to keep the gas-engine from running. To get pedal-to-the-floor driving with just electricity, you must use “EV” mode.

Nope. See for yourself: The reviewer has had a Prius Plug-in for years; has tested the Prime for more than a week; even talked to Toyota representatives about the issues; and the video clearly shows that it was in “EV” mode when it decided to turn on the combustion engine for no reason. You can’t just talk away the fact that this thing doesn’t work as advertised.

Regurgitating B.S. doesn’t make it smell any better than it did the first time around.

I certainly am going to take at face value a review based on actually driving the car, from the experts at

I think his point was the battery is limiting power, not the motor. This is same with my Clarity PHEV, when the engine starts it generates electricity that goes to the same motor that drives the wheels. The generator power and battery power are added together to give the motor more power.

Tesla cars are so fast because of their large batteries. For same cells, more capacity in kWh means more power delivery is possible.

Sure, it might be the battery that’s too feeble rather than the motors… Either way, the power train is not properly engineered to work well in all-electric mode.

As john1701a says, most Prime drivers that I know drive in EV mode. In this mode you can stomp on the pedal as hard as you want and the combustion engine will never come on.

It is a perfect car for people with short commutes, because you can drive 100% electric until you need to go on a long trip, then you can drive in gas mode on that trip and get 55MPG. It is still efficient even if you have a longer commute. Though it doesn’t make as much sense as other cars if your commute > 30 miles and you can’t charge at work.

For people like me who almost exclusively drive it in electric mode, it is actually the second most efficient electric cars on the market–I can drive longer on a kilowatt than any Tesla or Leaf. So I am using less electricity per mile, and creating less power-plant pollution, than any other car in the US except for one Hyundai model that managed to beat it out in electric efficiency.

This is not about PHEV vs. BEV — this is about poor PHEV vs. good PHEV.

Is Toyota actually paying you to shill for them? In fact, are you actually copying and pasting a press release written by Toyota’s marketing?

What you posted is one of the biggest piles of B.S. I’ve ever seen posted in any comment to InsideEVs. The Prius Prime’s 8.8 kWh battery pack is only about half as big as it would need to be for the car to function adequately in pure EV mode, even within its far too short EPA rated EV range of 25 miles. reports exactly what anyone knowledgeable about the subject would expect for a car powered by such an inadequate battery pack:

“The electric powertrain has sufficient punch for city driving, but don’t think you can rely on it with confidence when merging onto the freeway or pulling out to pass. You’ll be using a lot of the engine’s power for any real acceleration. Our 0-60 mph test run took 10 seconds, which is pretty slow.”

[emphasis added — Pushy]

Toyota makes great cars, but they are no longer the leaders in “green” cars. That is Tesla. Toyota might rebound a bit with expensive gas, but their hybrids have seen decreasing sales for years now, in the US at least.

That forces a narrative of there only being one type of leadership.

In reality, there can be many, especially when some are trying to force the perspective of TESLA being just like a LEGACY automaker. Apples to Oranges…

Toyota is still very much a leader in the effort to phase out traditional vehicle production. The wide variety of hybrids they offer and continue to upgrade is an undeniable push to get dealers to endorse the paradigm-shift to electrification.

Plug-less hybrids do not push any sort of paradigm shift. From the users’ (and dealers’) point of view, they are just ordinary combustion cars with somewhat improved efficiency. Let’s see Toyota *actually* introducing a wide range of decent PHEVs — rather than a hypothetical ability to do so — and then we can judge whether they have some sort of leadership. Right now, they clearly don’t.

Only Prius liftback, Lexus LS/LC and 2 top trims of Camry hybrids use Lithium battery, all other hybrid models of Toyota use only Nickel battery.

And Toyota is not interested in plugins and that’s why they are not moving towards Lithium battery.
So Prius Prime will be a low volume seller for quite sometime.

Corolla PHV will use what? RAV4 hybrid (the next-gen just revealed at the Paris autoshow) will use what? Prime production is distributed worldwide, so what you see here in the SUV guzzler obsessed market does not reflect interest. Let’s not forget about planned the EV model of CH-R either.

In other words, there’s no reason to believe greenwash of intent.

“So what if the battery-packs are small.”

That’s like talking about gasmobiles and saying “So what if the engine is small.” For a plug-in EV, the battery capacity (in relation to the car’s size and weight) is pretty much the most important thing about the entire car.

The Prius Prime’s battery pack is much to small to allow it to be a real switch-hitter like the Volt or the Clarity PHEV, which function equally well in EV mode or gasmobile mode. Any time the Prime is called on to provide more than average power, it has to burn gas, even if the battery is fully charged.

As the EV revolution advances, that’s just not going to cut it when competing with cars designed from the ground up to be EVs.

Literally more than double the sales of September last year. That’s amazing. The Tesla Model 3 is a breakthrough product.

And I note last month was over double 2017 sales, too, by an actually even bigger spread:
36,380 to 16,514!

From article: “…Tesla delivered an estimated 29,975 vehicles last month, which accounts for about two-thirds of all EVs sold in the U.S. in September [2018]…”

Amazing… and likely September 2019 Tesla will be three-forths.

Not likely to be Tesla type numbers, but as reported earlier, GM is upping Bolt production significantly and giving some small discounts finally. My local Oregon dealers’ inventory just went from 2 or 3 to 56!
Discounted $3,500 with loyalty bonus of $1500, plus $7,500 fed and the $2,500 state increases to $5k for low and mid income.
So maybe that’s a final cost in the low $20s but I’d still have a payment of $400 to $600 I think.

They said they were going to raise it 20%, which is fairly close to how much its sales are down over last year.
Hardly anything to see here, move along please.

Autoline just reported that inventory of Bolt is growing and now stands somewhere in the 90 days. John called into question the need for increased production as sales are down 41%. Sales are up in Canada and S Korea, but those numbers are too small to make much difference.

The Model 3 = Bolt Killer.

No, the Model 3 is a BMW 3/Audi A3/Mercedes C killer.

Tesla Model-3 is not a killer, just a converter.
It will force BMW 3/Audi A4/Mercedes C to convert from gas guzzler to at least plugin hybrid.

I have to imagine that BMW will have no choice but to discount the i3 with the Model 3 now available.

The i3 has seen heavy discounts all along. Only reason they sell the few they do. Not unusual to get $20,000 to $25,000 off MSRP with BMW incentives and tax credits.

Hey IEVs,
Did you guys ever do a study of US ev growth without Tesla? Is it just me of the numbers would look pathetic?

I’m actually more curious at how EV sales are in comparison to ICE. Who’s hurting who when you ignore non competitive ( trucks).

Yes Mark, that was my very first conclusion about September. Remove the M3 and sales are worse than last year! A great tribute to capitalism and enterprise as practiced by Tesla the disrupter. Brick bats to everyone else protecting shareholder value that is also capitalism. Meanwhile environmental capital melts away, perhaps lost for ever.

We seem to be a very long way from when all zero emission vehicles are more affordable than ICE versions. 2025 for price equivalence for a brand new small efficient sedan, but for everything else that people actually buy, CUV, SUV and light trucks, well 2030 at the earliest. At this rate it’s going to be really hard to get the vehicle fleet to zero emissions by 2050. In the western world of course it should be by about 2040.

Well, the others do have better EVs coming. Some do seem pretty good like the eNiro and the I-Pace. But yeah, most of the others are lagging pretty bad.

The eNiro and the eKona have an extremely limited production target of 30K/year (shared between the two). Only a blip on the radar ATM.

Yes, the numbers would be pathetic. Tesla is the only company that has really figured out how to make good pure EV designs.

I’m a bit disappointed in PHEV sales though. I’d think that they should be doing better. They do provide a cheaper way to enter the market and a way for people still wary about EVs to enter in a manner that still allows them to gas up.


The numbers for Model S and Model X seems to be off.
So is the total Tesla sales for 2018 so far.

Q3 2018 (as reported by Tesla):
14,470 Model S, and 13,190 Model X were delivered

Your chart shows:
Model S = 1200+2625+3750 = 7,575
Model X = 1325+2750+3975 = 8,050

Q2 2018 (as reported by Tesla in their update letter):
22,319 Model S and Model X were delivered

Your chart shows:
Model S = 1250+1520+2750 = 5,520
Model X = 1025+1450+2550 = 5,025
Total S + X = 5520 + 5025 = 10,545

Q1 2018 (as reported by the Tesla in their update letter):
21,815 Model S and Model X were delivered

Your chart shows:
Model S = 800+1125+3375 = 5,300
Model X = 700+975+2825 = 4,500
Total S + X = 5300 + 4500 = 10,800

So the Total for Tesla so far in 2018:
Model S + X = 21,815 + 22,319 + 14,470 + 13,190 = 71,794
Model 3 = 78,132
Overall = 78,132 + 71,794 = 149,926

And the total for the US EV sales should be increased as well by about 37,000 cars.

We only track U.S. sales. Tesla reports global sales. That’s why the numbers are different. Those extra that you are showing and saying that we failed to include on our chart were sold outside of the U.S.

BEV outsold PHEV by 3:1.
This is so nice.
When October comes, December 2017 will not be in Top-5.

By selling nearly 30,000 BEVs in one month, Tesla continues to show the world that building great BEVs is possible. Unfortunately, with over 3 times as many BEV models as Tesla but only 11% the sales, the other manufactures continues to show the world that they are either not capable or not interested.

The world now needs to be shown a profitable BEV is possible.

Legacy automakers cannot survive on investor funding, luxury pricing, and tax-credits.

Model S has been profitable for years.

Adding up all the yearly totals and the sales so far this year you come up with 999,488 EV sales. Add the 4,391
“Other” This Generation Plug in Vehicles from the bottom of the Plug in Sales Scorecard, you come up with 1,003,879 vehicles sold in this generation of EVs. Finally to a million sales! I wonder how many are currently on the road? Certainly less than a million. I assume we will have over a million on the road within a month or two.

Stronger than “ludicrous”: “intuitively obvious to the most casual of observers”