September EV Sales In US Improve: BMW Inspires With 1,710 i3 Sales

OCT 2 2015 BY STATIK 25

The BMW i3 Came Out Of Left Field In September To Sell A Record 1,710 i3s (seen above in new "Fluid Black color)

The BMW i3 Came Out Of Left Field In September To Sell A Record 1,710 i3s (seen above in new “Fluid Black color)

2016 Chevrolet Volt 'just missed' Being Counted In September, But The Race For Green Stickers In California Begins Next Week

2016 Chevrolet Volt Just Missed Being Counted In September, But The Race For Green Stickers In California Begins Next Week

Heading into September, we had hoped that electric vehicle sales in the US would rise over the previous month’s result thanks to a resurgent newcomer arriving back into the fold.

Turns out we picked the wrong horse.

For the month, an estimated 10,134 plug-ins were sold, good for a 13% improvement over the ~8,972 moved in August.

We had expected that the next generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt would make it to market by mid-month, and show strong enough gains to propel the market higher.

But in the end that didn’t happen, as some early quality control holds apparently kept the 2016 Volts ‘in the pen’ in September.

Thankfully, those cars are now released, and at time of press, are now being shipped to customers.

September Was i3 Nation In The US

September Was i3 Nation In The US

Instead, it was the BMW i3 who took center stage, selling 1,710 copies – which lead the company to be the 2nd highest seller of EVs for the month in America for the first time.

September i3 sales were quite an achievement for BMW, as the previous high water mark for monthly sales was 1,159 – set in October of 2014.  Before this month’s result we had assumed (quite incorrectly) that US demand was not strong enough to push sales to this level.  We are happy to be wrong.

During September, Tesla also introduced the Model X (watch launch party/more details here), which was big achievement for the company as the all-electric SUV has been a long time coming.  But in regards to sales, it was insignificant to its sister-product, the Model S – which ended the quarter strongly (as per the norm), selling ~2,500 copies in our estimation.

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2015 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

Looking ahead:

Both The 2nd Generation Chevy Volt and Upgraded 2016 Nissan LEAF Arrive In October

Both The 2nd Generation Chevy Volt and Upgraded 2016 Nissan LEAF Arrive In October

As we mentioned before, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt didn’t arrive in September, but all those sales are now making their way to California (and possibly 10 other states), and will start to tally for October as deliveries are made in a few days.

We have confirmed with Nissan that the 2016 LEAF (now with an optional 107 mile range – details) will be arriving in October. Unfortunately, a request to nail down exactly when those might start to arrive, has of yet, been unanswered.

We don’t expect any volume production of consequence from Tesla in regards to the Model X.  Same goes for the Volvo XC90 plug-in, of which should start consumer deliveries in October.

Going forward (and as we have been saying since last winter), the extended EV sales drought in the United States should now be behind us.  We look for monthly sales to show strong gains beginning in October, and continuing (for the most part) into the foreseeable future.

Some other Points of Interest from September

Tesla Stays #1 For Top EV Manufacturer In September - Helped Slightly By The Model X

Tesla Stays #1 For Top EV Manufacturer In September – Helped Slightly By The Model X

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla – 2,506*
  2. BMW – 1,892
  3. Ford – 1,672
  4. Nissan – 1,247
  5. General Motors – 1,142

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In September*

  1. BEV – ~6,154 – 61%
  2. PHEV – ~3,980 – 39%

New 2015 Highs Set In September By Model (previous 2015 high in brackets)

  • BMW i3– 1,710 (1,089) – all-time high
  • Mercedes S550 PHV – 17 (10)
  • Tesla Model X – 6 (first month)

(*) estimated/Tesla North America

The full monthly recap by individual plug-in can be found on our Monthly Scorecard here.

 

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

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25 Comments on "September EV Sales In US Improve: BMW Inspires With 1,710 i3 Sales"

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Jim

So Nissan sold 1,247 Leafs in September. Better than I expected. I had predicted 1,000.

Warren

Any idea how many of the i3 sales were Rex?

BMW doesn’t break out the sales data of REx vs BEV. However they have said many times in the past that the trend has been about 60% REx and 40% BEV

Warren

So the best selling plug-in is the most expensive one, which also happens go at least 200 miles. The second best selling one is the second most expensive, and 60% of those can go 150 miles.

Sounds like there could be a big market for a $40K electric that could go 200 miles…even with cheap gas. 🙂

RexxSee

The market for an affordable long ranged BEV has always been HUGE! This is where Tesla is heading, and this is where gas car makers try to avoid and delay the most they can while making believe they do genuine efforts to take the green turn… B.S.

JoeS.

I’m sorry if I missed it, but I was wondering if the i3REx is classified as PHEV or BEV in your sales statistics, appropriately allocating that 60%/40%?

Chris B

Honestly, the thing that impresses me the most here is Ford’s Energi twins. Look how little press those cars get and how comparatively little effort Ford probably had to put into them as heavily compromised (see trunk space or lack thereof)
conversion” cars. Despite all of this, Ford moves almost as many cars as several of the dedicated, high press EV rides like the Volt or i3, and blow past a bunch of others in the field. In many ways, it justifies Ford’s position to do the minimum necessary to stay up with the technology until the whole EV and PHEV field takes off…sad, but probably true.

David Murray

It may be more complicated than just that. For example, in my area (Ft.Worth, TX) most of the Chevrolet dealers around here don’t stock the Volt. If they have one, it is hidden the back somewhere and you practically have to beg them to buy it. If you came in asking about a Volt, it would not be a surprise if they tried to sell you a Silverado instead.

However, the Ford dealers all have several Cmax and Fusion Energi cars on the lot, with charging stations available, and signs about the cars in the showrooms. However, you won’t find a Focus Electric on any of their lots.

Thus, if anything, I think the dealerships have just as much to do with the issue as the manufacturer. And you can clearly see the sales result difference between the Focus Electric and the Energi cars. Obviously the dealerships don’t like dealing with the pure electric, but they can pretty much sell the PHEV models without much of any change in their usual routine.

Mike

What really amazes me is that Ford can sell so many Energi Fusions. I test drove one and thought it was a very nice car, but the trunk is basically worthless because of the battery placement. It would be hard to get a bag of groceries in there.

David Murray

I disagree about it being worthless. It is actually a much larger storage area than popular vehicles like the Kia Soul, Chevy Spark, etc. And I’m sure I could fit all of my groceries back there. But I am sure a lot of people are turned off by it, though. It wouldn’t bother me. I rarely use the cargo area of my car.

Braben

The Fusion’s trunk is sufficient for grocery shopping. In fact it’s quite convenient, because the first “step” keeps stuff from shifting far into the back of the trunk. You can also fit two roll-aboard trolleys.

What does not work is vacation trips with more than 2 persons …

shaggy

I was going to say I get 5+ bags back there all the time. I also use the back seat a lot. Since I don’t ever have 4 people in the car at once, it’s not bothered me too much.

I will say the bigger issue is the folded rear seats don’t provide more then a 2×4 or a ski worth of pass through the trunk.

rs_rwc
Yup. Ford fully entered the EV business with all three of its models (Fusion, C-Max and Focus) in the second half of 2013. (Some say that they are overdue to refresh their lineup but it has only been a little over two years.) Since then, they have had a US market presence equal to any. Here are the rankings by year – H2 2013: #1 GM, #2 Nissan, #3 Ford, #4 Tesla 2014: #1 Nissan, #2 Ford, #3 GM, #4 Tesla 2015 YTD (Thru Q3): #1 Tesla, #2 Ford, #3 Nissan, #4 GM That is, upon introduction in 2013, Ford quickly occupied the #3 spot, and since then has been #2. Minimal development costs and they didn’t even advertise much. Additionally they have by now gathered a ton of operational data across all demographics (C-Max in particular appeals to women) and different models, both PHEV and EV. They likely have, in their deliberate way, already figured out what they are going to do next in the EV space. They are in no hurry – they are making record profits at a corporate level – but have built up a corporate capability to relatively quickly go big on EVs if they… Read more »

Even with Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF sales down on YOY (2015 vs 2014), total PEVs delivered in Sept were 10,134 (15) vs 10,921 (14). Seems BMW and Tesla have been picking up the pace while others are coasting.

PS: at current pace, there’s a chance BMW i3 will secure #3 spot on the Year-end sales chart, nocking Chevy Volt to #4. Grab a seat as the 2015 PEV race rounds the bend for Q4 finish.
May the odds be EVer in your favor!

Mikael

Haha… Talk about trying to put a positive spin on a negative result.

13% improvement compared to last month, which is irrelevant, but a 7% decline compared to september 2014.

Or will we get an article in about the January sales and the “Massive decline in EV sales!” when you compare it to the december numbers? 😉 I highly doubt it…

Tell the story as it is, not as you want it to be.

Mel4EV

I would say a positive spin is quite justified with two of the top sellers, Leaf and Volt having subdued sales due to impending new models, and yet the month showing a jump up from prior months and not too far off 2014!

Mikael

No, it is not justified. There are good reasons for the negative results, but that doesn’t change that the results are negative.

And if the i3 would have sold in normal numbers the decline in September would have been a lot higher than the yearly average decline so far.

I’m just asking for keeping it real and not being some kind of inverse EagleAID.

David

Surprised to see the low priced LEAF sink to #4. Two most expensive EVs at #1 and #2.
Meanwhile BEV still outsell PHEV, 61/39%. Wonder what will happen if/when a 200 mile BEV shows up.

Warren

Well. I still think the best year for EVs was 2009. The future was going to be amazing. We were about to have EVs that looked like sailplanes, cost $25K, and would go over 100 miles on a charge.

After six years, we have EVs that look like your father’s Buick, the $25K offerings barely do 60 miles, and EVs costing 50% more are just now getting to 100 mile range.