These 10 Vehicles Make Up 84 Percent Of The U.S. Plug-In Market

Tesla Model 3


Here are the models that have scored big in 2018

You might recall that 2017 was a fantastic year for electric vehicle sales. New offerings like the Chevy Bolt EV and Prius Prime helped push total plug-in sales to a record 199,818 deliveries last year. The Tesla Model 3 also launched in mid-2017, although production was initially far below where it needed to be.

Thankfully 2018 was even more promising. The Honda Clarity PHEV launched late last year and is now selling in numbers comparable to the Chevrolet plug-in models. More importantly, the new year would also bring high volume production for the Model 3. This has helped sales reach a massive 312,877 units through November.

Out of over 40 available models, the 10 best selling plug-ins make up nearly 84% of the plug-in market with just under 262,500 in sales. Now that the year is nearly complete, let’s take a look back at the BEV and PHEV models that have done the heaviest lifting on the sales charts.

10. Ford Fusion Energi

The Ford Fusion Energi has had a relatively solid year with 7,284 sales through the month of November. Last month in particular saw a huge spike to 1,131 sales. While nowhere near the model’s performance in 2016, last month was the vehicle’s best sales performance in 2 years. Unfortunately the Fusion Energi is not long for this world, as Ford will soon be retiring the Fusion and the Energi lineup.

2019 Ford Fusion Energi

9. BMW 530e

Since entering the scene in mid-2017, the BMW 530e has risen quickly up the sales charts. Despite a short electric range and falling sedan sales, the plug-in hybrid Bimmer has managed an estimated 7,301 sales through November. By the end of December, the 530e should have doubled its 2017 sales performance of 3,772 units. This has allowed it to easily surpass the better known BMW i3 and BMW X5 xDrive 40e in sales.

BMW 530e iPerformance

8. Nissan LEAF

2017 was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Nissan LEAF. The all time best selling electric car launched a re-design late last year and U.S. deliveries began in earnest in early 2018. Unfortunately, despite improved aesthetics and increased range, sales have not increased dramatically. Through November, the LEAF has managed only 13,048 sales. This is up about 2,000 from last year’s 11,230 deliveries but below most expectations. The 60 kWh model is expected to launch in 2019 so we may see a return to form for the LEAF next year.

Nissan LEAF in Japan

7. Honda Clarity PHEV

For years, Honda resisted any significant roll-out of electric vehicles. In fact they still do: the Honda Clarity BEV has sold a fraction of the plug-in hybrid model and sales are restricted to a few select markets. In contrast, the plug-in hybrid model has outperformed most expectations for this year with an estimated 15,424 sales through November. Hopefully Honda has big plans for future plug-in hybrids since the Clarity has been a hit with owners so far.

2018 Honda Clarity PHEV

6. Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Chevy Bolt EV continues to be the best selling non-Tesla all electric vehicle in the United States. However, U.S. sales are down to an estimated 16,907 thus far in 2018. The model is unlikely to match the 23,297 sold in its debut year. This drop was primarily due to an focus on exports over the summer. While Chevy would not comment on their reason for decreasing allotments for the U.S., it is likely this was an effort to push the automaker’s 200,000th electric vehicle sale into the 4th quarter.

2017 Chevy Bolt

5. Chevrolet Volt

The Chevy Volt is looking to end 2018 on a high note with 18,648 sales through November. Last month sales were especially strong with an estimated 3,930 deliveries to new owners. Unfortunately, part of this late year push is likely due to Chevrolet announcing that Chevy Volt production would end after the 2019 model year.

2019 Chevy Volt

4. Tesla Model X

The Tesla Model X is looking to significantly increase its sales performance from 2017. By the end of November, Tesla had already delivered an estimated 22,000 to customers, surpassing the 21,315 for all of last year.

Tesla Model X

3. Tesla Model S

Despite the age of the vehicle and strong competition across the board, the poster child for the electric vehicle is still having a decent year sales wise. With 22,495 deliveries estimated through November of this year, the Model S is unlikely to surpass the exceptional sales performance of 2017 or 2016. But considering the Model 3 has stolen some of the Model S thunder, the larger luxury sedan has managed to hold its own quite well.

Tesla Model S

2. Toyota Prius Prime

The best selling plug-in hybrid has sold 24,836 with one month still left in the year. This is up quite a bit from the car’s full year total of 20,936 in 2017. Toyota already had a hit on their hands with the Prius Prime last year and thankfully 2017 was not a fluke.

Toyota Prius Prime

1. Tesla Model 3

As if any other electric car had a chance. The Tesla Model 3 has had a monster year with a whopping 114,532 estimated deliveries. This means the Model 3 alone accounts for over 36% of all BEV and PHEV sales in the United States. Admittedly, production stumbled early with multiple delays meeting goals set by CEO Elon Musk. If Tesla had been able to ramp up production more quickly, the dominance would have been even greater.

But now the automaker has hit its stride, producing 4,500-5,000 vehicles per week without breaking a sweat. Production is expected to increase further in the coming weeks just in time for the Model 3 launch in Europe.


For the full sales data and estimates, be sure to check out our handy Plug-In Sales Scorecard that is updated at the beginning of each month.

Categories: BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Lists, Nissan, Tesla, Toyota

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16 Comments on "These 10 Vehicles Make Up 84 Percent Of The U.S. Plug-In Market"

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This is in line with the Pareto Principle, the top 20% account for 80% of the results. I would suspect that it’s the same story among ICE vehicles, but I don’t have that data on hand.

The 5th and 10th best selling cars are being eliminated by their car makers in a fit of blind ignorance. Not just the plug ins, but nearly the entire lineup of sedans. Amazing. The idea that a car maker would eliminate nearly their entire line of sedans just boggles the imagination. Second hand sedans are the entry drug for the car buying public. You buy a used Tercel, you end up upgrading to a Four Runner several years later. Now that there won’t be a Fusion or Malibu, Ford and Chevy have just eliminated that market for themselves.

Ford ??
GM… I am fairly certain they realized PHEVs are already the past from a profits and benefits standpoint and are just switching to BEVs..
GM also just moved their longtime Camaro lead engineer to the EV team…
From way way afar I also believe GM is about to follow VW and jump fully into BEVs and one of the unfortunate side effects of that is that BEVs require many less workers, engineers and even factories…

For how long will you fool yourselves and your readers with the mod3 delivery numbers please?
Delivering part of an order book filled up with orders over 5+ years is not = sales of the delivery period.

Regardless of how you want to downplay the numbers, Tesla is killing it whether you want to believe it or not. Do your homework.

Huh. This is the short narrative now? True to the name, it’s quite short sighted. In the best case, it lasts a few months until deliveries exceed 500K. Really, the duration that this holds any water is negative. It became negative several months ago when Tesla opened up orders so that anybody could order the configurations of Model 3 currently in production.

All of Tesla’s deliveries of Long Range RWD during Q3 were to brand new customers, not people who had made deposits a year or more in advance. During Q4, this applies to all models – if they still had a multi-year backlog that they were serving, they wouldn’t have had the offer that any order placed by the end of November could be fulfilled by the end of December.

There is a quickly shrinking list of plausible short theories. This one isn’t on it though.

“All of Tesla’s deliveries of Long Range RWD during Q3 were to brand new customers, not people who had made deposits a year or more in advance.”

Since Tesla is selling longer range Model 3’s to anyone off the street with a fat wallet, it would be nice if Tesla returned the deposits of those who are waiting for the short range $35,000+ Model 3 and held their place in line. They already got screwed out of half of the $7,500 federal tax credit, increasing the cost of their Model 3 by $3,750 if they qualified for the full credit. Elon can throw them a bone for being so patient and understanding.

They sent emails asking if line standers wanted to cancel and get their money back. With so many still waiting, looks like another failed initiative from Tesla 🙂

There is only one problem with your thesis in addition to building, shipping, titling, handing over, receiving payment for and handing off 127,500 cars to customers, they continue to build more at a higher rate. How does one account for this, without calling them sales?

I think the two that surprise the most out of this list are the BMW 530e and the Honda Clarity. I really never could imagine either of these vehicles being in the top 10. The BMW surprises me because of its 16 miles of EV range. But, I think one possible explanation is that BMW is pushing their PHEVs at the dealer level, at least in some areas. Where dealers of other EV and PHEV brands tend to hide them and steer people away. The other one that surprises me is the Clarity. I mean, Honda has tried to stay out of the plug-in business and then they finally do bring in a vehicle to sell but they designed it to be really ugly on purpose so that it wouldn’t sell well. Despite that, lots of people seem to be buying them. and don’t get me wrong, I’m happy people are buying them. I’m just surprised, that’s all.

It’s not as ugly as a Prius, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice.

Tesla is over 50% of these. They are the best and don’t make a single gas or diesel car.

And all their offerings are available to purchase in Pennsylvania. No compliance vehicles here.

And… you can actually travel in their cars thanks to superchargers…

I bought in May 2016 a Chevrolet Volt. Two things concern me. My Volt suddenly lost both the ability to drive on electric but at the same time gas as well, and the car wouldn’t start again! Luckily we got home before I turned it off. The dealer said “a module” failed. Imagine that happening out in the boonies or somewhere-anywhere-on the road. This type of failure should never happen. Then another incident happened with my Volt. I made a turn late at night and hit a curb instantly deflating the tire. I discovered the car HAD NO SPARE TIRE. Imaging that! Well I was able to get the car home on the flat destroying the tire. DID YOU KNOW MOST NEW CARS DO NOT HAVE SPARE TIRES! I got nothing but lies from the Chevrolet dealer-about weight, not enough room, and about saving money. NOW, WOULD YOU CALL THAT MASS STUPIDITY. This is a real safety issue, not a money, space, or weight issue. I was determined not to have that happen again. An auto parts company said the Cruze donut tire would fit. AND IT DID. It is in the trunk–next to that idiotic bag holding a tire… Read more »

It’s true, many new cars don’t come with spares. Instead they come with an electric air compressor with a valve to pump in flat-fix goo. Best to read the manual before you need it.