TOP 10 U.S. Plug-In Cars In The First Half Of 2016

JUL 19 2016 BY MARK KANE 43

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

A lot has changed in the U.S. plug-in market this year compared to a year ago as we see big reshuffle in Top 10 models (2015 results can be found below).

AS part of the changes there are also several newcomers to the list, such as the Tesla Model X, BMW X5 PHEV and Audi A3 e-tron.

We should especially note the Model X (even after all the production constrains) as it finds itself high on the countdown in 4th place, ahead of the Nissan LEAF, and with eye on 3rd!

Speaking of 3rd, the Ford Fusion Energi improved significantly to move to this position, and is really not that far away from Chevrolet Volt, taking into consideration Volt’s second generation sales bump, and the fact that Ford sold 1,700 in the refreshed Fusion Energi’s (little more range, efficiency and creature-comforts inside) first partial month on sale in June.

The top 10 models account for nearly 55,000 total sales, which is 84.5% of the 64,800 sales estimated by IEVs for the 27 major plug-in models currently on sales (to some degree or another).  Models outside Top 10 altogether barely exceed 10,000.

Tesla, Ford and BMW were able to put two models into Top 10, which is also pretty good achievement.

Most of the sales are for all-electric cars, but without much momentum compared to previous year, while the plug-in hybrids are finally growing back towards their best levels thanks to the Volt/Fusion Energi duo19:

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – June 2016

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – June 2016

Top 10 for 2015 (see all stats):

U.S. Plug-In Cars - December 2015

U.S. Plug-In Cars – December 2015

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43 Comments on "TOP 10 U.S. Plug-In Cars In The First Half Of 2016"

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I am surprised that the BMW i3 has fallen from 4th place to 7th place in a year.

People who buy cutting edge, innovate, and fairly expensive products, have the internet.

Everyone’s waiting for the next battery update, since it will make a huge difference.

50 % range increase is coming this fall. People are waiting for that.

Just for fun, I will guess that this time next year Tesla will be 1st and 2nd, and Chevy will be 3rd and 4th. Everything else will add up to similar number of sales for 5th.

I think that’s a safe bet at this point.

I think sales of the Chevrolet Bolt is going surpass sales of any other plugin model next year.

Bolt will be the only 200 mile EV under 40k (unless Leaf 2 shows up early). Sounds great, but who is the buyer?

Tesla takes buyers from BMW/Mercedes/Lexus/Porsche/etc. Chevy doesn’t. Those premium brands can sell $35k+ small cars. Chevy never has.

Buyers who consider Chevy will see the Volt as a better value. The Bolt is a city car, for the same price the Volt can go cross-country.

They designed the Bolt with Lyft (and autonomous Lyft) in mind. That will ramp slowly, IMHO.

I don’t see Bolt outselling Volt unless GM gets very creative with their marketing, e.g. $299/month includes car, fuel and all maintenance.

I think your logic is pretty twisted. Chevrolet has always been able to sell the pants off of those other manufacturers. I see Bolt as generating it’s own customer base, not stealing customers from other brands.

We have seen with the Model 3 frenzy how much pent up demand there is for longer range BEVs. The Volt is a complicated car, as are all PHEVs. I don’t see the Bolt at all as a city car but as a good multipurpose car and I see continued BEV cost reductions and charging infrastructure growth slowly eating away at PHEV market share.

Chevy came out and explicitly said that Bolt will be a city car. I think it was by the marketing guy, link escapes me at the moment.

The question is who’ll be in the new customer base. Clueless public will gravitate toward name “Tesla” and many who are familiar with EV will wait for Tesla 3. That leaves people who can afford $30K commuter city car who wants EV right away or those who must have hatch.

I’m not optimistic for Bolt. If Chevy had made it kick-ass against all cars in price range like SparkEV and announced quicker charging to match SparkEV’s 0-80% time, I would’ve been impressed (or met my expectation). But Bolt in many ways is step backward, especially when Tesla 3 with better performance, quicker charging, and better infrastructure is just around the corner.

Hopefully, Bolt 2.0 will correct the deficiencies or bring lower cost SparkEV with 150 miles range. Based on SparkEV experience, Chevy could kick butt in EV _if_ they really want to.

I could see people leasing a Bolt EV until the Tesla Model 3 arrives in their area, (which could easily be 3 years)

Or they may decide to lease lower cost EV or even gas car. IONIQ may end up being close to $20K post subsidy and probably low lease cost. VW might come up with something, so will Ford at 120 miles range. For those waiting for Tesla 3, there are other options.

Those won’t be out this fall/winter when the Bolt EV arrives.

Who will those new customers be? That’s a valid question. I think those customers will be people that never seriously thought of buying an EV before.

These are people that might have bought a Chevy Sonic, Ford Focus, etc., not the premium manufacturer models. Models in this group are very good sellers and can easily give up a little market share to a popular EV.

I’m looking at SparkEV vs Fiat500e. In almost every metric from power to efficiency to “roomy” to DCFC that could allow 1000 miles a day, SparkEV is far superior. But for clueless public, “cute” 500e sells far more. Same will apply to Bolt; they heard of glowing Tesla headlines, but Chevy is perceived as, well, Chevy. That’s why I think even the newbies will gravitate toward Tesla 3 and wait.

Now if the clueless really want to go EV and has no idea that Tesla 3 is coming in 2 years, maybe that’s a segment. But I think they will be few. Combined with dealer hassles and turning people away from EV, I don’t think there will be many newbies to Bolt.

As an inadvertant fan of Chevy (via SparkEV), I hope I’m wrong and Bolt to do well. But I just don’t see it.

I wouldn’t consider Volt a better value than Bolt because it:
1. Is extremely, severely cramped in the rear where Bolt is downright spacious
2. Has literally 25% the battery range. I don’t want to us gas ever. Not just infrequently–EVER!

Not all couples have kids uncontrollably year after year, so the Volt is fine for them. And while I suspect everyone here would prefer to never use gas, that is not a practical reality yet for many of us. The Volt is the only practical EV solution for many, and they can go full EV for 90% of their driving. That’s a huge advance, don’t you think?

The Bolt is a city car? How is a 200 mile range restricted to city driving?

I like to call not-Tesla 200 mile BEVs “regional cars”. You can drive to cities that are an hour away, and still have enough juice to make it home. If you need to go further, make sure you have destination charging.

Bolt can drive across a major metro area and back without causing range anxiety. Even in bad weather. But when I drive from San Antonio to Dallas (300+ miles at 70-75 mph) Bolt needs 30 minute stops in Round Rock and Waco. That’s an extra hour.

Leaving the next day after driving ~50 local miles so add a stop in San Marcos. That’s three 30 minute CCS stops vs. one 10 minute gas stop.

Bolt also forces me to fight I-35 traffic instead of taking back roads. And when I need to go south or into western TX the Bolt is a non-starter because there are no CCS stations. Well, except Amarillo but that’s 500 miles away.

Chevy says fast charge gives 90 miles in 30 minutes, but at 75 mph it’s probably more like 70-80 miles. So you stop every hour and wait a half hour. Only purists will take the Bolt cross country.

Sounds like you want us all to drive air polluters. It also sounds you also work for one of those oil companies and you want to sucks us in so you can jack up the gas prices. I’ve had it with air pollution and oil companies having control over my life, we have a better way and it’s electric vehicles.

Only people that want to drive across the country will drive *any* car across the country.

Any significant driving distance and I fly.

There’s also the rental option. Why put a lot of miles on your own car when you can put them on a rental?

On top of that, most households are 2-car households. So if your other car takes gas, even if it’s a PHEV, that could be your “cross-country” car.

i wonder how many will wait for model 3 to come out before they buy bolt.

I wonder how many will cancel their Model 3 reservations and buy a Bolt. I personally have very little interest in the Model 3. Compared to the Bolt I think the Model 3 is going to be overpriced and not very practical.

Except for Model 3’s one big plus; Supercharger access.
But still, I have to wonder – Do I really want a rolling glass house?

I can see Superchargers being a significant advantage for people that live in a city and don’t have home chargers but very few Superchargers are in cities. On the other hand most of the CCS chargers the Bolt can use are in cities. For long distance trips the value of the Superchargers is marginal.

It may take a half hour longer to charge a Bolt on CCS than a 60 kWh Tesla on Supercharger but on a long distance trip your probably only going to DCFC once or twice a day. If you combine your charging with a meal then the time difference pretty much disappears. There are a lot of places that have a pretty well flushed out CCS network now and I think introduction of the long range Bolt will spur even more growth of the CCS network.

Right now, in Charlottesville, Virginia there are two CHADEMO/CCS chargers available. They are up and down I81 as well. I see more Teslas w/adapters at them than other makes. The nearest Supercharger is in Richmond.

The Supercharger vs. CCS issue is going to develop a great deal within a year of the Bolt showing up in fair numbers. Why install a CCS if there isn’t a real need for fast charging? Once the Bolt and the Leaf II show up in decent numbers, the CCS charger footprint is going to grow relatively quickly.
My main question is, when is GM going to announce the max charge rate for the Bolt. They have been pretty opaque so far. The last article I saw with a Bolt engineer intentionally refused to say if the Bolt was going to max out at 50 kW charge rate.

Compared to the Model 3, the Bolt is grotesquely overpriced and not very practical. Unless you are over 7 ft tall with a giant head and skinny body.

About 400k people will not even step into a Chevy dealer and buy a Model 3 instead.

You have to be an EV fanatic in a rural area no where near a Tesla Service Center or a GM Kool Aid drinker to think a Bolt is better than Model 3.

Keep telling yourself that Tesla worshipper.

And in 2 years time Tesla might be 1, 2, 3 …

Then again Tesla might not even be in the top slots if Porche and Audi capture the high end market and Chevrolet and Nissan dominate the low end market.

I don’t think we can consider any of the electric vehicles currently available revolutionary in terms of sales numbers. The Ford Model T started production in 1909 and by 1913 was selling over 170,000 units a year. The best year for the Model T was 1923 when over 2 million units sold; over the eighteen year production run of the Model T almost 15 million units were sold.

All but about 65,000 of these Midel Ts were sold in the United States. So when we get excited about the EV sales numbers, remember we have a long ways to go before we really make history.

When the Model T was selling, there were not millions of much cheaper, good used vehicles sitting on dealers lots.

I also think it didn’t have much competition.

There is another reason why the Model T sold so well, it was not just one model. There were about half a dozen body variants to the Model T. There was the Roadster, the Coupe, the Touring, the Town Car, the Roadster Pickup and a couple of others.

So it was like all the different on-truck models Ford makes today being called by the same model name. Ford sold about 11 million vehicles last year and that’s comparable to the 2 million Model Ts Ford sold in 1923.

There are actually a lot of similarities between what happened with the Model T and what’s happening in the electric car industry right now. Sales of the Model T started to take off during the second decade of the Twentieth Century but sales didn’t perpetuate into seven figures until the Model T came out with an electric starter. Is longer range of the lower cost electric vehicles going to perpetuate EV sales to lofty numbers in the second decade of the Twenty First Century?

Electric starter for EV is going to be widespread quicker DCFC. Longer range is fine, but at some point, you are going to run out. With DCFC, that can be extended indefinitely.

With 15 min for DCFC 0 to 80%, that will be the “killer app” that propel EV to mainstream. SparkEV does it in 20 min, yet most of my DCFC are 10 min to 15 min, because I start with 10%-20% to end up at 80% (60% to 70%). With 15 min 0 to 80%, most charging times will be under 10 minutes, making it somewhat like gas cars.

Here is a question for you; if you could choose between buying comparably equipped Tesla Model S and a Porche Mission E which would you buy? I’m not likely to buy either but I would prefer the Mission E.

Fair question. When I was a teenager Porche and Ferrari were dream cars. Now, we that as interior quality, service centre network and brand reputation and, (maybe mostly for the older of US) cool factor, Porche rules, and I don’t worry about compromises, they will want to be the best. Now, At what price will it come? Then, there is more people for who the Mission behind the brand is important, and we know that VW and its brands had only created hybrid and plug-in to comply to some mandates. At the contrary, the Mission of Tesla is central and reason of existing. Tesla cars are sexy and the brand are becoming more and more recognise for being the illustration of a innovative company. Then the price is known for the S but most importantly, the Supercharger Network and Destination Chargers more and more spreading all over the world is almost a check-mate playing move. As we only know about the 150 kWh charging capacity of the E but nothing about the network that it will support it. My reason is parted, but my soul and my heart goes to Tesla. So you can keep the E for you…and send… Read more »

At this rate, Tesla should be close to 140K US sales by the end of 2016?

By the end of 2017, it should cross the 200K mark. That is where it will be interesting.

I bet GM will cross the mark within 6 months of Tesla doing so. Now, that would start to get really interesting with Bolt and Volt price.

I bet that GM is planning to drop the Bolt price by at least $5K once the federal incentives are gone and Volt price by at least ~$3K to $29,995.

I expect the exact same thing and always have. When the Ford Fusion Hybrid first came out it was priced just under $40,000, now that the hybrid tax credits have expired you can get Fusion Hybrid for under $30,000. I expect the same kind of price drop on the BEVs once their tax credits expire but I don’t expect the price of the Teslas to drop like this.

Don’t forget that the full credit lasts for 3-5 months after the 200,000th car is sold, and that the $3750 credit will last 6 months after that. So we are talking full credit until sometime in mid to late 2018 which is a long time from now.
Once the two main American car makers, Tesla and GM, have reached the half credit, it will be mainly Ford getting partial credits for small battery pack Energi’s and a bunch of foreign car makers getting the full credit. I don’t see the credit last much longer than early 2019.

The whole discussion about the Bolt being sold to private folks is somewhat missing the point. GM’s Bolt combined with it’s new Lyft business seems like how the Bolt is designed to be used. Not as a private vehicle but as a high technology transportation business. For the future of ‘driving’ electric, the business of transportation using the Bolt could be as easy as using your phone to arrange a ride when ever and where ever you want it. Want to go from San Francisco to New York using a Bolt? Just arrange to have a new charged Bolt every 3 hours on the route when you take a potty break. :o)