U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Up 44.5% In May, Now Above 1% Market Share

JUN 9 2017 BY MARK KANE 35

U.S. Plug-In Vehicle Sales Graph Looking Strong!  (all-time data through May 2017)

The plug-in electric vehicle market in the U.S. continues to set new monthly records.  For May, ~16,568 were sold, more than 5,000 higher than a year ago (11,467), good for a ~44.5% year-over-year gain.

Overall EV market share in America in May rose to 1.08%, compared to 0.75% in 2016.

With last month’s results added in, approximately 71,758 plug-ins have been sold through the first 5 months of 2017.

A year ago, just 49,839 plug-ins had been sold.  At the current pace of US sales, 2017 would end with almost 230,000 electric vehicles beings sold, a strong 44% more than the record set in 2016 at 158,614 new registrations.

Cumulative sales since December 2010 is now also approaching 650,000, so we should see the 800,000 milestone crossed before year’s end, with the 1 million mark falling sometime in mid-2018.

See full US plug-in sales report (including model-by-model results) for May here.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – May 2017

The Toyota Prius Prime was the best selling model for second consecutive month with 1,908 sales, while continued low stock (less than 10 days inventory on had during the month) suggests that still much higher results are in store for 2017.

Will the Prius Prime be the first plug-in (not named Tesla) to reach 4,000 sales in a month in the US this Fall?  It seems like a real possibility at this point.

As of May, the Prime took 19% of total Prius family sales, and has crossed the 10,000 mark since arriving in the US in mid-November.

U.S. Toyota Prius Prime Sales – May 2017

Another heavyweight contender is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which at 1,566 sales in May (with more than 4,000 cars in dealer stock over a dozen states) is perhaps is not quite shining as much as hoped, but is still a force to be reckoned with against its peers.

U.S. Chevrolet Bolt EV Sales – May 2017

Here are the “Top 10” selling plug-in models after five months of this year:

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – May 2017


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35 Comments on "U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Up 44.5% In May, Now Above 1% Market Share"

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What is surprising when I looked at the top 10 best selling plug-in cars in the U.S. is where the BMW I3 is on this list. I think the BMW i3 is a fine car with lousy all electric range. If BMW don’t do something about the all-electric range on the i3 by this time next year it’s not going to be on this list.

Are the upgraded 33kWh models not out yet?

Menoram, when I spoke of lousy range I was speaking of the 33 kilowatt hour battery pack in the i3 with 114 miles per charge. If Tesla and GM could put 60 kilowatt hour battery packs in their cars why can’t BMW?

Having just test driven an i3, I agree. This is really a luxury vehicle. That battery in the floor really kills road noise. The handling and ride were smooth, and stable at all times. The acceleration, the continuous acceleration, was glassy polished.

You just can’t get those ride characteristics in a standard BMW.

And as I drive into rural Pennsylvania, there’s no way I’d trade an REX, with 110 miles of electric range, for a 240+ mile Bolt.

Being a debbie downer at times, I do need to show that

1% within a 100% set looks like:


Promising sure, but small. Gonna need more SUVs, CUVs and other plugin types and consumer variety. Gonna need $10k lower prices overall. And the 1% is not just BEVs but includes the “relatively” #Notruptive Plug-in Prius Prime model with very low AER. A lot of this 1% is replacement rate of those who had leases and needed to renew (just buy the darn car and keep it 10 years and be sustainable).

True sustainability is a commitment to one car, many years, not constant re-buying for trade-in/trade-up. How many here are still on their 2011 Volts or Leafs? I commend those who continue to drive their first EV daily.

Don’t forget that plug-ins are “goosed” by their ability to get HOV lane access in CA (where 25% of Plug-ins are sold). What would sales be if one could not drive alone in the HOV lane just by buying a plug-in and perhaps never even plugging it in (which many do). Think of the good old GE debacle in 2012-2014 when so many GE employees were forced to drive Volts and Energi – and were given a gas card as well.


Sidenote: We actually have a featurette on California plug-in sales specifically coming up on the site in about an hour…so be sure to check that one out and land some more gems, (=

Even if the original owner decides to never plug in their PHEV, it will almost certainly make its way to the used market at some point where the new owner probably will. Also, I see a decent number of electrics out here without the HOV stickers, so I’d presume that those people are plugging in.

One out of every hundred is nothing to sneeze at. If you look at the rate of the rate of growth, we will be at 2% in 2 years, 4% in 3 years, 8% in 4 years etc. by 2025 the plug-in percentage will be past 100%. Of ‘cars’.

At the same time, with an estimated %5 cost reduction per year on battery cells, we will be below $90/kWh.

The main issue is that you can’t buy the most popular vehicle types as a plug-in yet. The best selling vehicle is Ford F-series and is more than double the best selling car.

The fact the Ford F-series sells so well speaks mostly to how not-fragmented the truck market is compared to the car market.

That and the F-series is made up a quite a few different trucks. How they can call a 2-door base F-150 the same ‘vehicle’ as a 4-door F-250 is beyond me. There are probably almost zero shared parts between those trucks.

While I somewhat agree, you’re overstating. The bed & cab size of a pickup truck is a relatively minor difference. They probably share at least 75% of the same parts. More than that if individual engine parts are counted.

F150 EV could happen, work pickups don’t often go on highways for hundreds of miles. Since they sell more than a MILLION pickups in the U.S. each year it is a good target market.

Considering the issue of towing I think they should start with a 4cyl turbo phev (like XC90 T-8) . Why GM hasnt jumped on this with their volt powertrain probably has to do with not wanting to lose sales of more profitable vehicles.

It sounds likea ridiculously small engine but these days 4cyl engines make more power / torque than v8s did 20 years ago.

44.5% growth is an excellent number – very encouraging – particularly since the Bolt hasn’t sold well and the Model 3 isn’t here, yet.

Owning a car and true sustainability in the same sentence, epic fail.

And people who can afford to buy/lease a new car while giving less fortunate people a cheaper option to zero emission cars should do that. So no one should keep their EV for long but get a new one as fast as they can, increasing EV sales and the used EV market.

Considering how reliable my 2013 Volt is, I don’t think I am going to be parting with it for a long time. Having a car that never breaks and is fun to drive, while having a look that won’t get dated too fast is a double plus good thing.
But given the amount of leased BEV’s/EREV’s, there will be a ton of electric cars showing up on the used car lots in the next couple years at good prices.

Yes, I especially expect this from the Hyundai Ioniq Unlimited+ program since they’re offering an unlimited mileage lease deal. Some people will baby them, but a lot of people will drive them into the ground then return them at the end.

When someone is done with a leased car they don’t scrap it. It gets sold to, and used by someone else. This isn’t a sustainability issue.

Traded-in or lease return cars don’t evaporate: they are bought by someone else, and they’re almost certainly cleaner than whatever that person was driving before. SOMEONE is driving that car for its full 10-year lifespan, and it does not matter who.

Nice Graphs Mark – keep them coming!

I don’t see how you can be disappointed with a consistent >40% increase in market share year after year. With that kind of development it won’t take long to completely dominate the market

Bolt sales will be going nationwide a month early for a tiny bit more help…

Looks like Trump is going to try and destroy the ev market. Elon is twitting about ev credits and calling out Trump. He must know that the end of ev credits are going to be part of Trump tax cuts.

Deciding to lower subsidies for something is the same as trying to “destroy” it?

He is trying to cut the office of renewable energy & energy efficiency by almost 72%. This is an office that has helped generate over 230 billion for American businesses. At least Obama tried to promote all types of energy.

This site needs an edit function! I think Elon is responding to the Forbes article, he doesn’t mention Trump. My bad to jump to conclusions like others on twitter.

Cars will need to get $7500 cheaper. Besides with many of those cars being leased, the end users are not getting the majority of the credits.

I think some automakers have already priced the tax credit into the pricing. (I’m looking at you, GM.) Once the credits run out, the prices will magically migrate downward to compensate. Of course, they would presumably also be more mature at that point to actually make some money without the government guarantee and the lower sticker prices will attract buyers too.

The demand for the Prius Prime is surly there. However I’m not sure Toyota want the prime to be too big of a success. I predict they will restrict supply to moderate the success of the vehicle. It wouldn’t be OK if plug-ins were shown to be a way better option than the Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars Toyota has a love affair with.

Part of the problem is that California offers more credits for FCVs than BEVs. The Governator had a love affair with hydrogen, since his Hummers could be converted to burn it.

Or, you could look at the lousy engineering of the Prime for a clue to how many they want to sell. This is a battery system that doesn’t REGEN.

Seems the energy use in Transport sector grew by 2% every year since 2005 as per the stats from http://www.ren21.net. But the vehicle population grew by 3%. This is a significant difference, thanks to the usage of Hybrids, Plugins and Electric vehicles.

Still Oil controls 93% share in the World’s transport.

you guys do good graph work.

Thanks, all credit to Mark who takes the time to put them together each month!