US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: August 2018

SEP 13 2018 BY MARK KANE 29

The only way for plug-in car sales in the U.S. is up, up and away!

August brings another plug-in car sales record in the U.S. of 36,380 (up 120% year-over-year).

The latest results are simply amazing, better than July’s record by 23%. The market share of plug-ins reached a level not seen before of over 2.4%!

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – August 2018

During the first eight months of 2018, plug-in car sales amounted to around 190,046 (up 57%) at an average market share of over 1.6%.

In August, cumulative sales reached 955,000, so the first million is expected at the beginning of October.

Model ranking left people speechless. The Tesla Model 3 is not only out of range for any other plug-in, but is above the next three (including two Teslas) combined.

Toyota Prius Prime remains the second best seller so far this year, but without momentum.

Cumulative sales of the most popular models again is all Tesla Model 3, which is moving up so quickly that everything else seems like it’s in slow mo.

Tesla already passed its milestone of 200,000 cars sold – now it’s time for General Motors, which will hit the line by the end of this year.

Categories: Charging, Nissan, Sales, Tesla

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29 Comments on "US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: August 2018"

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Two more months and the model 3 should overtake the Prius Prime, although I wish the Prius Prime’s numbers would climb faster than they have been.

Prius Prime has been very limited for availability… almost non-existent in some regions. This may be due in part for intentional inventory burn down prior to mid-cycle reveals for 2019 model-years. We know for a fact the hybrid Prius will be changing. What the plug–in could get will likely not be known until it happens at an autoshow event. Toyota is usually silent, without any lead up.

It hasn’t been selling locally, dealer has trouble moving them.

Just 20 miles of range, no luggage space, and just 4 passenger, and you’ve got to keep your eye on the HUD display and no accelerate to get the range and mileage. Meanwhile a Leaf, an i3, or a Model 3 is blowing by you getting 100% better mpgE.

Why? Best thing that can happen is for all hybrids to die, except those going off-road such as construction, EMS, etc. At this time, we really should be moving to nothing BUT EVs.

Volt, Clarity, Pacifica, i3, Outlander, Prime, Fusion Energi… you want all those plug-in offerings to end… the vehicles helping promote plugging in.


Prius Prime is not just a conventional hybrid. It is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). That said, it is a lame one with a battery that is too small.

Learn from the Masters: the Prime needs at least Volt range, or a change in design to the BMW i3 REX. That way you can drive and get great MPGE.

Meh. I like PHEVs but the Prius prime has such a short electric range, it seems like a waste. I think PHEVs should AT LEAST have 30 miles of range…preferably 45 or more.

I have a Prius PiP (12 miles EV range) in addition to my model S. If you haven’t owned a short range hybrid, you’d be surprised at how much use a short range will get you. Those 12 “worthless” miles allows us to do 33% of our driving on EV alone. Then the 55 mpg engine kicks in when those 12 miles are gone. That beats a lot of other cars out there.

Indeed. But they could have doubled the size of the battery AT NO COST BECAUSE THE TAX-CREDIT WOULD PAY FOR IT and thus up it to more than half your driving on electric. I just don’t understand not taking free money to improve the product.

Agree, I find it an odd choice that Toyota chooses to use up all their tax credits on the Prime

Having a vehicle profitable as it hits the phaseout stage is ideal, since there are no quantity limits at that point.

Toyota is doing exactly what’s needed to capitalize on the opportunity.

Again, it still would have been profitable with a larger battery BECAUSE THE TAX-CREDIT WOULD FULLY PAY FOR THE LARGER BATTERY. The tax credit pays $400/KWH up to 16KWH.

How do you sell an unprofitable vehicle after that subsidy expires?

It’s perfect in that they can then go to the US government and complain “No one what’s one.”, and have no tax credits for a Good Design.

Also, Toyota did virtually nothing on the new Prime, they modified the body panels, and all their subcontractors improved their subsystems. But, clearly not enough.

Part of the problem was fitting it into a certain sized box. They lost the middle seat in back plus some cargo room. I woyld have swapped the PiP for the prime in an instant if the cargo room and 5th seat didn’t get negatively affected. But it did and I still have the PiP. Model Y might be the car to make me trade it in.

That “free money” is a costly trap. You end up with a product that has no market the moment the money is no longer available.

No, they’ve just jacked up the price so that the tax credit essentially goes to them. That’s what the used car market thinks.

33% of a 55 mpg car is next to worthless. That’s what, 60-70 gallons spared per year? If the plugin wasn’t available, the buyer probably would’ve bought a regular Prius.

Compare that with a Volt, which probably prevents 200+ gallons over a comparable substitute, or a Model S that probably prevents 500+ gallons over its substitute.

The PiP was an extremely low impact plug-in, and the Prime is only a bit better.

2,000 miles on a little over a half tank of gas, since the last refill with my Prime. My commutes are 100% electric all the way down to 15°F.

Those assumptions of impact are way off. Considering the price, impact is even higher.

Yes, those who have owned the PiP or the Prime have real world benefit knowledge of what a little battery can do for you. Some don’t realize that the 3 mile round trip to the grocery store on EV power, would really be getting 20-25 mpg with the prius starting cold (or what – 15 mpg with a non hybrid?). I’ve owned 5 Priuses, but i think I will not buy another – Full EV for me. If all ICE drivers drove a PiP or a Prime, oil usage would be way down – at least a divide by 2 if not a divide by 3. The Prius was a marvel (if you are willing to give up hard acceleration) in its time, but now more choices are appearing.

Last year, roughly 1 in 100 cars sold were electric and the legacy manufacturers were not impressed.

Now, roughly 1 in 40 cars sold are electric. Surely the legacy manufacturers feel they have been spanked?

Low-Hanging fruit isn’t a motivator for legacy automakers. They depend upon high-volume profitable sales that have a strong outlook of being sustainable. Tesla hasn’t proven that yet. Model 3 has great potential, but it could be a one-hit wonder.

Looking across the legacy product-line, there’s good reason for trepidation. The Osborne effect is a very real problem.

For example, GM announcing a plug-in hybrid version of Trax or Equinox could cause their traditional sales of those vehicles to tank.

Most of those graphs show dull but steady progress.

It really is all about the Tesla Model 3 right now. The Model 3 makes up nearly half of ALL plug-in vehicle sales (of every type & from every manufacturer). It is an automotive phenomenon.

But HUGE questions remain…is it profitable? Can Tesla achieve positive cash flow? Will they be able to build the base $35K model without losing money? If not, can they at least get it down to $40K or so?

The losses of finance execs at Tesla is disconcerting.

The graph of the Model 3 success is deceiving. If Mark graphed the monthly or even quarterly sales of the model 3 the real story will emerge. It is an automotive phenomenon. Nice description! This is a vanilla answer but if Tesla can build 55,000 – 60,000 Model 3s with a 20% margin they can be profitable. Q3 will be really close. Q4 should make it without too much difficulty. With the new battery machines arriving next year, they should be smooth sailing. They do have some debt coming up that requires a stock of $360 or higher so profitability and cash in the bank are important. You can predict what Wall Street will do, but I do think they will be profitable enough and have the cash in hand the handle that at the end of Q1 2019. As for the financial executives. Yeah, it hurts to see anyone go. The top executives are all in place which is more than most auto manufacturers can say. Probably the most important next to Musk is JB Straubel the CTO. He has been there for 14 years. Next to Musk at 15 years that is pretty incredible. If he were to… Read more »

By this time next year there will be over 300,000 model 3 roaming the streets of North-America.

Game changer.

I’m seeing a lot of them already – can’t wait to see them in higher concentrations, like you.

August’s 36,000 + sales was stunning with 125% improvement. GM will hit their 200,000 mark in Jan.
But the subsidies may be phased out if the government feels that its biting.

101,000 plugins were sold in China last month. Presuming 11,000 are heavy duty vehicles, the remaining 90,000 can be counted under private vehicles. This is really a great news since the subsidies were greatly reduced. So automakers are rolling out more models or reducing the prices. Hope this will occur in USA as well.

Now China + USA + Canada has a tally of 130,000. So the worldwide sales crossing 160,000 is sure and August will become #2 overall behind 2017-12.