US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: September 2018

OCT 8 2018 BY MARK KANE 23

Over 3% of car sales in the U.S. were plug-ins

September 2018 was the third straight month to bring a new all-time sales record for plug-in electric cars in the U.S.

It’s our pleasure to see sales (exclusively estimated by IEVs) of 44,589, which is nearly 110% more than a year ago. The pace of growth is so high now that even China should be jealous. It’s worth noting too that new records are thousands higher than previous ones.

General plug-in car sales for the first time in U.S. history exceeded 3% market share, almost touching 3.1%.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – September 2018

Total sales during the first nine months of 2018 are 234,635 at an average market share of 1.8%.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – September 2018

Tesla Model 3 literally is destroying our top 10 sales graph for the year, as the bars for other models become shorter and shorter.

With some 22,250 sales in September and over 78,000 so far this year, we can do nothing beside applaud Tesla for the success of the Model 3.

Top 10 U.S. Plug-In Car – September 2018

We are not sure whether it was mentioned with enough emphasis, but Tesla sold more of its single model (Model 3) in one month than any of other plug-in cars did in nine months.

Tesla Model 3 sales in U.S. (estimated) – September 2018

Tesla Model 3 sales make the cumulative sales graph ridiculously funny now. The highly-popular Model 3 is eating long-term achievements of other models one after the other.

And, surprisingly, the BMW i3 is now slightly above the Chevrolet Bolt EV (35,864 vs 35,683).

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – September 2018

Finally, here is the presentation of the 5 automakers closest to losing the federal tax credit (Tesla already entered the countdown for the phase out the federal tax credit).

Automakers Closest To 200,000 Federal Tax Credit Limit – September 2018

Categories: Chevrolet, Nissan, Sales, Tesla, Toyota

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23 Comments on "US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: September 2018"

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3% is another milestone and only few times that even hybrids have touched this mark.
Hope the plugins keep maintaining this mark and even crosses 4% next.
Thanks mainly to Tesla’s efforts and Model-3 is our new leader.
And thanks to Team Insideevs for promoting plugins.

Hybrids didn’t have such generous tax-credits. There were only 60,000 available per automaker and the value was less than half. The idea of “global warming” was just a joke then too.

The biggest hurdle though was proving batteries & motors were capable. Misconceptions were abundant.

The most incredible fact is that the 2% market share and 3% market share are both reached within 3 months time!

In 2018 it went from 1,5% to 3%? With more models yet to arrive on the market?

@ Mark Kane

This chart is particularly interesting. Because it shows history and future developments.

Could you make such similar a graph for Plug-In sales in Europe as well?


@Benz said: “This chart is particularly interesting. Because it shows history and future developments…”

I agree. The Dec18 chart will make a good business school illustration.

Who’s next after the top 6? I’m guessing they’re too low to be worth charting – Honda? FCA? As I understand it VAG’s properties are all counted separately.

Mercedes is one of the three that publishes their results to the IRS website, and it seems like it’ll be at ~17,000 at the end of the third quarter.

Do PHEVs *have* to be plugged in? Or is it mostly optional? I’m wondering if these cars will end up like Flex Fuel vehicles? Capable of being cleaner, but mostly bought for the tax credit or whatever…

Only the BMW i3 REX really makes not plugging in really inconvenient, but near as anybody can tell the vast majority of PHEVs are bought on purpose and plugged in regularly. Some are leased with the tax credit for cheap and not plugged in.

89% electric with my previous tank from a supposedly small battery (Prime). That worked out to 338 MPG from a “how much of a difference” perspective it made. Otherwise, it would be in the 50’s. btw, my commutes are entirely electric.

I have seen company fleet data with mostly short range BMW plug-ins (530e, 330e, X5e). 80% get charged regularly and 10% close to never. Fuel savings ranged from 30% (with most km on it) to 90% compared to their predecessor ICE variant with similar power output. Cars that were not plugged in still showed some fuel savings mostly under 10% percent (40% in one instance), but considering the co2 emissions for battery production it might not be cleaner (depends on total life). Private owners will most likely always charge, since they do have lower power output because of the downsized engine.

EVs don’t have to be plugged in at all. Or fueled… you can leave it in your yard if you want to.

But the rest who drives them will most likely plug them in whenever they can. It’s cheaper, more fun, more environmentally friendly (locally and globally) and it keeps the value of the car higher and maintenance lower.
Only a true idiot would not see all the benefits.


Just imagine the percentage if Tesla could produce in line with demand (including the $35k model): 5, 7, 10%?

Too low. I think Tesla could capture the entire sedan market with the Model 3 and hit 20%. Model Y could probably claim 40% of the market.

Tesla will probably have a bit of a difficult time with the pickup…

I just hope they make a sexy and desirable Model Y, range and low air resistance are not everything.

They are for Tesla. Those who do not care can buy an Audi or Mercedes.

Last year at this time Tesla held 3rd and 8th positions in model cumulative EV sales. Currently 2nd, 5th, and 7th. Next month they move up to 2nd 4th and 6th. Early next year at this time they will hold 1st, 2nd, 6th with the Model 3, in Mark Kane’s words, destroying the graphs.

September puts 1-in-30 US cars sold as a PEV. Should hold through the years end. Even if the percentage does not increase next year as the Model 3 starts to ship internationally, the Tesla effect should impact other manufacturers and force them to step up past compliance. That should force the 3% rate for a couple of years and transform 1-in-30ish cars on the road or more into EVs. At that time the ah-ha moment will happen and the inflection point begins.

Exciting times!

Will you please update this chart as well? This chart, and the ones above, are really helpful in showing friends and co-workers how EVs are coming quicker than they expect.
Edit: I just realized this is a Tesla chart and not one from IEV.

Wow. Mercedes has a problem. BMW has a catastrophe. Tesla is eating their lunch. Is that for the US or for the world?

US sales. But the chart is only current up through May – long overdue for an update. Maybe IEV can create their own updated version with the data they have.

I’m guessing it is for the US…. I’m not entirely sure though, I wounder if someone could spell it out in a giant font on the picture so that we don’t get confused. Oh, wait…

And remember that it is relative and not absolute. It’s not like all the others are dropping like stones, the Model 3 is expanding that segment. So the ones that are steady in market share has in reality grown a lot in absolute sales.

Thank you so much for this graphs!

Cumulative sales graph is by far my favourite