World EV Sales Up 39% In November, Tesla Model S And Nissan LEAF Battle For 2016 Title In December

DEC 31 2016 BY MARK KANE 39

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – 2016 January-November (data source: EV Sales Blog)

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – 2016 January-November (data source: EV Sales Blog)

About 79,000 plug-in electric cars were sold in November – a number that represents a 39% year-over-year gain.

2017 Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF – still on top

Overall, the world market reached 660,000 EVs soldand with a strong December (similar to November’s gains), we could close the year near 800,000 (~780,00 with a ~40% December gain) – which would represent an almost 1% global market share.

In 2015 some 550,000 plug-ins were moved.

November highlights the strengthening of Chinese plug-in models.  As it turned out, the top three models sold last month were all made in China:

  • Zotye Cloud EV – 5,034
  • Geely Emgrand EV – 3,799
  • BAIC EU260 – 3,769

Moreover, China put six models in the top 10 last month!

However for the year, two non-Chinese models – the Nissan LEAF (still on top for the moment – see chart above) and Tesla Model S out distanced other models.

A surge of Tesla Model S sales in December has lead to a dogfight with the Nissan LEAF for the #1 selling EV in 2016

A surge of Tesla Model S sales in December has lead to a dogfight with the Nissan LEAF for the #1 selling EV in 2016

Despite the fact the December monthly sales period is just closing out now (technically ending as late as January 3rd depending on the region), and that the LEAF leads the Model S by almost 3,500 sales entering the month, the Tesla Model S has a decent shot at still being 2016’s best selling model, as more than 7,000 Model S EVs have already been sold worldwide during this month according to our research thus far.

The unknown wildcard that will determine the end result for the “world’s best seller” title will be Nissan LEAF sales in the US.

If the Japanese EV can touch near 2,000 sales in America with the new 2017 model year inventory arriving – and with better 30 kWh pricing from $30,680, it will likely carry the day…another ‘punted’ month in low 4 digits for the LEAF, and the Tesla will take home the crown.

(Of note: We will have full US sales results here live on Wednesday January 4th in the AM)


BYD Qin EV300

BYD Qin EV300

BYD once again extended its lead over other manufacturers, but its growth did slow down some in November as the Chinese EV-maker is soon to release a couple new offerings.  Crossing 100,000 deliveries is still in range as just over 92,000 have been sold year to date.

Tesla remains in second before its usual December surge (which is shaping up to be ‘epic’ this month), while a broad plug-in hybrid portfolio gives BMW third position, ahead of Nissan.

Mitsubishi, Chevrolet and Renault are now all fighting to stay within top 10.

Looking ahead to 2017, both Renault and Chevrolet will likely surge into the top 5 with strong new offerings available in volume starting in January (Renault ZOE 40 and Chevrolet Bolt EV respectively), while BYD and Tesla will assuredly keep their first/second positions.

World’s Top 10 Plug-In Car Manufacturers – 2016 January-November (data source: EV Sales Blog)

World’s Top 10 Plug-In Car Manufacturers – 2016 January-November (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Our thanks to EV Sales Blog for tallying up and estimating the individual sales by OEM.

Categories: Sales

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

39 Comments on "World EV Sales Up 39% In November, Tesla Model S And Nissan LEAF Battle For 2016 Title In December"

newest oldest most voted

Mark Kane,
Thank you for presenting this information, it is nice to see.

Can you clarify the two numbers you list that appear to be conflicting?

Overall, the world market reached 660,000 EVs sold, and with a strong December (similar to November’s gains), we could close the year near 800,000 (~780,00 with a ~40% December gain) – which would represent an almost 1% global market share.

In 2016 some 550,000 plug-ins were moved.

Why is 550,000 not the same as the previous number in the article of 660,000?

Hey TM,

Should be “In 2015 some 550,000 plug-ins were moved“, not 2016. Fixed. Thanks!

Somewhat ironically as I was editing/proofing the piece before publishing, I added in that data point just as a point of reference…and messed it up. Editor fail, (=

/apologies to Mark on that one

Hopefully 2017 and 2018 will clobber both of those numbers and easily move to a 7 digit figure.

Why anyone would choose a wilted Leaf instead of the Bolt is beyond me but I suppose that GM’s very slow roll out of the Bolt in December might ensure that the wilted Leaves outsell the Tesla Model S for the year.

I bet next year the Leaf will also be above the Bolt.
GM wants produce 30000 units, but the market want some 40000-60000 units a year and there is no competition.
No Ioniq, no Bolt, no Model 3 will be available in UK, Japan or other coutries in sufficient quantities.
Do you think only because one car is better people stop buying EVs because GM, Hyundai or Tesla couldn’t deliver?

And with a superior show from Ghosn next week on CES there is no reason anyway buying no Leaf.

What is the price difference between the two?

We haven’t seen sale #’s for the Bolt yet, but the slow rollout rather than national rollout will probably keep the LEAF limping along.

@Get Real, Nissan is still the only affordable option in much of North America. If you look outside of the states of California, Washington and Oregon, the BEV options can be quite limited.

Then you factor in DCFC that in many areas outside of those states above and Georgia, are dominated by CHAdeMO and CCS is nearly non-existent, and it becomes easy to see why the Nissan Leaf still performs well.

Yeah the Nissan Leaf sells well when there is NO or few alternatives.

I agree that the Nissan Leaf is widely available and often very discounted but this is largely because it is very behind the the curve as a vehicle with only minor range improvements made.

If GM lowers the Bolt’s price in the US down to what the Canadians and Europeans are going to pay then the Bolt will take even that last price advantage away from the 30kw Leaf.

Hopefully Nissan is close to releasing the Leaf 2 or it could get very ugly for the former leader in affordable EVs.

Get Real said:

“Why anyone would choose a wilted Leaf instead of the Bolt…”

Hmmm, could it be because GM plans to send only an estimated 5000 units of the Bolt (or “Ampera-e”) overseas during the first year of production?

And the Leaf has fallen off quite a bit from its high of about 60,000 per year, but I think it’s still selling at least 30,000 worldwide. “Wilted” does sound like a good description for the Leaf, but at least it’s widely available.

Mark, what’s you estimate for q4 tesla sales? 24k

GM could easily sell 50,000-100,000 Bolts in 2017 if they do a nationwide rollout by Q2.

Alas, GM won’t do this since they want to sell just enough Bolts to stay compliant in the PSEV states, especially California.

Ironic that GM has the best affordable EV in its hands once again, and once again it is doing everything in its power to Kill the Electric Car…again.
Smdh, please hurry with the Model 3 Tesla.

I think the problem for GM is that the Bolt cost is above the selling price. They designed this car as Matthew Johnson suggests for enough volume for compliance in the PSEV states. They gave up planning for large production volumes and the economies of scale that brings lower cost because they don’t really want to drive the world to EVs.They are making their money on the pickups and SUVs and they don’t want to impact that business in any way. Too bad. Short sighted as they are also giving up the first mover advantage to the largest disruption to the auto industry in 100 years!

So you have inside proof of what each Bolt costs? I am sorry but the whole GM is selling these at a loss per vehicle is ridiculous…

+1 thé car battery say 7000grand, car 4000,still left with with à min profit of 15 000 ,ok but not super lucratif. Lose money ,i thinks not.

Your analysis of GM is ridiculous, but even if that’s true, you can’t deny the market. People will want to buy this car, and GM will make them thereby reducing the cost. People from all over the US buy SparkEV, even if it’s restricted to 3 states in US.

I wouldn’t have believed there’d be so much interest in Bolt until I was at the auto show. It’s not everyday people wait an hour for a test drive and even passer-by taking notice. Bolt could easily sell 20% of Tesla 3 reservations (about 70K cars) IF they could make them.

I don’t think it is a compliance car only. Why go to all the design Trouble to create a compliance car? Look at VW, just so the basic changes to an existing car and there is your compliance. Bolt is a serious long range EV, how can any one thing this is just a compliance car? What did LG Chem get out of a compliance car? Do any of you people posting these comments actually work? I never worked in any industry that made a thing and then said let’s not try and sell as many as people will take. Just doesn’t happen. GM might underestimate demand, they might run out of raw materials, but don’t fool yourself, they will try to make as many as they can sell. If raw materials prices increase in 6 months then the price will go up. Pure and simple, they want to sell cars, and they want to sell cars to whoever wants to buy them, whether that is ice or EV. If/once Tesla gets big enough, they will also sell into every market that people want cars. They started with Sports car, then luxury saloon, next cheaper car and no doubt they… Read more »

Model S still a 4-year old car, and if current owners upgrade/tradein, thats not a full sale (dont know if Tesla will honor guaranteed buyback value)). Dont know why many current Model s owner would do that. Model X not likely to take off much more (doubt they have any backlog right now). so “2017 Peak Tesla” likely reached. Unless Europe govt incentives take off (and europeans decide not to be loyal to BMW Mercedes Audi group). Trump severely damaging to that, so prob why EMusk eating crow to offer counsel. Not Gonna Happen In China (Thks for taking that Taiwan phone call – Smooth smart Move…Not!)

Thanks for the data and article. Electric transportation has come a long way since GM tried to kill the electric car. 2017 will be the next great inflection point with production of the Tesla model 3. We are on a path to solar powered all electric transportation. Looking forward to cleaner, quieter and safer vehicles that electrification will give us.

Your January-November, 2016 number for Tesla appears to be low. Tesla sold 54,043 cars from January to September, 2016. They had 5,065 cars in transit to customers at the end of September. Your number for October-November is 61,685-54,043=7,642. Assuming 5,065 cars were produced in September and sold (delivered) in October, you have only 7,642-5065=2,577 cars produced in October-November that were delivered before November 30th. Tesla was producing more than 2,000 cars/week during this period. Some cars were held up in QC due to autopilot upgrade, but likely that at least 15,000 cars were produced during October-November. You are saying only 2,577 of these were delivered by November 30th. Doesn’t seem correct. Can you provide further detail as to how you came up with such a low number of deliveries in October-November, 2016. Thanks.

Sure. Traditionally, and especially so for Q3 2016, Tesla spent most of the last month (Sept) producing near-exclusively US orders right up until the point it could no longer delivery cars inside Q3 (mid Sept). At this point (last week or two of Sept), Tesla shifted mainly to international production ahead of (and after for a time) AP2 hardware tooling in the first week of October. As with most quarters, Tesla must produce international cars a solid ~8 weeks ahead of the ETA of delivery, to allow for shipping lead times, landing of product (and often the partial re-assembly to skirt EU import taxes). Basically any internationally “delivery targets” the company has planned for any one quarter has to be “out the door” by month 1 of that quarter. So as soon as a US order can’t be built and delivered inside the current quarter, the company flips to international production – as a car built in the last weeks of Sept/first weeks of October will not physically be delivered (for the most part) until sometime in December internationally. This is why the “in transit” numbers is generally so large relatively to quarterly sales. The majority of those 5,065 cars… Read more »

Jay, “From the data we have already compiled so far (which is most of the month), US EV sales records in America will fall in December.”, by ‘fall in December’, do you mean: “drop”, or, Nissan’s Lead will fall to Tesla?

I mean that many of the previous “peak” highs for sales records will fall in December and/or be obliterated.

Happy new year Jay, really excited about this years end of year rush, i’m hoping for the US chart to go a bit Dutch with a silly skyscraper at the end of it that dwarfs all previous months. It would rock to see the sales over 150k year end.

Agree with your analysis.

Now if Tesla reported monthly sales they wouldn’t need to play silly games with car shipments and starve one market or another for months on end.

And selfishly, it would also be the best day ever for us as we wouldn’t have to estimate the numbers then show our work, (=

Why do they produce cars that way? In particular, I have two main questions:

Why don’t they produce cars for different markets concurrently? (Also, what are the markets? US vs international? LHD vs RHD? Some other market breakdown?) Do they need to retool for different cars, so doing cars for each market in batches is more efficient?

Also, (if efficiency is the goal) why do they optimise based on quarters? Is it just convenient to line up the optimisation with reporting/business planning? Or is there some other reason? Based on what you’ve said, they seem to *really* care about optimising based on quarters.

Hey Voracity, Originally (up until ~mid 2010), they really didn’t care, they cared about keeping the lights on, VC and the best path to profitability or at least showing the path to it – whatever it took to do that…but that was when short-term plans were small, they were self-funded for a time, then ran out of money in Q4 2009, then picked up gov’t aid around same time (~465 mil). That Tesla sold 10% of the company to Daimler for $50 million in 2010. They were accountable to bean counters, corporations and banks. Tesla is “where it is” today 100% due to the June 2010 IPO and how the company was subsequently received in the market (points to Musk). It is/was the ‘consumer sentiment’ and subsequent monster market capitalization that makes the engine run (not production optimization or profitability) – something that took everyone by surprise (including Tesla)…and that is the only ‘bear that must be fed’, at least for awhile longer. There is a reason Tesla/Musk is waaaaaay overbuilding production facilities, the world’s largest battery facility, paid off its gov’t debt, bought solar capacity, ESS capacity, and is fatting its cash reserves – all thanks to this ‘created’… Read more »

Thanks for that info — along with all the ‘behind the scenes’ details you often provide in the comment threads!

I guess I’m still a little puzzled. If I’ve interpreted you correctly, it sounds as though Tesla learnt early on to organise its production schedule to keep the shareholders as happy as possible. I would assume that involves two main things: growth and making sure forecast production (and perhaps profit) roughly matches actual production (and profit).

So far so good. However, if Tesla can produce the same number of cars in a quarter (on average) by making all the different versions for different markets concurrently, rather than in batches, why make them in batches? Naively, that seems higher risk to me with respect to accurate forecasting, which risks making shareholders unhappy.

(Sorry, I may be missing something obvious.)

Well, being as nobody else has replied, I’ll take a stab at it. However, I’m not a “financial guy”, so this may be an oversimplification. Maximizing “growth” means maximizing the number of cars which Tesla can report as delivered (and thus paid for) in a quarter. For good or ill, batch processing does help maximize the number of cars which Tesla can deliver in a quarter. Let us take, as probably the most extreme example of what will benefit from batch production, right-hand drive units. Obviously switching from left- to right-hand drive involves a number of changes to the production line; everything from the steering wheel to the instrument panel to the pedal placement has to be switched from left to right, and vice versa. Even if switching over is entirely automated in Tesla’s assembly plant (and I very seriously doubt it is), it takes a certain amount of time to make those changes to the production line. So, the fewer times the line has to be switched from left-hand drive, and back again, the better for production. Right-hand drive markets include the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, and other current or former British Commonwealth nations and territories. Australia is one… Read more »

Cheers, that definitely clears things up.

I think I got confused when Jay mentioned that production optimisation was not what made Tesla’s “engine run” — from this I inferred that small inefficiencies weren’t a high priority AND that RHD/LHD switches fell into the small inefficiencies category. Your post makes it clear that the latter is almost certainly not the case, so I have a much better understanding of why they organise their production schedule the way they do now. Hopefully they move to something smoother (and less risky) once they’re producing cars in much greater volumes.

OT: Being from Australia, I’m pretty familiar with those long delivery wait times. 🙂

Thanks for the detailed reply. I understand the dynamic but am curious as to how you follow what is on the ground, if that is something you are willing to share.

Well there isn’t really any secret…there is lots of data points, production skeds/shipping docs/ground level reports/employee disclosre/3rd party suppliers/govt data points, etc out there. The trick is being able to gather as much as one can and put it all together.

As you might notice from the comments thread here (we worked NYear’s Eve, and past 1AM New Year’s day). IEV operates 365 days a year, ~5am until 2am ET (not because we have to, but because we love EVs)…and we have millions of readers from month-to-month that are happy to share, so we get 50-100 emails a day about who know’s what – sometimes Tesla production, sometimes a new bumper refresh on the Fusion Energi (apprec all those by the way). Basically, we can’t help but drown in Tesla production/delivery happenings.

Truthfully, Tesla production/sales happenings is a huge pain in the butt/distraction, and we only do it to fill out the most accurate picture of EV sales in the US/worldwide as possible…again, best day ever is the day Tesla puts on the ‘big boy’ pants and self-reports monthly.


Thanks again for being informative and open on your methods. I participate in a similar exercise for investors in Tesla. I anticipate that Tesla will go to monthly reporting of car sales once the Model 3 reaches significant production volume.

The Nisan/Renault/Mitsubishi alliance is still top dog in 2016 then?

The N/R/M Alliance is the world wide Volume Leader. Top Dog EV progress honors, have to go to GM for delivering on the Bolt EV, Last Year in 2016. If Tesla is able to deliver the Model 3 this year at the Bolt compairable MSRP, then they will deserve TOP DOG EV progress honors. The affordable Preformance Long Range EV, is no longer a bridge too far for mass market adoption.

Thanks for your work towards EV acceptance, dare I say it?, World-wide! We leased a 2015 LEAF last December and we’re on convinced EVs are the future in personal transportation. Thank you for providing this site!

I’d like to see the Tesla S and X added since they are the same platform. Then you can see how Tesla rules the EV world and will really win big in 2017 and beyond.