August 2017 EV Sales
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Sunday September 10, 2017 – August 2017 EV Sales – Another month, another sales record. August 2017 was the best August on record for EV sales. The last time that EV sales have not set a record month was in May 2016 which fell just 173 cars short of May 2015. Overall an estimated 16,624 plug-in cars were sold in August, well ahead of the previous highest August sales in August 2016 which saw estimated sales of 14,592 cars.
Tesla never gives out how many cars they sell each month but Inside EV does a pretty good job of estimating their overall monthly sales. In the first month of the quarter Tesla always focuses on international sales so domestic volume is typically at its lowest . The second month of the quarter on the other hand is usually sees medium sales as Tesla does a mixture of domestic and international sales. In the third quarter Tesla usually focuses on domestic sales in a rush to meet quarterly sales estimates. In August Tesla sales were an estimated 3,800 cars.
After selling an estimated 1,425 Model S sedans in July, sales in August climbed to 2,150 cars. This was well below the estimated 2,852 cars sold in August, 2016. Word is that Tesla is ramping up for a big push for September deliveries.
Sales of the Model X in August were unusual as they actually fell slightly below the July sales of 1,650 cars at 1,575 cars. It looks like Tesla were getting rid of cars from inventory and demo vehicles with customer delivery expected to kick into high gear in September.
Tesla held a delivery party on July 28th to deliver the first Model 3 cars to 30 customers. In August they built another 100 cars but not all of these were delivered to customers. Inside EV estimates that Tesla actually delivered somewhere between 40 and 75 cars setting their estimate at the high end of the range at 75. Tesla said it would ramp up production to approximately 1,500 in September and expected to be building about 20,000 cars per month by December. It will be interesting to see how many of their September production makes it into customers hands.
After selling 1,518 cars in July, August saw Volt sales fall to 1,445 cars. Sales were substantially down from August 2016 when 2,081 Volts were sold. It does appear that sales of the Chevy Bolt is having a big impact on Chevy Volt sales and there is a rumor that GM is considering replacing the Volt with a plug-in hybrid crossover.
Sales of the Chevy Bolt increased
in August up from
1,971 cars sold in July topping the 2,000 mark for the first time at 2,107 cars.
The Bolt is now technically available nationwide but inventory is still pretty
slim in many areas.
With the arrival of the Bolt, sales of the Chevy Spark EV are being wound down as inventory is depleted. So far this year only 14 Spark EVs have been sold. Somehow in June and July Chevy managed to find 1 more Spark EV to sell but no cars were sold in August.
Sales of the Cadillac ELR have been steadily falling as existing dealer inventory is depleted and no more are being built. In July sales were just 2 cars while in August sales dropped down to 1 car.
The replacement for the ELR is the Cadillac CT6 and sales have been growing ever so slowly since it went on sale in April. Each month since it went on sale has set a new sales record with the 23 cars sold in August just topping the 22 cars sold in July.
In August GM sold a total of 3,576 plug-n cars, up from the 3,515 it sold in July.
One of the big success stories of 2017 is the Toyota Prius Prime which is selling extremely well considering that it is sold in only a small number of states and dealer inventory is very limited. In July 1,645 cars were sold and this number jumped to 1,820 cars in August.
Toyota is putting its money into Fuel Cell cars and in August they sold 70 Mirai FCEVs. By my reckoning, since they went on sale in January 2016, Toyota has sold a total of 1,912 Mirai.
BMW sales have been all over the map for the past year or so. The issue appears to be inventory; it just seems like they can't produce enough cars to provide sufficient inventory on dealer lots as priority is given to sales in Europe. In August they sold a total of 1,729 cars spread across their seven plug-in models.
Sales of the i3 in particular have been all over the place, varying from a low of just 182 cars in January, 2016 to a high of 1,479 in July 2016. Recently though they seem to have stabilized in the 500 - 600 car range. In July they 601 cars which is at the top of this range while August saw them dropping to the bottom of the range at 504 cars.
I'm not sure what happened to the BMW i8 but sales seem to have totally tanked. They used to traded in the 150 - 200 range but so far this year they have only managed to trade in the 20 - 60 range and in June they were close to the bottom of that range selling 22 cars. July saw a little bit of an improvement as sales climbed to 55 cars, but August saw them drop back to 29 cars.
Sales of the X5 xDrive40e used to trade in the range of 400 - 600 but this year they have only been trading in the 200 - 400 range. In May they actually got back into the old range managing to sell 433 and stayed in that range for June with 488 cars sold, and July with sales of 463 cars, but in August sales fell to 317 cars.
After selling 387 cars in July, sales of the 330e climbed to 409 in August. This is not bad considering that inventory dropped to around 400 units in advance of the 2018 model year cars that are now starting to arrive.
I was expecting sales of the BMW 530e to follow a similar patter to the 740e with sales remaining low and fluctuating as BMW were able to supply inventory. BMW seem to be doing a good job with the 530e with sales in August hitting 345 cars after they sold 343 cars in July.
Sales of the BMW 740e is expected to remain low for the rest of this year as the car is basically sold out so the US only received a token inventory. In July sales were 80 cars but dropped to just 39 cars in August.
At the very end of June BMW started selling yet another plug-in hybrid, the Mini Countryman PHEV placing 10 of them in the hands of Customers. In July, its first full month of sales, 75 cars were delivered to customers and sales improved in August to 86 cars. The Mini Countryman PHEV has an EPA estimated all electric range of 12 miles and can run in EV mode up to 78mph.
Once again Ford was a strong performer in July selling 1,598 plug-in cars split across its three models.
Ford's best selling plug-in is typically the Fusion Energi and in August it recaptured that position after being outsold for two straight month by the C-Max Energi, with sales of 762 cars. Previously in July 703 cars were sold.
Sales for the C-Max Energi fell in August to 705 cars after selling 844 cars in July.
The Ford Focus EV has dropped back to its usual range of 100 to 200 cars selling 131 cars in August after selling 148 cars in July. At least it is consistent.
As I write this, Nissan just showed its next generation Nissan Leaf in Tokyo and Las Vegas. The car will offer about 150 miles of electric range at a base price of around $30,000. While this has had some impact on sales of the current generation leaf Nissan still managed to sell more that 1,000 cars in August with sales of 1,154, which was just a little down from July when 1,283 cars were sold. Going forward I expect to see slow sales of the current generation Leaf as inventory is depleted in advance of the new model's arrival currently set for early 2018.
Fiat Chrysler America is not a big fan of plug-in cars and do not break out sales separately. InsideEV does a very good job of estimating sales from new car registration and state rebate information so I have been using their estimates. In total Fiat Chrysler delivered an estimated 840 Plug-in Cars in June.
The Fiat 500e is just a compliance car for Fiat Chrysler America, but it is estimated that in July sales were 475 cars. This Dropped to a still respectable 415 cars in August.
After a rocky start, sales of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan seem to be taking off again after a glitch in July to where sales were just 125 cars. August got back to what appears to be more normal sales of 300 to 500 cars per month with sales of 345 cars.
VW now has 4 plug-in cars being sold across its family of brands. In August they sold a total of 625 cars, down just a bit from the 686 cars they sold in July.
The Audi A3 e-Tron normally sells in the 300 - 400 range. In June they fell within this range by selling 324 cars but moved back below the normal range in July with sales of just 218 cars. In August sales fell even further to 129 cars.
The normal selling range for the VW e-Golf is 200 - 400 cars and in July sales came in right in the middle of the normal range at 308 cars. Sales in August were just a little higher at 317 cars.
The Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid sold a solid 160 cars in July. In August sales climbed a little to 178 cars.
The Panamera S e-Hybrid is being phased out and will be replaced by the Panamera 4 e-hybrid which was expected to show up in US dealerships some time in May but doesn't appear to have arrived yet. February saw just 1 car being sold, in March this number tripled to 3 cars, and April split the difference landing at 2 cars sold, while in May sales dropped back to 1 car with no sales in June or July and just 1 car sold in August. It seems unlikely that more will be shipped to the US so sales will be scarce until the arrival of the new model.
I've always said that the Kia Soul EV should be a good seller but Kia has always kept inventory constrained on this car. They have normally traded in the 100 - 200 range straying above that only once when they sold 217 cars in September 2016. In July the Kia Soul once again stayed within it's normal trading range selling 145 cars but, in August, they broke out of this range selling an estimated 300 cars, their best sales month ever.
Kia also has the Optima PHEV which was expected to go on Sale here in the US starting in December, but sales didn't actually kick off until January when 40 cars were sold. In February Kia sold an additional 85 cars. In March sales fell back to 70 cars but jumped up in April to set a new monthly sales record at 86 cars. In may they sold 1 less at 85 cars and June saw a further pullback to 78 cars. July saw all-time high sales of 130 cars but then set a new all time high in August selling 182 cars.
In total Kia managed to sell an estimated 482 plug-in cars in August.
Another car with an all-time record month was the Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV which normal sells in the 100 - 200 range but strayed outside this range by selling 265 cars in August. This beat the previous high month set in January, 2016 when 226 cars were sold. Previously in July they sold 174 cars.
Volvo is one of the companies that has committed to electrifying their entire lineup of cars. Toward this end they began selling the XC60 PHEV toward the end of July, delivering 13 cars. In August they delivered and additional 65 cars. The XC60 PHEV is an SUV that offers an EPA estimated 18 miles of all electric range.
In August Volvo sold a total of 330 Plug-in Vehicles.
It appears that Mercedes-Benz is going to discontinue production of the B250e later this year so I expect sales will continue to be low for this vehicle which normally sells in the 40 - 60 range. In June 46 cars were sold but sales climbed above the normal trading range in July to 81 cars but dipped back into this range in August selling 58 cars.
Sales of Mercedes Benz's first plug-in hybrid model the S550e PHEV appeared to have settled into the range of 40 - 60 cars with March sales hitting the top of this range at 60 cars but sales of the S550e also jumped out of this normal selling range delivering 81 cars in April and 83 cars in May followed by an additional 81 cars in June and 124 cars in July. This must have created lower than normal inventory as sales dropped to just 32 cars in August.
Sales of the Mercedes Benz GLE 550e plug-in hybrid SUV have recently hovered in the 30 - 60 range. In July sales fell slightly below the normal trading range with just 27 cars making it off dealer lots. Things got even worse in August with just 23 cars sold. Given the American's love affair with SUVs this car should sell relatively well but the car is only available as a special order item in most locations so that results in limited sales.
The Mercedes-Benz C350e set a new sales record in August selling 212 cars. This was just slightly better than the previous record month set in January when 210 cars were sold. Previously, in July, 112 cars were sold. I expect that this car will sell well if Mercedes-Benz can supply enough inventory to its dealers.
Overall Mercedes Benz sold 325 Plug-in cars in August
Sales of the Hyundai Sonata PHEV were 205 cars in July but fell to just 185 cars in August. Like sister company Kia they only stock small amounts of cars in dealer inventory in a limited number of states and while it is technically available nationwide in most states it has to be special ordered.
In April Hyundai also began sales of the all electric version of the Ioniq in California, delivering 19 cars to paying customers. May saw sales climb to 75 cars but June saw a pullback to 58 cars and in July sales pulled back even further to 43 cars. August saw somewhat of a recovery climbing back to 66 cars. Hyundai say the car will eventually be sold nationwide. The Ioniq Electric has a range of around 120 miles with a price starting at less than $31,000 before incentives so it should sell reasonably well if Hyundai can get cars to dealerships. A plug-in hybrid version is also expected in the fall.
In June Hyundai sold a total of 251 plug-in cars.
I have been asking for a while now when will the upgraded Smart Electric Drive begin to arrive in the USA. Well, it finally arrived in August with sales of 94 cars. Previously in July Smart registered 0 sales of its electric drive models.
Honda had been out of Plug-in sales since they sold the last of the Accord PHEV cars in early 2016. That changed in July as Honda delivered the first 34 copies of the Honda Clarity BEV. For August Honda didn't separate out the BEV and the FCEV listing just 56 Clarity cars sold. Inside EV estimated that 15 of these cars were the BEV version.
Now Inside EV, who usually do a good job of estimating sales, reported that Honda had sold 15 of the BEV model but reported the FCEV sales at 56. By my calculation Honda actually sold 56 - 15 = 41 FCEVs in August.
This year is already on track to set another record for electric car sales and we are already seeing new models arrive on a pretty regular basis. The Porsche Panamera 4 e-Hybrid, the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV and Honda Clarity PHEV should start to arrive in dealerships before the end of the year. The Tesla model 3 is being ordered in unprecedented numbers so it will be interesting to see if Tesla can ramp up as projected. If they can it could trigger a radical shift from gas to electric over the next few of years.
In September Plug-in America will be kicking off National Drive Electric Week with more shows and more EVs to test drive then ever before. This event has, in the past, caused a surge in demand for plug-in cars and with more models available than ever before it will be interesting to see if this happens this year.
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