January 2018 EV Sales



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Sunday February 4, 2018 January 2018 EV Sales Another month, another sales record.  January 2018 was the best January 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 12,116 plug-in cars were sold in January, about 10% ahead of the previous highest January sales set in 2017 which saw estimated sales of 11,004 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 January Tesla sales were an estimated 3,375 cars.


After selling an estimated 4,975 Model S sedans in December, sales in January plummeted to an estimated 800 cars.  This was down from the 900 Model S sales in January 2017.  It appears that Tesla is diverting resources away from Model S production to the Model 3.


Sales of the Model X in January was an estimated 700 cars. This fell a little short of the 750 sales in January 2017.  Previously in December Tesla had sold an estimated 3,300 cars.


It appears that Tesla has finally begun to ramp up production of the Model 3 and word is that towards the end of December they were building about 1,000 cars per week.  This translated to January sales of an estimated 1,875 cars  Previously in December they delivered 1,060 cars.  It remains to be seen how quickly sales will continue to ramp up over the next few months.


After selling 1,937 cars in December, Volt sales dropped to a very disappointing 713 cars in January.  Volt sales are being hit from two directions, first it appear that sales of the Chevy Bolt is having a big impact on Chevy Volt sales.  The second factor is the arrival of a whole bunch of Plug-in Hybrids that are offering electric only ranges of close to 30 miles which, while nothing close to the 55 miles of range of the Volt, still makes them strong contenders.


Sales of the Chevy Bolt have been increasing steadily each month since April setting new monthly sales records every month.  This run finally, though not unexpectedly, came to an end in January with sales of 1,117 cars, well down from the 3,227 cars sold in December.  Sales were also down a little from the 1,162 cars sold in January 2017.


Cadillac only managed to sell 6 CT6 PHEV in January after setting a monthly sales record with 35 cars sold in December. 


In January GM sold a total of 1,896 plug-in cars.


Toyota continued to do well with the Prius Prime selling 1,496 cars in January after selling 2,420 cars in December.  The Prius Prime is priced such that after the Federal Tax credit it is actually cheaper than the base Prius model.  The Prius Prime is still not available nationwide.


Toyota is putting its money into Fuel Cell cars and  in January they sold 213 Mirai FCEVs.  By my reckoning, since they went on sale in January 2016, Toyota has sold a total of 2,960 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 January they sold a total of 1,145 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.  December saw sales of 672 cars but sales dropped again in January with 382 cars going to customers.


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 recently they have only managed to trade in the 20 - 60 range, although December did see sales climb to 80 cars.  In January sales dropped back to 32 cars which has become the norm for the last six months.  It will be interesting to see if the arrival of the i8 Roadster later this year helps boost sales.


The BMW 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  September sales were 333 cars and this fell by 10 cars in October to 323 cars.  Then in November sales went wild leaping to 929 cars setting a new sales record.  I would have expected sales to have fallen substantially in December due to lack of inventory but BMW still managed to move an additional 832 cars.  In January sales dropped back to just 261 cars.


Sales of the 330e also did well in November selling 477 cars, the second best month ever.  In December sales pulled back a little to 363 cars and this trend continued in January as sales dropped further to just 101 cars.


The same thing happened with the BMW 530e which set a new all time sales record selling 872 cars in November after selling 583 cars in October.  Again there was a slight pullback in December but they sill managed to sell 706 cars, then in January sales plummeted to just 224 cars.


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 November sales fell just 3 short of tying the record sales month when 120 cars were sold.  December sales pulled back to 67 cars and dropped further in January to just 18 cars.


The one bright spot for BMW in January was sales for the Mini Countryman PHEV which set an all time high month selling 127 cars.  Previously in December 72 cars were sold.


Ford saw an across the board fall in sales in January selling just 947 plug-in cars split across its three models. 


Ford's best selling plug-in is typically the Fusion Energi and January was no exception with sales of 640 cars.  Previously in December 875 cars were sold.

Sales for the C-Max Energi fell in January to 234 cars after selling 436 cars in December.
The Ford Focus EV fell below its usual range of 100 to 200 cars selling 73 cars in January after selling 112 cars in December.


Honda returned to the plug-in market in full force when they started selling the plug-in hybrid version of the Clarity at the end of November.  In January Honda sold an 856 plug-in Vehicles.


Sales of the Clarity electric have been surprisingly good with 507 cars being sold in December after November sales of an estimated 439.  In January sales fell to 262 units.


Sales of the PHEV started right at the end of the November and Honda says that it delivered just 5 cars. Honda reported sales of 898 cars for December and in January they sold an additional 594 cars.  The Honda PHEV seems like a really excellent car so I expect to see good sales assuming Honda provides enough dealer inventory.


Like Toyota, Honda is also investing big-time in Fuel Cell Vehicles.  Unfortunately they don't appear to be reporting sales of their Fuel Cell vehicle. 


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 585 Plug-in Cars in January.


The Fiat 500e is just a compliance car for Fiat Chrysler America, but it is estimated that in December sales were 385 cars.  In January sales dropped to to 2010 cars.


After a rocky start, sales of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan seem to be taking off again after a glitch in July 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 and in September sales improved further to 475 cars.  Sales in October were previously misstated at 1,175 but have since been adjusted to 875 minivans being sold.  Unfortunately the plant where they are made was closed down for re-tooling for most of October so I was expecting sales in November to be hard hit by lack of inventory but they still managed to sell an estimated 570 cars.  In December with inventory beginning to arrive back at dealerships sales increased to 720 cars while January saw sales drop back to 375 cars.


VW now has 4 plug-in cars being sold across its family of brands. With the 2018 model year cars starting to arrive, in January they sold 436 cars.


The Audi A3 e-Tron normally sells in the 300 - 400 range.  Now that the 2018 Models have started to arrive sales returned to normal selling levels in December as 270 cars were sold.  In January sales dropped back to 145 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 but fell to 187 in September.  They moved back into the normal selling range in October selling 203 cars and sales increased in November to 289 cars and 343 cars in December then fell back in January to 179 cars.


The Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid sold only 23 cars in December, but managed to sell 113 cars in January.

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, 2017 but doesn't appear to have arrived yet.  Porsche dealers did managed to find 5 copies to sell in November but recorded no sales in December or January.


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 but this year have been selling in the 200 - 300 range since August, when they sold an estimated 300 cars, their best sales month ever.  They didn't do quite as well in September and October but still managed to stay well above the 200 car level selling 255 and 210 cars respectively.  In November they stayed above the 200 level with sales of 207 cars and in December they just squeaked in to the bottom of the range with sales of 204 cars and sales tumbled in January to 135 cars.


Kia also has the Optima PHEV which was expected to go on Sale here in the US starting in December, 2016 but sales didn't actually kick off until January, 2017.  In December they sold 134 cars dropping to just 86 cars in January.


Kia also began sales of the Niro PHEV in January and sold 155 cars.  The Niro PHEV is a plug-in version of the Niro crossover and offers an all electric range of 26 miles.


In total Kia managed to sell an estimated 376 plug-in cars in January.


After many false starts Mitsubishi finally began selling the Outlander PHEV in the US with Sales of 99 cars for December.  January was the first full month of sales for the Outlander PHEV and an impressive 300 cars were sold.  The Outlander PHEV is an SUV that offers an EPA estimated 22 miles of all electric range.


The Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV normally sells in the 100 - 200 range.  In October it was right in its normal selling range with 174 cars sold but jumped above 200 in November with sales of 204 cars.  In December it set a new monthly sales record selling 368 cars but in January they fell 1 short of the normal trading range selling just 99 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 at the end of July.  December saw a monthly sales record of 174 cars but January fell a little bit to 109 cars.  The XC60 PHEV is an SUV that offers an EPA estimated 18 miles of all electric range.


In September Volvo introduced their first plug-in hybrid sedan, the S90 T8 PHEV selling 5 units.  October saw sales increase to 28 cars with a further increase to 32 cars in November and 52 cars in December then falling to 27 cars in January.  If Volvo can stock this car in quantity is should sell quite well..


In January Volvo sold a total of 235 Plug-in Vehicles.


With sales of the next generation Nissan Leaf just getting started sales of the Nissan Leaf reached a low point in December with  only 102 cars being sold.  In January sales picked up a bit hitting 150 cars sold.  Nissan claim to have 13,000 orders for the Leaf so I expect sales to begin climbing over the next few months.


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 December they surprised by selling 111 cars, their best results since September, 2015 when they sold 147 cars.  In January sales dropped back to a more normal 40 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 but recently sales have been in the 10 - 30 car range with December seeing 26 cars being sold.   In January sales fell to just 13 cars.


Sales of the  Mercedes Benz GLE 550e plug-in hybrid SUV have recently hovered in the 30 - 60 range.  In December they sold 82 cars, just 1 short of the record high month set in December, 2016 when 83 cars were sold.  In January sales fell back to a more normal 44 cars.


The Mercedes-Benz C350e set a new sales record in August selling 212 cars.  This would have seriously depleted inventory and in September sales dropped to a more normal 126 cars then tumbled further to just 49 cars in October, 16 cars in November, and 14 cars in December.  January saw something or an improvement as sales climbed to 29 cars.


Overall Mercedes Benz sold 126 Plug-in cars in January.


Sales of the Hyundai Sonata PHEV were135 cars in November climbing to 195 cars in December but falling back to 52 cars in January.  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.


Sales of the Hyundai Ioniq also seem to have faltered in November with just 23 cars sold after selling 28 cars in October but they ended the year with an all time high month in December selling 79 cars.  In January sales dropped back to just 35 cars.  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. 


In January Hyundai finally began delivery of the Ioniq plug-in hybrid delivering 22 cars.  The Ioniq PHEV delivers 29 miles of all electric range and has an impressive combined fuel economy of 52mpg.


In January Hyundai sold a total of 109 plug-in cars. 


I had 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.  In September, as inventory improved, sales climbed to 123 cars but in October sales fell back to 73 cars and fell further to 68 cars in November but bounced back to 129 cars in December falling back to 84 cars in January.  To put this in context, Smart sold just 105 cars in the US for January so the electric model made up more than 80% of Smart sales for the month.


2018 got off to a slow start but for plug-in sales.  January is historically the slowest month of the year as people rush to buy in December so they can take the Federal tax credit the following March.  This means that inventories are typically low going into January leading to lower sales.  January saw the introduction of 3 new models and the first full month for a fourth, so it is likely that these models will begin to see improved sales as inventory builds up in dealerships.  The big question that is on everyone's mind though is just how quickly Tesla can ramp up production of the Model 3.

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