May 2017 EV Sales



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Sunday Jun 4, 2017 May 2017 EV Sales Another month, another sales record.  May 2017 was the best May 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 16,568 plug-in cars were sold in May, well ahead of the previous record set in May 2015 which saw estimated sales of 11,540 cars.  This is partly due to having more choices in more locations than ever before.   


After selling 1,807 cars in April, May saw Volt sales inch higher to 1,817 cars.  Like April, sales were down from May 2016 but this time only by about 4%.  It does appear that sales of the Chevy Bolt is having a small impact on Chevy Volt sales.


Sales of the Chevy Bolt increased in May up from 1,292 cars sold in April to a new record high of 1,566 cars in May.  Increasing sales are a result of both better inventory and the availability of the Bolt in more of the CARB States.  It is now available in 11 States but full nationwide roll-out won't happen until the 2018 model becomes available later this year. 
With the arrival of the Bolt, sales of the Chevy Spark EV are being wound down as inventory is depleted.  In October 260 cars were sold and this number dropped to 39 cars in November and 17 cars in December.  January and February were tied at 4 cars, while sales in March dropped to just 3 cars and in April only 1 car was sold.  It looks like inventory is now deleted because no sales were recorded for May.

Sales of the Cadillac ELR have been steadily falling as existing dealer inventory is depleted and no more are being built. After selling 6 cars in both August and September, 3 in October, 5 in November, and just 3 in both December and January., Cadillac registered no sales in February.  Somehow in March they managed to find 2 more cars to sell and even managed to sell 7 in April but dropped back to 0 in May.


April saw the first sales of the new Cadillac CT6 here in the US with a total of 6 cars being delivered.  In May sales increased to 16 cars.  The CT6 is a plug-in hybrid with an all electric range of around 30 miles.  The car is built in China and imported into the US. 


In May GM sold a total of 3,399 plug-n cars, up from the 3,113 it sold in April.


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 .  April was no exception with Tesla selling an estimated 1,840 cars for the month.  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 May Tesla sales were an estimated 3,350 cars. 


After selling an estimated 1,125 Model S sedans in April, sales in May climbed to an estimated 1,620 cars.  This was still better than the estimated 1,200 cars sold in May, 2016.


After disappointing sales of just 715 Model X in April, Sales more than doubled in May at an estimated 1,730 cars. This is only the second month since it went on sale that the Model X has outsold the Model S.


Once again Ford was a strong performer in April selling 2,082 plug-in cars split across its three models. 


Ford's best selling plug-in is typically the Fusion Energi and May was no exception with sales of exactly 1,000 cars, up from the 905 cars sold in April. 

After posting record sales for the C-Max Energi in December with 1,289 cars sold, sales dropped to just 473 cars in January, but climbed again in February where they sold 639 cars.  March saw another slight bump in sales with 662 cars sold, and the trend continued in April with an additional 749 cars delivered and jumped again to 950 cars in May.
 In March Ford sold an astonishing 407 Focus EVs as it cleared out inventory to make way for the newer longer range model.  It couldn't last though and sales dropped back to the usual 100 to 200 range in April with sales of 120 cars and stayed there in May with a slightly higher 132 cars being sold.


Toyota started delivering the new Prius Prime in the second week of November and it has become the sales success of the year so far.  In January they sold a very surprising 1,366 Prius Prime making it the second highest sales for a plug-in in January.  Toyota kept up the pace selling just 4 less in February with 1,362 cars being sold.  In March, with the sales area slowly expanding but still very limited, they managed to sell and additional 1,618 cars.  In April they set a new record month of sales with 1,819 cars being sold, outselling the Chevy Volt to make the Prius Prime the best selling plug-in for the month.  In May the Prius Prime held onto the crown posting a very impressive 1,908 sales, a new all-time high, even though dealer inventory is barely over 1,000 units.


Toyota is putting its money into Fuel Cell cars and  in April they sold 106 Mirai FCEVs.  In May sales jumped to 162 cars.  By my reckoning, since they went on sale in January 2016, Toyota has sold a total of 1,613 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 April they sold a total of 1,612 cars spread across their five 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. In April they sold 516 cars, dropping to 506 cars in May.


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 May they didn't even manage that with sales of just 18 cars.  Previously in April they had sold 23 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 up from the 291 cars they sold in April.


The 330e is a good seller in Europe and I expect it to do well here in the US too once dealer inventory builds to sufficient levels.  The good news is that BMW is finally beginning to get cars on dealer lots and this was reflected in October with 92 sales. In November they blew that number away as sales climbed to 215 cars setting a new monthly sales record.  December saw another increase in sales, going up to 240 cars.  January saw sales drop back to 129 cars but sales did rebound a little to 144 cars in February and March saw another all time record set at 365 cars.  In April sales fell back again to a still respectable 260 cars but bounced right back up again to 475 cars setting a new all time high monthly sales record.


BMW were supposed to release the 530e in April and it turns out they did just that selling 6 cars for the month.  Sales really didn't get underway until May though when a total of 147 cars left dealer lots.  I expect the story on the 530e will be the same as that of the 330e and 740e where inventory is low as cars are built for Europe first so sales will be constrained for some time to come.


In May sales of the BMW 740e was just 42 cars after selling 123 cars in April.  The issue is the same as we saw with the 330e, the car is basically sold out for the next year so the US only received a token inventory meaning sales are expected to remain low for this car for a while and will fluctuate depending on when inventory arrives in the US.


Nissan is scheduled to announce the new version of the Leaf in Tokyo this September and they have been offering lease extensions to those who might be interested in upgrading to the new vehicle when it becomes available.  Sales have been surprisingly robust given that a new model is just around the corner and in April they delivering 1,063 cars.  Sales were up in May climbing to 1,392 cars.


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 1,150 Plug-in Cars in May.


The Fiat 500e is just a compliance car for Fiat Chrysler America, but it is estimated that in April sales were 441 cars.  This jumped to 665 cars in May.


Fiat Chrysler America have begun production of the much anticipated Pacifica Hybrid Minivan and actually sold 12 in January.  Chrysler extended the Christmas and New Year break for an extra week because of an general oversupply of vehicles at its dealers and this impacted production on the Pacifica Hybrid.  Compounding the issue, a quality control hold was placed on the vehicles so cars have just began arriving in dealerships around April 17.  In April 205 Pacifica Hybrids were delivered to Customers.  May saw that number more than double to 485.  This has probably taken care of most of the people who had pre-ordered and had delivery delayed so it will be interesting to see what June will bring.


VW now has 4 plug-in cars being sold across its family of brands. In April they sold a total of 850 cars.  This was a nice increase from the 795 cars sold in April.


The Audi A3 e-Tron normally sells in the 300 - 400 range.  In March they popped up above their normal range selling 414 cars, but in April they just managed to squeak into the bottom of the range selling just 301 cars.  Sales fell a little bit more in May down to 294 cars.


The normal selling range for the VW e-Golf is 200 - 400 cars and in March sales were  right in this range at 342 cars.  Like Audi in April they also squeaked into the bottom of the range selling just 307 cars but sales climbed right back up to 381 in May.


The bright spot in April for the VW was the Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid which sold a solid 185 cars, there best result since selling 197 cars back in August 2016.  They couldn't quite manage this in May falling 11 short with174 cars being sold.

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.  It seems unlikely that more will be shipped to the US so sales will be scarce until the arrival of the new model.


Sales of the Hyundai Sonata PHEV were 295 cars in March but pulled back to 280 cars in April then dropped again in May to 220 cars.  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.  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 later in the year.


In April Hyundai sold a total of 295 plug-in cars. 


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 March the Kia once again stayed within it's normal trading range selling 129 cars.  This was quite a bit less than the 167 cars that were sold in April.


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.


In total Kia managed to sell an estimated 214 plug-in cars in May.


It appears that Mercedes Benz is keeping inventory of the B250e in short supply.  This was reflected in sales that seem to hover in the 40 - 60 range.  April saw a little bit of a breakout when sales hit 66 cars but in May sales dropped back to a more normal 46 cars.  Rumor has it that supply will remain limited until the next generation, expected to offer more than 200 miles of range, becomes available. 


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.


There was so little fanfare that almost nobody knew these cars were going on sale, yet in June Mercedes Benz quietly began selling the GLE 550e plug-in hybrid SUV.  After setting a new sales record with 83 cars being sold in December, January sales dropped back to 52 cars. Sales bounced back a little in February to 59 cars but in March sales fell again to 47 cars and even further in April to 36 cars.  The downward trend continued in May with just 33 cars being 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.


Mercedes-Benz had put back the launch of the C350e several times but it finally began appearing in dealerships in December.  First month sales were pretty impressive at 171 cars.  January sales were even better with 210 cars being sold but I suspect that this depleted inventory pretty badly and February saw sales drop back to 51 cars, while sales in March plummeted to just 17 cars while in April just 3 cars were sold.  In May only slightly more where sold with a total of 7 cars.  I expect that this car will sell well if Mercedes-Benz can supply enough inventory to its dealers.


Overall Mercedes Benz sold 169 Plug-in cars in April.


The Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV was one of the few cars that did not beat their January 2016 sales numbers reporting only 96 cars being sold in January well below the 226 cars they sold in January, 2016 and the 204 cars sold in December. Things got even worse in February with only 83 cars being sold.  March saw the SUV return to it's normal trading range of 100 - 200 range selling 103 cars while April saw sales land squarely in the middle of the range with 145 cars sold  In May sales rose by just 1 to 146 cars.


I have to ask, when will the upgraded Smart Electric Drive begin to arrive in the USA.  Sales have been down to almost nothing since the older model went out of production last year.  In March sales were just 13 cars and April saw a further pull-back when Smart sold only 3 cars and even less in May with just 1 being sold.  The latest news is that Smart is expected to become an EV only brand here in the US.


Mitsubishi just don't appear to be able to supply plug-in cars to the US.  In January Mitsubishi didn't sell any i-MiEV but they did manage 1 sale in February, 3 sales in March, and 2 sales in April.  May matched January with no cars being sold. It looks like the i-MiEV will continue to trade in the 1 to 10 car range going forward.


Honda isn't currently selling a plug-in car but like Toyota they are investing heavily in Fuel Cell Vehicles. In May they sold 119 Clarity FCEVs. 


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 next generation Smart EV, and the Mini Clubman PHEV should start to arrive in dealerships soon.  By July the Tesla model 3 should be rolling off the assembly line so we should start to see sales of that model starting to hit the streets in August.  The indications are that first sales will be at the very end of July but early sales are likely to go to Tesla Employees who will basically be beta testers. 

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