October 2017 EV Sales  

 

   


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Sunday November 5, 2017 October 2017 EV Sales Another month, another sales record.  October 2017 was the best October 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 14,598 plug-in cars were sold in October, well ahead of the previous highest October sales set in October 2016 which saw estimated sales of 11,007 cars. 

 

After selling 1,453 cars in September, Volt sales fell to 1,362 cars in October.  Sales were substantially down from October 2016 when 2,191 Volts were sold.  October saw the worst month for Volt sales since they sold 1,126 cars back in February 2016.  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 have been increasing steadily each month since April and September saw a new record high at 2,632 cars.  This record didn't stand for long as the Bolt set a new record of 2,781 cars in October.  The Bolt is now technically available nationwide but inventory is still pretty slim in many areas, but should be growing steadily over the next few months. 
 
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, September, or October.

 
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 and no cars were sold in September or October.

 

The replacement for the ELR is the Cadillac CT6 PHEV 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 27 cars sold in October, the exact same number that they sold in September. 

 

In October GM sold a total of 4,170 plug-n cars, up from the 4,112 it sold in September.

 

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 October Tesla sales were an estimated 2,115 cars.

 

After selling an estimated 4,860 Model S sedans in September, sales in October tumbled to just 1,120 cars.  This was the second worst month of the year for Model S sales with only January sales of 900 coming in lower.

 

Sales of the Model X didn't fare quite so badly in October with estimated sales of 850 cars. This total was still the fourth lowest month of sales this year.  Previously in September Tesla had sold an estimated 3,120 cars.

 

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.  This ramp-up appears to have been delayed due to what Tesla describes as "bottlenecks in production", with the largest problem being the battery pack assembly at the Gigafactory, so in September only 115 Model 3s were delivered.  This number increased just slightly in October when an estimated 145 model 3 cars were delivered.  Tesla now estimates that they won't reach the 5000 cars per week production level until towards the end of the first quarter of 2018.

 

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 October they sold a total of 2,045 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 September they sold 538 cars which is at the bottom of this range but October saw sales step outside the range once again, increasing to 686 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 while in September they pulled back further to 27 cars.  In October there was a slight increase to 33 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  September sales were 333 cars and this fell by 10 cars in October to 323 cars.

 

After selling 409 cars in August, sales of the 330e fell to 329 cars in September and again in October to 292.  This is not bad considering that inventory hovered to around 500 units as the 2018 model year cars trickled in.

 

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 September hitting 511 cars then climbing to 583 cars in October.

 

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.  October sales were 54 cars up slightly from the 43 cars sold in September.

 

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 but fell back to 80 cars in September and to 74 cars in October.  The Mini Countryman PHEV has an EPA estimated all electric range of 12 miles and can run in EV mode up to 78mph.

 

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 limited.  In October, even with  inventory climbing to over 3,000 cars on dealer lots, sales of the Prius Prime dropped from 1,899 cars sold in September down to 1,626 cars in October.

 

Toyota is putting its money into Fuel Cell cars and  in October they sold 203 Mirai FCEVs.  By my reckoning, since they went on sale in January 2016, Toyota has sold a total of 2,202 Mirai.

 

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 1,485 Plug-in Cars in October.

 

The Fiat 500e is just a compliance car for Fiat Chrysler America, but it is estimated that in October sales were 310 cars.  This was considerably lower than the 375 cars they sold in September.

 

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 really took off with 1,175 minivans being sold.  Unfortunately the plant where they are made was closed down for re-tooling for most of October so I expect sales in November to be hard hit by lack of inventory.

 

Ford didn't do so well in October selling just 1,425 plug-in cars split across its three models. 

 

Ford's best selling plug-in is typically the Fusion Energi and September was no exception with sales of 741 cars.  Previously in September 763 cars were sold.

 
Sales for the C-Max Energi fell in October to 569 cars after selling 683 cars in September.
 
The Ford Focus EV has remained in its usual range of 100 to 200 cars selling 115 cars in October after 131 cars in September.  At least it is consistent.

 

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 August, they broke out of this range selling 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.

 

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.  After setting a new all time high in August selling 182 cars they continued the upward trend with another all time high at 228 cars in September and increased sales again in October by selling 235 cars.

 

In total Kia managed to sell an estimated 445 plug-in cars in October.

 

The Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV normally sells in the 100 - 200 range but strayed outside this range by selling 265 cars in August, a record high. September saw a pullback with 236 cars sold.  In October it dropped back to its normal selling range with 174 cars sold.

 

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, delivering 13 cars.  In August they delivered and additional 65 cars while September saw an additional 97 sales.  October saw sales edge up  to 100 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.  If Volvo can stock this car in quantity is should sell quite well..

 

In October Volvo sold a total of 302 Plug-in Vehicles.

 

VW now has 4 plug-in cars being sold across its family of brands. In October they sold just 295 cars, down from the 397 cars they sold in September.  The reason for this is that the old models are almost gone and the new models are either AWOL or just trickling into dealerships.

 

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 and continued their free-fall moving just 85 copies in September and just 17 in October.  The 2017s are just about gone and the 2018s probably won't arrive in any number until early next year so sales will be very weak for the rest of the year.

 

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 but moved back into the normal selling range in October selling 203 cars.

 

The Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid sold a 124 cars in September, but managed to sell just 73 cars in October.

 
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.  Porsche dealers did managed to find 2 copies to sell in October after selling just 1 car in September.

 

Sales of the Hyundai Sonata PHEV were 190 cars in September climbing to 210 cars in October.  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 but September pulled back again to 36 cars and just 28 cars in October.  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 October Hyundai sold a total of 238 plug-in cars. 

 

With sales of the next generation Nissan Leaf expected to Start early next year I have expected sales of the current model to fall off but that didn't happen until October when, after selling over 1,000 cars per month sales fell off a cliff at just 213 cars.  Previously in September they sold 1,055.  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.

 

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 while September saw a surge in sales hitting 87 cars with October sales falling back to 59 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.   September sales fell below this range for the second straight month with 35 cars being sold and this trend continued in October with sales of just 16 cars.

 

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 while September sales dropped to just 14 cars and again in October to 8 cars making this the worst sales month ever for this SUV.  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 would have seriously depleted inventory and in September sales dropped to a more normal 126 cars and tumbled further to just 49 cars in October.

 

Overall Mercedes Benz sold 132 Plug-in cars in October.

 

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.  In September, as inventory improved, sales climbed to 123 cars but in October sales fell back to 73 cars.  To put this in context, Smart sold just 140 cars in the US for October so the electric model made up more than 50% of Smart sales for the month.

 

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 sold 15 of the BEV version but this increased to 52 cars in September.  For October Honda reported just 34 sales of the Clarity brand but they do not break out BEV from FCEV.  Inside EV attributed all sales to BEV while CarSalesBase.com attributed all sales to FCEV.  I am going to split this down the middle and say that they Sold and estimated 17 Clarity EVs.

 

Like Toyota, Honda is also investing big-time in Fuel Cell Vehicles.  In October I estimate that they leased 17 Clarity FCEVs. 

 

This year is already on track to set another record for electric car sales needing to sell just 1,579 plug-in cars surpass the record high of 158,617 cars sold in 2016.  This should be easy even without significant Tesla Model 3 sales.  The question is not will 2017 be a record year but rather how will we fare in 2018 given that the republican tax plan includes ending the federal tax credit for electric cars after the end of this year.

 

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