February 2017 EV Sales



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Sunday March 5, 2017 February 2017 EV Sales Another month, another sales record.  February 2017 was the best February 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 12,049 plug-in cars were sold in February, destroying the previous record set in February 2016 which saw estimated sales of 7,763 cars. 


After returning record sales of 3,691 cars in December, sales of the Chevy Volt for January were 1,611 cars the Volt continued to be the  best selling plug-in for the month in February selling 1,820 cars. This was the best February sales ever for the Volt and well ahead of the previous record of 1,626 cars set way back in February 2013.


As promised GM began delivery of the Chevy Bolt in the middle of December and managed to deliver 579 Bolts.  In January sales of the Chevy Bolt climbed to 1,152 cars but dropped in February falling short of the 1,000 mark with a disappointing 952 cars. 
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.  In January sales fell just 4 cars and this was repeated in February when 4 more cars left dealerships.  It seems unlikely that any more cars will be shipped to the US from Korea so sales will continue low until existing dealer inventory is gone.

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.  This might mean that inventory of new cars is finally exhausted.


In February GM manage to sell 2,776 plug-n 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 Third month of the quarter Tesla always does a big push to try and meet their quarter end projections.  February is always a month when Tesla focuses on international sales in the early part of the month switching to domestic sales in the latter part of the month. 


After selling an estimated 900 Model S sedans in January sales picked up in February where an estimated 1,750 cars were handed over to customers.  This was the best February ever for sales of the Model S  beating the estimated 1,550 cars they sold in February 2016.


Like the Model S, the Model X also saw its best February sales with an estimated 800 units, and up a little from January when an estimated 750 cars were sold.  Also like the Model, Model S sales were considerably better than the 270 cars that they sold in February 2016.


Total sales at Tesla for February were 2,550 up substantially from the estimated 1,650 cars sold in January, 2017. 


Once again Ford was a strong performer in February selling a total of 1,704 plug-in cars split across its three models. 


Ford's best selling plug-in is typically the Fusion Energi and February was no exception with sales of 837 cars, up from the 606 cars sold in January.  Ford appears to be having trouble keeping inventory on dealer lots recently which accounts for the lower sales in recent months. 

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.
Sales of the Ford Focus Electric have recently been slow.  It used to be that they sold in the 100 to 200 range but over the past year they have been selling in the 50 - 150 car range.  In fact in 2016 they only managed to sell more than 100 cars in two months that year, March, when they sold 110 cars., and December when the sold 101 Focus EVs.  In January Focus EV sales dropped to the low end of the range with just 56 cars being sold.  The new improved range Ford Focus is now becoming available with an EPA estimated 115 miles of range and the addition of DC fast charging, and as a result it appears that Ford has been clearing inventory of the older version hitting sales of 228 in February.  This is the second best sales month ever for the Focus EV after Ford sold 264 in August 2014.


What a difference a couple of months can make in the Plug-in world.  Toyota started delivering the new Prius Prime in the second week of November.  During the month, with sales in a limited number of areas, mostly California and Oregon, they sold 781 cars.  This set a record for the most plug-in cars sold in the first month of sales.  Not to be outdone, December sales increased to 1,641 cars.  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.  It looks like  the Prius Prime is on track to become one of the best selling Plug-in cars in 2017.


Toyota is putting its money into Fuel Cell cars and in January they sold 83 Mirai FCEVs.  In February sales climbed again to 110 cars.  By my reckoning, since they went on sale in January 2016, Toyota has sold a total of 1,227 Mirai.


After sales of the Nissan Leaf dropped below the 1,000 cars level to 772 cars in January they did rebound in February when they sold a surprising 1,037 cars.  It should be noted that sales beat the 930 cars they sold in February 2016.


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 841 cars but sales dropped back to 830 in February.

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  In November sales were right in the middle of the range with 629 cars sold and In December things picked up again a little with sales of 791 cars. January saw sales fall to 382 cars and sales fell a little further in February to 318 cars.


BMW i8 Has normally traded in the  150 - 200 range but so far this year they have only managed to trade in the 50 - 60 range.  In January sales were just 50 cars.  Things improved a little in February with sales climbing to 58 cars.


Sales  of the X5 xDrive40e also showed a small increase in sales in February going from January with sales of just 262 cars to 275 cars in February.  This is well below the 400 - 600 car range they were selling in the later half of 2016.


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 are 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, an all time high.  This couldn't be sustained however so January saw sales drop back to 129 cars but sales did rebound a little to 144 cars in February.


In August BMW dealers were supposed to begin receiving the new 7 Series plug-in hybrid, the 740e, and finally, in December they made it to dealerships,  By the end of December the keys to 23 cars had been handed over to customers.  January added a further18 cars to BMWs sales total and February saw sales climb to 35 cars.  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.


VW now has 4 plug-in cars being sold across its family of brands and for the first time they managed to break the 1,000 car barrier with Sales of 1,056 cars in August, 2016.  December saw them back above 1000 cars with 1,187 cars sold, their best sales month ever.  In January they fell short of selling 1,000 cars by just 2, selling 998 cars in total and February saw a further pullback to just 815 cars.


After selling a record number of cars in December with sales of 589 cars, sales of the Audi A3 e-Tron dropped back to their normal selling range of 300 - 400 by selling 387 cars during the month of January.  In February they hit the top end of their normal trading range by selling exactly 400 cars.


After three months of trading above their normal 200 - 400 selling range sales of the VW e-Golf dropped back to more normal sales levels in November selling 305 cars.  December saw sales climb back above the 400 again with sales of 443 cars.  In January sales headed back to their normal range once more with sales of 332 cars and stayed in that range in February with an additional 293 cars being sold.


After selling 177 cars in January sales of the Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid fell to 121 cars in February.

The Panamera S e-Hybrid is being phased out and will be replaced by the Panamera 4 e-hybrid which is expected to show up in US dealerships some time in April.  November sales of 88 cars pretty much blew out existing inventory so December sales dropped to just 3 cars and January fell even further to 2 cars while February saw just 1 car being sold.  It seems unlikely that more will be shipped to the US so sales will be scarce until the arrival of the new model.


The Fiat 500e is just a compliance car for Fiat Chrysler America, and they don't break out sales figures, so I have been using the numbers calculated by Inside EV from state rebate information.  January sales came in at an estimated 345 cars and February sales dropped down to an estimated 240 cars.


Fiat Chrysler America have begun production of the much anticipated Pacifica Hybrid and actually sold 12 in January.  Sales are expected to start towards the end of February but Chrysler extended the Christmas and New Year break for an extra week because of an oversupply of vehicles at its dealers so the Pacifica Hybrid didn't ship.  Compounding the issue is a quality control hold being placed on the vehicles so it is uncertain when they will actually be shipped to dealers so there were no sales recorded in February.


I've always said that the Kia Soul EV should be a good seller but Kia has always kept inventory constrained on this car.  Things seem to be changing and in September Kia set a monthly sales record, crossing the 200 mark for the first time, with sales of 217 cars. In December the Kia Soul had it second best sales month of the year with 197 cars sold.  Sales fell in January when they notched up just 117 deliveries.  In February things improved a little and 152 cars were sold.  It looks like Kia Soul has set a new trading level this year and will continue to sell in the 100 - 200 car range going forward.


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.  It will be interesting to see how well this car sells in the coming months.


In total Kia managed to sell an estimated 237 plug-in cars in February.


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. February was no exception with sales climbing to 56 after selling 53 cars in January.  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 20 - 50 cars with September sales hitting an all time high of 41 cars.  October blew this out of the water though with sales jumping to 174 cars.  This will have seriously depleted inventory and sales fell again in November to 52 cars but still stayed above their normal trading range.  December saw another month above the normal trading level as sales climbed to 71 cars.  January sales dropped back to 55 cars but still stayed above the historical trading range as did February with another 51 cars.  It appears that the 40 - 60 car range has become the new norm.


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, but bounced back a little in February to 59 cars.  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 have 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.  I expect that this car will sell well if Mercedes-Benz can supply enough inventory to its dealers.


Overall Mercedes Benz sold 217 Plug-in cars in February down from 370 Plug-in cars in January.


December sales of the Hyundai Sonata PHEV were 325 cars which was the second best sales month for this car, being beaten only by the 375 cars they sold back in July, 2016.  In January sales fell back to 190 cars and the fall continued in February with an estimated 175 cars sold.  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. 


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.  The Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV has mostly traded in the 100 - 200 range and I expect this to continue going forward.


Smart Electric Drive sales used to make up a significant portion of total Smart sales but recently sales have been quite low.  The reason for this appears to be that production of the old model has ceased.  The new model is expected to go on sale early in 2017 and is expected to have slightly better range than the current model, increasing to 88 miles.  Since September sales have stayed in the 40 - 50 range and December sales just squeaked in at 40 cars. In January sales dropped to only 15 copies and February saw a bit of a rebound to 22 cars 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.  It looks like the i-MiEV will continue to trade in the 1 to 10 car range going forward.


Plug-in car sales went exceptionally well in February especially since the month has only 28 days.  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.  March should see the arrival of another BMW plug-in hybrid, the 550e along with sales of the Pacifica Hybrid, while in April both the Ioniq Electric and Porsche Panamera 4 e-Hybrid should start to arrive in dealerships.  Later in the year we should see some models like the Focus EV and the VW e-Golf get upgrades to increase range to aver 100 miles.  By July the Tesla model 3 should be rolling off the assembly line so we should start to see sales of that model in July or August. 


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