Home - Misc.: EV Sales

RSS feed for altfuels Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Google+ page for altfuels

Cumulative Sales of Electric and Plug-In Hybrid (and Fuel-Cell) Vehicles in the USA

I will update this webpage each month to keep track of the rapidly growing number of plug-in vehicles appearing on U.S. roads (currently up to date through March 2017). The hard work of collecting the data is done by InsideEVs; they research monthly sales for each individual vehicle available in the United States, and all I have done here is to sum these into cumulative totals. Their tables start with the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF in December 2010; in addition, they estimate that from 2008 through 2010 there were 1900 Tesla Roadsters, 1700 Fisker Karmas, 550 Ford Transit Connects, 124 McLaren P1s, and 117 CODAs put on the road, plus smaller numbers of other vehicles.

I think of this time period, 2008 to the present, as the Revenge of the Electric Car era. Contrast the numbers on these charts with the numbers of vehicles built during the Who Killed the Electric Car? era, approximately 1996-2003: about 1500 Toyota RAV4-EVs, 1100 GM EV1s, and a few hundred Honda EV Pluses, Nissan Altras, and others. Note that these data do not break out the fraction of each vehicle that were sold vs. the fraction that were leased; some vehicles, including most of those from the earlier era, were or are only offered for lease. This means that the automakers can stop making them, stop renewing leases, and drop them down the Memory Hole if it suits their agenda. I also don't show any indication of those vehicles that were or are only available in California and maybe a few other states, which are often the same as the lease-only vehicles.

Most numerous plug-in vehicles

The chart above shows totals for those models that have crossed the 10,000 vehicle threshold plus the Toyota Prius Prime and Chevrolet Bolt EV, which I include because both are very likely to hit 10,000 within their first several months on the market. The Prius Prime set a record for first-month deliveries for any plug-in vehicle at 781, while the Bolt EV moved 579 vehicles in its first week of availability, which is about the same as the number of EV1s that GM was willing to build in each of that vehicle's two entire model years (1997 and 1999)! The InsideEVs webpage discusses sales trends, for example slowdowns and speedups before and after the introduction of a new generation of some models; I'll refer you to them for their excellent analyses. Note, however, that there is no obvious crash of plug-in vehicle sales during the present substantial decline in gas prices; in particular, note the accelerating upward trend of the "Other" line, as more and more different models are introduced by automakers and purchased by drivers. Also, it is of interest that none of these most popular plug-in vehicles are lease-only, and all but the Fiat 500e are available nationwide.

The two sales leaders, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF, are a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and a battery-only electric vehicle respectively, and there is a good mix of both types of vehicle throughout the chart. Neither type has a dramatic advantage in the market, despite all the hand-wringing about "range anxiety" for battery-only vehicles (mostly by people who have never driven an EV, or who want to sell you something else). Mark D. Larsen has some charts, also based on the InsideEVs data, that break it down into separate battery-only and PHEV subsets; his graphics are also a little less ... basic than the ones here!

Other plug-in vehicles

This chart breaks down the "Other" curve in the previous plot. It includes vehicles with limited availability (including lease-only), high-end luxury vehicles, vehicles just getting started in the market, and some that simply haven't caught on over time like the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (which is based on the Mitsubishi "i", a micro-car sold in Japan with a 0.66 liter engine, and which may be just a little remote from American tastes...). There are getting to be so many models that I ran out of space to plot and label all of them; the "Other" curve in this plot sums up models with fewer than 2000 vehicles sold or leased in the USA to date.

Plug-in sales by manufacturer

Here is another way to look at the above numbers, combining sales and leases of all vehicles made by the same manufacturer. GM's performance is mostly due to the chart-topping Chevrolet Volt, which was the first plug-in vehicle to exceed 100,000 cumulative sales and leases in July 2016, while Nissan has only the LEAF in the running. With two hot-selling vehicles, the Model S and Model X, Tesla overtook Nissan in November 2016 in cumulative sales. (Tesla had a small head start with those 1900 or so Roadsters sold or leased before 2010; most of the vehicles in the "Other" category were the 1700 Fisker Karma PHEVs from the same period.) It will be interesting to see how these three curves shift position now that the Chevrolet Bolt is opening the era of affordable ca. 200 mile range battery-only EVs, with the Tesla Model 3 and an updated Nissan LEAF joining the category later this year (though at this rate Tesla may overtake GM even before the Model 3 is available). Ford is in fourth place with two strong-selling PHEVs, the Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi; again, it will be interesting to see how rapidly fifth-place Toyota (in third place until 2015) makes up ground with the aggressively-priced Prius Prime.

Note added 19 November 2016: Less than three days after the 2016 election, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) took advantage of the shifting winds to petition the new President-elect to roll back fuel economy and emissions limits and, worse, to work with Congress to strip the California Air Resources Board (CARB) of its ability to set limits stricter than the federal ones. Every major automaker that has made plug-in vehicles for the U.S. market is a member of AAM except Nissan, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, and of course Tesla. This means that even as these automakers are rolling out new and improved EVs and PHEVs, out of the other side of their mouths they are complaining about how difficult and uneconomical they are to build.

With the number of plug-in vehicles on the road in the U.S. a hundred times larger than a decade and a half ago, and with acclaim such as the new Chevrolet Bolt being declared the Motor Trend 2017 Car of the Year, one can hope that the horse has escaped the barn; one can also hope that automakers are smart enough to realize that most of the rest of the world is not in the grip of global-warming denial, and they will want to continue building plug-in vehicles if only to sell them overseas. However, those of us with the perspective of fifteen to twenty years will be watching to sound the alarm if automakers decide again that successfully building and selling plug-in vehicles undermines their attempts to obtain weakened pollution regulations. We have seen this movie before, and the ending wasn't happy.

Other plug-in vehicles

Automakers have made great promises about fuel-cell vehicles since around 2000, and as of 2015 a few began to be leased in more-than-prototype numbers, and even sold outright in the case of the Toyota Mirai. The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell is available (for lease only, like the Honda Clarity FCV) "in limited ZIP Codes" in the United States; they claim this is "the first mass-produced fuel-cell vehicle," introduced in 2014, but I have only been able to track down one actual number (green dot in figure), from this Hyundai press release dated 7 October 2016. If somebody can contact me with more detailed information about how many of these vehicles are being put on the road in the United States, I'd be grateful; meanwhile, since InsideEVs sometimes remarks on Mirai sales numbers but doesn't track them, I'll provide tables of monthly data here for that and the Clarity FCV (available from press releases, like this one for the first month of Mirai sales and this one for the first month of Clarity FCV sales).

2017

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

All Years

Toyota Mirai

83

110

118

311

1417

Honda Clarity FCV

42

27

23

92

100

2016

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

All Years

Toyota Mirai

26

30

41

41

40

40

52

371

69

103

105

116

1034

1106

Honda Clarity FCV

8

8

8

2015

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

Toyota Mirai

34

23

15

72

Back to Fueling StationBack to Fueling Station

Site MapSite Map

Contact MeContact Me


RSS feed for altfuels Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Google+ page for altfuels

Built With BBEdit Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

All content copyright 1998-2017 by Mark Looper, except as noted.

new 1 May 2016, updated 6 April 2017