Electric Car Sales (Monthly Reports)
At the suggestion of one of our writers, I’ve decided to create this page dedicated to monthly electric car sales reports (US electric car sales, China electric car sales, Europe electric car sales, France electric car sales, Germany electric car sales, Netherlands electric car sales, and Norway electric car sales). Enjoy, and share with friends!
US electric car sales had another record month in December and also again reached a record market share in the country. Fully electric and plug-in hybrid electric car sales reached 19,133 in December (and 144,455 sales for 2016 as a whole), which put EV market share among all passenger cars at a record 1.13% (and 0.82% for 2016 as a whole)*.
The EV market as a whole saw 30% growth for 2016 (compared to 2016) and 51% for December 2016 (compared to December 2015), which would be great for normal cars but may seem a bit weak on the surface for those of us who know how fast EV sales should and could be growing. But remember that 2016 was more of a prep year than a breakout year. This year (2017) and next (2018) are likely to be the big breakout years, thanks to the real arrival of the Chevy Bolt and the expected arrival of the Tesla Model 3.
Also worth noting, as Loren McDonald highlighted the other day, is that EV model choice is still extremely limited. “As of January 2017, there are 30 PHEV and BEVs on the market in the United States out of more than 300 car models.” Furthermore, only a handful of those models are available outside of a few “compliance car” or “ZEV mandate” states. Don’t live in California or Oregon? Well, then, good luck getting a test drive with even 10 of these EV models — highly unlikely. We couldn’t even get a test drive for the Ford Fusion Energi or Ford C-Max Energi (two of the most widely available EV models) in Florida, which is actually one of the top-selling EV states. The dealer said California was getting them all.
As it turns out, a handful of models dominated US electric car sales:
- 5 models accounted for ~69% of EV sales in December 2016.
- 5 models accounted for ~64% of EV sales in 2016 as a whole.
- 7 models accounted for ~81% of EV sales in December 2016 and in 2016 as a whole (though, there was a change in one of the models for December vs 2016 as a whole).
Next time someone tells you there just isn’t market demand for electric cars, perhaps point to the fact that only a handful of models are available nationwide — none in some of the most popular car classes — and there are ~400,000 reservations (globally) for the Tesla Model 3.
But enough with the broader context — let’s jump into the individual model and brand numbers.
The dominant models in 2016 and their EV market shares, as you can see in the chart at the top or the tables at the bottom, were:
- Tesla Model S* — 20%
- Chevy Volt — 17%
- Tesla Model X* — 12%
- Ford Fusion Energi — 11%
- Nissan LEAF — 10%
- Ford C-Max Energi — 6%
- BMW i3 — 5%
Things are changing, as the Toyota Prius Prime has quickly risen into the top ranks and the Chevy Bolt is sure to occupy a high spot there once production and deliveries ramp up. Here were the top 7 models in December:
- Tesla Model S* — 21%
- Chevy Volt — 19%
- Tesla Model X* — 10%
- Nissan LEAF — 10%
- Toyota Prius Prime — 9%
- Ford C-Max Energi — 7%
- Ford Fusion Energi — 6%
No, it’s not surprising at all that these are basically the electric car models available “nationwide” (I think the other BMW models and the Porsche models are as well, but they’re rather niche models due to their high price tags … not that high prices keep Tesla’s models to such a niche level).
Here are some more specific model highlights:
The Chevy Bolt had a decent opening month, especially considering that Bolts weren’t really getting delivered till the very end of December.
The Chevy Volt had a banner month in December with a record-crushing number of sales. Word is surely getting out there that this is an attractive car that is hard to beat (can you beat it?) in its market segment.
The Tesla Model S almost definitely crushed all competitors in the large luxury/premium car market. (Check out our long-term review of the Model S for more owner details.)
The Nissan LEAF has kept up sales (despite the surging competition) via attractive group buys or deep discounts. It is still a top model in its class — electric or otherwise. (Check out our long-term review of the LEAF — with no home charging — for more details on this model.)
The Toyota Prius Prime has had a fairly strong arrival and I expect that to continue and even grow. Toyota is still enjoying the benefits of first-mover advantage for its leadership on conventional hybrids, and the Prius Prime is quite competitively priced and attractive for people not quite ready for a fully electric car like the LEAF or Bolt.
The Ford Energi models and BMW i3 continue pushing through at a moderate pace — due largely to wider availability than most other compliance car offerings. Though, the i3 seems to have been hit a bit harder by the Bolt and Model 3 (and perhaps expectations for updated versions of the i3) than the Energi models were hit by the new Volt and Prius Prime.
Sales of fully electric cars (because of Tesla) continue to inch out sales of plug-in hybrids (PHEV), but it’s a pretty even split. The Volt with its 53 miles of electric range does carry the PHEV market, of course. I think the overall split makes the case that there are still a lot of consumers who want an EV that also has a gas backup for those rare (or in some cases perhaps frequent) cases when they need to drive long distances in a single day. However, I’m curious to see what happens to that market by the time the Tesla Model 3 is in full production.
Check out the tables below for more details and let us know your thoughts!
*As before, it’s worth noting that Tesla’s figures are estimates, but it’s also worth noting that these estimates are based on various statements from Tesla (mostly Elon Musk) and I didn’t have to change my October–December estimates at all after seeing Tesla’s official figures for the quarter (published a few days ago).
Also note that a handful of EV models are not included since their manufacturers don’t report details sales figures and they are compliance cars.
The European EV market had more than 18,500 registrations last month, 5% down over the same month last year. This sales slip has to do with the incentives-derived sales rush in the last quarter of 2015 in some major EV markets, so expect this trend to continue through December. Last month, the top spots remained more or less like in October:
#1 BMW i3 – Thanks to the massive arrival of 33 kWh units to Norway (1,014 units registered), the BMW i3 earned its third best-seller title in four months, this time with 2,092 cars registered across Europe, up 51% YoY. Besides Norway, other markets where the Bimmer excelled were Germany (291 deliveries), France (117), and Austria (97 deliveries, 1 Rex).
#2 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – The Japanese SUV managed to outsell the Renault Zoe this time, in what has turned out to be a tight race between two very different EVs, grabbing the silver medal in November with 1,512 SUVs registered. That’s up 7% compared to October, but it’s still down 48% YoY, as sales at the end of last year were heavily inflated by incentives changes in the Netherlands and Sweden. Despite the loss on the Dutch market, the Outlander still managed to sell in three digits in four countries (Norway, Sweden, Germany and United Kingdom). Regarding the tight race with the Zoe for the 2016 title, the Outlander PHEV is 89 deliveries ahead of the Zoe after 11 months. It’s a nailbiter!
#3 Renault Zoe – Registrations were down 30% YoY for the Zoe in November, to 1,438 cars registered across Europe. With the mass delivery of the 40 kWh delayed and buyers waiting for the extended-range version, the model was in a sort of “no man’s land.” With a Tesla-like stunt in December unlikely, the 3,000 units delivered in December 2015 seem pretty unlikely in December 2016. Last month, good performances in Germany (303 registrations), Denmark (137), and Norway (100) weren’t enough to compensate the slip in its home market (547 units).
#4 VW Passat GTE – Volkswagen’s midsize offering continues to collect good results. Besides the usual Sweden (295 units) and Norway (173) — big time Passat GTE lovers — this Volkswagen model had a great result in the Netherlands, with 363 units registered, its best result there this year. All of this allowed the Passat GTE to reach the fourth position in Europe, with 1,067 cars registered. With the right mix of electric range, space, power and price, the Passat GTE is turning out to be a success among company fleets across Europe.
#5 Nissan Leaf – Despite being on sale for almost 6 years, and with new updates coming soon, the Japanese hatch was actually up 57% YoY in November, to 1,030 cars registered. With deep discounts propelling sales across Europe — and particularly in high-volume markets like Norway, the UK, Germany and France — the Leaf proves that, if priced right, small-range models can still sell quite well. The irony here is that a range of 250 kilometers was considered a major improvement just a year ago, but now it is considered “small range.” …
YTD Ranking – Outlander PHEV Closer to the 2016 Best Seller Title
After running ahead for a good part of the year and poised to finally win a “best seller” title, delivery delays of the new 40 kWh Renault Zoe is dragging down the Zoe’s performance. These delays essentially dropped it to 2nd place at the end of November, just 89 units behind the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Despite the Outlander PHEV seeing its sales drop 24% YoY, it still managed enough momentum to surpass the French hatchback and now is the favorite to win the 2016 title, which would be its third in a row! This feels like those football matches where one of the teams (Renault) starts as favorite but ends up losing with an own goal in the 85th minute. … Now all the other team (Mitsubishi) has to do is wait a few more minutes and then raise the trophy.
After the tight race for #1, the other top sellers seem to have a stronghold on #3 (Nissan Leaf), #4 (BMW i3), and #5 (Tesla Model S).
Looking below the top 5, the #7 VW Passat GTE is closing in on its smaller brother, the #6 Golf GTE, and December might bring a position change between these two. Keeping on the sibling position changes, the BMW 225xe Active Tourer (828 November registrations, new personal record, bringing it up to 4,986 YTD registrations) surpassed its much larger X5 xDrive40e relative (4,893 registrations) and reached #13.
November brought a couple of surprising performances, from the 373 units of the oldtimer Citroen C-Zero (best result in 4 years), thanks to a fleet deal in Spain, to the 494 units of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, a new model that has been receiving a warm welcome in several markets. Mercedes is also enjoying a fairly warm welcome with its two new babies, the GLC350e (372 November registrations, up to #27) and E350e (227 November registrations).
In the manufacturer ranking, BMW cemented its leadership (17%, up 1%) over Volkswagen (15%), with Renault in 3rd (13%), Nissan in 4th (11%), and Mitsubishi in 5th (10%).
|Audi A3 e-Tron||590||5,745|
|Audi Q7 e-Tron||437||2,687|
|BMW 225xe Act. Tourer||808||4,986|
|BMW X5 xDrive40e||371||4,893|
|Bolloré Blue Car||1||942|
|Kia Soul EV||274||4,064|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,512||18,804|
|Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid||220||2,685|
|Renault Kangoo ZE||305||3,709|
|Tesla Model S||603||11,095|
|Tesla Model X||387||2,600|
|Volvo V60 PHEV||420||3,272|
|Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV||675||8,095|
|VW Golf GTE||886||10,071|
|VW Passat GTE||1,067||9,781|
The Chinese market had a record 43,441 new electric cars zooming the streets in November, up 36% over last October and 56% year over year (YoY), pulling the plug-in market share to a record 1.4%, above the USA (1.1%) and Europe (1.2%).
With the market share continuing to rise bit by bit, the Chinese EV market will end the year at over 350,000 new electric cars, pulling the total plug-in fleet to over 650,000 units, which will be the largest in the world, above the US (560,000) and Europe (630,000).
In November, the upcoming incentive changes reshaped the ranking, with plenty of cheap, small EVs experiencing a surge, no doubt linked to dealership registrations from people wanting to cash in on the current subsidies.
As such, three small EVs jumped into the top 5, with one of them (Zotye Cloud EV) collecting the best-seller trophy with over 5,000 units.
Here are last month’s top 5 best-selling models:
#1 – Zotye Cloud EV: One of many electric “cars” on sale in China, the Zotye Cloud EV has the advantage of offering five doors, some equipment features, (like a 7-inch color infotainment system, which is where the name comes from — “Cloud,” get it?), and a usable range (150 kilometers) thanks to an 18 kWh battery. Is this enough to explain the record 5,024 registrations in November? No, but the upcoming incentives reduction is. …
#2 – Geely Emgrand EV: Geely, one of the largest carmakers in China, which is also the owner of Volvo and LTI (producer of the iconic black cab from London), recently joined the EV circle by selling the Emgrand EV, an electric conversion of its successful middle-of-the-road sedan. Last month was the most successful to date for this car, with 3,799 registrations, allowing it to join for the first time the top 5. With okay looks and good-but-not-outstanding specs (127 hp, 0–100 km/h in 9.9 seconds, 253 km range from a 45 kWh lithium battery), Geely is hoping to make a good first entry into the market, stealing sales from BYD and BAIC sedans … while the much more appealing Lynk & Co plug-ins do not arrive.
#3 – BAIC EU260: Beijing Auto’s new poster-child for success, the EU260, this time was down to 3,769 registrations, but that’s still enough to win another podium seat, this time in third. Sitting at the heart of the plug-in sedan market, with compelling specs (260 kilometers of range, 0–100 km/h in 9 seconds), this model is giving BYD sedans a run for their money and will be a strong contender for gold in 2017.
#4 – Zotye E200: The top of the pile of the two-seater-Smart-alike lineup from Zotye, this model has some impressive specs, even shaming Smart itself. With 220 kilometers of range coming from a 25 kWh battery, 80 hp, a 120 km/h top speed, and fast-charging capability, the E200 feels like a winner. Helped by the incentives boost, this model reached a record 3,500 registrations in November.
#5 – Chery eQ: The funky little hatchback is on the rise, having beaten again Chery’s monthly record, with 3,233 registrations, earning its second consecutive top 5 spot. Unlike the Zotye Cloud EV, the eQ feels more car-like, with a 22 kWh battery, 200 kilometers of range, 56 hp, and suitable safety equipment (airbags, ABS…).
Year-to-Date Ranking – The Legend of Zotye
With some 70(!) models on sale, the Chinese EV market is by far the most dynamic on earth, with plenty of surprises and changes.
Whereas the top 3 models remained unchanged (strangely, all in “Slow Selling” mode), the following positions saw plenty of changes, with the BAIC EU260 jumping to #4. Now fewer than 100 units away from its smaller brother — BAIC E-Series EV — and with the BYD Qin in the line of sight, Beijing’s sedan will try to take away the silver medal from its direct competitor.
But the “Climber of the Month” award went to the Zotye Cloud EV. Jumping to #6 thanks to a record 5,024 units, it is now the best-selling city EV in the ranking. But with the Chery eQ also running strong and only some 800 units behind, this class 2016 title is still open to discussion.
Deserved mentions go to the Geely Emgrand EV, rising to #10 thanks to 3,769 sales. In a memorable month for Zotye, its E200 city car also impressed, beating again its personal record. With 3,500 sales, it jumped three positions to #11, becoming one of the surprises of the month.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, leader BYD lost 2% share, falling to 31%, and it was the first time in years we didn’t see a single BYD in the monthly top 5 — a case of waning demand, retooling for the lithium-equipped 2017 edition of their models, or both? Again, though, the fading incentives for city cars was part of the challenge that no BYD model could overcome.
BAIC (14%) is firm in 2nd Place, while Zotye (11%, up 3%) secured the 3rd spot, ahead of SAIC and Zhidou (both with 6% share).
An always popular debate is Tesla’s performance in China. While many commenters have classified it as a failure for not topping the sales ranking as in other markets, let’s not forget two facts:
- One, domestic carmakers have 95% of the market;
- Two, of the remaining 5% that’s left to foreign brands, 3% belong to Tesla, so in fact Tesla is outselling all other foreign brands in China … combined.
And that’s despite having no local production, thus paying heavy import taxes. If that is not success, I don’t know what is.
Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike other markets where plug-in hybrids have the upper hand, all-electric cars just keep on improving their market share, now at 75%, up 3% relative to last month.
|1||Zotye Cloud EV||5,024||14,802|
|2||Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV||3,799||11,158|
|3||BAIC EU260 / D50 EV||3,769||18,496|
|8||Zhidou D1 EV||1,923||10,710|
|11||BYD Qin EV300||1,215||10,137|
|13||Tesla Model S||937||7,440|
|14||SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550||925||14,525|
|15||JAC i EV 4||776||9,046|
|16||BAIC E-Series EV||735||18,587|
|17||Zhidou D2 EV||703||7,744|
|19||Changan Eado EV||216||4,335|
|20||Kandi K17 Cyclone||6,104|
The top 5 electric car models continue to dominate US electric car sales … for now.
The Chevy Bolt hitting the market is sure to shake things up a bit, particularly as production ramps up and GM offers the car beyond California and Oregon.
However, for now, it’s the top 5 players — Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt, Ford Fusion Energi, Tesla Model X, and Nissan LEAF — dominating the market. They accounted for 73% of US electric car sales in November*.
Notably, I think this is also the first time that US electric car sales surpassed 1% of total US car sales — a milestone that may seen small on the surface but is often seen as a tipping point in the evolution of a disruptive technology.
With the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 coming in the next year — as well as significantly updated versions of the Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf, Toyota Prius Plug-in/Prime, and Ford Focus Electric, as well as other completely new models like the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, Smart ForFour Electric, and Hyundai Ioniq Electric — there may not be many more months where EVs are under 1% of the overall market. And this is all before there’s a single EV model in several car classes, and with only a handful of electric cars available nationwide.
For the year to date, Tesla now has the #1 and #3 spots (Model S and Model X), but the Chevy Volt has a solid hold on the silver medal. The Ford Fusion Energi isn’t too far behind the Model X, and the Nissan LEAF has a solid hold on #5.
The BMW i3 and Ford C-Max Energi are in a tight race for #6, with the i3 currently happy with the edge. The BMW X5 xDrive 40e is sure to stay in the #8 spot in 2016. The Audi A3 e-Tron and Volkswagen e-Golf lead the rest of the compliance car market for #9 and #10. I wonder how well those models could have sold if they were as widely available as the Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, and Ford Energi models.
It’s actually interesting to me that LEAF sales fell only ~4,000 in 2016 (so far) despite the impending arrival of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3. It’s also nice to see that the Chevy Volt has gotten a nice boost of ~8,000 so far in 2016 thanks to the much better second-generation version. Naturally, though, Tesla’s ~17,000 increase in sales (well, deliveries) is the biggest US EV sales story of the year.
Again, though, almost completely under the radar, Ford’s Energi sales grew ~6,000 in 2016 — not too shabby for a couple of clear compliance cars! That’s nearly the sales growth of the Chevy Volt despite the fact that the Energi models were practical unchanged from prior years.
Overall, US plug-in car sales were up 44% in November 2016 compared to November 2015, and 28% for the year through November.
100% electric car sales were up 27% in November and plug-in hybrid sales were up 68%.
Let us know what other interesting stats jump out at you from the tables below and charts above.
*Note that Tesla’s numbers are estimates that are based on previous Tesla statements and guidance.
The European electric car market had more than 17,000 registrations last month, 1% down compared to October 2015. This sales slip surely has to do with the incentives-derived sales rush in the last quarter of 2015, so expect this trend to continue throughout the end of this year. In October, we saw a balanced ranking in the top spots:
#1 BMW i3 – Thanks to the massive arrival of the 33 kWh units, the BMW i3 continues to impress, earning another #1 trophy in October, this time with 1,656 deliveries, up 51% YoY. The largest markets to absorb the improved-range Bimmers were Norway (503 units, all BEV), Germany (391 deliveries, of which 117 were REx units), and Austria (164 deliveries, 11 REx).
#2 Renault Zoe – Registrations were down 21% YoY to 1,447 units. It seems the 40 kWh version is already making itself felt, with buyers waiting for the extended-range version. Let’s see if the French carmaker does a Tesla-like stunt in December and delivers its Zoe ZE40 at record levels. It surely has a long enough waiting list to surprise us. Do I hear 3,500 units, Renault? Back to October, besides the French market (844 units), the French hatch also sold okay in Norway (161 units) and Germany (147).
#3 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – After a close race, the Japanese SUV was 3rd in October, with 1,444 vehicles registered, only three behind the Renault Zoe. However, Mitsubishi saw its plug-in SUV sales drop 43% YoY, due to highly inflated sales at the end of last year that resulted from incentive changes in the Netherlands and Sweden. Having lost those two markets, the Outlander PHEV now has the United Kingdom and Norway to hold sales at high levels, but not where they were in 2015.
#4 VW Passat GTE – Besides the usual Sweden and Norway, big-time Passat GTE lovers, Volkswagen’s midsize offering is also gaining traction in the Netherlands, with 250 units registered in October, its best result of the year there. That helped it to reach the 4th position in Europe, with 1,372 cars delivered, its best result in 2016. With the right mix of electric range, space, power, and price, the Passat GTE is destined for success as a company car across Europe.
#5 Nissan Leaf – Sales of the Japanese hatch were surprisingly up 5% YoY, to 1,212 units, with the UK, France, and Norway providing enough sales to keep it up in the running with the best. Prospective sales could be even higher, if Nissan had followed Renault and presented a 40 kWh version of the Leaf. With the 60 kWh second-generation Leaf still a year away, this EV pioneer deserves another update to end its career on a high note, don’t you think? It’s never too late, Nissan. …
YTD Ranking – Renault Zoe & Outlander PHEV Running
Neck to Neck Wheel to Wheel
Looking at the YTD ranking, due to an update to the UK sales (now official through Q3), the Outlander PHEV came even closer to the industry-leading Renault Zoe. With only 12 units separating them, this could be a close race until the end — with the outcome in the hands of Renault and its ability to deliver enough Zoe ZE 40 units in time to beat the Japanese SUV. I would be disappointed if Renault didn’t pulled it off, but then again, lately, many forecasts have been contradicted, so …
Looking below the podium, the rejuvenated BMW i3 keeps on improving, now at 4th place and dropping the Tesla Model S to 5th, while the Renault Kangoo ZE profited from a positive month (557 units, year best) to climb one position to #16.
Now that this report is covering the top 30 models, we can see some interesting events that previously went unnoticed, like the steady climb of the Audi Q7 e-Tron, jumping to #22 thanks to 540 units, or the appearance of the #29 Mercedes GLC350e, which scored a personal best 256 units last month, thus becoming the “Second Best Rookie of 2016,” only behind the media-friendly Tesla Model X (#21). An interesting sign of the times is that all these three rising stars are luxury SUVs. Hmm …
October brought a surprising performance from the Mercedes GLE500e, scoring 180 units, a new record, so it seems that Mercedes is increasing production of its plug-in SUVs, something that also needs to be done to the S500e flagship. The BMW 740e has shaken this rarefied market since it landed 4 months ago, and the Bavarian barge is now only 18 units behind the Mercedes S500e (510 vs 492). It sold 100 units more than its three-pointed-star competitor last month. One could say that BMW can already order the full-size sedan plug-in trophy.
BMW had more good news in the manufacturer ranking, benefitting from the i3’s good momentum, an extensive lineup, and strong advertising across the continent. BMW is the only carmaker doing such strong advertising, helping the Munich-based manufacturer (16%, up 1%) to remove Volkswagen (15%, down 1%) from the leadership position, an impressive feat considering that BMW ended 2015 in 6th, with only 8% share!
In 3rd we have Renault, with 13% share (down 1%), followed by Nissan (11%) and Mitsubishi (10%).
|Europe||October||YTD||YTD Market Share|
|Audi A3 e-Tron||616||5,171||3%|
|Audi Q7 e-Tron||540||2,170||1%|
|BMW 225xe Act. Tourer||510||4,083||2%|
|BMW X5 xDrive40e||423||4,145||2%|
|Kia Soul EV||558||3,798||2%|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,444||17,265||10%|
|Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid||230||2,334||1%|
|Renault Kangoo ZE||557||3,404||2%|
|Tesla Model S||409||10,410||6%|
|Tesla Model X||295||2,213||1%|
|Volvo V60 PHEV||256||2,840||2%|
|Volvo XC90 T8||508||7,184||4%|
|VW Golf GTE||937||9,360||6%|
|VW Passat GTE||1,372||8,818||5%|
US electric car sales continue to trend up, even despite many buyers holding out for a coming Chevy Bolt or Tesla Model 3.
Not much has changed at the top of the leaderboard, but note that I’ve updated historical Tesla sales to represent much-higher-than-anticipated US Model S sales.
Based on sales estimates for Tesla models (since Tesla doesn’t break out sales by month or by country), the Model S dropped to #2 and the Model X held onto #3 in the US market, while the Chevy Volt rose to #1. However, if you look at how close sales of these models are and take into account that Tesla delivered ~3,000 more Model S sedans in the US than I initially estimated (and I certainly wasn’t the only one), it’s hard to know how the top 3 ranking actually plays out.
After the top 3, though, there’s a significant step down to the #4 Nissan LEAF and #5 Ford Fusion Energi, before another even steeper step down to the #5 Ford C-Max Energi, #6 BMW i3, #7 Volkswagen e-Golf, #8 BMW X5 xDrive40e, #9 Audi A3 e-tron, #10 Chevy Spark EV, and approximately a dozen other compliance cars.
Overall, plug-in car sales accounted for ~0.87% of all US light duty vehicle sales in October. That’s one of the highest percentages we’ve seen, but adjustments for the high Model S sales in Q3 put August, September, and October at 0.93%, 0.091%, and 0.94%, respectively. In other words, we’re getting pretty close to that 1% milestone.
Overall, the individual model and automaker take-home points are the same as they’ve been for months:
- Tesla is performing extremely well in its market segments — dominating the large luxury sedan market and quickly taking a decent chunk of the large luxury SUV market.
- The only other automakers who seem to genuinely sell electric cars across the country are GM, Nissan, Ford, and BMW.
- Chevy Volt sales are doing quite well since the refresh. With approximately 50 miles of electric range, a gas engine for when you want to drive hundreds of miles in a day, attractive performance and features, and elegant design (well, that depends who you ask of course — beauty is in the eye of the beholder), it is a solid purchase option for people shopping in that price range.
- The Nissan LEAF is continuing to perform decently despite the pending arrival of the much more compelling Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3, as well as rumor that the LEAF itself will get a refresh that will have much more range.
- It’s hard to know what exactly drives Ford Energi sales — dealers upselling customers who come in for a conventional hybrid, educated buyers who want a plug but also want a gas backup and plenty of cargo and passenger room (for a decent price), or simply better availability than most compliance cars — but there’s no denying that Energi sales are a bright spot in plug-in car sales month after month. Actually, if you combined Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi sales, that would put a singular “Energi” model slightly above the Chevy Volt for the silver medal — only trailing the hugely popular Tesla Model S.
How will things change in the coming months as the Chevy Bolt rolls out, as people really delay EV purchases and leases in order to wait it out for the Tesla Model 3, and as more second-generation and long-range affordable electric cars are announced and come onto the market? Hard to know, but we’ll be tracking the trends eagerly.
The Chinese market had more than 32,000 new electric cars zooming the streets in October, with the market up a mere 3% over the previous month, but still, up 46% over the same month last year.
With the market share continuing to rise steadily, now at around 1.4%, the Chinese electric car market is headed for some 400,000 units by December 31st, which will not only beat North America and Europe as major selling markets, both in volume and market share, but would also mean that China will absorb around half of the electric cars delivered in 2016.
In October, BYD managed to place only one model among the top 5 — the veteran e6 — compared to two models from Beijing Auto, with BAIC repeating its Gold & Bronze medals of September. The Chery eQ filled its predecessor’s big shoes and collected a top 5 position as well, as did the Zhidou D1 EV.
BYD’s recent performances have been particularly disappointing, as the brand seems to have stopped growing, with October being the fifth consecutive month of 10,000-something performances. That is in stark contrast to Beijing Auto, which in the same period jumped from 4,116 units to 7,279. Can it be that BAIC will put BYD’s domination to an end soon?
Here are last month’s top 5 best-selling models:
#1 — BAIC EU260: Beijing Auto’s new poster child for success, the EU260 (the “260” is its range in kilometers) has hit record heights once again, with 4,580 cars delivered, a new high for the year in China and a new volume record for any BAIC model. Sitting at the heart of the plug-in sedan market, with a price of 255,000 yuan (+/- $37,000), this model seems set to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. For reference, the fancier BYD Qin EV300 starts at 260,000 yuan, while the more utilitarian BYD e5 costs 240,000 yuan.
#2 — BYD e6: Launched back in 2010, this BYD model is currently the “granddaddy” of Chinese EVs, being a popular model among fleet companies in China and abroad. It must have been one of those fleet deals that allowed the e6 to surge with deliveries reaching 3,118 cars in October, making it the best-selling BYD last month. With a massive 82 kWh battery and 400 kilometers of range, expect the oldtimer to make the top 5 again.
#3 — BAIC E-Series EV: This
Mercedes B-Class inspired BAIC hatchback has been the brand’s bread-and-butter model over the years, and despite the recent success of its EU260 sibling, BAIC had enough production capacity to keep the E-Series running at high voltage, with 2,395 cars delivered in October. That meant a repeat of BAIC’s September feat of having two models on the podium, something that must be sounding alarms at BYD headquarters.
#4 — Zhidou D1 EV: The tiny two-seater is becoming a regular here, repeating its 4th place finish again in October, with the D1 securing the best-seller status of its class, with 2,308 cars delivered, a 98% increase YoY.
#5 — Chery eQ: This rather funky little hatchback is the spiritual successor of the QQ EV, a basic model that once epitomized what EVs were like in China, winning the best-seller trophy three years in a row, from 2011 to 2013. The eQ is a significant departure from its predecessor, as now it can be considered an actual car, with a 22 kWh battery, 200 kms range, a 56 hp engine, and suitable equipment (airbags, ABS, A/C, and back radar). The Chery eQ can be considered the Mitsubishi i-MiEV of China … and at 160,000 yuan (+/- $23,000) before incentives, it ought to. But it certainly sees more sales than the i-MiEV. Last month it reached 2,130 sales, its best result to date.
Year-to-Date Ranking – It’s BYD vs BAIC all the way
The podium remained unchanged, but the following positions saw the Roewe e550 stumble two positions to #6, benefitting the now #4 BYD e6 and #5 BAIC EU260, two models that broke their personal records last month (something that has a special meaning for the 6-year-old BYD, which some time ago had 1,544 units delivered … during the whole year of 2013).
Other models from the two current Chinese powerhouses also climbed in the ranking, with the BYD Qin EV300 (2,124 units, new personal best) jumping three positions to #10 while the BAIC EX200 climbed one position to #19. However, the 300 units the EX200 delivered were somewhat disappointing, considering the great potential this compact crossover has.
A final mention is warranted for the Zotye E200 city car, which by registering a record 1,655 units jumped four positions to #14, becoming the one of the surprises of the month.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD is the perennial leader, with 33% market share, followed by BAIC (14%, up 1%), which is cementing its dark horse status among the Chinese EV makers. Zotye (8%, up 1%) replaces SAIC Roewe (7%, down 1%) in 3rd place.
Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike other markets where plug-in hybrids are winning the upper hand, all-electric cars just continue improving their share, now at 72%, up 2% compared to last month.
|1||BAIC E-Series EV||2,395||17,852|
|2||BAIC EU260 / D50 EV||4,580||14,747|
|7||BYD Qin EV300||2,124||8,922|
|9||Changan Eado EV||151||4,119|
|11||Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV||0||7,359|
|12||JAC i EV 4||614||8,270|
|14||Kandi K17 Cyclone||0||6,104|
|15||SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550||527||13,600|
|16||Tesla Model S||1,085||6,964|
|17||Zhidou D1 EV||2,308||8,787|
|18||Zhidou D2 EV||1,002||7,141|
|19||Zotye Cloud EV||2,053||9,778|
The European EV market had 24,000 registrations last month, up 47% over September last year, being not only the best month of the year but also the second best selling month ever, only behind highly inflated December 2015 (34,000 registrations). With the market set to surpass the 200,000 units (205K? 210K?) by year end, the EV share now stands north of the 1% frontier (1.1%).
And The Top 5 EV Models In Europe Are …
#1 — BMW i3: “There’s no replacement for displacement,” gear-heads used to say in the 20th century. Now it’s more, “There’s no replacement for range.” Not so poetic, but nevertheless true, as the i3 proves. The best score that the BMW’s hot hatch got in Europe in the first 7 months of 2016 was 1,049 units (last March). Now, with the 33 kWh battery version kicking in, September sales more than doubled to 2,189 units, a new record for the little bugger, with an interesting twist: While in the past, the extended-range version outsold the pure-electric one, with the 33 kWh version, it’s the other way around, with the BEV outselling the REx.
#2 — Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: After a tight race with the BMW i3, the Japanese SUV ended September taking home the silver, with 2,184 units registered and a 23% YoY drop. Although growing in important markets, like Norway and Germany, Mitsubishi hasn’t found a way to replace the average 300–400 units/month it had last year in the Dutch market. It also hasn’t been able to stop the slowing sales in the United Kingdom.
#3 — Renault Zoe: After the summer break, the French hatch sales went back to normal in September, with registrations up 19% YoY to 1,966 units. With sales in its domestic market and Norway back to full swing, the Zoe will be anxiously waiting for the 40 kWh version to land in order to secure the best-seller status in 2016.
#4 — Tesla Model X: The (not so big) surprise of the month, Tesla’s SUV finally spread its wings and flew into the top 5, reaching #4, with 1,825 units registered in its first significant European deliveries month. The result was of course inflated by Norway (601 units), but with good results across the continent. Deliveries of the Model X were generally on par with or better than its older brother, the Model S. With a long waiting list of prospective owners still pining for their winged SUV, expect this model to remain a common sight in the top 5.
#5 — Tesla Model S: Its newer sibling stole the headlines, but the fact is that the Model S actually had a good sales month as well, with deliveries up 40% in September, to 1,679 units, its best performance since March. The Model S had good numbers in a number of markets, namely the Netherlands (227 units), Norway (247), Germany (200), and France (132). Looking ahead, expect deliveries to drop in October and another possible top 5 appearance in December.
YTD Ranking – BMW Charges
Looking at the YTD ranking, this month there were only two significant changes, with the BMW i3 climbing to #5 and the BMW 330e to #10.
In a strong sales month, several models excelled, like the BMW 225xe Active Tourer, which achieved a new personal best (620 units), just like its junior executive relative, the 330e, which for the first time broke into the 4 digits arena (1,193 registrations). The Kia Soul EV scored a year best, with 695 units. Arch rival to the BMW 2-Series MPV, the Mercedes B-Class also scored a personal best, with 577 units.
Outside the top 20, several models also did well relative to their previous results — the Audi Q7 e-Tron again broke its personal best, with 708 deliveries, by far its best month to date; the Mercedes GLC350e delivered a record 251 units; and the Kia Optima PHEV is off to a decent start, with 276 units in its first full sales month.
Underlining a positive month for BMW, the X5 xDrive40e had a year-best performance with 553 units, while the 740e registered 208 units, already leading the Mercedes S550e (53 units) and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid (20) in September.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, trophy bearer Volkswagen (16%) is on its way to lose the top spot to BMW, which is only 90 units behind (23,558 vs 23,468) and currently benefitting from a strong lineup, while Renault (14%) is 3rd, waiting for the 40 kWh Zoe to try to pass the frontrunners.
The Chinese market had more than 31,000 new EVs zooming the streets in September, with the market remaining flat regarding the previous month, but it was still a 53% increase over the same month last year, below the annual growth rate of 84%.
It is a bit like saying that Lionel Messi only scored the same two goals as in the previous game. … Two consecutive doubles are a great performance for any regular player, but somehow we always expect more from Messi. Same with the Chinese EV market — over 50% growth is great anywhere else, but somehow we always expect 3-digit growth when we mention this market.
With EV market share firmly above the 1% barrier, at around 1.3%, the Chinese EV market is headed for some 400,000–450,000 units and 1.5% market share by December 31st, which will not only beat North America and Europe as the top EV market, both in volume and market share, but would also mean that China will absorb around half of the EVs delivered in 2016.
BYD is the usual gobbler of trophies here, but this time Beijing Auto, also known as BAIC, managed to steal September’s best-selling model title. Is BAIC now leaving the shadow of Build Your Dreams (BYD) and becoming this market’s dark horse?
Here were the top 5 best-selling models in September:
#1 — BAIC EU260: On paper, it sits somewhere between the utilitarian BYD e5 and the posh BYD Qin EV300, but with a bit less range (the “260” in the name is the measure of how much it can go in one charge) and also without the Qin sports-sedan pretensions — meaning, only 133 hp. Despite this, it looks nice inside and out and BAIC expects to make it the best-selling EV model in China. Last month, it scored 3,800 registrations, a new monthly record for any BAIC model, so it seems the Qin brothers will have a valuable competitor to deal with in the future.
#2 — BYD Qin: Speaking of Qin, the 300 hp PHEV sedan shows up immediately in 2nd place, having registered 3,125 units, its best performance in a year, continuing its growing sales trend for the 8th time in a row. China’s most popular plug-in, with over 65,000 units zooming around, is still far from its all-time record (4,030 units in July 2015), but it will probably beat it by the end of the year — if, of course, the Tang demand remains soft.
#3 — BAIC E-Series EV: This
Mercedes B-Class inspired BAIC hatchback has been the brand bread-and-butter model over the years, and it hasn’t let the manufacturer down, collecting a number of podium positions over time (#3 in 2013 and 2015). With 2,659 units recorded in September, it seems that BAIC has enough production space to significantly increase the production of the more profitable models (EU260, EX200) without starving its workhorse sales. On the contrary, last month, the E-Series broke its two-year-old sales record, underlining a month of brilliant performances by the Beijing Auto models, something that must have sounded alarms at BYD HQ.
#4 — Zhidou D1 EV: This tiny two-seater reached the top 5 ranking in September, this time with the D1 version securing the best-seller status in its class, with 2,193 units, a 119% increase YoY.
#5 – BYD Tang: The 500 hp “Chinese Cayenne” continues its success story in the EV market, but deliveries dropped for the third consecutive time, to 2,120 units. Is the BYD flagship product running out of customers? If so, the Qin siblings will probably cut the slack and make sure BYD will continue producing EVs at full pace.
For the year to date, the top 5 didn’t have any change, but below it we see the BAIC EU260 jumping six positions to #6, with its
eyes lights now turning to the #4 and #5 positions, which seem attainable as long as it sustains the current momentum.
Two models also climbing in the ranking were the BYD Qin EV300 and Zhidou D1 EV, both rising two positions, to #13 and #14, respectively.
The Tesla Model S delivered a record 1,190 units, while at the same time rising to #17 and beating in 9 months its 5,000 sales goal for the entire year.
Final mention for two new personal bests: the BYD e5 registering 2,094 units, while the SAIC Roewe e950 barge sedan reached 1,205 sales, coming closer to a top 20 seat.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD is the perennial leader, with 33% market share, followed by BAIC (13%, up 1%), which is cementing its dark horse status among the Chinese EV makers, leaving the 3rd placed SAIC Roewe (8%) behind by a sizeable distance.
Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike many other markets where plug-in hybrids are winning the upper hand, all-electric cars just continue improving their share, now at 70%, up 1% compared to last month.
|1||BAIC E-Series EV||2,659||15,457|
|2||BAIC EU260 / D50 EV||3,800||10,147|
|7||BYD Qin EV300||1,534||6,798|
|9||Changan Eado EV||234||3,968|
|11||Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV||923||7,359|
|12||JAC i EV 4||1,055||7,656|
|14||Kandi K17 Cyclone||136||6,104|
|15||SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550||851||13,073|
|16||Tesla Model S||1,190||5,879|
|17||Zhidou D1 EV||2,193||6,479|
|18||Zhidou D2 EV||898||6,139|
|19||Zotye Cloud EV||1,076||7,725|
US electric car sales climbed to 0.87% of the US car market in September. Yes, we still have a long ways to go.
The general story is that the US electric car market is still dominated by Tesla, a couple of plug-in hybrid models (the Chevy Volt and Ford Fusion Energi), and the Nissan LEAF (which keeps hanging in there despite the growing and coming competition).
Here are some specific highlights from September sales numbers:
- With estimates for Tesla models (based on previous statements and guidance from Tesla), the 3 top models (Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt, and Tesla Model X) are approximately equal at ~2,000 sales each (18%, 16%, and 16% market share, respectively).
- The Ford Fusion Energi continues to see strong sales, gobbling up 13% of the market in September.
- The Nissan LEAF is hanging in there with 10% market share.
- These top 5 models accounted for 73% of US EV sales in September.
- Interestingly, in a rare circumstance, the top 5 models last month are also the top 5 models for the year through September.
- A handful of other models have moderate sales:
Ford C-Max Energi (5%)
Volkswagen e-Golf (4%)
BMW X5 xDrive40e (4%)
BMW i3 (3%)
- 57% of EV sales were for pure EVs.
- 43% of EV sales were for PHEVs.
- Pure EV sales are up 3% in 2016 (through September).
- Pure EV sales were up 8% in September.
- Plug-in hybrid electric car sales are up 50% in 2016 (through September).
- Plug-in hybrid electric car sales were up 23% in September.
Sales are up, but expect them to jump quickly when the Chevy Bolt, the improved BMW i3, and other new and improved models hit the market, and then even much more so in the coming years as Tesla Model 3 production begins and then ramps up.
Any more thoughts on September and YTD sales?
Europe Electric Car Sales
The European EV market had more than 13,000 registrations last month, up 19% over August 2015, with the market set to surpass the 200,000 units by year end. In a relatively stable market, one model stole the show.
Looking at the monthly ranking:
#1 BMW i3 – Thanks to the massive arrival of the 33 kWh units, the BMW i3 had an anticipated sales surge, jumping directly to #1 in August, with 1,317 registrations, its best score of the year. Also, for the first time in 2016, the BEV version outsold the REx brethren. In other words, with the extended electric range, buyers feel safer going all into the EV game with the BEV version, without needing the safety net of the range extender. The largest markets to absorb the extended-range Bimmers were Norway (293 units, all BEV) and Germany (280 deliveries, 147 of them BEV).
#2 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – The Japanese SUV dropped to 2nd in August, with 1,028 units registered, but Mitsubishi actually had some good news, as Outlander PHEV deliveries went up 6% YoY, ending a five-month trend of slowing sales. Although dropping in the all-important UK market, Norway and Germany have done the heavy lifting this month, pulling the model into the black. And as you probably know, the Japanese brand really needs positive news, so it must be thankful for this.
#3 VW Passat GTE – Besides the usual Sweden and Norway, big-time Passat GTE lovers, Volkswagen’s midsize offering also impressed in the Netherlands in August, with 119 units registered, its best result of the year there. That allowed it to reach the 3rd position, with 916 units registered. With the right mix of electric range, space, power, and a reasonable price, the Passat GTE was destined for success as a company car across Europe.
#4 Nissan Leaf – Sales of the Japanese hatch were down 15% last month, to 869 units, with registrations dropping across the continent. In normal circumstances, Nissan would be worried and would try to pull some tricks to turn things around, but this time, the Japanese brand is just keeping production at minimal levels to avoid big unsold stocks, waiting for a big EV push expected relatively soon.
#5 Renault Zoe – In what is usually a slow month for the French hatch, August turned out to be a not so bad sales month, with registrations up 47% YoY to 857 units, and for that it had the German market to thank. Germany’s 256 units compensated a bit for the seasonal slowdown of the French market. Actually, Renault, the owner of the current EV Yellow Jersey in Europe, is probably not that concerned with the current sales trend of its hatch, as it is preparing itself for a big boost following its massive range increase.
Looking at the YTD ranking, there weren’t significant changes at the top, with no real chances of the top 4 positions being contested in the short term.
But the race for #5 should be interesting. Now that the rejuvenated BMW i3 is delivering with 33kWh units, the VW Golf GTE better step up the game or else it will have to say Auf Wiedersehen to 5th place.
In the midst of the Summertime Chill season, besides the BMW i3, two other models excelled in August — the Mercedes B250e had 466 units registered, its best performance ever, while the newly arrived Tesla Model X had its first significant delivery month in Europe, with 307 units registered, already pulling it to #15 in the August ranking and #2 in the Luxury SUV class, only behind the Volvo XC90 PHEV, with 333 units registered.
Coincidentally (or not), several Model X direct competitors had lower-than-average scores, like the BMW X5 PHEV (223 units, worst result in a year), Mercedes GLE500e (77 units, worst result of 2016), and Porsche Cayenne Plug-In (154 units, lowest result since December 2014). Do I see a trend here? …
Considering that September is the last month of the quarter and Tesla usually delivers some Ludicrous performances at that time, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Model X sneaked into the next month’s Top 5.
“What about two Tesla in September’s Top 5?” – While possible, I don’t believe it will be probable, with Tesla firing on all
cylinders electrons to have as many units delivered as possible, I think it will make North America a priority for the MS (it’s simpler and quicker to deliver there) and won’t have the manufacturing / logistic ability to deliver so many MS units on this side of the pond. Go on Tesla, prove me wrong!
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, the trophy bearer, Volkswagen (16%), has been successful in fending off its direct competitors, but now it has a new and ambitious runner-up to take into account, as BMW (15%, up 2%) is profiting from a strong (and extensive) lineup to climb in the ranking with, this time to 2nd place while dropping Renault to 3rd (with 14% share).
While BMW is still far from the leadership — 1,870 units behind, to be more precise — the booming sales (i3 33 kWh deliveries, 740e arrival …) of the Bavarian manufacturer means that it won’t be all that surprising to see BMW as Europe’s best-selling EV brand in 2016, by December 31st.
|Audi A3 e-Tron||268||4,157|
|BMW 225xe Act. Tourer||449||2,968|
|BMW X5 40e||201||3,140|
|Kia Soul EV||385||2,488|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,028||12,803|
|Nissan e-NV200 / Evalia||252||1,995|
|Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid||190||1,845|
|Renault Kangoo ZE||298||2,588|
|Tesla Model S||850||8,202|
|Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid||231||2,129|
|Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV||332||5,884|
|VW Golf GTE||787||7,524|
|VW Passat GTE||916||6,358|
China Electric Car Sales
The Chinese market had more than 31,000 new EVs zooming the streets last month, a 95% increase over the same month last year, inline with the annual growth rate, with the EV market share firmly above the 1% barrier, at 1.3% of all new car sales.
At this rhythm, the Chinese EV market is headed for some 450,000 units and 1.5% market share by December 31st, which will not only beat North America and Europe as the top-selling market, both in volume and market share, but would also mean that China will absorb around half of the EVs delivered in 2016 globally.
All this while 95% of the market belongs to domestic brands. For the record, of the 5% left for foreign brands, 2% belong to Tesla, 1% to BMW, another 1% to Porsche, and the remaining 1% covers remaining automakers.
BYD once again won the model and manufacturer titles in August, but the winning model wasn’t the Tang SUV.
Here are August’s top 5 best-selling models:
#1 — BYD Qin: The 300 hp PHEV sedan registered 3,106 units, its best performance in a year, continuing its growing sales trend for the seventh time in a row and winning for the first time this year the “Monthly Best Seller” trophy. China’s most popular plug-in, with over 62,000 units zooming around, is still far from its all-time record (4,030 units in July 2015), but it will probably beat it by year end. Now, whether or not BYD has production resources for that is whole different question.
#2 — BYD Tang: The 500 hp “Chinese Cayenne” continues its success story in the EV market, but deliveries dropped 17% in August compared to the previous month, falling to 2,502 units, the second consecutive drop for BYD’s plug-in hybrid SUV. Was this due to production constraints or is the BYD flagship running out of customers?
#3 — Zotye Cloud EV: A major player last year, when it reached #5, Zotye’s small EV had its best performance of the year in August, with 2,116 units delivered. It is now looking to recover lost sales in order to reach last year’s heights, when it delivered 15,467 units of this tiny five-seater.
#4 – BYD e5: The electric sedan is to the BYD Qin the same as Sancho Panza is to Don Quixote (or sideshow Bob is to Krusty the Clown, for those unfamiliar with the Cervantes classic). Essentially, the BYD e5 is a simpler and less fancy Qin EV300, with whom it shares the same body and specs (218 hp, 300 kms range). It aims at being popular with fleets and people who like to drive electric but don’t want the world to know about it. In August, the e5 broke its individual sales record, delivering 1,961 units, all while beating its Qin EV300 brethren by some 500 units. Sideshow Bob bested Krusty.
#5 – Zhidou D2 EV: The tiny two-seater reached the top 5 ranking once again in August, with the Zotye D2 securing the “Best Seller” status for its class, with 1,938 units moved, a 95% increase YoY.
In the podium positions there weren’t any changes, and we have to look down to the seventh spot to see some moves. The BYD e5 jumped three positions to #7, followed by the surprise of the month, the Zotye Cloud EV shooting six positions to #8. The Zotye Cloud EV is surely looking to reach the #6 Chery eQ, currently the best-selling city car.
The other two models climbing in the ranking were the Zotye E200 and BYD Qin EV300, both rising one position, to #14 and #15, respectively.
Worthy mentions included the Tesla Model X (delivering 150 units), with last month being the first where a significant number of X SUVs were delivered in China; and also the SAIC Roewe E50 all-electric car, finally selling in decent numbers (463 units in August). Let’s see if the growth will continue. Now that we are on this topic, if SAIC finally releases the MG Dynamo version of the car, I’ll take mine in white, with 100 hp and 200 kms range.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD is the perennial leader, with 33% market share, followed by BAIC (12%), which is cementing its dark horse status among Chinese EV makers, and leaving SAIC Roewe (8%) in third place behind by a sizeable distance.
Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike other markets where plug-in hybrids are mostly winning the upper hand, all-electric cars just continue improving their share, now at 69%, up 1% relative to last month.
|1||BAIC E-Series EV||1,465||12,798|
|2||BAIC EU260 / D50 EV||1,601||6,347|
|6||BYD Qin EV300||1,464||5,264|
|8||Changan Eado EV||3,720|
|10||Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV||1,085||6,436|
|11||JAC i EV 4||541||6,601|
|13||Kandi K17 Cyclone||1,002||5,968|
|14||Lifan 330 EV||641||3,593|
|15||SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550||1,446||12,222|
|16||Tesla Model S||559||3,711|
|17||Zhidou D1 EV||598||5,241|
|18||Zhidou D2 EV||1,938||4,286|
|19||Zotye Cloud EV||2,116||6,649|
Note: As you might have noticed, there were some readjustments to the ranking, motivated by an update on the Zhidou numbers.
Numbers are in, and not a great deal has changed in the US electric car market since July, but it is always fun to look at the numbers and pick out some highlights.
Here are 10 key highlights for this month’s report:
- While Tesla’s numbers aren’t official (they’re the estimate of an average for the quarter based on various Tesla forecasts and statements), according to the August estimate and GM’s official figures, the Chevy Volt was the #1 best-selling electric car in the US in August.
- Chevy Volt sales seem steady at around 2,000 sales per month, a big jump over last year’s numbers (predictably) and basically at the top of the EV pack.
- BMW i3 sales have been doing much better in the past couple of months compared to the beginning of the year, with a notable 1,013 sales.
- The BMW X5 xDrive 40e had a record 876 sales in August — not too shabby (even if it’s about half of estimated Tesla Model X sales).
- The Ford Energi models continue to pull in ~2,000 sales per month, which basically matches the Volt and is a significant jump over last year’s numbers, highlighting either better consumer awareness, a better job from Ford and dealers pushing these cars, greater production capacity (I think this is unlikely to be the factor, since I don’t think production capacity was limited previously), or some combination of those factors.
- Nissan LEAF sales seem to be holding at around 1,000 sales per month, despite the impending arrival of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
- Most electric models on the market are obviously compliance cars — they see low sales because they aren’t available in most markets, the parent automakers don’t do much to push them, and they perhaps aren’t as competitive as the most popular electric cars on the market.
- Overall, plug-in car sales were up 20% in August (compared to August 2015).
- Overall, plug-in car sales were up 22% for the year through August.
- 100% electric cars were up 13% in August.
- 100% electric cars were up 7% in the first 8 months of the year.
- The four findings directly above, and especially the latter two, are particularly interesting to me since the Chevy Bolt (a much better electric car than anything currently on the market in its price range) is about to arrive and the Tesla Model 3 is just ~1 year away — despite this, electric car sales (on the whole) haven’t dropped. Granted, this is in large part due to the introduction of the Tesla Model X (which is in a completely different class than these cars) and the second-generation Chevy Volt (which is a plug-in hybrid rather than a fully electric car).
- Plug-in hybrid cars were up 30% in August.
- Plug-in hybrid cars were up 45% in the first 8 months of the year.
Do you have any other thoughts from these numbers?
BYD Qin Reaches Second Place
The Chinese market had some 34,000 new EVs zooming the streets last month, a 188% increase over the same month last year, in-line with the annual growth rate. EV market share surpassed the 1% barrier in July, reaching 1.1% of new car sales.
At this rhythm, the Chinese EV market is headed to reach some 400,000 sales and 1.5% market share by December 31st, which not only would beat North America (USA + Canada + Mexico) and Europe as the top-selling market, both in volume and market share, but would also make it the largest market fleet-wise, with nearly 700,000 units in the streets.
All the while, 96% of the market belongs to domestic brands. For the record, of the 4% left for foreign brands, 2% belongs to Tesla, 1% to Porsche, and a remaining 1% is for the remaining automakers….
Here are July’s top 5 best-selling models:
#1 — BYD Tang: The 500 hp “Chinese Cayenne” continues its success story in the EV market, but deliveries dropped 14% compared to the previous month, to 3,032 units. You can blame it on production constraints or is question if the flagship BYD is finding its cruising speed around 3,000-something units per month.
#2 — BYD Qin: This 300 hp PHEV sedan registered 2,756 units in July, continuing on its growing sales trend for the sixth month in a row. Will BYD be able to provide enough units to beat the Qin all-time record (4,030 units, July 2015) by September?
#3 — Zhidou D2 EV: This tiny two-seater is the sole representative in the Top 5 of a class of cheap city cars that once were the most popular kind of EVs in China. Things have clearly moved on, with larger, more sophisticated models taking over. Still, there is space for these urban dwellers, and the Zotye D2 was the best seller in the class in July, with 2,209 units moved.
#4 — BYD Qin EV300: An all-electric offshoot of the most common plug-in in China, this 218 hp, 300 km BEV has registered 2,075 units, continuing on this growing sales trend. Will it overcome its PHEV sibling soon? This Audi A4–sized model goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds and costs (in China) between US$40,000 and US$48,000, before incentives.
#5 — SAIC Roewe e550: Shanghai-based SAIC expects to replicate the BYD Qin success with this model, the e550, a plug-in hybrid version of its 550 ICE bestseller. In July, the e550 seems to have plateaued at 2,000-something units per month, with 2,065 units moved, as SAIC is now concentrating efforts in ramping up production of its larger relative, the e950 full-size barge car.
In the podium positions, the BYD Qin switched positions with the BAIC E-Series and reached 2nd place, while the Roewe e550 climbed yet another position to 4th.
A worthy mention includes the Chery eQ, registering 1,839 units, a year-best performance, jumping to #6. Additionally, three models reached new highs: the Geely Dorsett EV registered 1,556 units in July, climbing to #9; the BYD e5 sedan delivered 1,358 units, reaching #10 (that’s the 4th BYD in the top 10); and the Zotye E200 city car climbed to #15, with 1,603 units.
Just missing out on the top 20 — by fewer than 200 units — the BAIC EX200 (1,502 units in July) is in the intersection of the two fastest growing trends in China — SUVs and EVs — so it is safe to say that this model will join the top 20 (10?) soon.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD is the leader with 33% market share, but lost an additional 2% share last month, since the market has been growing faster than the Xi’an-based company.
In 2nd place we have BAIC (12%), followed by SAIC Roewe (8%, up 1%) in 3rd, which switched positions with the #4 JAC, (7%, down 1%).
Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike other markets where plug-in hybrids are winning the upper hand, all-electric cars just continue improving their share, now at 68% (up 1% compared to last month). 1% is also how much they improved their relative ranking by the end of 2015. (Note that the BYD Tang, BYD Qin, and SAIC Roewe e550 are the only plug-in hybrids on the list.)
|BAIC E-Series EV||1356||11333|
|BYD Qin EV300||2075||3800|
|Changan Eado EV||116||3720|
|Geely Dorsett EV||1556||5351|
|JAC i EV 4||378||6060|
|Kandi K10 EV||682||2482|
|Kandi K17 Cyclone||969||4966|
|Lifan 330 EV||682||3682|
|SAIC Roewe e550||2065||10776|
|Tesla Model S||833||3287|
|Zhidou D2 EV||2209||4643|
|Zotye Cloud EV||420||4533|
Author’s note: As you might have noticed, there were some readjustments to the rankings, due to new brands (Lifan) being on the radar and the breakdown of some models that previously were together (e.g., Kandi K-Series and JAC I EV series).
The European EV market had more than 13,000 registrations last month, down 4% over July 2015. The slowdown in sales are more visible on the BEV side, presumably now that more buyers are waiting for the upcoming long-range models. Nevertheless, the market is set to surpass the 200,000 units by year end.
Top 5 EVs In July
#1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Despite the Japanese SUV being the best seller in July, with 1,490 units, the fact is that its sales have dropped 14% YoY. This is the fifth month in a row of slowing sales. Talk about bittersweet victory. … Although growing in important markets, like Norway and Sweden, Mitsubishi hasn’t found a way to replace the average 300–400 units/month it had last year in the Dutch market and to stop the sales bleeding in the UK. Is Mitsubishi’s star product becoming passé?
#2 VW Passat GTE – Thanks to Sweden and Norway, big time Passat GTE buyers, Volkswagen’s midsize offering reached the 2nd place position, its highest ranking ever, with 1,178 units registered, which is its best score this year. With the right mix of space, practicality, low-carbon emissions, and power, the Passat GTE is destined for success as a company car for middle managers.
#3 Renault Zoe – The French hatch’s sales went back to black in July, with registrations up 16% YoY to 1,135 units. With Germany compensating for the seasonal slowdown of its domestic market, the French hatchback is enjoying the summer break to chill and return en force in September, preparing itself for the big Renault-Nissan Alliance product showdown at the Paris Auto Show.
#4 Volkswagen Golf GTE – The (not so) surprise of the month, VW’s sporty hatch returned to the top 5, reaching #4, with 834 units registered, but sales are down 52% YoY. With last year’s result inflated by the Netherlands and currently suffering from internal competition from its Passat GTE larger sibling, the plug-in hybrid version of Europe’s best-selling car will have a hard time in the near future, especially when the longer-range VW e-Golf lands.
#5 Nissan Leaf – Sales of the Japanese hatch were down 25% in July, to 805 units, its worst performance of the year, with registrations dropping across the continent. In normal circumstances, Nissan would be worried and would try to pull some tricks to turn things around, but this time, the Japanese brand is just keeping production at minimal levels to avoid big unsold stocks, waiting for the big EV push to be made by the Alliance at the Paris Auto Show.
Looking at the YTD ranking, there was only one significant change this month, with the VW Passat GTE jumping to #6, looking enviously to the #5 position of its Golf GTE relative.
But the race for #5 will also be made by the BMW i3, once the expected tsunami of 33kWh units arrives.
In the midst of the Summertime Chill season, besides the Passat GTE, two other models outside the top 20 also did their best — the Mercedes GLE500e had 136 units registered, its best performance ever, while the Audi Q7 e-Tron did even better, with 352 deliveries, by far its best month to date and already pulling it to #13 in the July ranking.
(Un)coincidentally, both are big luxury SUVs, something that seems to be the Trend du Jour these days.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, trophy bearer Volkswagen (16%) has managed to keep Renault (15%) at bay, while the increasingly menacing BMW (13%) is just waiting for the 33 kWh i3 to arrive, in order to reach the top two.
|Audi A3 e-Tron||398||3,813|
|BMW 225xe Active Tourer||350||2,501|
|BMW X5 xDrive40e||310||2,932|
|Kia Soul EV||264||2,118|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,490||12,614|
|Porsche Cayenne Plug-In||191||1,680|
|Renault Kangoo ZE||274||2,224|
|Tesla Model S||567||7,469|
|Volvo V60 Plug-In||263||1,887|
|Volvo XC90 T8||718||5,740|
|VW Golf GTE||834||6,519|
|VW Passat GTE||1,178||5,900|
Energy independence is creeping into the US passenger car market more and more, led by Tesla Motors but also by ZEV mandates in 9 states and resulting EV efforts from a few auto companies.
In the month of July, electric car sales surged 48% — mostly on the back of Tesla, but also due to big jumps in sales of the Chevy Volt, BMW i3, Ford Fusion Energi, and Chevy Spark EV. Other EV models also saw sales growth, but their relatively small volumes make them rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
Based on my estimates of Tesla deliveries (which are based on several statements from Elon Musk and Tesla official reports as well as slight regional variation assumptions from month to month), Model S deliveries remained stable, but Model X deliveries (which were nonexistent in July 2015) surged following a production ramp at the end of quarter 2. As always, nobody outside of Tesla knows the exact percentage of deliveries that go to the USA versus Europe, Asia, and Australia, but I roughly estimate that based on Tesla/Elon Musk statements on the 2015 split and the projected 2016 split.
As noted above, several other EV models had great showings in July 2016 versus July 2015. In order of percentage growth, here are a handful of models worth highlighting:
- Chevy Spark EV +484%
- Chevy Volt +83%
- BMW i3 +58%
- Ford Fusion Energi +57%
Facing the pending arrival of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3, the Nissan LEAF lost sales again in July compared to the year prior, but it didn’t fall that much this time — just 9.5% (from 1174 to 1063).
It’s unclear how the BMW i3 managed to escape the downtrend in July, and even surge by 58% (>500 sales), but I’m guessing that was due in part to a fleet sale or two. (Perhaps LAPD deliveries occurred in July?)
The year-through-July rankings show the Tesla Model S and Chevy Volt clearly in the lead, followed by a close race between the Tesla Model X and Ford Fusion Energi for #3, and then with the Nissan LEAF solidly holding onto the #5 spot.
Overall, you can see in one of the tables below that fully electric car sales were up 48% in July 2016 (compared to July 2015), plug-in hybrid sales were up 49%, and overall electric car sales were thus up 48.4%.
That’s a big improvement over year-through-July growth, which shows fully electric car sales up 4%, plug-in hybrids up 44%, and all electric car sales up 19%.
Overall, electric car sales climbed to nearly 0.9% of overall US car sales (including SUVs, pickups, etc.).
Have a look at the tables below or charts at the top for more details.
(Note that I removed Fiat and Hyundai EVs from the sheets since they do not report EV sales and California ZEV rebates have run out, leaving me with no decent way to estimate their sales.)
The Chinese market had more than 34,000 new EVs zooming the streets last month, a 154% increase over the same month last year, in-line with the annual growth rate, with the EV market share edging closer and closer to the fabled 1%.
To have an idea of how significant these numbers are, in May, Europe had 15,000 units registered, approximately the same number that the US had in June — if we combine these two numbers together, we have 30,000, which is still less than the Chinese EV market had last month. So, it’s safe to say that China currently sells more plug-ins than Europe, the USA, and Canada combined(!), and none of those other markets are growing at a 150% rate….
Top 5 Electric Car Models In China
Here are the top 5 best-selling models in June in the Chinese market:
#1 — Kandi EV: One of the best-selling brands of 2015, Kandi hasn’t broken down registrations by model, but most of them should belong to the K11 Panda (seen above) city car, with the slightly larger K17 Cyclone also taking a significant part of the 4,670 units pie. At this point, Kandi and BAIC seem to be the only automakers able to reach similar production levels as BYD.
#2 — BYD Tang: The 500 hp “Chinese Cayenne” continues its success story in the EV market. With 3,519 units sold in June, the SUV has improved sales for the 4th consecutive month — its all-time record of 5,503 units is still far higher, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it broken around October.
#3 — BYD Qin: The most common plug-in in China, this 300 hp PHEV registered 2,751 units in June, continuing its growing sales trend for the 5th month in a row. Will BYD be able to provide enough units to beat the Qin’s all-time record (4,030 units, July ’15) by September?
#4 — Zhidou EV: This tiny two-seat city car has been updated to meet the new “Double 100” standard in China (100 kilometers of range, 100 km/hour max. speed), which is needed to be considered a full-fledged car and be eligible for the government subsidies. So, the 180-km EV is back at four-digit sales, with 2,363 units sold in June, an honorable number for such a vehicle.
#5 — SAIC Roewe e550: Shanghai-based SAIC expects to replicate the BYD Qin success with this one. The e550 is the plug-in hybrid version of its 550 ICE best seller. For the moment, it has no reason to complain, as it beat its monthly sales record once again last month, with 2,329 units, so it seems we will see the e550 on this list frequently.
In the podium positions, the BYD Qin switched positions with its e6 older brother and reached the #3 position, while the Roewe e550 climbed one position to #5 and Kandi jumped two positions to #7.
Outside the top 10, we can see the BAIC EU260 beat its own record, by selling 2,050 units, jumping four places to #13, something that was also replicated by the Zhidou EV city car, which also jumped four positions, to reach #15.
Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD is the leader with 35% market share, but has lost 5% share in these last couple of months. Simply put, the market has been growing faster than the Xi’an-based company.
In 2nd place we have BAIC (12%), followed by JAC (8%, down 1%) in 3rd and SAIC Roewe in 4th, with 7% market share.
Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike other markets where plug-in hybrids have the upper hand, here, all-electric cars remain in command, with 67% share versus 33% for PHEVs — which, incidentally, were the same percentages this market had at the end of 2015.
|SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550||2,329||8,711|
|BAIC EU260 / D50 EV||2,050||3,611|
|Zotye Cloud EV||1,812||4,113|
|Changan Eado EV||1,441||3,604|
|JAC i EV 4/5||1,349||7,862|
|Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV||1,334||3,795|
|BAIC E-Series EV||1,265||9,977|
|BYD Qin EV300||1,044||1,496|
|Tesla Model S||485||2,296|
|GAC Trumpchi GA5 REV||153||1,552|
|JAC i EV6S||1,858|
Estimated June 2016 electric car sales figures for the French market have been released by the EV Sales blog, revealing that electric car sales have been pretty much stagnant in France when seen from a year-on-year perspective.
Altogether, there were 3,427 electric cars (including vans) delivered in France during June 2016 — this compares to 3,418 units delivered during June 2015. That said, the French electric car market still seems set to surpass 45,000 units delivered by the end of the year.
The share of the country’s total auto market held by electric vehicles during June 2016 was 1.69% — this is down 0.05% from May 2016, but up 1.41% from 2015.
Notably, the top 5 electric vehicles in the sales ranking for June 2016 were all all-electric vehicles (BEVs), with no plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) present. Apparently, this is the first time that this has happened in France since back in January 2015.
The EV Sales blog provides more, noting that the Renault Zoe “continues to lead the way (as in the last 22 months…), followed by the Nissan Leaf (up 35% YoY) and the Kangoo ZE, with the two surprises of the month taking the last two places — the Tesla Model S in 4th, with 131 units (one unit less than a year ago), and the Peugeot iOn in 5th, with 127 units.”
The exact sales figures for June 2016 were:
|EV Model||June 2016||YTD 2016||June Market Share||2016 Market Share|
|Audi A3 e-tron||60||436||2%||2%|
|BMW 225xe Active Tourer||24||253||1%||1%|
|BMW X5 xDrive40e||71||373||2%||2%|
|Bollore Blue Summer*||30||153||1%||1%|
|Citröen Berlingo EV*||10||80||0%||0%|
|Kia Soul EV||96||492||3%||3%|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||20||169||1%||1%|
|Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid||46||257||1%||1%|
|Peugeot Partner EV||52||246||2%||1%|
|Renault Kangoo ZE||196||1,285||6%||7%|
|Tesla Model S||131||413||4%||2%|
|Toyota Prius PHEV||2||35||0%||0%|
|Volvo V60 PHEV||1||57||0%||0%|
|Volvo XC90 T8||74||503||2%||3%|
|VW Golf GTE||75||655||2%||4%|
|VW Passat GTE||49||143||2%||1%|
|100% Electric Total||2,754||14,306||85%||81%|
Continuing, the blog notes that, “France is known for being a stable market, with little changes in the ranking, and June confirms that — one has to go down to the #11 [spot] to see a position change, with the Tesla Model S rising two positions to #11, all while the Porsche Cayenne PHEV reach #15 and the Nissan e-NV200 / Evalia twins (75 units, new record) reach #17. Looking at the brands ranking, Renault (#1 since 2011) continues to be the Master In Command, with 44%, followed at a distance by Nissan (14%) and BMW (8%).”
Estimated electric vehicle sales figures for the Netherlands during the month of June 2016 were recently unveiled on the EV Sales blog — showing that the sales drop that followed the end of plug-in hybrid sales last year has continued.
Altogether, sales are down year-on-year (YoY) by 66% compared to June 2015. Total electric vehicle sales for the month in the Netherlands were 899 units — with the share of the total market held by electric vehicles falling by 0.03% to 2.36%.
As far as individual model sales go, the Tesla Model S topped the rankings for the month, with 188 units delivered. This actually represents a year-on-year drop of 32% for the luxury sedan in the Dutch marketplace.
What’s the reason for the drop, you ask? That’s a good question. Model X buyers cannibalizing Model S sales, with an order backlog putting the delivery still several months into the future? Weakening demand?
Following the Model S, the BMW 330e took second, with a record 148 units delivered during the month. In third was the Nissan LEAF (with 88 units delivered), and in fourth was the BMW 225xe Active Tourer (with 83 units delivered). Fifth was taken by the Volkswagen Passat GTE (with 74 units delivered).
The EV Sales blog provides more, noting that, “in the YTD ranking, there were a number of significant changes, the most important of all being the recovery of the YTD Best Seller Throne by the Tesla Model S. But with only 51 units separating it from the Volvo XC90 T8, the dispute for #1 is far from over. In another good month for BMW, the 225xe Active Tourer continues to climb in the ranking, now up one position to #6, at the expenses of the Mercedes C350e, while the i3 had its best month of the year in June, with 45 units, climbing with it one place to #8 and promising more climbs as the longer-range versions arrive on Dutch shores.”
Continuing: “In an atypical year due to fiscal changes, the VW Golf GTE, runner-up last year with more than 8,000 registrations, has dropped once again in the ranking, now to #12, with only 97 units YTD, being inclusively surpassed by its all-electric brethren, the e-Golf, #10 with 104 sales…”
Notably, in the overall vehicle sales rankings (i.e., including internal combustion engine vehicles), the Tesla Model S managed to snag the second spot in its class (188 units delivered, as noted above) — behind only the BMW 5-Series (226 units delivered).
|EV Model||June 2016||YTD||June 2016 Market Share||YTD Market Share|
|Audi A3 e-tron||8||43||1%||1%|
|Audi Q7 e-tron||1||1||0%||0%|
|BMW 225xe Active Tourer||83||255||10%||6%|
|BMW X5 xDrive40e||14||35||2%||1%|
|Ford C-Max Energi||0||6||0%||0%|
|Kia Soul EV||0||18||0%||0%|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||14||96||2%||2%|
|Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid||2||44||0%||1%|
|Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid||2||8||0%||0%|
|Renault Kangoo ZE||0||9||0%||0%|
|Smart Fortwo ED||0||1||0%||0%|
|Tesla Model S||188||869||23%||21%|
|Toyota Prius PHEV||14||28||2%||1%|
|Volvo V60 PHEV||17||101||2%||2%|
|Volvo XC90 T8||63||818||8%||19%|
|VW Golf GTE||7||97||1%||2%|
|VW Passat GTE||74||347||9%||8%|
|100% Electric Total||299||1481||37%||35%|
The European EV market had more than 17,000 registrations in May, representing just a 1% increase over June 2015. The slowdown in these last couple of months is largely due to fiscal changes in Germany. Nevertheless, the market is set to surpass 200,000 units by year end, possibly even reaching 250,000 units. Let’s look at the monthly ranking….
#1 Renault Zoe
Despite dropping 3% year over year (YoY) to 2,481 units, the French hatchback is finally fulfilling expectations. With Renault actively selling the car, the Zoe reached the monthly leadership for the third time this year. With the French auto market going into holiday-season mode for the next two months, Germany, Zoe’s second-largest market, will have to make up for the loss. Good thing, then, that a tidal wave of sales is expected there, now that the incentives just kicked in….
#2 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid
The Japanese SUV’s sales have dropped 12% YoY, to 1,757 units, ending the month in 2nd. Although growing in important markets, like Norway and Sweden, Mitsubishi hasn’t found a way to replace the average 300–400 units/month it had last year in the Dutch market and to stop the sales slowdown in the UK.
#3 Nissan LEAF
Sales of the Japanese hatch were up 7% in May, to 1,572 units, not that far from the Outlander PHEV, and it has France and Norway to thank for that, where it sells more than half of its volume. The question is: Can it keep up? The LEAF is getting a bit old now, and 250 kilometers of range (NEDC) are not enough to fight longer-range BEVs (the new BMW i3, 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, Opel Ampera-e…) coming soon, so unless something happens, the most common EV in the world will have a hard time in Europe in the next year or so.
#4 Tesla Model S
The (not so) surprise of the month, Tesla’s sports-sedan-that’s-actually-a-liftback offered the usual last month of the quarter peak performance, reaching #4, with 1,484 units registered. This is a somewhat disappointing result, considering that, during the last sales peak (March ’16), it delivered 2,380 units, and in June 2015, 2,104 deliveries. Is the Model S becoming passé, now that the Model X is arriving to European shores?
#5 VW Passat GTE
Thanks to Sweden and Norway, where, combined, it sold 686 units, Volkswagen’s midsize offering reached the 5th Position in June, with 1,117 units sold, its best score this year. With the right mix of space, practicality, low carbon emissions and power, the Passat GTE is destined for success as a company car for middle managers across Europe, something that could only be realized by the new incentives in Germany. Will we see the Passat GTE reach the podium this summer?
Looking at the YTD ranking, the Renault Zoe has finally risen to the leadership position, dropping the Outlander PHEV to the 2nd Position, but not all is bad news for the Japanese SUV. Despite the #3 Nissan Leaf being only 249 units behind, there are no short-term prospects for the Nissan hatch to outrun it — unless, of course, there is some unexpected wizardry coming from Nissan in the final months of the year.… (wink, wink)
If the podium positions are open to discussion, the apparent race for #6 will no longer exist in the coming months, with BMW presumably delivering a tsunami of i3s soon, enough to recover the #6 and even put pressure on the underperforming #5 VW Golf GTE, affected by its Passat GTE sibling’s success.
While the revised i3 hasn’t yet arrived, BMW already has its hands full with its recent rollout of PHEVs. The 330e has risen to #13, thanks to 497 units sold in June, while the 225xe Active Tourer joined the top 20 when it arrived in #14, thanks to a personal record of 484 units in June. Expect these two to continue rising in the ranking it the second half of the year.
For some models to climb, others have to come down, so we are giving a few lines on them. In regards to 2015, the Volvo V60 Plug-in has dropped eight places to #17. This falls into the logic of things, given the increase of competition (BMW 330e, Mercedes C350e, VW Passat GTE …). It’s essentially the same story for the six-position drop of the #10 VW e-Golf (competition including the Nissan Leaf 30 kWh, the upcoming Tesla Model 3, the confusingly named Opel Ampera-e…). The four-position drop of the #11 Audi A3 e-Tron is harder to understand, as it hasn’t got any direct new rival this year.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, the trophy bearer, Volkswagen (16%), has lost some advantage over Renault (15%, up 1%), while the increasingly menacing BMW (13%) has risen to 3rd, dropping Nissan (12%, down 1%) to 4th.
With the 33 kWh BMW i3 coming soon, expect the Bavarian brand to continue winning market share and even possibly becoming the best-selling plug-in automaker in Europe.
|Europe (full electrics in blue)||June||YTD|
|Audi A3 e-Tron||451||3,360|
|BMW 225xe Active Tourer||484||2,012|
|BMW X5 xDrive40e||415||2,572|
|Kia Soul EV||385||1,888|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,757||11,176|
|Porsche Cayenne Plug-In||222||1,439|
|Renault Kangoo ZE||413||1,950|
|Tesla Model S||1,484||6,834|
|Volvo V60 Plug-In||273||1,614|
|Volvo XC90 T8||768||4,995|
|Nissan e-NV200 / Evalia||268||1,416|
|Volkswagen Golf GTE||724||5,694|
|Volkswagen Passat GTE||1,117||4,635|
US electric car sales rose slightly (2.1%) in June 2016 compared to June 2015, but were up 8.5% for the year through June. That said, fully electric cars were down 35% in June, and 11% for the year through June (while plug-in hybrids were up 68% and 45.7%, respectively).
There are a variety of factors that may be the cause of the dip in fully electric car sales, including potential errors with simple estimates regarding Tesla sales (which account for a significant portion of US electric car sales). Market factors that could have influenced sales in a negative manner include:
- people awaiting the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, a longer-range Nissan LEAF and BMW i3, and other long-range electric cars;
- expiration of California’s $2,500 ZEV rebate (and expectation that it will be revived before too long);
- delayed deliveries of Teslas — Model S and Model X (though, given that Tesla sales were higher in June 2016 vs June 2015, I don’t think we can count this as contributing to a negative sales trend for the overall EV market, even though it did depress sales compared to what they could have been);
- month-to-month noise.
As a portion of overall US car sales, electric cars were at 0.7% in June.
In terms of how the cars ranked, you can see that well enough via the chart at the top, but the general highlights from the first half of 2016 compared to the first half of 2015 are that:
- the Nissan LEAF fell from #2 in 2015 to #4 in 2016
- the Chevy Volt rose from #3 in 2015 to #2 in 2016
- the Ford Fusion Energi rose from #5 in 2015 to #3 in 2016
- the BMW i3 fell from #4 in 2015 to #7 in 2016
- the Tesla Model S was #1 both years
- the Tesla Model X has already climbed to #5 in 2015
I also think it’s interesting that just 5 cars accounted for ⅔ of the US electric car market in June, and for the year through June.
Any other thoughts on the numbers?
The European EV market had more than 14,000 registrations in May, representing a 7% increase over May 2015, which was a slight decrease in growth, largely due to the upcoming financial subsidies in Germany. Nevertheless, the market is set to surpass the 200,000 units by year end, possibly even reaching 240,000 units.
Looking at the Monthly Ranking:
#1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – The Japanese SUV won once again, landing best-seller status in May, with 1,707 units of the Outlander PHEV sold, but year-over-year (YoY) sales were actually down by a third. With the runner-up ending just 50 units behind, the leadership is well open to a change of hands in the coming months. Although growing elsewhere, like Norway and Sweden, Mitsubishi still hasn’t found a way to replace the average 300/400 units per month it had last year in the Dutch market — it registered just 16 units there last month.
#2 Renault Zoe – Continuing with its best sales streak since it launched back in 2012, last month saw its sales grow 35% YoY to 1,657 units, its best May ever. The little French hatchback is finally fulfilling expectations, with Renault actively selling the car (at last!). It is only a question of time until the Zoe reaches #1, in my opinion, especially considering that its second-largest market, Germany, where it was will have a welcome incentives-derived boost in the near future.
#3 Nissan Leaf – With deliveries back at cruising speed, sales of the Japanese hatch were up 38% in May, to 1,362 units, not that far from the top two models. The Japanese hatch continues to sell in large quantities, especially in Norway and France, but the question is for how long, as longer-range BEVs (new BMW i3, 2017 Opel Ampera-e…) might steal away buyers from the most common EV in the world.
#4 VW Passat GTE – Thanks to the Scandinavian markets (685 units sold there), Volkswagen’s midsize offering reached the 4th Position in May, with 1,035 units, the best score this year and its best place in the monthly ranking so far. With the right mix of space, practicality, low-carbon emissions, and power, the Passat GTE is destined for success as a company car for middle managers across Europe.
#5 Mercedes C350e – The surprise of the month, this Mercedes midsize plug-in offering managed to climb into the top 5, with 780 units delivered, a year best. With stringent emission legislation spreading across Europe, many fleet buyers are trading in diesel-burners for their plug-in hybrid alternatives. In this case, with only 30 kms of electric range, the C350e has “compliance car” written all over it, but people are buying it.
Looking at the year-to-date (YTD) ranking, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is in the highest place of the ranking, but barely, with the Renault Zoe fewer than 20 units behind and the Nissan Leaf, in 3rd, only 128 units behind. It looks to be an entertaining race throughout the rest of the year. Although, if I had to bet, I would go with the Zoe winning the trophy….
While the sprint for the leadership is very much open to discussion, the apparent race for #4 will no longer exist in June, with Tesla presumably delivering a tsunami of Model S. Further growing the spread between the Model S and others in the vicinity, the VW Golf GTE is being affected (sales down 50% YoY in May) by its Passat GTE sibling success, and the German sporty hatch will have a hard time resisting the expected sales surge that the longer-range BMW i3 should have during the summer.
Talking about Volkswagen, this month was a mixed bag for the Wolfsburg automaker: In the PHEV front, the Passat GTE had a year-best performance and jumped two positions to #8, but on the other hand, the Golf GTE saw its sales dive by half. On the BEV front, the e-Golf had its worst performance (479 units) since 2014, dropping two positions to #10, with the e-Up! pulling its best performance (281 units) in a year, thanks to the recent restyle.
Looking at the brands ranking, the trophy bearer, Volkswagen (16%), has gained a little more advantage over Renault (14%, down 1% share), while in 3rd we have Nissan, with 13%, trying to keep #4 Mitsubishi (12%) and #5 BMW (12%) off the podium.
|1||Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1707||9472||12%||1|
|4||Tesla Model S||570||5360||4%||4|
|5||Volkswagen Golf GTE||768||4959||5%||3|
|7||Volvo XC90 T8||774||4213||5%||18|
|8||Volkswagen Passat GTE||1035||3515||7%||12|
|11||Audi A3 e-Tron||446||2905||3%||7|
|12||BMW X5 xDrive40e||419||2142||3%||22|
|13||Renault Kangoo ZE||217||1537||1%||13|
|14||Kia Soul EV||309||1503||2%||10|
|16||Volvo V60 T8||288||1377||2%||9|
|18||Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid||267||1204||2%||14|
Chevy Volt rose to #1 again, after many, many months trailing other popular electric vehicle models on the US car market. Granted, my estimate for Tesla Model S sales is a bit lower than normal, and I’m assuming Model X production was still quite slow/limited in May. Naturally, we don’t actually know what monthly demand for the X is since production has been limited, the production ramp has been hampered by difficulties, and very few review models have gotten out their to auto and tech journalists who could stimulate desire among Americans.
Still, a big kudos to the next-generation Chevy Volt for being a sales hit. It is genuinely a great car at an attractive price. GM did a wonderful job listening to customers of the first-generation Volt and making the second-gen Volt that much more attractive to the population. And hey, if GM actually tried to sell the thing, who knows, sales could be 2–3 times higher than they were in May!
The Ford Fusion Energi, despite even less advertising than the Volt is granted, continued its strong showing in the US EV market. I think this shows a few things:
- The vehicle class is a good one that is underserved.
- PHEVs still offer a strong pull to many consumers, despite the coming arrival of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
- Ford’s approach to slightly alter a gas car and produce it on the same line as other cars as much as demand calls for it, and to actually offer the car across the country, has resulted in considerably more sales than companies that build 100% compliance cars that they only offer in California and a few other states and put production limits on. Who’s surprised?
The Chevy Volt and Ford Fusion Energi didn’t just top the charts, though. They also saw considerable increases in sales compared to May 2015, up 17.5% (283 sales) and 47.4% (467 sales), respectively.
The US electric car market as a whole rose 1.1% in May 2016 vs May 2015, with pure-EV sales down 6.7% and PHEV sales up 12.9%.
And the electric car market accounted for 0.73% of all US car sales. We have a long way to go still…
Outlander PHEV Is Back
The European electric car market had more than 16,000 registrations in March, representing a 28% increase over April 2015, with the market set to surpass 200,000 units by year end.
Looking at the monthly ranking:
#1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – After a slow start, the Outlander PHEV is back at its usual self, winning its second consecutive “Monthly Best Seller” title, with 1,970 units registered across Europe. However, YTD sales are down 12%, meaning that Mitsubishi hasn’t found a way to replace the average 300–400 units/month it had last year coming from the Dutch market. Although growing elsewhere, like Norway and Spain, the Japanese SUV will have a hard time growing sales and remain #1 for a long time.
#2 Renault Zoe – In its best sales streak since it arrived on the market back in 2012, April signaled the 8th consecutive time the French hatch sold more than 1,000 units, with 1,959 units in April 2016. With Renault finally trying to actively sell the car, including batteries in the initial price and providing friendly discounts, this is one EV with good prospects in the near future, will it get back to #1 soon?
#3 Nissan Leaf – With the availability bottlenecks of the 30kWh Leaf part of the past, sales of the Japanese hatch were up 77% in April, with 3 out of 4 Leafs belonging to the extended-range version. With 1,860 units registered last month, one wonders for how long the Nissan all-electric model remain on the podium, as longer-range BEVs (new BMW i3 with more range, 2017 Opel Ampera-e…) might sway away buyers from the most common EV in the world.
#4 VW Golf GTE – Thanks to the Norwegian result (602 units sold there), Volkswagen’s sporty hatch managed to reach positive ground (up 12% YoY) in April, with 1,225 units registered. This recent turn of Norway to PHEVs was fundamental to offset the sales drought in the Netherlands and continue to improve on the model’s 2015 performance.
#5 VW Passat GTE – The surprise of the month, Volkswagen’s midsize plug-in offering managed to reach the four-digit sales area last month, with 1,012 units registered, a year best. With stringent emission legislation spreading across Europe, many fleet and middle-managers will switch their diesel-burners for this model, flying them through the highway and smashing the accelerator to the ground like their future depended on it. A future best seller?
|1||Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,980|
|4||Volkswagen Golf GTE||1,290|
|5||Volkswagen Passat GTE||1,027|
Looking at the YTD ranking, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is firm at the highest place in the ranking, with two close races behind it. The Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are running for 2nd place and have only 30 units between them, while the Tesla Model S and VW Golf GTE are fighting for #4, with only 35 units separating them.
If the sprint for #2 is hard to predict, the race for #4 has a foreseeable behavior in the next couple of months: The Golf GTE will surpass the Model S in May, but then in June, the Californian model will make another 2.000-something month and return to the #4 position. It is almost as predictable as the English Premier League used to be….
Talking about Volkswagen, the German brand had a positive month, with the e-Golf up one position to #8, and the Passat GTE did as well, also up one position to #10. In the MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) class, there is an interesting race between the leader, Mercedes B250e (239 units, up one position to #16), and the #20 BMW 225xe Active Tourer, which had a record month, with 292 units.
Looking at the brand ranking, trophy bearer Volkswagen (16%, up 1%) is holding Renault (15% share) at bay, while in 3rd we have Nissan, with 13% (down 1%), trying to keep the #4 Mitsubishi (13%) and #5 BMW (12%) off the podium.
|1||Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,970||8,376||13||1|
|4||Tesla Model S||768||4,315||7||4|
|5||Volkswagen Golf GTE||1,225||4,280||7||3|
|7||Volvo XC90 T8||953||3,466||5||18|
|Audi A3 e-Tron
Volkswagen Passat GTE
|BMW X5 40e
|13||Renault Kangoo ZE||374||1,320||2||13|
|14||Kia Soul EV||325||1,194||2||10|
|15||Volvo V60 Plug-In||243||1,145||2||9|
Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid
BMW 225xe Active Tourer
Yes, Ford Energi in the title probably comes as a little bit of a surprise, but if you add Ford’s two Energi models together, they almost tie the Chevy Volt for #2 in US electric car sales in April at 17%. This, combined with the Chevy Volt’s great sales and Tesla’s continual domination of the large luxury sedan segment, repeat to me what I’ve emphasized in previous months: I think the low- to medium-range electric car market is suffering as people wait for the long-range and affordable Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, and presumably future-gen Nissans and BMWs.
Tesla’s high-end, long-range models don’t seem to be getting hit (demand has even risen since the Model 3 unveiling. Similarly, plug-in hybrid models, which seem to have a slightly different customer base of people who are fine with gas backup when outside of their normal urban or regional range, also seem to be doing alright. Part of this could also be due to the larger size of the Ford Fusion Energi — large, affordable, fully electric cars with long angle haven’t been announced — as well as the fairly long electric range and appealing specs of the Chevy Volt.
Naturally, it’s also important that GM and Ford sell these cars nationwide. Most other EVs on the market are “compliance cars” that aren’t widely available. A Ford shopper can walk into a dealership in many places in the country and potentially be “sold up” to a Fusion Energi or C-Max Energi rather than a conventional one.
Overall, EV sales in the US were up 28% from April 2016 compared to April 2015, and up 15.5% for the year to date. Nonetheless, fully electric vehicle sales (despite growth in Tesla sales) were just up 0.5% and down 5%, respectively. Total EV sales accounted for 0.8% of the country’s passenger auto sales in April 2016.
Tying things back to Tesla’s bombshell announcement last night, if you assume Tesla will reach its target of 500,000 sales in 2018, and you assume half of those will go to the US, you’d get 20,833 Tesla sales a month in 2018 from Tesla alone, approximately twice the entire US EV market right now. Naturally, 50% to the US is maybe a bit high, and you can adjust to 40% or 30% if you like, but you get the point.
Take a look at the charts and table for more detail. (Toggle between the 4 tabs at the top of the chart above to change between April 2016, April 2015, YTD 2016, and YTD 2015.)