Well, let’s be honest, August was a lame sales month for electric car lovers. There are clear reasons for this. Historically, the two highest-selling electric cars in the US have been the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt. The 2nd-generation Chevy Volt, much improved and even a little cheaper, is just hitting the market, and many buyers have surely been waiting for it. Nissan has remained rather silent about it its 2016 model but has indicated it will be bringing a long-range electric car to market before long. We also gathered word that it will be offering a 110-mile battery option in the 2016 LEAF, for an extra cost, of course (the current model only offers an 84-mile battery). So, it seems very likely buyers are holding off for the long-range electric Nissan or at least the 2016 LEAF… or even the Tesla Model 3 now that it is closer.
So, with all of that context out of the way, electric car sales were down almost across the board in August compared to August 2014. That’s in contrast to strong sales in the broader car market. Only four models were up — the Chevy Spark EV by 68.8%, the Tesla Model S (based on my estimates) by 94.9%, the Mercedes B-Class Electric by 237.3%, and the BMW i8 by a whopping 2233.3%. Of course, I highlighted that last one just for a bit of fun. 😀 BMW i8 sales began in August 2014, and just 9 cars were delivered in that initial month, so a sales increase of 2233.3% to 210 sales is really just a statistical joke. You have to find a little fun in the story.
The situation for the year to date looks a little better for electrics. 100% electric car sales are up 13.6% (from 37,200 to 42,245 sales), with the Tesla Model S carrying the pack with 22% of all plug-in car sales (again, based on my educated but surely imperfect estimates). Plug-in hybrid sales, on the other hand, are down 27.5%, bringing total EV sales down 6.7%.
Looking at the top 6 models, change in market share is rather interesting:
- The Tesla Model S jumped from 9% in Aug 2014 to 22% in Aug 2015, and from 19% for YTD 2014 to 22% for YTD 2015.
- The Nissan LEAF fell from 26% in Aug 2014 to 15% in Aug 2015, and from 23% for YTD 2014 to 18% for YTD 2015.
- The Chevy Volt fell from 21% in Aug 2014 to 15% in Aug 2015, and from 16% for YTD 2014 to 12% for YTD 2015.
- The Ford Fusion Energi grew from 10% in Aug 2014 to 11% in Aug 2015, but fell from 11% for YTD 2014 to 9% for YTD 2015.
- The BMW i3 grew from 8% in Aug 2014 to 9% in Aug 2015, and jumped from 3% for YTD 2014 to 9% for YTD 2015.
- The Ford C-Max Energi fell from 9% in Aug 2014 to 8% in Aug 2015, but remained at 7% for YTD sales.
For more details, see these charts and tables: