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, and Europe electric car sales for now). For 2016 electric car sales, head over to this page. Enjoy, and share with friends!
The rise and rise of the Chinese plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market is unstoppable, with yet another record performance in October. With 66,000 new passenger PEVs registered last month, that’s almost double the result of October ‘16, while pulling the YTD count to over 405,000 units, up 55% YoY.
As consequence of this, the 2017 PEV market share has crossed for the first time the 2% share, firmly ahead of last year’s score (1.5%). As sales are expected to grow even further until the end of the year, the Chinese PEV market might even reach 2.5% share by year end.
This is still a highly protected market, where 94% of sales belong to domestic brands. Of the 6% left for foreign brands, 4% belong to Tesla, 1% to BMW, and the remaining 1% divided by all other automakers.
In October, both small city cars and compact SUVs placed two representatives in the top 5, with the EC-Series beating the world record for registrations in a single month, hitting 11,315 units, while the new 100 km version has given the BYD Qin PHEV a second youth, reaching 4,102 deliveries, a new record for the nameplate.
Here are October’s top 5 best selling models:
#1 – BAIC EC-Series: I would say the 11,315 EC-Series registered in October were a historical landmark. After all, it was the first time that a single model crossed into five-digit sales. But with ever improving performances since the 2,563 units registered last June, it looks that number will continue to go upwards until December. The little city EV is a revolution itself in China, owing its success to a trendy design (reminding one of a crossover), improved specs (now with 200 km of range), and competitive pricing (~$22,000). In a booming market segment, that’s the recipe for success. With the Chinese edition of the 2017 Best Selling PEV title already in its hands, BAIC is now looking to win the global edition of the same award. To that end, last month, it surpassed the three big boys (Nissan LEAF, Toyota Prius Prime, and Tesla Model S), thus becoming the first Chinese model to reach #1 on the global market.
#2 – Zhidou D2 EV: This is truly a bare-basics city vehicle, but it continues to be delivered in large quantities (4,502 units in October), probably due to fleet deals. This vehicle is sold as a quadricycle (think: Renault Twizy) in some European countries. It has the following specs: 12 kWh battery, 120 km of range, 90 km/h max. speed, ~$19,000. The brand has ambitious plans to market the D2 EV as a carsharing vehicle in Europe. Will anyone bite? Will local consumers want to drive it?
#3 – BYD Qin PHEV: Thanks to a recently increased range (100 km), BYD’s sports sedan (0–100 km/h in 5.9 seconds) recovered its mojo and had a record 4,102 registrations in October. With a competitive price ($31,000 before incentives) and full access to government incentives, sales are expected to remain high, as long as BYD manages to make enough of them in order to satisfy demand.
#4 – BYD Song PHEV: If the Qin is the “Model 3” of BYD, the Song is the “Model Y,” a VW Tiguan-sized SUV, here in plug-in hybrid version. Last month, it registered 3,064 units, dropping some 700 units compared to the previous month. Is the Qin renewed success hurting the Song demand, or is it just a case of production constraints? I believe the full potential of BYD’s compact SUV could be around 5,000 units/month.
#5 – JAC iEV6S: One of the EV pioneers in China, selling plug-ins since 2010, JAC is trying to regain relevance with its iEV6S, a compact crossover (think: Kia Soul EV) that registered 2,861 units in October, allowing it to reach a top 5 position last month. A vehicle targeted to hip urbanites for a competitive $26,000 before incentives, you get a trendy city model, with a 33 kWh battery providing decent range (251 km, NEDC). And the engine has enough power (114 hp) to give it the “go” needed for its customers’ supposedly active life.
|Zhidou D2 EV||4,502||37,093||9%|
|BYD Song PHEV||3,064||22,910||6%|
|Geely Emgrand EV||1,742||17,990||4%|
|SAIC Roewe eRX5 PHEV||1,593||15,042||4%|
|Changan Benni EV||632||12,375||3%|
|BYD Qin PHEV||4,102||11,937||3%|
|SAIC Roewe eRX5 BEV||2,811||7,638||2%|
|Tesla Model S e)||350||6,498||2%|
|Tesla Model X e)||500||6,481||2%|
|Zotye Cloud EV||276||5,840||1%|
|Kandi K12 EV||1,638||5,664||1%|
Year-to-Date Ranking – BAIC EC-Series Orders the 2017 Title
In a stable market, the big news is the EC-Series
definitely quite likely securing this year’s Best Seller title, a first for BAIC and the first time since 2013 that BYD loses the Best Selling PEV award. Back then, the best-seller was the Chery QQ3 EV, with 5,727 registrations. With two months to go, the EC-Series is now at 49,000.
To see some changes in the ranking, we have to go to fifth place, where the JAC iEV6S climbed one position The BYD Qin PHEV jumped four positions to #10, surpassing, among others, the stablemate BYD Tang, which dropped two positions to #12, a surprisingly low position for the 2016 Best Selling PEV.
On the rise is also the Roewe eRX5 BEV, jumping to #15 thanks to a record 2,811 deliveries. Other models also hit personal records. Besides the aforementioned BAIC EC-Series, BYD Qin PHEV, and Roewe eRX5 BEV, three recent additions scored record results: The Changan Eulove EV scored 1,201 registrations, Hawtai registered 2,112 EV160s, and the much awaited Wuling E100 was at 1,724 registrations in only its third full month on the market. No production hell there…
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD (20%, up 1%) is comfortable at the throne, keeping the runner-up BAIC (16%, up 1%) at a safe distance. At least for now.
In third place we (still) have Zhidou, with 9% share, with Roewe (9%, up 1%) closing in. The Shanghai-based manufacturer is trying hard to reach the podium in its bid to become the third of China’s “Big 3 PEV” club.
Our EV charging conference last week delayed my monthly US electric car sales report, but the day has arrived.
Naturally, Tesla Model 3 bottlenecks are a bummer, so my Model 3 estimate* is moderate. Meanwhile, estimates for the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X put these vehicles at #2 and #3. And the car that really stole the show in October was the Chevy Bolt.
If you click on “YTD 2017” in the interactive chart below, you can also see that the Bolt rose above the Volt and all non-Tesla vehicles to become the #3 car in year-to-date US electric car sales. The fun thing is that this also makes the three top-selling electric cars in the US fully electrics.
A couple of solid plug-in hybrids close out plug-in car models with sizable sales. And if they have a couple of good months, the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-In could even overtake the Bolt before the year shuts down shop — highly unlikely, given the Bolt’s big rise, but possible.
The Nissan LEAF was hanging in there, but then sales fell off a cliff last month. Perhaps Nissan inventory was just getting cleared out before the next-gen LEAF arrives and there wasn’t much available in October, or perhaps buyers have ditched the idea of getting a 2017 LEAF and are waiting for a next-gen LEAF or Tesla Model 3 instead.
The only other models (that I can track or decently estimate) that have notable sales are the Ford Energi models and the BMW i3. Those models continue to see moderate sales, but none of them are likely to reach 10,000 in 2017, while the Chevy Bolt is now doing 10,000 in just ~4 months.
Jump into the numbers further by either playing with the interactive charts at the top or gazing into the tables below.
*There are several automakers that don’t break out sales of their electric models (for example, sales of the BMW 330e are hidden within sales of the BMW 3 Series). As such, we have little insight into how many of these cars are sold in the US. Rather than guess, we exclude them from these monthly reports.
However, Tesla makes various statements about sales from time to time and offers some quarterly numbers, and Tesla vehicles are a more significant part of the EV market, so I create estimates based on every Tesla statement I can find as well as Tesla registration data in Europe and China. But do note that Tesla doesn’t publicly break out monthly sales and doesn’t break out country-by-country sales, so these estimates are definitely not precise.
The rise and rise of the Chinese plug-in car market seems unstoppable, with another record performance in September. In total, 59,000 new passenger plug-in cars were registered last month in China, growing 80% regarding the same month last year, pulling the year to date (YTD) count to over 338,000 units, up 48% YoY.
As consequence of this, the plug-in car market share is at a record level, with 1.8% share, firmly ahead of last year’s score (1.5%) but not sky high yet in terms of market share. Sales are expected to grow even further by the end of the year, though, and the Chinese plug-in car market is sure to surpass the 2% share by year end.
This is still a highly protected market, where 94% of sales belong to domestic brands. Of the 6% left for foreign brands, 4% belong to Tesla, 1% to BMW, and the remaining 1% being divided by all other automakers.
In September, small city cars remained popular, with the EC-Series beating the country’s monthly record. It saw over 8,400 deliveries, with a second BYD (Qin PHEV) joining the Song PHEV in this month’s top 5.
Top 5 Best-Selling Electric Models in September
#1 — BAIC EC-Series: A consistent top seller this year, the EC-Series, formerly known as EC180, last month improved its already impressive August result (6,726 units) by registering 8,419 units, a new all-time high for a single model anywhere in the world. The little city EV owes its success to a trendy design (reminiscent of a crossover), improved specs (now 200 kilometers of range), and a competitive price (€19,000). Will it be enough to win the 2017 Best Seller award? Right now it is the most likely winner, which would be a first for BAIC, and with ever growing sales, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the first EV to reach 5 digits in one month.
#2 — Zhidou D2 EV: A bare-basics city vehicle that doesn’t inspire anyone, this car continues to be delivered in record quantities (5,084 units in September, a new personal best) — probably due to fleet deals. This vehicle is sold as a quadricycle (think: Renault Twizy) in some European countries. It comes with the following specs: 12 kWh battery, 120 kilometers of range, 90 km/h max. speed — all for some €16,000. The brand has ambitious plans to market it as a carsharing vehicle in Europe, but will local consumers want to drive it?
#3 — BYD Song PHEV: This is BYD’s “Model Y,” a VW Tiguan-sized SUV, here in plug-in hybrid version. Last month, it registered 3,745 units, dropping some 400 units compared to the previous month. Is that from production constraints or is demand already fading? I believe the full potential of this version should be around 5,000 units/month. Adding some 2,000 units from the BEV version, it should be enough to have the Song singing to the tune of 7,000 units/month, both versions counted.
#4 — BYD Qin PHEV: Thanks to a recently increased range (100 km), BYD’s sports sedan (0–100 km/h in 5.9s) recovered its mojo and had 3,554 units registrations in September, the nameplate’s best result in over two years. With a competitive price ($31,000 before incentives) and full access to government incentives, sales are expected to remain high, as long as BYD manages to make enough of them in order to satisfy demand.
#5 — Chery eQ: This little five-door Chery delivered 2,652 units in September, allowing it to reach the top 5. A popular choice among city dwellers, for $24,200 before incentives you get a fairly funky city car, with the 22 kWh battery providing decent range (200 km) and the engine giving just enough power (57 hp) so that it doesn’t feel underpowered.
Year-to-Date Ranking — BYD Qin PHEV Jumps 6 Positions
In a stable market, we have to go all the way down to #14 in order to see a significant change, with the BYD Qin PHEV jumping 6 positions. The other significant news is the Roewe eRX5 BEV joining the top 20, thanks to 1,940 units (a new personal best).
The remaining positions haven’t seem much action, but there were some personal records being broken across the ranking. Besides the aforementioned BAIC EC-Series, Zhidou D2 EV, and Roewe eRX5 BEV performances, another model also broke its personal best: The JAC iEV6S registered 3,021 units, more than it had delivered in the whole year of 2016.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD (19%, down 1%) is comfortable at the throne, keeping the former leader BAIC (15%) at a safe distance. At least for now.
In 3rd place, we have Zhidou, with 10% share, and Roewe on its tail (8%, down 1%). The Shanghai-based manufacturer is trying to reach the podium in a bid to become the third of China’s “Big 3 PEV” club.
|Zhidou D2 EV||5,084||32,591||10|
|BYD Song PHEV||3,745||19,846||6|
|Geely Emgrand EV||2,437||16,248||5|
|SAIC Roewe eRX5 PHEV||1,437||13,449||4|
|Changan Benni EV*||2,586||11,743||3|
|BYD Qin PHEV||3,554||7,835||2|
|Tesla Model S*||364||6,159||2|
|Tesla Model X*||514||5,978||2|
|Zotye Cloud EV||684||5,564||2|
|SAIC Roewe eRX5 BEV||1,940||4,827||1|
|BYD Qin EV300||115||4,646||1|
In this section, we look at some of the cars landing in the previous month that have potential to reach the top 20. We have two models this month.
Changan CS15 EV — After recently introducing the Eulove MPV, now it’s time for an SUV, the CS15. With a range of 300 km, thanks to a 42 kWh battery, this Nissan Juke–sized model has its weak point in the engine department, delivering only 75 hp and allowing it a 110 km/h top speed. So, while it won’t go fast, it will at least go for a long time. Having landed with only 30 units, one could be in doubt of a successful career, but considering the current SUV craze in China, I wouldn’t be surprised if it topped out at 1,000 units per month.
Hawtai Lusheng EV — I remember seeing this car at the Shanghai Auto Show and for some reason (the front?) reminding me of a Bentley. Then I looked at the inside of the car and the idea of a Chinese Bentley disappeared, with cheap and dark plastics all around. So, the outside is OK, the inside KO. What about specs? A 39 kWh battery and 230 km range is not bad, but hardly something to make it stand out, just as the engine (109 hp) doesn’t. Further, at $33,000, it is not cheap enough to distance itself from the more popular Geely Emgrand EV. Sales target: 700 to 900 units/month.
The European passenger plug-in market returned from the holiday season with fully charged batteries, growing almost a third (+32%) compared to the same period last year by registering some 33,700 units. That’s just a whisker below the all-time record of December 2015 (33,827), which, let’s not forget, was inflated by fiscal changes that happened in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark in January 2016.
This growth is even more significant against the backdrop of a stagnating (-2%) automotive market in Europe, making plug-ins the fastest growing segment on the Old Continent.
Looking at the plug-in vehicle (PEV) share, September hit a record 2.2% share, pulling the year-to-date share further up, now at 1.8%.
In September, Tesla had its usual last-month-of-quarter peak performance, but this time the tide was higher than usual, with the Model S registering its best result in 18 months, stealing for the first time this year the best seller award from the Renault Zoe. At the same time, the Model X scored a record result, all while the VW e-Golf performed its third personal best in just four months.
Interestingly, the two best-selling ICE models in Europe (VW Golf and Renault Clio) have their plug-in counterparts (e-Golf and Zoe) reaching the top 5. Expect this to become a trend, once more and more mainstream buyers — more risk-averse — join the EV market.
Monthly Model Ranking
#1 Tesla Model S — It had been 30 months since the last time the Californian wore the Best Seller scepter in Europe, but September brought boatloads of the Model S to Europe — in consequence, deliveries were up 50% in September, to 2,527 units, thus winning the month.
It appears the Model 3 reveal not only didn’t hurt sales, but actually helped it, as many buyers preferred to not wait and instead bought the older and more luxurious model. Looking at individual countries, Norway’s contribution is undisputed (1,007 deliveries, best result in over two years), but the Netherlands (310 deliveries, best result in 18 months) and Germany (226 deliveries) were also heavy contributors in what was a generally positive month throughout the continent for the sports sedan. Looking ahead, expect deliveries to return to more regular levels — that is, unless Norway does put forward the “Tesla Tax.”
#2 Renault Zoe — The French hatchback had a rather disappointing September month, growing only 23% YoY, to 2,306 units. For the first time this year, it lost the Best Seller of the Month trophy. Deliveries were expected to be higher, especially considering there is a 3–4 month waiting list to be filled, so there is room for Renault to increase production. As for individual market performances, besides the usual good result at home (1,267 units, up 56%), there were also high numbers in countries like Germany (278 units) and Sweden (113 deliveries, new record).
#3 Tesla Model X — The Ugly Duckling of the Tesla stable had an opportunity to shine in September, growing 42% YoY to 2,137 units and ending the month on the podium. With record sales in important markets like Norway (996 deliveries) and the Netherlands (244), the SUV-minivan-that-thinks-it’s-a-sports-car is profiting from incoming improvements (e.g., second- and third-row seats are now foldable …) and might start to leave the long shadow of the Model S older brother.
#4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — The Japanese SUV’s sales were down 11% YoY, to 2,080 registrations, but despite this setback, the Mitsubishi model continues to profit from its unique mix of space, AWD, range (50 km on the NEDC), and affordability (€40,000). That combo makes him popular in markets like the UK, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Germany. In the long run, however, it is not certain that the Japanese SUV can keep up with the general growing sales trend and stay among Europe’s top sellers.
#5 Volkswagen e-Golf — The range increase of the German hatchback coincided with a massive spike in demand, with record-breaking performances almost every month, pulling registrations up to 2,041 deliveries last month. With a 4-month-long waiting list, Volkswagen has enough breathing room to continue improving its results, and we might even see it win the Best Seller trophy soon. Will it be in October?
Looking at its largest markets, Norway is still the backbone of demand, with 949 units being delivered there, but with Germany (494, new record), Netherlands (121 units, new personal best), and Austria (111 registrations, again a new record), and other markets helping it along, the e-Golf is set to become a more spread out vehicle and not just a “Norway thing.” With 2016 sales (6,678 units) already surpassed and the record (11,170 sales, in 2015) not that far off, 2017 will surely be the best year ever for the all-electric Golf. Oh, the wonders of increased range…
YTD Ranking – BMW i3 Recovers 2nd Place, Teslas & e-Golf Shine
There’s a lot to talk about in the YTD ranking. While the Renault Zoe remained stable in the lead, the remaining positions had plenty of changes, starting with the BMW i3 (2025 units, best month since March) recovering the Silver medal from the Nissan LEAF, now entering this model year’s “sunset phase.”
With the Outlander PHEV less than a thousand units behind, we might even see Mitsubishi’s SUV drop the LEAF to 4th before December.
Other models on the rise are the Tesla Model S & X, with the first climbing to #5 and the second to #8, while the VW e-Golf joined the Top 10 at #9 and could reach as high as the #6 position by year end — and maybe even a podium place next year.
In the second half of the top 20, we see the VW Golf GTE and Volvo XC90 PHEV hitting year-best performances, and a hot seller is bubbling up, with the #29 BMW 530e (679 registrations) climbing one position and looking to climb a few more in the future.
Outside the ranking, the Streetscooter Work delivery van deserves a special mention, having registered 852 units in September, thus becoming the best selling model in its category that month. Is the DHL-owned company starting to be disruptive in the delivery van class?
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BMW (20%) is seated at the Iron Throne, followed by Renault (13%, down 1%) in 2nd place, while a recovery-mode Volkswagen (13%, up 1%) is now firmly in 3rd place, less than 2000 units behind the French manufacturer. Will we see VW reaching silver next month?
|Europe||September||YTD||EV Market% Share|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||2,080||13,963||7%|
|Tesla Model S||2,526||10,580||5%|
|VW Passat GTE||1,264||9,520||4%|
|Tesla Model X||2,136||8,774||4%|
|BMW 225xe Act. Tourer||1,196||7,804||4%|
|Audi A3 e-Tron||856||6,495||3%|
|Volvo XC90 T8||930||5,735||3%|
|VW Golf GTE||976||5,568||3%|
|BMW X5 xDrive40e||547||4,476||2%|
|Hyundai Ioniq Electric||552||4,352||2%|
|Kia Soul EV||502||3,829||2%|
I love doing the US electric car sales report at the end of each quarter. With Tesla’s quarterly figures published, Tesla registration data from Europe and China mostly logged, my estimates for the first two months of the quarter, and a little more estimating (Australia, UAE, etc.), I’m able to check out the remainder I have left for Tesla sales in the last month of the quarter. As has happened nearly every time before, the figure that resulted for US sales in that third month of the quarter actually looked logical, so I left all previous months as initially projected.
Estimating Tesla sales always makes me a bit nervous — in part because the monthly figures often put the Model S and Model X at #1 and #2 on the sales chart, and I get concerned about hidden bias or an impression of bias. Also, the US vs non-US sales split has long been guided by a couple of statements from Elon Musk and I haven’t heard more guidance from him in years about how Tesla sales shake out by region. However, those early notes from Elon combined with registration data Jose Pontes digs up from Europe and China leave little play space for US sales estimates. Once the quarterly sales are out, I get the last bit of the equation that I need to check and complete my estimates — how closely Tesla’s deliveries matched up with expectations.
Okay, with that long intro out of the way, let’s get to the numbers. It jumped out yet again to me that Tesla’s abnormally high sales of large, expensive, luxury vehicles really shouldn’t be sitting at the top of an overall EV sales ranking. The top selling cars on the market are not large, high-end sedans and SUVs, so it seems wrong for such vehicles to top the EV sales list. But the point is: they’re the EVs that are most competitive in their respective vehicle classes. If other EVs were as competitive in their much more popular vehicle classes, they’d be at the top of the list.
As it stands, there are basically just a handful of other electric models that see decent monthly sales. Perhaps there are some that I don’t track (since the parent automaker doesn’t reveal their monthly sales numbers, or any sales numbers), but I doubt it. As far as these other noteworthy plug-in vehicles, here are some quick thoughts on September and overall 2017 sales figures:
Chevy Bolt sales continue to grow month after month, hinting that GM has gotten production ramped up and/or time + word of mouth are moving more and more off the lot. If it weren’t for those rascal Tesla kids, the Bolt would be the top-selling electric car in the US. Of course … if it weren’t for Tesla, the Bolt wouldn’t be on the market. (That’s basically a fact, not an opinion.)
Toyota Prius Prime benefits continue to hold up in court, and broad availability must not hurt. Yes, the car will forever be ignored and sneered at by many a Tesla fan, but this model does offer a competitive mixture of size, price, creature comforts, new tech, and flexibility.
Chevy Volt sales are down a bit compared to earlier in the year, perhaps losing traction from the rise of the Chevy Bolt and Toyota Prius Prime, but it’s still an amazing offer for the price. It’s got to be on my list of the top 5 best buys on the US car market. It may not be a Tesla Model 3, but we can’t all be.
Nissan LEAF sales remained above 1,000 again in September, demonstrating a persistence and resilience I did not expect as Chevy Bolt production ramped up, Tesla Model 3 production started, and a next-gen Nissan LEAF with much more range was unveiled. It’s still a bit of a mystery what is keeping the sales funnel flowing, but the presumption is that it’s some combination of compelling discounts, fleet sales, simple word of mouth from the broad network of happy Nissan LEAF drivers who have been selling their friends and family on the car for years, and repeat buyers/lessees who have decided to stick with the current LEAF for a few more years while they wait for the next generation of electric cars to really get rolling. Or Nissan is just lying.
The Ford Energi brother & sister duo (Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi, respectively) continues to see moderately okay monthly sales. A combo of half-decent availability, cost competitiveness, and the ability to drive on electricity a bit but also benefit from the long-distance convenience of a gas tank + ample interior and cargo space is all that it takes to move several hundred cars off the lot each month.
BMW i3 sales are meh, but I still love this vehicle.
As for the Tesla Model 3, in case you missed it, Elon Musk has admitted yet again that they are deep in production hell right now.
You'll know as soon as we do. We are deep in production hell 🔥
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017
Let’s hope they find an air-conditioned exit out of hell soon.
Check out the full sales tables below and let us know your thoughts in the comments below the article!
The (VW) Empire Strikes Back
The plug-in market in Europe had a surprisingly strong August month, with over 22,000 registrations, up 68% year over year (YoY). That pushes the plug-in market share up to 1.7%.
This unexpected surge can also be an indication of an exceptional September month. Will this mean the December 2015 record (34,213 registrations) is in danger?
Despite being a usually slow sales month due to the holiday season, the Renault Zoe hasn’t stopped leading the way. For the eighth month in a row, it was #1. But the real news in August was the deliveries surge from Volkswagen, with brilliant performances across the lineup, while also winning the month’s silver and bronze medals.
Looking at the monthly model ranking:
#1 Renault Zoe — Still struggling to satisfy the demand for its long-range supermini, Renault couldn’t lift off the accelerator and enjoy the holiday season. The French hatchback scored 2,152 units, up 147% YoY, with strong performances across the continent. The Zoe landed 710 deliveries in its domestic market, 423 in Germany, and 148 in Denmark. What an increased range does to an electric car’s sales…
#2 Volkswagen e-Golf — The 1,694 deliveries the e-Golf scored in August not only beat its previous personal record, set last June (1,360 units), but it also allowed the e-Golf to triple the result made in the same period last year (549 units), mostly thanks to Norway (996 deliveries, a new record) and Germany (475 units, a new record). Oh, the wonders of increased range…
#3 Volkswagen Passat GTE — Also profiting from Volkswagen’s recent love for plug-ins, the Passat GTE registered 1,352 units, its best result since January. The plug-in hybrid Passat landed great results in Sweden (614 units, a new record), Norway (356), and Germany (198). The German midsizer is once again flying high, driving middle managers across Europe to their next customers/meetings/mistresses.
#4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — A classic in these Euro charts, the Japanese SUV was back in black, growing 18% YoY to 1,204 units. It collected strong results in Norway (358 units) and Sweden (176), but the headlining result was in Iceland, where it set an all-time record for a single model — 152 registrations. No wonder Iceland is at 10% share…
#5 BMW i3 — It looks like the 33 kWh sales boost has ended, with the German hot hatch delivering only 1,149 units, its lowest result in a year. Leading markets, unsurprisingly, were Norway (390 units) and Germany (238). If it’s true, the upcoming restyling could help stop the sales bleeding, but the fact is the EV market is moving fast and only a sharp price cut can make it competitive again.
YTD Ranking — Volkswagen on the Rise
While the podium positions remained stable, below the podium were significant changes, with the VW Passat GTE climbing to #5, its e-Golf stablemate jumping to #11, and to end Volkswagen’s nearly perfect month, the Golf GTE climbing to #14.
In #20 we now have the BMW 530e, which saw 627 units moved in August. It seems this young plug-in hybrid has struck a chord with its target audience, which is eager to cash in on those juicy plug-in incentives. The model also shamed its direct rival, the Mercedes E350e (which only saw 204 registrations in August) and even kept up with the almighty Tesla Model S (766 deliveries).
In the manufacturers ranking, BMW is comfortable in its carbon fiber throne, holding 20% EV market share, followed by Renault (14%) and Volkswagen (12%, up 2%).
|Europe||August||YTD||YTD Market Share|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,204||11,882||7%|
|VW Passat GTE||1,352||8,243||5%|
|Tesla Model S||766||8,051||4%|
|Tesla Model X||577||6,636||4%|
|Audi A3 e-Tron||904||5,634||3%|
|Volvo XC90 T8||340||4,802||3%|
|VW Golf GTE||616||4,584||3%|
|BMW X5 xDrive40e||279||3,925||2%|
|Hyundai Ioniq Electric||620||3,801||2%|
|Kia Soul EV||570||3,325||2%|
This month we have only one new vehicle landing, but an important one:
Kia Niro PHEV — Building on the success of its regular hybrid sibling, which has broken the Toyota monopoly in its category, the plug-in hybrid Niro lands at the heart of the hottest selling segment in Europe: compact crossovers, where currently it has no direct competition to worry about — not that competition would be a problem. The Kia Niro PHEV has quite compelling specs (58 kilometers of electric range on the optimistic NEDC cycle) and pricing (€33,000). The problem for Kia will be to make enough of them to satisfy demand. Target: 1,000/month.
A record 55,000 new passenger electric cars were registered last month in China, with the market growing 68% compared to the same month last year and pulling the year-to-date (YTD) count to over 282,000 electric cars, up 45% year over year (YoY).
As a consequence of all this, the plug-in vehicle (PEV) market share grew once again, this time to 1.8%, and is now firmly ahead of last year’s record (1.5%). Sales are expected to grow even further by the end of the year, and the Chinese PEV market seems sure to surpass 2% share by year end, maybe even reaching 2.5%.
And this is just the beginning. With the Chinese market setting ambitious goals for the next few years, we are set to see the needle rise significantly year after year. And remember that BYD expects a new car market that is 100% electrified by 2030 (but that includes conventional hybrids).
This is still a highly protected market, where 94% of sales belong to domestic brands. Of the 7% left for foreign brands, 4% belong to Tesla, 1% to BMW, and the remaining 1% divided by all other automakers. And, surprisingly, that represents a bit of an opening in the market compared to previous months and years, when foreign brands had even significantly lower share.
In August, small city cars were all the rage, with the EC-Series winning the best-selling award (over 6,700 deliveries — a new record), soundly beating the #2 Zhidou D2 EV. The Kandi K17, meanwhile, joined the top 5 this month.
Here are the top 5 best selling models in August 2017:
#1 — BAIC EC-Series: A consistent seller this year, the BAIC EC-Series, formerly known as EC180, sold 6,726 units in August, a new all-time record for a single model in China. The little city EV’ surge last month owes its success to a trendy design in an affordable package — it’s reminiscent of a crossover, has decent specs (now with 200 km of range), and comes with a competitive price (€19,000). Will it be enough to win the 2017 Best Seller award? If that happens, it would be a first for BAIC and the first time since 2013 that a BYD model didn’t win the trophy.
#2 — Zhidou D2 EV: A bare-basics city vehicle that I commonly say doesn’t inspire anyone, this model continues to be delivered in record quantities (5,018 units in August), probably due to big fleet deals. This vehicle is sold as a quadricycle (think: Renault Twizy) in some European countries. It hosts the following specs: 12 kWh battery, 120 km range, 90 km/h max speed, approximately €16,000.
#3 — BYD Song PHEV: This is BYD’s “Model Y,” a VW Tiguan-sized SUV with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The Song PHEV registered 4,194 units, dropping some 900 units compared to the previous month. Production constraints or is demand fading? I believe the full potential of this version should be around 5,000–6,000 units/month, plus some 3,000–4,000 units from the fully electric version, which should be enough to have the Song reach the tune of 10,000 units/month if you count both versions. (The fully electric version had another 1,200 deliveries last month, in its second full sales month.)
#4 — Geely Emgrand EV: Geely’s electric sedan had a year-best performance in August, with 4,114 registrations. Improved specs (300 km of range) and equipment without hurting the final price too much (€25,000) helped it to pull sales up, but it remains to be seen if Geely will be able to match its personal best, achieved last December (6,023 registrations), this year.
#5 — Kandi K17: This five-door Kandi saw 3,213 deliveries in August, allowing it to squeeze into the top 5. A popular choice among carsharing companies, priced at about €21,000 before incentives, you get a fairly spacious city car (think: Renault Zoe) and the 20kWh battery provided enough range for many people, with the major drawback being the weak engine (48 hp).
|China||August||YTD||YTD Market Share|
|Zhidou D2 EV||5,018||27,507||10%|
|BYD Song PHEV||4,194||16,101||6%|
|Geely Emgrand EV||4,114||13,811||5%|
|SAIC Roewe eRX5 PHEV||1,201||12,012||4%|
|Changan Benni EV*||2,122||9,831||3%|
|Tesla Model S*||700||5,995||2%|
|Tesla Model X*||1,000||5,664||2%|
|Zotye Cloud EV||114||4,880||2%|
|BYD Qin EV300||256||4,518||2%|
|BYD Qin PHEV||2,178||4,166||1%|
Year-to-Date Ranking — Beijing Auto EC-Series Back at #1
The big news of August was of course the BAIC EC-Series returning to the top spot, but the last place of the podium also changed hands, with the BYD Song PHEV climbing to #3, being at the same time the best-selling SUV and the best-selling PHEV in the ranking.
The Geely Emgrand EV jumped to fifth place, while the Roewe eRX5 PHEV stumbled to #8, scoring its worst result since February (1,201 units). The Roewe eRX5 PHEV was actually outsold by its brand new BEV sibling (1,580 units). A case of internal competition?
Could that be a reference for the Kandi K17 surging to #13? Also notable is that the BYD Qin PHEV returned to the top 20, thanks to 2,178 deliveries, its best result in 11 months, making that 5 BYDs in the top 20, or 25% of the list!
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD (20%, down 1%) is stable in its position on the throne, keeping the previous leader BAIC (15%, down 2%) at a safe distance.
In 3rd place, we have Zhidou, with 10% share. SAIC is on its tail (9%), with the Shanghai-based manufacturer aiming to surpass it soon in its bid to become the third of China’s “Big 3 PEV” club.
In this section, we look at some of the cars that landed in the previous month and have potential to reach the top 20:
Changan Eulove EV — A surprisingly strong landing for the small MPV, with 1,095 units, the numbers show the excellent value for money this model offers. In exchange for €20,300, you get a spacious if awkward-looking compact MPV, with a 35 kWh battery and 252 kilometers of range. This is a model to follow closely, and could potentially displace the Benni EV as the best-selling Changan EV.
SAIC Wuling E100 — A lot is expected from this Smart-like model, as SAIC hopes to steal a significant portion of the important city-EV and carsharing markets, distributing it through its popular Wuling brand. At 249 centimeters in length, SAIC managed to make it even smaller than the Smart Fortwo, and with only 39 hp in its engine, it is no pocket rocket, but it can travel up to 155 kilometers on a single charge. With a hip interior, which in some ways looks better than the Smart itself, this is a model that can certainly overshadow the Zhidou D2. Although, SAIC is being cautious in these first stages, delivering only 674 units in its debut month. Target: 5,000 units/month.
Update: This article has been updated to correct a few key stats after an error was identified in two spreadsheet formulas (the “100% Electric Totals” in the second table).
The US electric car market has continued to grow at a rapid pace in the past year — led by California’s particularly strong electric car market, of course. From January through August, sales of 8 fully electric cars* grew 47% in the country. Sales of 6 plug-in hybrid cars were up 30%. Overall, that meant sales of these 14 plug-in car were up 40%.
August 2017 vs August 2016 was less dramatic but still a period of strong growth. Fully electric car sales were up 19%. Plug-in hybrid sales were up 4%. Overall, that meant a 13% increase in plug-in car sales.
If the Tesla estimates** are to be believed, the Tesla Model S was far ahead in the #1 spot, the Chevy Bolt held tight at #2, the Toyota Prius Prime rose to #3, the Tesla Model X dropped to #4, and the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF retained their places at #5 and #6, respectively. Ah, gone are the days of the neverending LEAF vs Volt battle at the top of the charts (which was a super tight competition for years).
If you look at the January through August stats (which are educated estimates** but certainly not exact), the Model S is crushing it (despite its high price tag). That hints at how extremely competitive the car is in its niche segment. The Volt has a slight lead over the Model X, which has an even slighter lead over the Toyota Prius Prime. The Chevy Bolt has a gap to cover to catch up with any of those models, but now that sales are picking up and availability is nationwide, it has potential to climb up the ranking and perhaps even land on the podium by the end of the year.
We can surely expect electric car sales to keep increasing as Tesla Model 3 production ramps up, the next-generation Nissan LEAF arrives on dealer lots, and overall EV awareness rises. I would be surprised if our report one year from now doesn’t show a more dramatic electric car sales increase of 82% at this point in time.
Here are more 2017 sales details in table format:
|EV Model||August 2017||August 2016||% Change||YTD 2017||YTD 2016||% Change|
|Audi A3 e-tron||129||346||-62.7%||2,467||2,637||-6.4%|
|Ford C-Max Energi||705||707||-0.3%||5,954||4,687||27.0%|
|Ford Focus Electric||131||75||74.7%||1,332||579||130.1%|
|Ford Fusion Energi||762||1,422||-46.4%||6,522||9,998||-34.8%|
|Tesla Model 3||100||130|
|Tesla Model S||2,700||3,000||-10.0%||20,882||17,093||22.2%|
|Tesla Model X||1,800||1,800||0.0%||13,356||10,000||33.6%|
|Toyota Prius Prime||1,820||2||90900.0%||13,157||48||27310.4%|
|All EVs Total||13,703||12,111||13.1%||105,963||75,815||39.8%|
|100% Electric Total||8,813||7,408||19.0%||63,664||43,219||47.3%|
*There are several automakers that don’t break out sales of their electric models (for example, sales of the BMW 330e are hidden within sales of the BMW 3 Series). As such, we have little insight into how many of these cars are sold in the US. Rather than guess, we exclude them from these monthly reports.
**I base these on every Tesla statement I can find on the matter as well as Tesla registration data in Europe and China. But note that Tesla doesn’t publicly break out monthly sales and doesn’t break out country-by-country sales, so these estimates are definitely not precise.
Zoe #1 in Holiday Season
The European plug-in car market started its usual holiday season in July, down almost a third compared to the previous month (summertime = lower sales). There were some 19,600 registrations. But that is still up 41% regarding the same month last year, so the growth trend continues. Year to date, the market is up 34% this year, with the EV share now standing at a record 1.6%.
Despite being holiday season, the Renault Zoe hasn’t stopped setting the pace. A bit like cyclist Chris Froome, it seems no one can get the Zoe out of the yellow jersey, whatever the month or competition. The French hatchback once again demonstrated a solid lead as the continent’s best seller, while plug-in hybrids took this special time of the year to post a positive month and outsell pure electrics (57% vs 43%). Year to date (YTD), however, BEVs are still ahead — but by fewer than 100 units.
Monthly Model Ranking
#1 Renault Zoe — With orders currently outnumbering production, Renault couldn’t lift the foot off the accelerator too much and enjoy the holiday season, so the Zoe scored 1,919 units, up 68% year over year (YoY). That was enough to easily win the monthly best seller trophy for the 7th time in a row in Europe. Well, that’s all of the 2017 trophies so far. The model saw good news across the continent, with high numbers in Germany (413 units), Norway (250), and Austria (207).
#2 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — Once king, the Outlander PHEV had a positive month in July, with the Japanese SUV sales growing 4% YoY (to 1,406). Besides the usual strongholds (the UK, Sweden, and Norway), Mitsubishi hit a home run last month in Iceland, scoring 134(!) sales, a new all-time record for a single model in that country. In the long run, though, no one really knows if the Japanese SUV can keep up with the general growing sales trend and stay among Europe’s top sellers.
#3 BMW i3 — The popular German hot hatch was up 73% in July, to 1,287 registrations. The fully electric option represented 71% of all sales. Looking at individual countries, there were no big surprises, with Norway registering 277 units (all of them being fully electric) and its home market, Germany, scoring 325 registrations. Looking ahead, expect deliveries to slow down as people anticipate the revised version, coming later in the year.
#4 Nissan LEAF — The granddaddy of the ranking keeps on scoring four-digit results like it had been launched only a few months ago. Sure, most is thanks to deep discounting, but nevertheless, the ageing hatch is resisting quite well to the newer offerings, growing 18%(!) YoY to 1,128 registrations. With steady sales in its stronghold markets (France, UK, and Norway), and even scoring a record 61 deliveries in Portugal, the veteran model is keeping momentum by appealing to a new demographic — bargain hunters looking for the current best value for money. Were it a new model, I would even say it was the first EV to reach price parity with the ICE competition.
#5 Mercedes GLC350e — This Mercedes plug-in SUV recorded 991 deliveries last month, proving to be the fashionable luxury SUV du jour (nevermind that it only has 34 kilometers of range on the NEDC system, or some 20 kilometers of range in the real world). The important feature here is that it manages to dodge the fiscal system in many countries and gives its owners the benefits of being “environmentally friendly” despite the short electric range (Euro-speak for “compliance car”). But enough bitching. The stylish Mercedes has its largest buyer bases in Norway (295 July sales), Germany (138 July sales), and Belgium (132 July sales). This model is serving for Mercedes as a customer lab experiment, warming them up for the brand’s real game-changer, the 2019 EQ SUV.
|4||Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,406||10,708||7%|
|5||Tesla Model S||547||7,269||5%|
|7||VW Passat GTE||627||6,864||4%|
|9||Tesla Model X||562||6,021||4%|
|11||Audi A3 e-Tron||926||4,932||3%|
|12||Volvo XC90 T8||395||4,309||3%|
|15||BMW X5 xDrive40e||366||3,638||2%|
|16||VW Golf GTE||483||3,557||2%|
|17||Hyundai Ioniq Electric||475||3,051||2%|
|18||Kia Soul EV||511||2,706||2%|
|20||Audi Q7 e-Tron||263||2,283||1%|
|24||Volvo V60 T8||156||1,677||1%|
|25||Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid||151||1,611||1%|
|26||Renault Kangoo ZE||80||1,599||1%|
|29||MINI Countryman PHEV||452||1,281||1%|
|30||Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid||525||1,213||1%|
YTD Ranking — Zoe Reinforces #1, Nissan LEAF Climbs to #2
Looking at the YTD ranking, the top positions remained stable. The Zoe increased its lead, and the most notable changes were simply the Mercedes GLC350e climbing to the #6 spot and endangering the Tesla Model S’s position at #5.
Another model on the rise was the BMW 225xe Active Tourer, now in #8. By the way, imagine how many more units this model would have if the 7-seat version also had a plug — aside from the low-range Nissan Evalia “van with windows,” no one is selling a regularly priced plug-in 7-seater in Europe. Why, oh why? It’s low-hanging fruit, people. …
In this edition, we’re extending the ranking to a list of the top 30, where we can see more hot sellers bubbling up, like the #23 BMW 530e (546 deliveries in July — only one unit less than the Model S) and the recently arrived Mini Countryman PHEV (452 units) in #29. The British crossover was sandwiched between two models that only share a nationality and the fact that both have a steering wheel and four wheels: The Post Office’s best friend, StreetScooter Work, in #28, and the #30 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.
But what about the Opel Ampera-e (Chevrolet Bolt in Euro-speak)? Well, the good news is that it is climbing in the ranking. Currently, it’s at #33, but it is crawling up the list at glacial pace, so expect it to reach the top 10 in around … a million years, when the Pangaea supercontinent is back. Maybe.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BMW (20%) is comfortably seated on the Iron Throne, followed by Renault (13%, down 1%) in second place. The third spot is being toughly fought by the new bronze medalist Mercedes (11%, up 2%), Volkswagen (10%, down 1%), Nissan, and Tesla (these last two with 9% share).
Will Mercedes be able to race with Renault for the #2 position, or will VW fight back and recover the #3 spot? Don’t miss out the next episodes. We surely won’t.
Looking at this month’s new models, it’s an all-Volvo edition:
Volvo S/V90 T8 (PHEV) — As typical in Sweden as enjoying some Fika time in the garden, surrounded by IKEA outdoor furniture while bathing in the sunshine of the short Swedish summer, the S90 and V90 finally got plug-in hybrid variations (S90 – Sedan; V90 – Station Wagon). These are Volvo’s top-of-the-range car options, and the twins delivered 204 units in their first full sales month, already outselling the veteran V60 T8. So, expect the S/V90 combo to reach some 400 to 500 units/month once they are in full cruising speed, sales that would put them at the same pace as their class’s best sellers, the Tesla Model S and the German Armada.
Volvo XC60 T8 (PHEV) — A smaller, cuter version of the XC90 PHEV yacht, the midsize SUV registered 138 units in its first full sales month. That’s not a lot, but this model’s potential is enormous — not only does it sit at the heart of the SUV craze, but it also has some good looks (the #1 selling point for luxury SUVs) and an almost usable electric range (thanks to a 10.4 kWh battery, which allows some 45 kilometers of range on the NEDC testing circuit). The successful Mercedes GLC350e will have a worthy competitor here, as, technically, the Swede is the superior model (more power & more electric range). And on the subjective looks department, I believe it to be a stunner. All in all, expect it to reach the GLC350e sales level, which is to say a regular top 10 presence.
Some 44,700 new electric cars started zooming the Chinese streets last month, which made July the second best month ever for the segment. The electric car market grew 37% compared to the same month last year. The sales also pulled the YTD count to over 227,000 units, up 40% year over year (YoY). Additionally, regarding overall stock, a notable milestone has been reached — over one million plug-in cars are now registered in China (from 2009 until now), making it the first market to reach a 7-digit figure. Chinese electric cars now represent 40% of all plug-car stock in the world (which is up to around 2.6 millions).
As consequence of all this, the plug-in car market share grew once again, this time to 1.6%, beating last year’s record (1.45%). As the year progresses and sales expand, expect the Chinese plug-in car market to surpass the 2% share.
This is still a highly protected market, where 93% of sales belong to domestic brands. Of the 7% left for foreign brands, 4% belong to Tesla, 2% to BMW, and the remaining 1% is divided by all other automakers. Interestingly, the Buick Velite 5 (a thinly disguised Chinese Chevrolet Volt) was for the first time the best-selling foreign nameplate in China in July, with 382 units delivered.
In July, the much awaited BYD Song PHEV won its first best-selling award, with over 5,000 deliveries, beating both the Zhidou D2 EV and the BAIC EC-Series. With that boost, BYD itself has beaten for the second time in a row the all-time manufacturer sales record, registering 11,207 units in the month. Stepping up the pace, it is increasing the distance between it and runner-up Beijing Auto.
Here’s more on July’s top 5 best-selling models and their individual performance:
#1 — BYD Song PHEV: This is BYD’s “Model Y,” a VW Tiguan-sized SUV, here in plug-in hybrid version (the BEV had 1,500 deliveries in July, its first full sales month). In only its third full sales month, it registered 5,069 units, the second-best score ever for a BYD model — the Tang still holds the record of 5,503 units (set back in December 2015), but that will probably being beaten this summer.
This is a disruptive model. Why? It’s a plug-in SUV that goes 0–100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, and has a price tag of only $41,300 USD. … I believe the full potential of this version should be around 5,000–6,000 units/month. Adding some 3,000–4,000 units from the BEV version, it should be enough to have the Song reach the tune of 10,000 units/month, both versions counted. And these are 2017 targets — by 2018, BYD should have even more ambitious goals for it and new models to add to its lineup, but more on that below.
#2 — BAIC EC-Series: A consistent best-seller this year, the BAIC EC-Series, formerly known as EC180, sold 4,068 units in July. The little city EV seems to have found its natural sales level around 4,000 units per month, which is a bit disappointing, as this is a decent design with competitive specs (20 kWh battery) and price (€19,000). Will it be enough to win the 2017 Best Seller award? Doubt it, but if so, it would be a first for BAIC and the first time since 2013 that a BYD wouldn’t win the trophy.
#3 — Zhidou D2 EV: This is a bare-basics city vehicle that doesn’t inspire anyone, but continues to be delivered in large quantities (3,796 units in July), probably thanks to big fleet deals. This vehicle is sold as a quadricycle (think Renault Twizy class) in some European countries. It has the following specs: 12 kWh battery, 120 kilometers of range, 90 km/h max speed, and all for some €16,000.
#4 — Chery eQ EV: The funky Chery eQ sold 3,264 units in July, allowing it to stay in the top 5. This is one of my favorite Chinese urban EVs. For €22,000 before incentives, you get a decently equipped city car with a 22kWh battery, with the only drawback being the weak motor (56 hp, 100 km/h top speed). Add a bit more power and you could have a valuable competitor to the current crop of worldwide city EVs — as the VW e-Up! is pricey, the Mitsubishi triplets are showing their age, and the Smart Forfour ED … well, looks too goofy for my taste.
#5 — BYD e5: The Plain Jane BYD e5 sedan continues delivering decent performances, with 2,946 units being registered last month. A favorite among taxi companies, along with its e6 older brother, the low-key e5 actually has a lot going for it: 305 kilometers of range from a 48 kWh battery and a healthy 218 hp, all for 230,000 Yuan ($33,400). A wolf in sheep’s clothing, isn’t it?
Year-to-Date Ranking – Hear That? It’s the Song Coming.
The big news in July was of course the rise and rise of the BYD Song PHEV, jumping four positions to #4, becoming at the same time the best-selling SUV and best-selling PHEV in the YTD ranking.
Expect in August that the Song will surpass its e5 sibling and reach the podium. As for the pole position, the difference could be too big to cut short, but with BYD, you never know, right?
The Chery eQ deserves a reference too, climbing two positions to #7. The Changan Benni EV also did well, joining the top 10 last month.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD (21%, up 2%) is cementing its position at the Iron Throne, distancing itself from previous leader BAIC (17%). With Warp Speed now engaged, expect BYD to distance itself from the competition even further.
In 3rd place, we have Zhidou, with 10% share, but with SAIC now on its tail (9%, up 2%), it will be only a matter of time until the Shanghai-based manufacturer surpasses Zhidou in its bid to become the 3rd biggest of China’s “Big 3 PEV” club.
As a side note, if there were bets surrounding the global best-selling manufacturer in 2017, I would go with BYD. Yes, most are betting on Tesla. Yes, Tesla is ahead by 7,000 units. But I would still bet on BYD. Not only because of the Song twins, but in a couple of months, BYD will also launch the Yuan crossover (think Opel Mokka/Buick Encore) in both BEV and PHEV versions, adding some precious thousands of units to the current ones.
In 2018, again, the only company able to steal the show from Tesla will be … BYD. A new Tang and the Song MPV are scheduled for launch, adding even more volume to the company sales. I’m not saying BYD will, but it is the only company with enough pace to prevent Tesla from finally winning the Best Selling PEV Manufacturer trophy, something it has been pursuing without success since 2008.
Incidentally, this is the same number of years that the Boston Celtics have been without trophies.
Will both Tesla and the Celtics break the spell in 2018?
|China||July||YTD||EV Market Share YTD|
|1||Zhidou D2 EV||3,796||22,489||10%|
|4||BYD Song PHEV||5,069||11,907||5%|
|5||SAIC Roewe eRX5 PHEV||1,606||10,811||5%|
|8||Geely Emgrand EV||1,715||9,697||4%|
|10||Changan Benni EV||1,645||7,709||3%|
|14||Tesla Model S*||160||5,295||2%|
|15||Zotye Cloud EV||1,079||4,766||2%|
|16||Tesla Model X*||150||4,664||2%|
|17||BYD Qin EV300||145||4,262||2%|
In this section, we look at some of the cars landing in the previous month that have potential to reach the top 20:
GAC Trumpchi GE3 — Also known as just GAC GE3 at its 2017 NAIAS debut (apparently, they thought the “Trumpchi” name would damage the brand in US soil …), GAC has big ambitions for its GE3 model, its first dedicated BEV. Namely, it’s aiming at a 2019 arrival in the USA and other western markets, so its landing is a big deal, not only for the brand, but for the Chinese PEV market as a whole. Its price is set to start at around $30,000 USD. For that price, it offers a 50 kWh battery, enough for 310 kilometers of range, with 0–100 km/h being done in a reasonable 9.3 secs. With these specs, the compact crossover won’t have a problem with demand, but without major experience with plug-ins — in 2016 it only sold 3,000, all plug-in hybrids — GAC will have a hard time scaling up production. That makes a 200,000 target set for 2020 a bit hard to reach.
Geely Emgrand PHEV — Following on the success of the BEV version, the parent company of Volvo now has a PHEV version of its sedan (with 61 kilometers of range). It landed last month with 30 deliveries, no doubt demonstration units. With the BEV version being a regular among the best sellers, it won’t be a surprise if the new PHEV Emgrand reaches some 2,000 units/month. The thing is, sedans are losing ground to SUVs. Geely needs to follow the money, and right now, the money is in compact SUVs/crossovers (three of the top 6 models fall into this category). So, the automaker needs to launch a competitive model in that category if it wants to stay among the best.
Tesla Model 3 is here, and that has pushed me to again incorporate Tesla sales estimates into our monthly US electric car sales reports. Well, that and a repeated request from readers to bring back Tesla’s US sales estimates*.
Surprisingly — despite the ecstatic headlines about the car — the Model 3 isn’t yet #1! However, big sister Model S is, by a sizable margin.
The Chevy Bolt, with a record sales month, took the #2 spot, inching out my estimate for the Model X. After that, the plug-in hybrid Toyota Prius Prime and Chevy Volt round out the top 5.
Despite the addition of some extremely quick competitors on its track, the Nissan LEAF landed a healthy monthly sales total — still well above 1,000 cars a month — to take the #6 spot. After Ms. LEAF, the widely available yet less competitive (at least in consumers’ eyes) Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, and BMW i3 took #7, #8, and #9, respectively. That said, the Energi models would theoretically surpass the Chevy Volt for the #5 spot if combined as one car.
In theory the Volkswagen e-Golf is #10 here, but there are actually over a dozen other plug-in cars on the market than reported here. They are basically compliance cars and are mostly plug-in hybrids with small batteries, but the core reason I don’t report them here is that the parent automakers don’t report them. Yes, I could put my blindfold on and try to estimate them (like I’m doing with Tesla sales), but I actually have a lot less info to go on for those models than for the Tesla models and, well, like I wrote, they are compliance cars with low sales — nothing like Model S and Model X sales.
Looking at July 2017 sales versus July 2016 sales, the sales of this group of fully electric cars were up 46%. Plug-in hybrid sales, meanwhile, were up 10%. Overall, that means the sales of these 14 plug-in cars were up 19%.
January–July 2017 vs January–July 2016, fully electric car sales were up 86%, plug-in hybrid sales were up 34%, and sales of all 14 plug-in cars were up 45%.
The year-to-date leaders are similar, but there are some notable differences. Yes, the Tesla Model 3 is again last. I wonder if that position will last through the end of the year. 😉 Similarly, the Tesla Model S is again far ahead at #1. Considered the best sedan ever mass produced, it’s not too surprising the Model S is doing so well — it’s deservedly crushing the broader large luxury car competition.
The Chevy Volt, another hyper-competitive car in its class, is sitting at #2, approximately 1,000 sales above the Tesla Model X. The Model X is much more slimly ahead of the Toyota Prius Prime, but with Tesla expecting a big boost in production and sales in the second half of 2017, I’m presuming it will pull away from the Prius Prime and maybe even pass up the Volt. We’ll see.
The Chevy Bolt is a significant step below the Prius Prime, but expect it to gain ground and maybe take the #4 spot — or even the #3 spot — before year’s end. Production keeps growing as availability across the United States expands.
As noted above, the LEAF keeps on truckin’ (or LEAFin’?) despite the much longer range but similarly priced Bolt and Model 3 arriving on the scene. Large discounts are presumably a key reason for that, but so is the LEAF’s early mover advantages, high customer satisfaction, word of mouth, and widespread availability.
Similar to the month of July, if you combine the Ford Energi models, they actually outsold the Chevy Volt. Not too shabby for some quite dated models, which are competing (to some degree) with the Volt (much longer electric range) and Prius Prime (a much bigger reputation for efficient, electrified driving).
BMW i8, BMW i3, and Ford Fusion Energi sales were down most notably in July and January–July. i8 sales could well be getting gobbled by the Model S (it’s just so much quicker and has such higher tech). The i3 is arguably the electric car most threatened by the Model 3 (even if it does have its own unique advantages and selling points). And the Fusion Energi is likely being harmed at the cash register by the new-ish Prius Prime and Volt. It’s hard to see any of these models picking up steam (er, electrons) without massive model year updates and/or price reductions.
Those are my key takeaways from July. Have more? Have predictions for what happens in August? Drop the comments down below.
*Tesla doesn’t publish monthly sales numbers and doesn’t break out sales by region/country. Nonetheless, Tesla sales elsewhere — particularly, in China and Europe — and occasional statements from Tesla CEO Elon Musk help us to estimate US monthly sales.
The European passenger plug-in market had a near-record month in June, with 28,000 registrations, up 54% over the same month last year. For the year through June, the market is up 30% this year, with the EV share now standing at a record 1.5%.
The Renault Zoe is a bit like cyclist Chris Froome — it seems no one can get the car out of the yellow jersey, with the French hatchback being once again the continent’s best seller. Tesla models profited from their usual last-month-of-quarter peak to climb a couple of positions in the ranking.
Monthly Model Ranking
#1 Renault Zoe — With quality glitches now a thing of the past, it was all hands on deck at Renault in June, with the French Zoe scoring a record 4,189 registrations, up 73% YoY, enough to win (for the sixth time in a row) the Monthly Best Seller trophy in Europe. Or all 2017 trophies … as Zoe nailed a number of individual performance records across Europe. The Zoe set records in Germany (680 sales), Norway (428 sales), Austria (237 sales), and Portugal (112 sales), all while managing to post a positive result in the all-important domestic market (France), with 1,882 sales.
#2 BMW i3 — This German hot hatch was up 161%, to 1,634 registrations, with 3 out 4 units sold being the fully electric variety — a great contrast with what happened 12 months ago, when the REx variety used to outsell the all-electric version. What extended range does, huh? Anyway, these were solid results for the BMW model, especially in Norway, which saw 420 sales, all of them being fully electric. The i3 also had a good final score in its home country of Germany (315 sales). Looking ahead, expect deliveries to slowly drop as people anticipate the revised version coming later in the year.
#3 Nissan LEAF — Thanks to deep discounting, the ageing hatch is resisting the newer offerings quite well, reaching 3rd place and even managing to grow(!) 4% YoY to 1,590 registrations. With steady sales in its stronghold markets (France, UK, and Norway) and increasingly significant sales in Sweden (123 units, up 112% YoY), the veteran model is keeping momentum by appealing to a new demographic — bargain hunters looking for the current best value for the money out there.
#4 Tesla Model X — Back in the top 5, the EV scene’s favorite SUV recorded 1,552 deliveries last month, managing to outsell for the first time in Europe its Model S brethren. Is the Model 3’s long shadow starting to dent Model S sales?
But I digress — back to the Model X. The largest market for the SUV/minivan-that-thinks-it’s-a-sports-car was Norway, with a record 609 deliveries (sarcasm mode on — “What a surprise!”). It also did well in Switzerland (156 deliveries), Germany (136 deliveries), and the Netherlands (121 deliveries). With this model not being directly affected by the Model 3 cannibalization effect or by close competition, expect the Model X to continue to be a regular here, being only limited by its (very) high price.
#5 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — After a rare positive month in May, the Japanese SUV is back into a depressing sales trend, ending June with 1,435 registrations, down 8% YoY. Mitsubishi found a golden nugget in Scandinavia, more specifically Norway (349 deliveries) and Sweden (271 deliveries), but in the long run, it remains to be seen if that will be enough to keep this Japanese SUV among Europe’s top sellers.
YTD Ranking – Zoe Reinforces #1, Nissan LEAF Climbs to #2
Looking at the YTD ranking, the top positions remained stable, with the Zoe increasing its lead. The most notable changes were the Tesla Model S returning to the #5 spot and its Model X sibling climbing two positions to #8.
Other models on the rise are as follows:
The Audi A3 e-Tron, up one position to #11 thanks to 943 deliveries, its best this year.
The VW e-Golf, which was #6 in June thanks to a record 1,409 deliveries, allowing it to jump to #13 YTD. Comparing with the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE, the new 36 kWh super-sized e-Golf outsold it in June on a 2-to-1 ratio, whereas last year it was the GTE outselling the 24 kWh e-Golf on a 2-to-1 ratio.
So, as with the BMW i3, the longer the range of the fully electric version, the higher the sales of the all-electric version (consequently dropping the sales of the plug-in hybrid or REx version).
Looking below the top 20, there are some hot sellers bubbling up, like the recently arrived Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid (510 units in June, a new record) and the Opel Ampera-e (Chevrolet Bolt in Euro-speak, registering 392 deliveries last month). Note that the Ampera-e deliveries totalled a drop in the ocean of orders that Opel has across the continent for this model (there are more than 4,000 orders in Norway alone).
One advice to GM: Instead of producing units mainly for California, only to win dust on local dealerships, why not start to allocate production for the orders already made in Europe? I know ZEV credits are nice and all that, but there are more ways to win money … and while you’re at it, in Canada, South Korea, and the rest of the US, there are also buyers waiting for months (years?) for their Chevy Bolt, you know?
Now is the time to see if The General walks the walk, or if it just talks, talks, talks.
|4||Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||1,435||9,294||7|
|5||Tesla Model S||1,373||6,580||5|
|6||VW Passat GTE||939||6,314||5|
|8||Tesla Model X||1,552||5,613||4|
|11||Audi A3 e-Tron||943||4,026||3|
|12||Volvo XC90 T8||638||3,940||3|
|14||BMW X5 xDrive40e||680||3,247||2|
|15||VW Golf GTE||743||3,195||2|
|16||Hyundai Ioniq Electric||529||2,664||2|
|18||Kia Soul EV||422||2,214||2|
|20||Audi Q7 e-Tron||417||2,019||2|
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BMW (20%) is comfortably seated on the top spot, followed by Renault (14%, up 1%) in 2nd place, while 3rd place is being hardly fought by Volkswagen (11%, up 1%), Nissan (10%, down 1%), Tesla (9%), and Mercedes (9%).
With the Wolfsburg brand now in #3 and making the restyled Golf plug-ins at full speed, expect it to race with Renault for the #2 position soon.
Looking at new models, the big news is the thundering arrival of the Porsche Panamera plug-in hybrid, while the much awaited Hyundai Ioniq PHEV and Smart ED offerings have also just arrived.
Porsche Panamera PHEV — With 595 deliveries in June, by far the nameplate’s best performance ever (the previous record was 189 units), the second edition Panamera PHEV landed in Europe with a bang. The headlining news of the month for the model was that it hit 198 deliveries in Germany, or 46% of all Panamera deliveries that month. But record performances happened across Europe, so if these numbers are any indication of the future, this could be a disruptive model in its segment, and possibly even a serious sales competitor to the Tesla Model S, something unthinkable a couple of years back. This is also a good sign for the 2020 Porsche Mission E.
Hyundai Ioniq PHEV — This version of the Ioniq has been a long time coming. With Hyundai still flooded with orders of the fully electric version, the Korean carmaker finally decided to launch the PHEV version as well, recording 170 deliveries in its first sales month. With competitive specs and pricing, this will be another model whose success will be dictated by production constraints, something that unfortunately has become the norm among Hyundai-Kia plug-ins.
Smart Fortwo & Forfour ED — With several months of delay, we finally have the second-generation Smart Fortwo ED, this time accompanied by its 4-seater sibling, the Forfour ED. With similar specs as the first generation and still no fast charging, do not expect an EV revolution to come from here, but with a debut month of 424 units for the Fortwo ED (best result since December 2014) and 161 deliveries for the Forfour ED, a combined output of over 1,000 units per month is expected.
The Chinese market had more than 43,000 new EVs zooming the streets last month. With the market growing below expectations, at 16% YoY, this performance from China feels like when LeBron James scores 28 points in an NBA Finals game — it would be a great score for anyone else, but people expect more from the star of the team.
Anyway, the EV market share grew to 1.5% in China, already beating last year’s record (1.45%). Expect that as the year progresses and sales expand, the Chinese PEV market will surpass the 2% share by year end.
This is still a highly protected market, where 93% of sales belong to domestic brands. Of the 7% left for foreign brands, 6% belong to Tesla, with the remaining 1% divided by all other automakers.
In June, the Zhidou D2 EV was once again the best-selling model, surpassing BAIC’s golden boy EC180 for the lead in the YTD ranking, while BYD has beaten the all-time manufacturer sales record by registering 11,198 units last month, stepping up the pace and surpassing previous leader Beijing Auto in the best-selling manufacturer race.
Top 5 Best-Selling Electric Models in June
#1 – Zhidou D2 EV: This bare-basics city vehicle probably doesn’t inspire anyone, but it surely continues to be delivered in record quantities (4,714 units in June), probably thanks to big fleet deals. This vehicle is sold as a Quadricycle (Think Renault Twizy class) in some European countries, with the following specs: 12 kWh battery, 120 km range, 90 km/hr max speed, and all for some €16,000.
#2 – BYD Song PHEV: This is BYD’s “Model Y,” a VW Tiguan-sized SUV, in this case in a plug-in hybrid version (the fully electric version has had its first units registered just this month). In only its second full sales month, 4,552 of these BYD Song PHEVs were registered, the second best score ever for a BYD model — the Tang set the record at 5,503 registrations back in December 2015, but that’ll probably be beaten this summer. Why is this model so disruptive?
A) It’s an SUV, and we know how they are sucking up sales everywhere. (For some reason, its sedan counterpart, the Qin, disappeared from the spotlight. Expect something similar to happen sometime in 2020 to the Tesla Model 3.)
B) It has the same impressive specs that its larger brother Tang has (18.4 kWh battery, 70 km range, 0–100 km/h in 4.9 secs), but with a more affordable price ($41,300 USD), which will make it the strongest candidate for the monthly best seller trophies in the coming months.
#3 – Chery eQ EV: A consistent high seller in China, the funky Chery eQ sold a record 3,466 units in June. This is one of my favorite Chinese urban EVs — for €22,000 before incentives, you get a decently equipped city car with a 22 kWh battery and 200 kilometers of range. The only major drawback is the weak engine (56 hp, 100 km/h top speed). Add a bit more power to the engine and you could have a valuable competitor to the current crop of worldwide city EVs, since the Mitsubishi triplets are showing their age, the VW e-Up! is pricey, and the Smart Forfour ED … well, it looks too goofy for my taste. (What were Smart designers smoking when they created this recent generation?!?).
#4 – BYD e5: The Plain Jane BYD e5 sedan continues to impress, delivering another record performance (the third in a row), with 3,206 units moved last month. A favorite among taxi companies, along with its e6 older brother, the low-key e5 actually has a lot going for it: 305 kilometers of range from a 48 kWh battery, and a healthy 218 hp, all for 230,000 Yuan ($33,400). A wolf in sheep’s clothing, isn’t it?
#5 – JAC iEV6S: Despite being a vehicle in the intersection of the two hottest trends in China — crossovers and EVs — success surprisingly escaped the iEV6S due to battery production constraints. But those days are now a thing of the past, having scored a record 3,001 deliveries last month. Expect this Nissan Juke–sized crossover to be a frequent sight here in the coming months — not only does it have an attractive design, inside and out, but also decent specs: 114 hp and 251 kilometers of range coming from a 33 kWh battery provided by Samsung.
Year-to-Date Ranking – Zhidou D2 & BYD New Kings
The big news when it comes to changes in the year-to-date ranking was of course the rise to #1 of the Tin Lizzie Zhidou D2 EV. The BYD e5 finally reaching the podium was notable as well, and the JAC iEV6S continues to climb the ladder, now jumping to #5.
But the sensation of the month was the BYD Song PHEV, shooting to #8 in only its second full month on the market. Expect it in July to reach the top 5 and maybe even the podium by the end of Summer.
Tesla may not be thrilled with its rankings, but the Tesla Model S and Model X being present on the top 20 ranking make them by far the most successful foreign models. The third-best-selling overseas model was the BMW X1 PHEV, with an estimated 600 units delivered.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD (19%, up 2%) is back at the Iron Throne, replacing the previous leader BAIC (17%, down 1%). With warp speed now turned on, expect BYD to distance itself from the competition at lightning speed.
In 3rd place and without immediate pretensions to be the King of the Realm, we have Zhidou, with 10% share, followed by SAIC (7%).
|Zhidou D2 EV||4,714||18,693||10%|
|SAIC Roewe eRX5 PHEV||1,541||9,205||5%|
|Geely Emgrand EV||478||7,982||4%|
|BYD Song PHEV||4,552||6,838||4%|
|Changan Benni EV||1,778||6,064||3%|
|Tesla Model S||1,600||4,785||3%|
|Tesla Model X||500||4,514||3%|
|BYD Qin EV300||593||4,117||2%|
|Zotye Cloud EV||1,568||3,687||2%|
In this section, we look at some of the cars landing in the previous month that have potential to reach the top 20. Although, in this first edition, we’re broadening the timeframe to the last two months:
BYD Song EV300: The fully electric twin brother of the Song PHEV, this is a model destined for success, starting with some BYD DNA strong points: long range (a 48 kWh battery allows it to reach 300 kilometers of rated range) and quick acceleration (0–100 km/h in 8.9 secs). Although not as fast as the PHEV version, it has the right technology to succeed in this BEV-friendly market. How successful will it be? I would put 2,000 units/month as minimum bar. For now, there were 189 units registered in its landing month.
SAIC Roewe eRX5 BEV and i6 PHEV: Following on the success of the eRX5 PHEV version, the Tiguan-like-but-better-looking RX5 SUV now has a BEV version (with a 48 kWh battery, watch out, BYD!). Meanwhile, the i6, one of the most appealing Chinese sedans on the road, grew a plug and now has a PHEV version, using the same drivetrain as the eRX5.
The all-electric SUV landed in June, with 43 units, but in a few months, once the production kinks are sorted, sales should easily reach into four digits per month. As for the Audi A4–sized i6 PHEV sedan, it scored 359 units in its first full sales month. Given the recent sales bleeding that sedans are suffering, it will be hard for it to replicate the success of its e550 predecessor, so reaching four-digit sales will be considered a success.
Big Auto gets a lot of criticism here. The problem for large automakers is that they will crush their own finances and have to write off massive investments if they rapidly shift to electric transport, but they are exposing themselves to great threat if they are too slow electrifying their offerings. Nonetheless, it’s hard to sympathize when gas & diesel cars & trucks are destroying our planet’s climate and countless humans’ health. Sometimes the moral high ground should trump the wrath of shareholders.
The good news is that electric cars are better, better, and better, so consumers should be on hand to happily help automakers make the transition and give up their insane obsession with burning stuff.
June’s US electric car sales are a good example of how one small and hesitant step from automakers leads to 10 enthusiastic leaps from consumers. Looking at the sales of automakers who report the monthly sales of their plug-in models, we can see that fully electric car sales grew 102% in June 2017 versus June 2016, and plug-in hybrid sales grew 11.5%. For the year through June, those fully electric car sales are up 96% and plug-in hybrid sales are up 42%. (Again, these numbers don’t even include Tesla’s rapid growth, since Tesla doesn’t report monthly sales or split out US sales from global sales.)
Aside from Tesla, GM and Nissan are leading on the fully electric car front, while GM and Toyota are top of the market when it comes to plug-in hybrids. Apart from BMW, these are the only major automakers that have put a significant amount of effort into the electric cars they have on the market today. It’s not that surprising that the companies that have put in the most work offering electric vehicles are the ones selling the most electric vehicles, but the big question is when they see this market as their most important growth market and offer several original electric cars across popular car classes.
In the end, 1000–2000 sales a month will encourage automakers to keep electrifying, but it’s 20,000 or so sales a month that make an individual model one of Big Auto’s cornerstone and iconic offerings. That would be something like 3–4 years of 100% growth for GM’s Chevy Bolt.
It’s still hard to imagine a large automaker getting to 20,000 monthly sales of an electric model by 2020, but maybe they will be inspired by demand for the Tesla Model 3 and maybe they have enough magic up their sleeves that we can be positively surprised by the time the next oil-funded US presidential election comes around.