High-End Electric Cars Up, Everything Else Down (July US Sales Update)
Well, that was a crappy month… if you’re an electric car fan. Almost across the board, US electric car sales were down in July 2015 compared to July 2014. However, three models were up — the Tesla Model S ($75,000), the Mercedes B-Class Electric ($41,450), and the BMW i3 (42,400). This actually matches fine with my theory of why US electric car sales were down in June (and again in July). Historically, the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt have dominated US electric car sales. With the next generation of the Volt (much improved) just hitting the market, one would expect Volt sales to be down a lot, as well as sales of close competitors, and they are. Similarly, an updated LEAF is expected soon, and I think that is killing LEAF sales. Furthermore, as we get closer to 2016 and 2017, people are holding out for the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
Those are my key theories, at least, and the stats fit the story (… or does the story just fit the stats?). As far as the positive stats go, BMW i3 sales were up 158% (572 cars) in July compared to one year prior, Mercedes B-Class Electric sales were up 378% (155 cars), and Tesla Model S deliveries were up an estimated 11.1% (200 cars). On the negative side, the Nissan LEAF was down 61.1% (1,845 cars), the Chevy Volt was down 35% (707 cars), the Toyota Prius Plug-In was down 70.8% (970 cars), the Ford Fusion Energi was down 30.5% (374 cars), and everything else was down a bit as well (not counting vehicles that weren’t yet on the market in July 2014, of course). Basically, everything that costs under $35,000 was down, but three higher-end models were up. You can have a closer look in the charts and tables below.
I’m not sure how long it’ll take GM to ramp up production of the 2016 Chevy Volt, but until that happens and until an improved LEAF comes to market, I think we’re going to see a bit of a dip in US electric car sales. Of course, by the end of the year, we’ll see production of the Tesla Model X flying electric SUVs out the door, Chevy Volts zipping under Christmas trees across the country, and perhaps some significant movement from Nissan again. And who knows, maybe the Audi A3 e-tron will find itself a nice spot in the market.