Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, & BMW i3 Dominate Plug-in Car Sales in October

Time for another electric car sales report. As you can see in the charts and table below, the Nissan LEAF again led electric car sales in the United States. The Chevy Volt took its routine second position, and the BMW i3 came in third… from available electric car sales data. As I stated last month, I’ve now dropped the Tesla Model S from these reports, since the only sales data we get from Tesla is quarterly global sales. Making month-to-month US sales estimates for Tesla is really too much of a guess.

The Nissan LEAF again saw a notable increase in sales over last October. Sales grew 29%, from 2002 to 2589. The Chevy Volt actually saw its sales fall 29%, from 2022 to 1439. The BMW i3, which wasn’t available last October, had its best month yet, with 1159 sales.

Overall, we actually saw a drop in electric car sales compared to last October (not uplifting). It’s the first time I remember seeing this. It certainly hasn’t happened in any other month this year.

It’s the plug-in hybrid electric car models that really brought down sales. The Ford Energi models were both down (the Ford C-Max Energi 41% and the Ford Fusion Energi 37%), and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid was down 77%, seeing 479 sales compared to 2092 in October 2013. I wonder how much these lower sales, as well as the Volt’s lower sales, are due to lower supply versus lower demand, if they are at all.

With much less of a potential market, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, BMW i8, and Cadillac ELR actually saw fairly good sales. But 269 cars don’t really make much of a dent in any way, shape, or form.

Every other electric car on the market is essentially a compliance car, so I don’t find it worth discussing them. Who knows how many would sell if the companies manufacturing them actually tried to sell them and produced enough of the cars to meet demand.

It’s disappointing to see the electric car market (minus Tesla) shrinking, when it should really be doubling or tripling, but maybe buyers have been waiting for the VW e-Golf, Kia Soul EV, or waiting for their deliveries of the BMW i3, which I assume is still not being produced enough to meet demand. Of course, Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X sales may also be growing substantially. We just have no quantifiable clue on that matter.

US EV Sales 2014 - October

4 thoughts on “Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, & BMW i3 Dominate Plug-in Car Sales in October

  1. Thanks for the interesting article. I am totally on board with most of your comments and hope that sales rebound. However, I think you are ignoring the elephant in the room with respect to EV sales — gasoline prices. While my wife and I bought our Leaf and C-Max Energi to reduce our carbon footprint and without considering how it impacted our bottom line, I think the bulk of all car buyers are drawn to EVs for the cost savings. So we should always expect EV and plug-in sales to be strongly linked to gas prices.

  2. Zach, I have really enjoyed your articles for the last several months and love the snazzy charts/data you put here. I think as we head towards the colder months, sales will naturally drop. I am an owner of a Leaf in Philadelphia.

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