Tanking Nissan LEAF Takes US Electric Car Market With It
US electric car sales are in, and they aren’t particularly uplifting. The big deal hitting sales seems to be that people are waiting for a longer-range Nissan LEAF (or a much longer-range LEAF), a longer-range BMW i3, and the 200-mile Chevy Bolt (hitting the market ~1 year from now), and this has been killing sales of the Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, and nearly every other 100% electric model.
The only fully electric cars that saw higher sales in November 2015 compared to November 2014 were the Tesla Model S (basically, its production capacity has increased, so its sales have increased), the Volkswagen e-Golf (which had just hit the market about a year ago — 1 sale in October and 119 in November), and the Chevy Spark EV (a modest sales jump from 61 sales to 166 sales).
There are other potential reasons for the drop as well — low gas prices, people waiting for the Model 3, people opting for the new and improved Chevy Volt or the Ford Fusion Energi instead of a fully electric car… who knows?
Speaking of the Chevy Volt and Ford Fusion Energi, increased sales of those two plug-in hybrids drove the broader PHEV category’s 15% year-over-year increase. Volt sales increased 48% and Fusion Energi sales were up 26%. Together, they brought in 836 more sales. Kudos to GM and Ford for their continued growth… and simply making the cars available across the country!
Overall, monthly US electric cars sales have gotten a bit… predictable. I’m curious to see where they will be in one year, though. Between the Chevy Volt ramping up; the 2016 Nissan LEAF getting rolling; the Model X ramping up; new entrants like the BMW X5 xDrive 40e, Volvo XC90 T8, Audi A3 e-tron, and potentially Chevy Bolt leaving a mark; we could see a big change in the rankings next year.
For now, though, it’s again Tesla Model S #1, Chevy Volt #2, and Nissan LEAF #3, followed by a solid next 3 that change places from time to time — the BMW i3, Ford Fusion Energi, and, Ford C-Max Energi. And that order — just with the LEAF and Volt changing places due to strong LEAF sales and weak Volt sales earlier in the year — is essentially set in stone for the overall year-end ranking. Click on the full table for a look at more details:
*Tesla estimates (heavily requested by readers) are based on many statements and data points, such as official total sales numbers from Tesla, approximate US sales numbers based on a handful of statements by Elon Musk and registration numbers or media reports from numerous foreign countries, and Tesla sales projections. No doubt about it, the final numbers I report are estimates, but they are based on quite a lot of information.
**Fiat 500e numbers come from the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. They are only registration totals for California, but given that the 500e is hardly sold outside of California, we just use those totals as our cautious estimate of 500e sales.