Tesla Crushes Nissan & GM In 2015 Electric Car Sales

I’m still waiting for all of the 2015 automotive sales numbers to roll in before publishing my monthly electric car sales report, but the numbers from most of the big players are in, so I thought it would be worth highlighting the main story.

Nissan LEAF 7Nissan sold 17,269 LEAFs in 2015 (including one to CleanTechnica/EV Obsession). GM sold slightly fewer Volts (15,393), but more electric cars overall (an additional 1,024 ELRs and 2,477 Spark EVs through the end of November — I’m still waiting on the Spark EV’s December numbers, since GM doesn’t bother to break it out from the gasoline Spark in the main press release and table). Ford’s numbers fall somewhere between Nissan’s and GM’s. So, basically, the top 3 electric car automakers other than Tesla each hit between 17,000 and 19,000 electric car sales in 2015.

Tesla Model Ss FloridaTesla doesn’t break out US sales versus foreign sales, but it did indicate last year that it delivered slightly more than half of its cars to the US. With something similar projected for 2015 (in which 50,580 Teslas were delivered), I ended up with an estimate of 26,566 Tesla Model S deliveries and 208 Tesla Model X deliveries (all of them so far). That puts Tesla at nearly 27,000 US electric car deliveries (and many more orders and reservations, it should be noted, especially for the Model X).

By any measure, Tesla is crushing mainstream automakers in electric car sales on its home turf, the USA. Imagine if the mainstream automakers tried as hard as Tesla and put their banks full of cash into quickening the transition to EVs…

Here’s my current spreadsheet for monthly and total 2015 US electric car sales:

US EV Sales 2015 - December FINAL

Photos by Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession |CleanTechnica

9 thoughts on “Tesla Crushes Nissan & GM In 2015 Electric Car Sales

  1. Is the total for 100% BEV and PHEV reversed? Just Leaf + S > 40,000, yet your table shows 38500 for 100% electric total.

    I suspect SparkEV sales will be low. They just got 2016 models end of Dec near here, and they’re almost sold out already; 1LT with DCFC is completely sold out.

  2. Zach – Any chance the Toyota Mirai figures ever make it into your sales charts? I know they aren’t EVs, and I can think of many reasons to not have them in your charts, but they aren’t ICE vehicles either and many of us interested in BEV & PHEV (and even HEV) have a passing interest in the Mirai.

    1. Technically, Mirai and all fuel cell cars are EV as they use electric motor for propulsion and battery for regenerative braking. But when I think of EV, I think of the kind that you plug in, not the kind that you “fuel up”. Now if Mirai came with plug, it might be a different story. I doubt any FCEV will have plug.

      1. Precisely; HFCVs are range extended electric vehicles (i.e. series hybrids) with a tiny battery (limiting power) and an expensive, impractically fuelled generator.

        In my estimation, they’re already obsolete.

        1. Is it really series hybrid in that FC charges the battery? It would seem to me that keeping the battery empty would be better as long stretch of regenerative braking could overcharge the tiny battery. It would be also more efficient to just go direct from FC to motor rather than FC to batt to motor.

          But I agree, I don’t see any reason for FCEV when BEV works just fine. In case of Bolt and under 7 sec 0-60 vs 10+ sec Mirai, it makes no sense to pay double for FCEV to go slower, less efficient, less convenient.

          1. “Series hybrid” describes the architecture. It doesn’t have to imply anything about how the battery’s state of charge is managed.

            Fuel cells are slow to respond; they need an energy buffer to follow the power demands of a traction motor. That’s why they’re configured as series hybrids instead of directly powering the motor.

            The battery is sized and managed purely as a buffer. Obviously, allowing for regen will be part of the management system’s priorities.

            The small battery size is both the reason plug-in HFCVs would be pointless and why their acceleration sucks compared to BEVs with similar technology. (Batteries have limited power as well as limited capacity.)

          2. It’s semantics, but series hybrid is when gas engine is used to charge the battery and electric motor is used to drive the wheels (ie, BMW i3 Rex).

            Parallel hybrid is when gas and electric drive the wheels with only the regenerative braking charging the batteries (ie, Honda Civic hybrid).

            Series-Parallel is when both are done (ie, Toyota Prius).

            If FCEV battery is only charged during regenerative braking and both FC stack and battery can power the motor, wouldn’t that be closer to parallel hybrid rather than series?

            By the way, your profile photo, 100000000 thumbs up! πŸ™‚

          3. It’s simpler than that.

            Series versus parallel just describes the path power takes from power source to wheels. One (electric) path? Series. Two (electric and mechanical) paths? Parallel.

            Even if the mechanical path is part-time, it still counts as parallel. Prius is parallel hybrid. So is the Volt. BMW i3 is series, as are the Wrightspeed truck conversions. There’s no such thing as series-parallel.

            The generator in an HFCV is not connected mechanically in any way to the wheels, and cannot be as it has no output shaft. It is further from being a parallel hybrid than just about anything else.

            The battery management logic in an HFCV would be a charge hold program; run the fuel cell at whatever output is needed to maintain the preferred level. Regen would just cause the fuel cell to be throttled down to avoid building excess charge.

  3. I don’t think the big car guys and dealers want anything to do with EV’s and are only reluctantly responding to environmental rules and the competition.
    The big car guys could have do so much more in recent decades but oil changes, tuneups, brake jobs and new mufflers are needless money makers that they rely on. Profit first, the planet a distant second.

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