Compared to January 2014, January 2015 was not an explosively bigger year for US electric car sales, unfortunately. January is typically a crappy month for electric car sales, and this year was no exception. Down from 9,259 total electric car sales in December, the US saw 6,164 sales in January.
One model that did see a big uptick in sales (read: deliveries) in January relative to January 2014 was the Tesla Model S… based on my informed but surely not perfect estimate. If you follow these monthly sales reports, you know that I have gone back and forth on the decision to estimate Model S sales or not. In January, I polled readers to make a decision for once and all. Overwhelmingly, the request was for the estimates. Out of the 1,229 people who have responded to the survey so far, a whopping 80.8% voted for the estimates.
Below are charts and a table of January 2015 and January 2014 electric car sales, as well as a chart showing the results of the Tesla poll. Following those, I’ll jump into more commentary on January’s numbers.
Not even being on the US market a year ago, the BMW i3 is doing well for itself at #3, with 670 sales or 11% of the market.
The models that landed in the top 3 are not a huge surprise, though. These three companies seem the most interested in bringing electric cars to the masses, perhaps in that order.
There’s open debate on which vehicle is better — the BMW i3 or the Mercedes B-Class Electric — but the B-Class Electric only ended with 4% of the market. Extremely similar in price, my guess is that the big difference in sales is due to BMW marketing the i3 much more aggressively, having a dealership program that doesn’t push people away from electric cars but toward them, and actually offering the electric vehicle all around the United States.
Behind the Model S, BMW i3, and Nissan LEAF, the next 4 cars in terms of January 2015 sales were all plug-in hybrid electrics:
- Chevy Volt — 9% of the market
- Ford Fusion Energi — 7% of the market
- Toyota Prius Plug-in — 7% of the market
- Ford C-Max Energi — 6% of the market
Considering that Ford’s two plug-in hybrids combined would have been third, kudos to Ford for doing fairly well and actually trying to sell its vehicles. The company may have just stuck some batteries into popular gasmobile models, but it consistently ranks near the top of this list.
Behind all of those models, the Mercedes B-Class Electric did land at #8 with 4% of the market, followed by the Volkswagen e-Golf with 3% of the market and the Smart Electric Drive with 2%. Outside of these top 10, every other model was at a measly 1% or lower… of a market segment that still isn’t 1% of the overall US car market.
So, the news is: not much has changed in 2015, and, unfortunately, the tremendous electric car growth rate we’ve been seeing has slowed a bit. It’s hard to not blame low gas prices. However, I actually think bigger factors are that buyers are holding out for a potentially much-improved Nissan LEAF, the 2016 Chevy Volt, and any number of other “coming soon” electric vehicles.
Keep up to date with all of our electric car sales reports here.