Above are four charts you can toggle between. You can see that Tesla Model S (and Fiat 500e) sales are absent. Unfortunately, Tesla and Fiat don’t report their month sales. With Tesla now delivering vehicles to Europe, China, and Japan, and only reporting total sales each quarter, it is really too much of a guessing game to estimate its monthly US sales.
Tesla aside, there are only 3 to 5 electric vehicles* whose sales are really worth discussing: the world-leading Nissan LEAF, the plug-in-hybrid-leading Chevy Volt, the BMW i3, and Ford’s C-Max Energi & Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids.
Not counting the i3, since it wasn’t on the market last year, the only one of those top electric vehicles that saw increased sales in September 2014 compared to September 2013 was the Nissan LEAF, which was up nearly 50%. The Volt was down 21%. The Ford Fusion Energi was down 15%. And the Ford C-Max Energi was down 11%. There are a variety of reasons sales of these vehicles could be down, but the most obvious answer is that the BMW i3 and Nissan LEAF have stolen some of their market share.
Also, more people may be getting comfortable with going all-in and buying a 100% electric vehicle. 100% EV sales (if you include all BMW i3s, despite some of them having a minuscule range extender) were up 82% in September. Plug-in hybrids were down 25%.
The Nissan LEAF has been absolutely crushing it… for 19 months in a row. The LEAF actually accounted for 63% of non-Tesla 100% electric vehicle sales in September and 36% of all non-Tesla electric vehicle sales. The BMW i3 has really come on strong, but is still far behind the Nissan LEAF, and may never catch up with the LEAF at a much more affordable price level and the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X within range for many potential i3 buyers. Those two vehicles cover a wide spectrum of vehicle prices, with the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X filling in the higher end of that spectrum.
Will plug-in hybrids bounce back in October? Overall, they are still up 31% for the year as a whole compared to the same period in 2013, just a bit less than the 39% rise in 100% electric vehicle sales.
*Note: I use “electric vehicles” inclusively to talk about 100% electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. To specify them in places, I do as I just did in the previous sentence.