February 2018 EV Sales



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Sunday March 11, 2018 February 2018 EV Sales Another month, another sales record.  February 2018 was the best February on record for EV sales.  The last time that EV sales have not set a record month was in May 2016 which fell just 173 cars short of May 2015.  Overall an estimated 16,489 plug-in cars were sold in February, about 30% ahead of the previous highest February sales set in 2017 which saw estimated sales of 12,375 cars.


It should be noted that several manufacturers have stopped breaking out plug-in sales for models that have a plug-in version.  This includes Hyundai/Kia, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.  To fill in the gaps I am relying on the good folks at InsideEV who have had a track record for pretty accurate estimates of sales from the likes of Tesla and Fiat. 


Tesla never gives out how many cars they sell each month but Inside EV does a pretty good job of estimating their overall monthly sales.  In the first month of the quarter Tesla always focuses on international sales so domestic volume is typically at its lowest .  The second month of the quarter on the other hand usually sees medium sales as Tesla does a mixture of domestic and international sales.  In the third quarter Tesla usually focuses on domestic sales in a rush to meet quarterly sales estimates. In February Tesla sales were an estimated 4,485 cars.


After selling an estimated 800 Model S sedans in January, sales in February Climbed to an estimated 1125 cars.  This was down from the 1750 Model S sales in February 2017.  It appears that Tesla is diverting resources away from Model S production to the Model 3.


Sales of the Model X in February was an estimated 875 cars. This was up a little from the 800 sales in February 2017.  Previously in January Tesla had sold an estimated 700 cars.


It appears that Tesla is still having issues with the to ramp up production of the Model 3 and they still appear to be struggling to reach 1000 cars per week on a consistent basis.  This translated to February sales of an estimated 2,485 cars.  Previously in January they delivered 1,875 cars.  It remains to be seen how quickly sales will continue to ramp up over the next few months but I am of the opinion that Tesla is ramping up slowly so they don't hit the 200,000 sales mark until July which will preserve the full $7,500 Federal tax credit through the end of this year.


After selling 713 cars in January, Volt sales increased to a disappointing 983 cars in February.  Volt sales are being hit from two directions, first it appear that sales of the Chevy Bolt is having a big impact on Chevy Volt sales.  The second factor is the arrival of a whole bunch of Plug-in Hybrids that are offering electric only ranges of close to 30 miles which, while nothing close to the 55 miles of range of the Volt, still makes them strong contenders.


Sales of the Chevy Bolt have been increasing steadily each month since April setting new monthly sales records every month.  This run finally, though not unexpectedly, came to an end in January with sales of 1,117 cars.  Sales in February increased somewhat to 1424 cars up considerably from the 952 cars sold in February 2017.  GM has announced that it is planning to increase production of the Bolt in the coming months.


Cadillac only managed to sell 6 CT6 PHEV in January but sales climbed back to a more normal 24 in February. 


In February GM sold a total of 2,431 plug-in cars.


Toyota continued to do well with the Prius Prime selling 2,050 cars in February after selling 1,496 cars in January.  The Prius Prime is priced such that after the Federal Tax credit it is actually cheaper than the base Prius model.  The Prius Prime is still not available nationwide.


Toyota is putting its money into Fuel Cell cars and  in January they sold 166 Mirai FCEVs.  By my reckoning, since they went on sale in January 2016, Toyota has sold a total of 3,126 Mirai.


BMW sales have been all over the map for the past year or so and now they have stopped breaking out sales of their models that are plug-in versions of other models.  This is going to make the estimation of plug-in sales quite difficult.  In January it is estimated that they sold a total of 1,885 cars spread across their seven plug-in models.

Sales of the i3 in particular have been all over the place, varying from a low of just 182 cars in January, 2016 to a high of 1,479 in July 2016.  January saw sales of 382 cars but sales Jumped to 623 cars in February as new inventory arrived in the US.


I'm not sure what happened to the BMW i8 but sales seem to have totally tanked.  They used to traded in the 150 - 200 range but recently they have only managed to trade in the 20 - 60 range, although December did see sales climb to 80 cars.  In January sales dropped back to 32 cars which has become the norm for the last six months.  February saw sales improve a little to 38 cars.


The BMW X5 xDrive40e used to trade in the range of 400 - 600 but recently they have only been trading in the 200 - 400 range. In  September sales were 333 cars and this fell by 10 cars in October to 323 cars.  Then in November sales went wild leaping to 929 cars setting a new sales record.  I would have expected sales to have fallen substantially in December due to lack of inventory but BMW still managed to move an additional 832 cars.  In January sales dropped back to just 261 cars but improved again in February  to an estimated 450 cars.


Sales of the 330e also did well in November selling 477 cars, the second best month ever.  In December sales pulled back a little to 363 cars and this trend continued in January as sales dropped further to just 101 cars.  February saw a bit of a rebound as an estimated 179 cars were sold.


The same thing happened with the BMW 530e which set a new all time sales record selling 872 cars in November after selling 583 cars in October.  Again there was a slight pullback in December but they sill managed to sell 706 cars, then in January sales plummeted to just 224 cars but rebounded to an estimated 368 cars in February.


Sales of the BMW 740e is expected to remain low for the rest of this year as the car is basically sold out so the US only received a token inventory.  In November sales fell just 3 short of tying the record sales month when 120 cars were sold.  December sales pulled back to 67 cars and dropped further in January to just 18 cars then rebounded to an estimated 48 cars in February.


The one bright spot for BMW in January was sales for the Mini Countryman PHEV which set an all time high month selling 127 cars.  February was yet another monthly high with estimated sales of 178 cars.


Ford saw a bit of a sales recovery in February selling 1,006 plug-in cars split across its three models. 


Ford's best selling plug-in is typically the Fusion Energi and February was no exception with sales of 794 cars.  Previously in January 640 cars were sold.

Sales for the C-Max Energi fell in February to 142 cars after selling 234 cars in January.  Ford has already halted production of the C-Max Energi so sales numbers will continue to fall as remaining inventory is depleted.
The Ford Focus EV fell below its usual range of 100 to 200 cars selling 73 cars in January and continued the downward trend in February selling just 70 cars.


Honda returned to the plug-in market in full force when they started selling the plug-in hybrid version of the Clarity at the end of November.  In February Honda sold 985 plug-in Vehicles.  In contrast to some other manufacturers they have also begun breaking out sales for each of the different Clarity models.


Sales of the Clarity electric got off to a surprisingly good with 507 cars being sold in December, after November sales of an estimated 439.  In January sales fell to 262 units and the trend continued falling to just 104 in February.


Sales of the PHEV started right at the end of the November and Honda says that it delivered just 5 cars. Honda reported sales of 898 cars for December and in January they sold an additional 594 cars and sales climbed again in February to 881 cars.  The Honda PHEV seems like a really excellent car so I expect to see good sales assuming Honda provides enough dealer inventory.


Like Toyota, Honda is also investing big-time in Fuel Cell Vehicles and in February they reported sales of 243 cars.


With sales of the next generation Nissan Leaf just getting started sales of the Nissan Leaf reached a low point in December with  only 102 cars being sold.  In January sales picked up a bit hitting 150 cars but jumped to 895 cars in February.  Nissan claim to have 13,000 orders for the Leaf so I expect sales go back to the 1000+ range beginning in March.


Fiat Chrysler America is not a big fan of plug-in cars and do not break out sales separately.  InsideEV does a very good job of estimating sales from new car registration and state rebate information so I have been using their estimates.  In total Fiat Chrysler delivered an estimated 685 Plug-in Cars in  February.


The Fiat 500e is just a compliance car for Fiat Chrysler America, but it is estimated that in January sales were 210 cars.  In  February sales rose slightly to an estimated 235 cars.


After a rocky start, sales of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan seem to be taking off again after a glitch in July where sales were just 125 cars.  August got back to what appears to be more normal sales of 300 to 500 cars per month with sales of 345 cars and in September sales improved further to 475 cars.  Sales in October were previously misstated at 1,175 but have since been adjusted to 875 minivans being sold.  Unfortunately the plant where they are made was closed down for re-tooling for most of October so I was expecting sales in November to be hard hit by lack of inventory but they still managed to sell an estimated 570 cars.  In December with inventory beginning to arrive back at dealerships sales increased to 720 cars, while January saw sales drop back to 375 cars, but ramp up again in February to 450 car.


VW now has 4 plug-in cars being sold across its family of brands. With the 2018 model year cars now arriving,  February saw sales up  slightly to 519 units.


The Audi A3 e-Tron normally sells in the 300 - 400 range.  Now that the 2018 Models have started to arrive sales returned to normal selling levels in December as 270 cars were sold.  In January sales dropped back to 145 cars and in February sales increased to an estimated 199 cars.


The normal selling range for the VW e-Golf is 200 - 400 cars and in July sales came in right in the middle of the normal range at 308 cars.  Sales in August were just a little higher at 317 cars but fell to 187 in September.  They moved back into the normal selling range in October selling 203 cars and sales increased in November to 289 cars and 343 cars in December then fell back in January to 179 cars.  In February they fell just 2 short of their normal trading range coming in at an estimated 198 cars.


The Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid sold only 23 cars in December, but managed to sell 113 cars in January and an estimated 121 in February.

The Panamera 4 e-hybrid finally showed up in dealerships this month with sales of just 1 car.  There were no sales of the Panamera S e-hybrid.


I've always said that the Kia Soul EV should be a good seller but Kia has always kept inventory constrained on this car.  They have normally traded in the 100 - 200 range but last year they sold in the 200 - 300 range for a time. So far this year they have gone back to the 100-200 range with sales of an estimated 115 in January and 135 in February.


Kia also has the Optima PHEV which was expected to go on Sale here in the US starting in December, 2016 but sales didn't actually kick off until January, 2017.  In January they sold 86 cars climbing to an estimated 95 cars in February.


Kia also began sales of the Niro PHEV in January and sold 155 cars.  Sales improved a little in February climbing to 170 cars.  The Niro PHEV is a plug-in version of the Niro crossover and offers an all electric range of 26 miles.


In total Kia managed to sell an estimated 400 plug-in cars in February.


After many false starts Mitsubishi finally began selling the Outlander PHEV in the US with Sales of 99 cars for December.  January was the first full month of sales for the Outlander PHEV and an impressive 300 cars were sold.  They followed that by increasing sales to 323 cars in February.  The Outlander PHEV is an SUV that offers an EPA estimated 22 miles of all electric range.


The Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV normally sells in the 100 - 200 range.  In January they fell 1 short of the normal trading range selling just 99 cars.  February saw a return to the normal trading range when 126 vehicles were sold.


Volvo is one of the companies that has committed to electrifying their entire lineup of cars.  Toward this end they began selling the XC60 PHEV at the end of July.  December saw a monthly sales record of 174 cars but January fell a little bit to 109 cars and February was right in the middle with 140 cars.  The XC60 PHEV is an SUV that offers an EPA estimated 18 miles of all electric range.


In September Volvo introduced their first plug-in hybrid sedan, the S90 T8 PHEV selling 5 units.  October saw sales increase to 28 cars with a further increase to 32 cars in November and 52 cars in December then falling to 27 cars in January but recovering to 49 cars in February


In February Volvo sold a total of 315 Plug-in Vehicles.


It appears that Mercedes-Benz is going to discontinue production of the B250e later this year so I expect sales will continue to be low for this vehicle which normally sells in the 40 - 60 range.  February was right in the middle of that range with an estimated 49 cars being sold.  Previously in January 40 cars were sold. 


Sales of Mercedes Benz's first plug-in hybrid model the S550e PHEV appeared to have settled into the range of 40 - 60 cars but recently sales have been in the 10 - 30 car range with December seeing 26 cars being sold.   In January sales fell to just 13 cars but recovered in February when an estimated 40 cars were sold.


Sales of the  Mercedes Benz GLE 550e plug-in hybrid SUV have recently hovered in the 30 - 60 range.  In December they sold 82 cars, just 1 short of the record high month set in December, 2016 when 83 cars were sold.  In January sales fell back to a more normal 44 cars but sales in February hit an estimated 90 cars which would be a new monthly record if the estimate is correct.


The Mercedes-Benz C350e set a new sales record in August selling 212 cars.  This would have seriously depleted inventory and in September sales dropped to a more normal 126 cars then tumbled further to just 49 cars in October, 16 cars in November, and 14 cars in December.  January saw something or an improvement as sales climbed to 29 cars and the trend continued in February when an estimated 90 more cars were sold.


Overall Mercedes Benz sold 269 Plug-in cars in February.


Sales of the Hyundai Sonata PHEV were135 cars in November climbing to 195 cars in December but falling back to 52 cars in January and 65 in February.  Like sister company Kia they only stock small amounts of cars in dealer inventory in a limited number of states and while it is technically available nationwide in most states it has to be special ordered.


Sales of the Hyundai Ioniq also seem to have faltered in November with just 23 cars sold after selling 28 cars in October but they ended the year with an all time high month in December selling 79 cars.  In January sales dropped back to just 35 cars but climbed again in February to 56 cars.  The Ioniq Electric has a range of around 120 miles with a price starting at less than $31,000 before incentives so it should sell reasonably well if Hyundai can get cars to dealerships. 


In January Hyundai finally began delivery of the Ioniq plug-in hybrid delivering 22 cars.  In February this climbed to 30 cars.  The Ioniq PHEV delivers 29 miles of all electric range and has an impressive combined fuel economy of 52mpg.


In February Hyundai sold a total of 151 plug-in cars. 


Smart currently has the distinction of being at the bottom of the list in terms of number of plug-in sales this month.  Considering that they sold 90 plug-in cars during the month of February, this says quite a bit about the current state of plug-in car sales.  In total Smart sold only 106 cars in the US this month so they really are moving towards being an EV only company.  Previously  in January Smart sold 84 plug-in cars.


2018 got off to a slow start but for plug-in sales.  January is historically the slowest month of the year as people rush to buy in December so they can take the Federal tax credit the following March.  This means that inventories are typically low going into January leading to lower sales.  February, which is also normally a poor month for plug-in car sales, showed a decent uptick in sales volume.  Sales usually pick-up in March so we should see some new records smashed.  I don't expect things to go really crazy until the 3rd quarter when I expect Tesla sales to head into the stratosphere.

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