Published on February 5th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


US Electric Car Sales Rise 15% (January Electric Car Sales)

February 5th, 2016 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Based on the latest electric car sales numbers from auto manufacturers, as well as estimates for Tesla and Fiat electric car sales, plug-in electric car sales in the US seem to have increased 15% in January 2016 compared to January 2015.

However, most manufacturers have nothing to cheer about. Sales were down for the following models:

BMW i3

BMW i8

Cadillac ELR

Fiat 500e

Ford C-Max Energi

Ford Focus Electric

Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid

Mercedes B-Class Electric

Mitsubishi i

Nissan Leaf

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Smart Electric Drive

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

But these models were up:

Ford Fusion Energi

Chevy Volt

Chevy Spark EV

Kia Soul EV

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Tesla Model S

Volkswagen e-Golf

And these models are new to the US market:

Audi A3 e-tron

BMW X5 xDrive 40e

Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

Mercedes S500 Plug-In Hybrid

Tesla Model X

Volvo XC90 T8

As far as the percentage of the electric market taken by the leading models, the breakdown for the top 5 is as follows:

  1. Tesla Model S (31%)
  2. Chevy Volt (14%)
  3. Nissan LEAF (10%)
  4. Ford Fusion Energi (8%)
  5. Tesla Model X (7%)

The BMW i3 took a huge hit for some reason, perhaps the extra competition from Nissan (a longer-range LEAF) and the new Chevy Volt.

Note that Tesla Model S deliveries (aka sales) were estimated based on Tesla’s projected production rate for this point in time, projected Model X production (see below), and a projected overall sales split of ~50–50 for the US vs the rest of the world. Tesla Model X deliveries were based on an estimated total number of US Signature Xs, anecdotal delivery announcements from customers, and the Q4 delivery total announced by Tesla. Fiat’s estimate was based on CVRP rebate stats.

Overall, the biggest losers in January 2016 compared to January 2015 seemed to be the BMW i3 (down by ~500 sales, or 73%), the Toyota Prius Plug-In (down by ~400 sales, or 98%), and the Nissan LEAF (down by ~300 sales, or 29%).

The biggest winners seemed to be the Tesla Model S (sales up ~800, or 53%) and Chevy Volt (sales up ~450, or 84%).

In the context of the overall US car market, plug-in cars accounted for 0.64% of all sales, up from 0.56% of sales in January 2015, despite low oil prices. The overall sales total of 1,148,087, however, includes vehicle classes (trucks, for example) in which there are no plug-in options.

Check out the charts and table below for more info and perspective.

US electric car sales Jan 16

US electric car sales Jan 15

US EV Sales 2016 - Jan

Related Stories:

US Electric Car Sales Report: Tesla & BMW Have A Big Month

Top Electric Car Models & Top Electric Car Companies

Tesla Model S #1 In Large Luxury Car Market In US In 2015

Tesla Sales Similar To Porsche Sales In 2000/2001

Elon Musk: Tesla Doubling Production Every Year

European EV Market Topped By Renault In 2015

Tesla Trounces — 17,192 Sales In 4th Quarter

UK Electric Car Sales Boom

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Brian

    Their are now used Mitsubishi I-Meav’s for $7,000. I’m seriously thinking of buying a used I-Meav. This is far better than a new Toyota Prius, that cost $25,000.

  • ROBwithaB

    Were your figures for the S based solely on the production estimates from November?
    Anything more recent than that, based on actual deliveries?

    Some of the numbers I’m seeing for January deliveries (in bot US and EU) are disturbingly low. I’m assuming Tesla just gave everyone some time off after the gangbusters 4th quarter, but even still, they’re looking very weak. Hoping it’s simply an anomaly.
    Also, it would appear that Xs are being produced but not delivered, presumably waiting for some last critical spare parts.

    The stock price might just be subject to a (even greater) hammering on the 10th. I’m trying to decide whether I should buy just before the announcement or just after….

    • The S numbers were based on production capacity/estimates more than historical (Q4) production. Though, Q4 proved it was possible.

      This is definitely one of the more difficult months for these estimates, imho. Eager to see numbers from Tesla, and will adjust retroactively if necessary.

      Not sure what’s going on with X deliveries, but seems a lot is being left for service centers to finish or fix, and this seems to be delaying things a bit. They are basically an extension of the factory at this point, and staff have been trained at the factory (from what I read), but there seem to be quite a lot of fit & finish things that aren’t great before hitting the service centers.

      Also, Tesla may be waiting to deliver every single Signature Model X in the US before starting “production” X deliveries, which may be slowing things up if a relatively small number of Sig reservation holders aren’t available or there are issues to fix with some of them that are taking a long time.

      Eager for more info on the 10th.

      Regarding “The stock price might just be subject to a (even greater) hammering on the 10th. I’m trying to decide whether I should buy just before the announcement or just after….,” good luck. Can’t advise either way, as there’s so much unclear at this point. I bought 2–3 times as the price dropped, but didn’t expect it to drop so far on basically no real news (bad or good).

      • neroden

        The situation with Model X is pretty much the same as happened with Model S at the same point in production.

        And from what I know from what my friends who grew up in Michigan told me… this is the same as happens with early cars off the production line for *every new car model ever*, except that with other cars the dealerships *never* fix the fit & finish issues with the first cars off the production line.

        So this is all exactly what I expected. The stock price is not reacting to news, it’s reacting to something else.

  • Harry Johnson

    The new Chevy Volt sold less than a 1000 cars for January and plug-in sales are well under 1% of all car sales; that’s really depressing.

    • Shane 2

      Cheap gas is a major problem. Burning it causes both sort term and long term environmental problems. Put a pollution tax on it.

      • Bob_Wallace

        PBO has proposed a $10/barrel fee on oil. The money to go to cleaner transportation.

        It would have to be passed by Congress so there’s a 99.9% chance it will not happen with this Congress. It could be,however, his first move toward creating a different Congress for the next president.

        • I believe part of the additional revenue would also be spent on repairing basic infrastructure? Or did I misunderstand that?

          But such an obvious tax increase has no chance, especially in an election year. I doubt you’ll get a significant fraction of Democrats on board, much less Republicans. And proposing it just paints a bigger target on all (as they will undoubtedly be called) “tax and spend” Democrats.

        • Martin

          Instead of adding a $ 10/barrel tax, would it be easier for the PBO to remove subsides instead, without Congress ( since I do not know hoe US politics work).

    • The gen2 Volt is not widely available nationwide yet.

    • Agreed….

  • JamesWimberley

    I can see that if you are really interested, the latest month’s numbers are news. But they are very noisy, and simply comparing with the same month a year ago is not likely to give a good idea of the trend. I suggest you learn something about data smoothing. Spreadsheets have the functions.

    • voracity

      That’s at least partly why Tesla doesn’t release monthly numbers. Noise isn’t news — while it can be fun to speculate on the ups and downs, most of the time the causes are happenstance.

      For BMW, they had surprisingly high sales in December and the January numbers were lower than for any month in 2015. Knowing nothing else, this suggests to me some kind of supply-side issue, not a change in demand.

      • BMW may have had some big fleet sales at the end of the year.

    • It’s a norm in the car industry. I find it fun, including the speculation.

  • Mikgigs

    What a shame!!! US market is more or less comparable to the one of Netherlands. Just 5000 cars…

    • kvleeuwen

      The Dutch numbers for January 2016 will be disappointing. Plug-in hybrids are a lot less interesting after 2015 ended.
      But yes, the US market is strange.
      On the other hand, the Outlander and Zoe, two cars with decent numbers in NL, are not available (yet) in the US.

      • Martin

        Wonder what will happen to the numbers when all the new EV/PHEV models can bought in all states?

      • neroden

        US has crazy-cheap gasoline compared to most of the world. Only places with cheaper gas are “petrostates” like Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia.

  • Mike333

    BMW: Clearly there must have been some end of year incentive at the dealership that ended. Too bad, I think there is still a special $2000 off the current lease offer.

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