US Electric Car Sales Shakeup (February Electric Car Sales)

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

US electric car sales (pure electrics and plug-in hybrids) rose 4.4% in February 2016 vs February 2015, but that slight change masks large variations by type of EV. 100% electric cars dove 14% (4479 sales in Feb 2016 vs 5193 in Feb 2015), while plug-in hybrids rose a dramatic 41% (3644 sales vs 2589).

There are a handful of factors at play that make the trends complicated to decipher in a simplistic way. On the pure electrics side, many consumers are surely waiting for the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3. That is certainly eating into Nissan LEAF sales and the sales of all other moderately priced electric cars, and likely higher-end EVs as well. Tesla Model S and X sales, meanwhile, are estimated, so they could be a bit off, and they together were just 400 higher than February 2015. Furthermore, whether related to the above or not, BMW i3 sales dropped off a cliff, and they were a decent portion of Febraury 2015 sales.

On the plug-in hybrid front, the second-generation Chevy Volt has been doing fairly well, and sales rose 63% compared to Feb 2015 (1126 vs 693). Ford Fusion Energi sales also jumped a great deal — 55% (932 vs 603). In fact, it saw 2 sales more than the Nissan LEAF! That is possibly the first time it surpassed the LEAF.

Without a doubt, Febraury was an interesting month for EV sales. It hard to know how much those trends will continue, increase, or decrease in March and going forward.

For more details, here are the charts and table:

US electric cars US Feb Electric Car Sales 2015 US Feb YTD Electric Car Sales 2016 US Feb YTD Electric Car Sales 2015 US EV Sales 2016 - Feb

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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26 thoughts on “US Electric Car Sales Shakeup (February Electric Car Sales)

  • Think you need to change the titles on the charts (still says 2015 vs 2014)

  • The Fiat 500e does well for a car the company are making no effort to sell.

    • They have very lucrative lease deals at $99/ month on the 500e. I think it’s a compliance car to offset big Dodge Ram trucks and Jeeps with low mpg.

  • Doesn’t the bold font and dark bar indicate full BEV? Shouldn’t the Tesla X be bold font and dark bar?

  • The Tesla Model X is *grossly* production-limited; apparently (as of February) they were operating in “burst” mode, where they run the production line for a few days, then stop it dead and inspect all the cars super-carefully and modify the production line. I don’t think we’ll see clear numbers start to shake out for Model X until April.

    It’s also consuming production capacity which would otherwise by used by Model S.

    Also, please fix the chart bugs noted by Zorba (says 2015 v 2014, should say 2016 v 2015) and Ian (Tesla X should be bold font and dark bar)

    • This was one of my main concerns all along with the unnecessary complexity of the Model X.
      Because the S and X share certain parts of the assembly line (final assembly?), any production line problems with the X eat into the ability to produce the S (which is the cash cow for the company).
      Very very frustrating to see something come to pass that one has warned about frequently.

      • Turns out the doors are the least of it. You know that giant windshield? With the extra-long visors with the magnetic clamps? Yeah, those are causing more trouble than the doors.

  • Any thoughts on why the i3 has dropped so dramatically? Cost?

    • In Georgia Leaf sales dropped 90% after they dropped the tax credit and added a EV birthday tax in 2015. Not sure if this effected i3 sales overall but in GA I would say yes.

    • BMW dropped the ball.

  • A lot of time and effort has gone into production of these charts and statistics. Many thanks. There are at least 60000 EVs on the roads in the USA, wrongly called Golf Buggies/Kart. They are in fact EVs and perhaps you will consider including them in your charts. In the USA high way driving is a must for many. However, in all major cities about 60% of population live in apartments without an access to charging points. 50% of them are urban commuters that only drive 10 miles/day. In London 4.5 milliion live in flats. Imagine, just like the mobiles, they had a light weight EV with portable lithium-ion batteries that they could charge at home.

  • The current cheap price of gasoline has got to be entering into these numbers too. I’m sure there are numerous potential buyers who have made a different choice because gasoline prices took a nosedive.

    • And they’ll regret that soon.

  • I’ve talked to a Tesla rep that said that when the Gigafactory starts making batteries at a lower cost that that will have no impact on the price of the Model S, just perhaps increased range. It will be interesting to see what effect the Model 3 has and whether we may see some changing in the Model S price or range.

    • Makes sense. As long as you’re production constrained, you don’t make a car cheaper.
      It will also be a great opportunity to make more money with each Model S so they can invest that extra money in Gigafactory 2&3.

      • Good point. I’ve test driven the Model S twice. Once about two years ago (S P85) and a second time a couple of weeks ago S90D). The car is fantastic but what I need is range and the Model S has a lot of bells and whistles that we don’t need. We’re hoping that the Model 3 will be able, with a one-time $2,500 fee, be able to use the Superchargers and get an honest 200 miles per charge so we can get rid of our one ICE car and go cross country in the Model 3.

      • Yeah, the Model S price will drop only once they stop being production-constrained and start being demand-constrained. Until then, every dollar Tesla can get in profit, they will take it and reinvest it in the company.

    • Tesla Gigafactory is mainly producing Powerwall batteries, so it shouldn’t affect the cost for their car batteries. Since they are a different configuration.

      • What are you talking about? Right now the Gigafactory is only producing stationary storage batteries (if I remember correctly), but eventually a big portion of the output will be car batteries. Enough for 500k EVs by 2020.

        • That is at the pack scale. Eventually the plan is to take over the cell production also.

          • Right. The plan is for every part of the battery pack to be manufactured inside one building. Raw materials (piles of lithium, rolls of steel for the cell casing, etc.) go into one end of the building. Finished battery packs come out the other.

            Super efficient.

            Right now they are only doing some cell assembling in a portion of the building that is already completed.

  • Zachary, thanks for the estimates of Tesla sales to date. Do you have a comparison of your past monthly estimates vs actuals, ie do you have a feeling for how close these estimates are to reality?

  • Aside from Tesla, the manufacturers make no effort to sell their plug-in products. What would sales be if the manufacturers ran some good commercials pointing out that these cars can “filled up” for the equivalent of 50 cents to $1 a gallon?

  • Please explain your methodology for estimating Tesla sales.

    • Good question ROBwithaB.

  • I wonder if the Sonata and Optima PHEVs are broadly available? They are very compelling offerings and should be outselling the Ford Fusion Energi.

Comments are closed.