May Electric Car Sales: Chevy Volt #1, Tesla Motors #2 & #3

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

Reminder: Monthly US EV sales reports are now published here — the current month’s report as well as reports from previous months (but just one previous month so far).

2017 Chevy Volt
2017 Chevy Volt by Steve Hanley | Gas2

Chevy Volt rose to #1 again, after many, many months trailing other popular electric vehicle models on the US car market. Granted, my estimate for Tesla Model S sales is a bit lower than normal, and I’m assuming Model X production was still quite slow/limited in May. Naturally, we don’t actually know what monthly demand for the X is since production has been limited, the production ramp has been hampered by difficulties, and very few review models have gotten out their to auto and tech journalists who could stimulate desire among Americans.

Still, a big kudos to the next-generation Chevy Volt for being a sales hit. It is genuinely a great car at an attractive price. GM did a wonderful job listening to customers of the first-generation Volt and making the second-gen Volt that much more attractive to the population. And hey, if GM actually tried to sell the thing, who knows, sales could be 2–3 times higher than they were in May!

Ford Fusion Energi 6
Ford Fusion Energi by Cynthia Shahan for CleanTechnica | EV Obsession

The Ford Fusion Energi, despite even less advertising than the Volt is granted, continued its strong showing in the US EV market. I think this shows a few things:

  1. The vehicle class is a good one that is underserved.
  2. PHEVs still offer a strong pull to many consumers, despite the coming arrival of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
  3. Ford’s approach to slightly alter a gas car and produce it on the same line as other cars as much as demand calls for it, and to actually offer the car across the country, has resulted in considerably more sales than companies that build 100% compliance cars that they only offer in California and a few other states and put production limits on. Who’s surprised?

The Chevy Volt and Ford Fusion Energi didn’t just top the charts, though. They also saw considerable increases in sales compared to May 2015, up 17.5% (283 sales) and 47.4% (467 sales), respectively.

The US electric car market as a whole rose 1.1% in May 2016 vs May 2015, with pure-EV sales down 6.7% and PHEV sales up 12.9%.

And the electric car market accounted for 0.73% of all US car sales. We have a long way to go still…

US EV Sales 2016 - May B
US EV Sales 2016 - May A

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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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