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16 US Electric Car Sales Highlights From August

Update: Readers have brought up a couple more points, so the list is now up to 16.

This article is simultaneously being published on EV Obsession and on our Electric Car Sales page.

Numbers are in, and not a great deal has changed in the US electric car market since July, but it is always fun to look at the numbers and pick out some highlights.

Here are 16 key highlights for this month’s report:

  1. While Tesla’s numbers aren’t official (they’re the estimate of an average for the quarter based on various Tesla forecasts and statements), according to the August estimate and GM’s official figures, the Chevy Volt was the #1 best-selling electric car in the US in August.
  2. Chevy Volt sales seem steady at around 2,000 sales per month, a big jump over last year’s numbers (predictably) and basically at the top of the EV pack.
  3. BMW i3 sales have been doing much better in the past couple of months compared to the beginning of the year, with a notable 1,013 sales.
  4. The BMW X5 xDrive 40e had a record 876 sales in August — not too shabby (even if it’s about half of estimated Tesla Model X sales).
  5. The Ford Energi models continue to pull in ~2,000 sales per month, which basically matches the Volt and is a significant jump over last year’s numbers, highlighting either better consumer awareness, a better job from Ford and dealers pushing these cars, greater production capacity (I think this is unlikely to be the factor, since I don’t think production capacity was limited previously), or some combination of those factors.
  6. Nissan LEAF sales seem to be holding at around 1,000 sales per month, despite the impending arrival of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
  7. Most electric models on the market are obviously compliance cars — they see low sales because they aren’t available in most markets, the parent automakers don’t do much to push them, and they perhaps aren’t as competitive as the most popular electric cars on the market.
  8. Overall, plug-in car sales were up 20% in August (compared to August 2015).
  9. Overall, plug-in car sales were up 22% for the year through August.
  10. 100% electric cars were up 13% in August.
  11. 100% electric cars were up 7% in the first 8 months of the year.
  12. The four findings directly above, and especially the latter two, are particularly interesting to me since the Chevy Bolt (a much better electric car than anything currently on the market in its price range) is about to arrive and the Tesla Model 3 is just ~1 year away — despite this, electric car sales (on the whole) haven’t dropped. Granted, this is in large part due to the introduction of the Tesla Model X (which is in a completely different class than these cars) and the second-generation Chevy Volt (which is a plug-in hybrid rather than a fully electric car).
  13. Plug-in hybrid cars were up 30% in August.
  14. Plug-in hybrid cars were up 45% in the first 8 months of the year.
  15. Fully electric car sales, despite the Bolt and Model 3 being around the corner, outnumbered plug-in hybrid sales. (Thanks to kvleeuwen for the note.)
  16. Plug-in car sales = 0.84% of US light vehicle sales in August. (Thanks to Basar for the reminder to include this.)

Do you have any other thoughts from these numbers?

US EV Sales 2016 - Aug US EV Sales 2016 - August


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Written By

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], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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