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US Electric Car Sales Up 59% In January 2017

US electric car sales continue to climb to new heights in 2017. Growing 59% year over year (YoY), approximately 12,000 electric cars were sold across the country in January, accounting for approximately 1% of US auto sales. The top five models accounted for approximately 40% of total US electric car sales, as most models are still compliance cars that are not designed or marketed to really pull in buyers — and aren’t even available in most states.

Originally published on EV Obsession. See our Electric Car Sales page for a deeper look at US, European, and Chinese electric car sales.

US electric car sales continue to climb to new heights in 2017. Growing 59% year over year (YoY), approximately 12,000 electric cars were sold across the country in January, accounting for approximately 1% of US auto sales.

The top five models accounted for approximately 40% of total US electric car sales, as most models are still compliance cars that are not designed or marketed to really pull in buyers — and aren’t even available in most states.

Essentially, Tesla and GM are pulling the market forward. The Toyota Prius Prime, though, is a top-of-the-line Prius that is fairly widely available, is building off of the popular Prius name and reputation, and is genuinely cost-competitive with (a better deal than) a conventional Prius — especially once you take the US federal tax credit into account.

The Nissan LEAF — introduced all the way back in 2011 — is still hanging in well above the crowd as well, though. Again, its success relative to other models is quite simply due to its wide availability, the fact that it was designed to be a competitive electric car from the ground up, and some decent marketing/promotion.

Most of the remaining models on the market are hard to find outside of California and Oregon, which makes any evaluation of the “US” EV market still a bit odd. Can you imagine how the Ford F-150 would do if it were only offered in one or two states?

The chart above and tables below provide plenty of information to examine and ponder, but here are some bullet-point highlights as well:

  • Electric car sales of all types (fully electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric cars) were up 59% YoY.
  • Plug-in hybrid sales were up 86% YoY.
  • Fully electric car sales were up 41% YoY.
  • The Chevy Volt saw a 62% YoY sales increase, and accounted for ~8% of US electric car sales.
  • The Tesla Model S and Model X accounted for 10% and 8% of US electric car sales (respectively), according to our estimates.
  • The Chevy Bolt is hopefully still very production limited, as ~1200 monthly sales is well below expectations. Given limited geographic availability, though, it seems most logical that the model is still heavily production limited for some reason — such as lack of battery supply.

EV Model January
Audi A3 e-tron 387
BMW 330e 129
BMW 740e 18
BMW i3 382
BMW i8 50
BMW X5 xDrive40e 262
Cadillac ELR 3
Chevy Bolt 1162
Chevy Spark EV 4
Chevy Volt 1611
Ford C-Max Energi 473
Ford Focus Electric 56
Ford Fusion Energi 606
Kia Soul EV 117
Mercedes B250e 53
Mercedes C350e 210
Mercedes GLE550e 52
Mercedes S550e 55
Mitsubishi i 0
Nissan Leaf 772
Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid 177
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid 2
Smart ED 15
Tesla Model S (est.) 1900
Tesla Model X (est.) 1500
Toyota Prius Prime 1366
Volvo XC90 T8 96
Volkswagen e-Golf 332
All EVs Total 11256
100% Electric Total 6293
PHEV Total 4963
US Car Sales 1,147,557
Electric % of US Sales 0.98%


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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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