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Published on June 3rd, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan


Toyota Prius Prime #1 (er… #3) — Beats Chevy Volt, Chevy Bolt, & Nissan LEAF In May

June 3rd, 2017 by  

As I noted last month, due to Tesla’s higher and higher production rates and little insight into where those cars are shipped, we’ve decided to stop estimating Tesla’s US sales/deliveries. That said, generally speaking, we expect that Tesla ships approximately 2,000–3,000 Model S and Model X each (so, 4,000–6,000 combined) to US customers. So, more likely than not, the Model S and Model X are the highest-selling electric cars in the United States.

Since we have stopped estimate Tesla sales, though, that gives some other electric models some room to shine. This month, the Toyota Prius Prime pushed its way to the front of the line to become the highest-selling non-Tesla plug-in car in the country. The reasons for its continued rise and leadership position are manifold:

◊ It builds off of the strong Prius brand, which is particularly popular among people looking for a green car, so putting them into a plug-in Prius (the Prius Prime) is a fairly easy upsell.

◊ Furthermore, despite being the highest-trim Prius, the Prime can beat other Prius options on price when you take into account incentives and fuel savings. Better for cheaper = easy sell.

◊ It seems Toyota is actually making the Prius available. We don’t have a lot of insight into Toyota’s production capacity, and the Prime is not as ubiquitously available as the Prius lineup in general, but the Prime does seem to be one of the more widely available plug-in cars on the market.

Rolling in at #2 (er … #4) is the similarly practical Chevy Volt, which saw 251 more sales than its fully electric sister, the Chevy Bolt.

The Nissan LEAF put another fully electric car in the top 5 (as long as you disqualify the Tesla Model S and Model X for using steroids) after delivering another surprisingly solid sales month in the shadow of the new, long-range Bolt and the looming Tesla Model 3. Not bad, Nissan, not bad.

The Ford Fusion Energi and Ford C-Max Energi delivered another solid but not spectacular month as well thanks to broad practicality, zero-emissions capability, decent pricing, and moderate availability beyond California. After these models, we clearly trail off into compliance car territory.

Perhaps most exciting, though, is that the 11 plug-in models we’re tracking saw a 56% sales increase in May (2017 vs 2016) and a 64% sales increase for the year through May (with nearly 20,000 additional sales). Fully electric cars saw a sales increase of 99% and 95%, respectively, while plug-in hybrid cars saw a sales increase of 36% and 50%, respectively. That’s pretty dramatic, especially when you consider that it leaves out Tesla sales and is just prior to the release of Mr. Model 3.

Also published on our Electric Car Sales page.

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the 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 and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. 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. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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