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Published on July 27th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan

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Your Electric Car Sales Projections — Half-Year Check-In

July 27th, 2017 by  


At the beginning of the year, we asked you to put down your estimates for total electric car sales in the US in 2017, sales by model, and sales by type of EV. With 6 months of sales under our belts, I thought it would be interesting to check in and see how those projections look today. Note that we’re just looking at US sales, FYI. Global sales are impossible to track and I’d rather not play with those estimates today.


Tesla Model S

Image by Tesla

The largest percentage of respondents expected that Tesla would sell 30,000–39,999 Model S supersedans in 2017 in the USA. Halfway through the year, our estimate was that Tesla had sold 12,550 Model S supersedans here. Given that there was a delay in production in the 2nd quarter and the second half of the year is typically stronger for Tesla, it seems quite plausible the Model S will still hit the lower end of the 30,000–39,999 range. We’ll see … well, we’ll estimate later on after seeing global figures. (Remember, Tesla doesn’t specify how many of its vehicles are sold in individual countries, only reporting global sales figures by quarter, so we’re basically just guessing based on a few rough statements from Elon Musk.)


Tesla Model X

Image by Tesla

The most common Model X estimate was a little bit lower than for the Model S, 20,000–29,999. In the first half of 2017 there were 11,000 estimated US sales. That means we’re basically on track for the lower end of the most chosen estimate. Again, though, there was a production delay in Q2 and Tesla tends to produce and deliver more vehicles in the second half of the year than the first. With that taken into account, it seems US Model X sales are on track to hit a figure right around the middle of the range 38% of respondents chose.


Tesla Model 3

Image by Elon Musk

Probably the most important and most interesting projection, the Model 3 sales projection that gathered the most votes was 1–9,999. A pessimistic bunch, eh? Of course, Model 3 production began this month and Tesla’s public estimate is as follows: 100 cars in August, 1,500 in September, and up to 5,000 cars a week by the end of December. We’re expecting what this means is 40,000–100,000 Model 3 electric ICE busters in 2017, all for the US. That shatters the 1–9,999 estimate 30% of you plopped down on the CleanTechnica survey in January.

That said, the spread for Model 3 sales projections was pretty huge. Do you remember what your estimate was back in January? I don’t actually remember mine, but think it was close to the number of Model 3s reserved before the unveiling on March 31, 2016, which means >100,000.


Chevy Bolt

Image by Robert N Dee

Another hot momma as far as projections goes, many of us were grasping in the dark with our Bolt projections, even if we thought we had some strong insight into GM’s plans and the market’s interest in this car.

The most common projection was that GM would sell 20,000–29,999 Bolts in the USA in 2017. As it stands right now, GM sold 7,592 Bolts in the first half of the year. That leaves 12,500 that need to be sold in the second half of the year for 33% of us to be right. With production ramping up month over month (well, maybe), that increase in sales is certainly possible, but not particularly likely. Approximately 2,000 Bolts a month would need to start moving out the door, whereas it just hit ~1,600 each of the past two months.

If the Bolt doesn’t pick up steam, it definitely shouldn’t be a problem for GM to hit the projection that 16% respondents chose (10,000–19,999 sales).


Chevy Volt

Image by Steve Hanley

The Chevy Volt received similar sales estimates as the Bolt from CleanTechnica readers in January. The largest group of respondents again projected 20,000–29,999 sales in 2017. In the case of the Volt, though, there have been 10,932 sales by halftime, which seems to indicate the Volt will end up hitting the lower end of that estimate.

Will the Volt surge, fall, or remain steady in the second half of the year? Will the most common estimates prove to be too bullish, too bearish, or just right? We’ll see, but it seems right now that it’s just barely holding onto the estimates of 30% of our January respondents.


Nissan LEAF

Image by Cynthia Shahan

The Nissan LEAF didn’t get much love from respondents in January, but they did assume it would keep truckin’ at a cruise control pace, with the largest group choosing 10,000–19,999 sales. So far in 2017, Nissan has moved 7,248 LEAFs, which means our respondents have more or less nailed it.

In total, however, only 27% of respondents chose that 10,000–19,999 sales range. The majority of respondents actually chose one of the higher options. Nissan is going to have to pull a big surprise out of its hat to match one of those bullish CleanTechnica reader expectations.


BMW i3

Image by Kyle Field

BMW i3 projections were super tight, with 10,000–19,999 sales inching out 20,000–29,999, but the results look pretty predictable now for both of these estimates — far below either of these ranges. We were just too optimistic. Roughly speaking, more than 10,000 i3s are very unlikely to move off of lots by the end of the year. Only 2,992 i3s were set free to roam the streets of the USA in the first half of 2017. Monthly sales will need to more than double, on average, just for the i3 to hit 10,000 sales in 2017.

That said, 21% of respondents chose the right sales range in January.


Fully Electric Cars

Overall, you guys and girls thought the most likely sales total was 150,000–199,999 for fully electric cars in the US in 2017. So far, we have seen approximately 40,000–45,000 fully electric car sales in the US. However, as noted above, a lot of Model 3 fully electric cars are expected to hit homes this year, perhaps even 100,000 of them, which could bump us over that 150,000 sales edge.

Of course, more sales of the Bolt in the second half of the year, and perhaps more sales of the LEAF, i3, or other models following some price cuts (if those happen) could help as well. Furthermore, as noted above, it’s expected the Tesla Model S and Model X will have a stronger sales result in the second half of 2017 as well.

All in all, it seems we were a bit optimistic in January, but there’s still plenty of room for the numbers to fall into place.

Of course, it was really just 20% of respondents who chose 150,000–199,999 sales for their projection. Most respondents were even more optimistic.

How many pure-electric car sales (deliveries) will there be in the US in 2017?
# Delivered

Response Percent

50,000–99,999

7.3%

100,000–149,999

20.2%

150,000–199,999

25.7%

200,000–249,999

18.3%

250,000–299,999

11.9%

300,000–349,999

5.5%

350,000–399,999

1.8%

400,000–449,999

0.9%

450,000–499,999

4.6%

500,000–549,999

2.8%

550,000–599,999

0.0%

600,000–649,999

0.9%

650,000–699,999

0.0%

700,000–749,999

0.0%

750,000–799,999

0.0%

800,000+

0.0%


Plug-In Hybrids

A slightly lower total (100,000–149,999) was projected for plug-in hybrids. We saw 30,000–40,000 plug-in hybrid sales in the first half of 2017, and without any huge arrivals in the plug-in hybrid space in the second half of the year, it seems the 26% of people who made this projection will be incorrect. Actually, the 86% of respondents who projected over 100,000 plug-in hybrid sales in 2017 are on track for incorrect estimates.

That said, we don’t track all plug-in hybrid sales, since some automakers don’t break out their plug-in hybrid sales (BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, and others, for example). Nonetheless, if you add ~10,000 to the ~30,000 we recorded in the first half of 2017, you still don’t end up with half of 100,000.

How many plug-in hybrid electric car sales (deliveries) will there be in the US in 2017?
# Delivered

Response Percent

50,000–99,999

13.9%

100,000–149,999

25.9%

150,000–199,999

14.8%

200,000–249,999

14.8%

250,000–299,999

9.3%

300,000–349,999

5.6%

350,000–399,999

3.7%

400,000–449,999

4.6%

450,000–499,999

1.9%

500,000–549,999

2.8%

550,000–599,999

0.0%

600,000–649,999

0.9%

650,000–699,999

0.0%

700,000–749,999

0.9%

750,000–799,999

0.0%

800,000+

0.9%


TOTAL Plug-In Cars

The total plug-in car sales estimates are no surprise if looked carefully at the above. Approximately 20% of respondents guessed that 250,000–299,999 plug-in cars would be sold in the USA in 2017. Just slightly fewer respondents guessed 200,000–249,999.

As it turns out, approximately 75,000–80,000 plug-in cars moved off of lots in the first half of 2017, which leaves us far behind the halfway point of the full year projections above. In total, only 12% of respondents chose 150,000–199,999, and another 8.5% chose 100,000–149,999.

Of course, as noted above, a late-year surge from the Model 3 is expected, which could hypothetically boost us right into the middle of those two popular estimates above — with plug-in cars hitting ~250,000 sales in an optimistic but still certainly possible scenario.

In any case, though, the 40% of respondents who chose a figure over 300,000 seem unlikely to win any points this year … unless the second half of the year throws us a really amazing surprise.

How many total plug-in car sales (deliveries) will there be in the US in 2017?
Answer Options

Response Percent

100,000–149,999

8.5%

150,000–199,999

12.3%

200,000–249,999

18.9%

250,000–299,999

19.8%

300,000–349,999

7.5%

350,000–399,999

3.8%

400,000–449,999

3.8%

450,000–499,999

6.6%

500,000–549,999

7.5%

550,000–599,999

1.9%

600,000–649,999

2.8%

650,000–699,999

1.9%

700,000–749,999

0.9%

750,000–799,999

0.0%

800,000–849,000

0.0%

850,000–899,000

0.0%

900,000–949,000

1.9%

950,000–999,000

0.0%

1,000,000–1,049,000

0.0%

1,050,000–1,099,000

0.0%

1,100,000–1,149,000

0.0%

1,150,000–1,199,000

0.0%

1,200,000–1,249,000

0.0%

1,250,000–1,299,000

0.9%

1,300,000–1,349,000

0.0%

1,350,000–1,399,000

0.0%

1,400,000–1,449,000

0.0%

1,450,000–1,499,000

0.0%

1,500,000+

0.9%


 
 





 

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. 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, 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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