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Published on September 9th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan


USA Fully Electric Car Sales Up 47% In 2017

September 9th, 2017 by  

Update: This article has been updated to correct a few key stats after an error was identified in two spreadsheet formulas (the “100% Electric Totals” in the second table).

The US electric car market has continued to grow at a rapid pace in the past year — led by California’s particularly strong electric car market, of course. From January through August, sales of 8 fully electric cars* grew 47% in the country. Sales of 6 plug-in hybrid cars were up 30%. Overall, that meant sales of these 14 plug-in car were up 40%.

August 2017 vs August 2016 was less dramatic but still a period of strong growth. Fully electric car sales were up 19%. Plug-in hybrid sales were up 4%. Overall, that meant a 13% increase in plug-in car sales.

If the Tesla estimates** are to be believed, the Tesla Model S was far ahead in the #1 spot, the Chevy Bolt held tight at #2, the Toyota Prius Prime rose to #3, the Tesla Model X dropped to #4, and the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF retained their places at #5 and #6, respectively. Ah, gone are the days of the neverending LEAF vs Volt battle at the top of the charts (which was a super tight competition for years).

If you look at the January through August stats (which are educated estimates** but certainly not exact), the Model S is crushing it (despite its high price tag). That hints at how extremely competitive the car is in its niche segment. The Volt has a slight lead over the Model X, which has an even slighter lead over the Toyota Prius Prime. The Chevy Bolt has a gap to cover to catch up with any of those models, but now that sales are picking up and availability is nationwide, it has potential to climb up the ranking and perhaps even land on the podium by the end of the year.

We can surely expect electric car sales to keep increasing as Tesla Model 3 production ramps up, the next-generation Nissan LEAF arrives on dealer lots, and overall EV awareness rises. I would be surprised if our report one year from now doesn’t show a more dramatic electric car sales increase of 82% at this point in time.

Here are more 2017 sales details in table format:

EV Model August 2017 August 2016 % Change YTD 2017 YTD 2016 % Change
Audi A3 e-tron 129 346 -62.7% 2,467 2,637 -6.4%
BMW i3 504 1,013 -50.2% 4,097 5,372 -23.7%
BMW i8 29 145 -80.0% 304 931 -67.3%
Chevy Bolt 2,107 11,670
Chevy Volt 1,445 2,081 -30.6% 13,895 14,295 -2.8%
Ford C-Max Energi 705 707 -0.3% 5,954 4,687 27.0%
Ford Focus Electric 131 75 74.7% 1,332 579 130.1%
Ford Fusion Energi 762 1,422 -46.4% 6,522 9,998 -34.8%
Nissan Leaf 1,154 1,066 8.3% 9,685 7,922 22.3%
Tesla Model 3 100 130
Tesla Model S 2,700 3,000 -10.0% 20,882 17,093 22.2%
Tesla Model X 1,800 1,800 0.0% 13,356 10,000 33.6%
Toyota Prius Prime 1,820 2 90900.0% 13,157 48 27310.4%
Volkswagen e-Golf 317 454 -30.2% 2,512 2,253 11.5%
All EVs Total 13,703 12,111 13.1% 105,963 75,815 39.8%
100% Electric Total 8,813 7,408 19.0% 63,664 43,219 47.3%
PHEV Total 4,890 4,703 4.0% 42,299 32,596 29.8%

*There are several automakers that don’t break out sales of their electric models (for example, sales of the BMW 330e are hidden within sales of the BMW 3 Series). As such, we have little insight into how many of these cars are sold in the US. Rather than guess, we exclude them from these monthly reports.

**I base these on every Tesla statement I can find on the matter as well as Tesla registration data in Europe and China. But note that Tesla doesn’t publicly break out monthly sales and doesn’t break out country-by-country sales, so these estimates are definitely not precise.

Also published on EV Obsession’s Electric Car Sales page. 


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About the Author

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] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.

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