+ 4 Reasons Why I’m Not Creating More Monthly US Electric Car Sales Reports After This Month
I’ve been reporting monthly US electric car sales for years. My monthly report has often been one of the most popular stories of the month here on CleanTechnica. However, unless something changes, I’ve concluded it’s time to stop — or to take a break — from these US EV sales reports. There are 4 core reasons why.
1. Tesla doesn’t report monthly sales, and Model 3 is here.
My previous hiatus doing monthly reports was due to just one key factor — Tesla didn’t report monthly sales and didn’t break down quarterly sales by country/region. There were general hints here or there that the US provided approximately half or a bit more than half of all Tesla sales, but that still left much to the imagination. Nonetheless, I polled readers about whether or not to keep doing the reports — and estimating the best I could for Tesla — and readers overwhelmingly voted for the reports.
The estimates seemed quite solid for years, including after semi-reconciliation with European and Chinese Tesla sales. Tesla Model S and Model X sales grew strongly, but not so dramatically that it became hard to estimate what was going on. Then came the Model 3.
Compounding the original problem of estimating Tesla sales, Model 3 production has been rather unpredictable and dramatic, making an estimate of its sales particularly challenging. Furthermore, deliveries to Canada make US delivery estimates challenging and the problem is going to amplify insanely when Tesla starts shipping the young Tesla model to China, Europe, and elsewhere.
Furthermore, it’s one thing to do monthly stories focused on Tesla sales estimates, which are fun and interesting, and it’s something different to put those in the context of an “official” monthly EV sales report.
2. Tesla Model 3 dwarfs the competition.
Another key matter is that Model 3 sales dwarf the sales of all other electric cars. It was interesting to compare electric car leaders when they were comparable, but the Model 3 is essentially off the charts. Even though they aren’t irrelevant, this makes other EV sales look irrelevant. If Usain Bolt raced some high school track champions, you wouldn’t give much attention to the times of the high schoolers.
3. GM has stopped reporting monthly sales by model.
The straw that broke the camel’s back is that GM has stopped reporting monthly model sales. Some companies — Ford and Honda, for example — are happy to directly provide CleanTechnica and other such outlets with the figures for specific EV models, but GM has told us it’s not doing this.
Considering that the Bolt and the Volt are two of the top sellers in the EV market, this basically kills any validity for the rankings at the top of the charts, which is what most people care about. As far as the big players, Tesla & GM models would be estimates and the only solid figures would be from Nissan, Toyota, Honda, and Ford. It just feels like this kills the idea of it being a legitimate “report.”
4. Several automakers don’t report and won’t share monthly model sales data.
That’s not even the end of the data collection challenge and, thus, the potentially reality-warping estimates. Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) has long been a company that doesn’t share monthly EV model sales data. That used to be less of an issue, but the company is presumably now selling a lot of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids (which are plug-in hybrids). The Fiat 500e can have high sales months, too. And there are still other companies that don’t report monthly EV sales in the US.
As you can see, as a result of all of this, you end up with more estimating than reporting, and there’s little to no chance for legitimate reconciliation for several of the models.
So, above is my last monthly US EV sales chart — for a while at least — and below are my last tables for public consumption. Take the numbers with a spoonful of salt. Also, wherever you see estimates for these models, also take them with a spoonful of salt. It’s hard to accurately estimate sales when the total could range from 15,000–50,000.