Published on November 6th, 2019 | by Zachary Shahan0
7 More Electric Vehicles That Could Hit 10,000 Sales A Month (Perhaps)
November 6th, 2019 by Zachary Shahan
In response to a recent article of mine about electric vehicle models that could potentially hit 10,000+ sales a month, several readers suggested other models that I neglected (or simply didn’t have much faith in). I thought these suggestions warranted a followup article.
Some of these are surely a stretch, but if management plays its cards right, they could also hit 10,000+ sales a month. Maybe. Let’s have a gander.
Nissan LEAF. The Nissan LEAF was once the darling of the electric vehicle world. To date, it is the highest selling electric car in history. But it’s more or less ignored and often criticized in today’s EV world, mostly due to initial battery issues and Nissan’s slow move toward battery packs with full thermal management and care. Also, as new electric models come on the market, they soak up the attention while the LEAF is ignored.
However, Nissan does benefit from its long history on the market, happy customers who come back for more (if they don’t defect to Tesla in order to get a Model 3, which many do), and the same tech improvements other automakers benefit from. To be straightforward about it, battery costs have come down, which allow automakers to sell EVs with more range for the same price or keep range the same and drop the vehicle price. The LEAF, like other EVs, is hitting a sweet spot in which acceptable range combines with a competitive price. It also sports some of the most advanced semi-autonomous driving tech on the market.
The problems for the LEAF are: 1) Tesla Model 3, 2) historical problems/reputation for battery problems (even if that’s not an issue with new LEAFs/batteries), 3) battery supply constraints (not certain this is an issue, but it might be). The upsides: 1) starting price under $30,000 in USA and similar elsewhere (which is approximately $10,000 less than the starting price of a Tesla Model 3), 2) still eligible for US federal tax credit, 3) can see its price dropped further by dealer incentives, 4) sales and service network that is fairly comfortable with EVs.
At the moment, Nissan is selling ~1,000 LEAFs a month in the USA, ~3,000 in Europe, and a few elsewhere. It needs to find a way to approximately triple demand (and grow production capacity) in order to reach 10,000+ sales a month. I’m not sure Nissan is motivated enough to attempt that.
Nissan Ariya. Nissan’s got a nice little electric crossover concept its teasing consumers with. The design is slick, it’s in the crazy-popular crossover class, it should have solid range and a competitive price, and it could benefit from growing awareness across the auto market regarding EVs. But will that be enough to get consumers’ attention, will dealers push it or bury it in the corner, will it be too overshadowed by the Tesla Model Y, and will Nissan even have adequate production capacity and availability? Those are all questions I don’t have answers to.
Theoretically, this model could have triple the demand of today’s Nissan LEAF. Or not. We’ll see.
Volkswagen ID.BUZZ. Ah, the Volkswagen ID.BUZZ, hyped for approximately a decade as some of our readers like to point out. It’s a cool vehicle that builds on an iconic vehicle model’s image and adds 21st century electric flavoring. Speaking excitedly to a Volkswagen exec about it once, however, he basically asked, “Yes, it is a fun vehicle, but will people buy it?” I think he genuinely wanted my opinion and estimate as to how big the US market was for a van like this. There’s a small minivan market you can look at, but this van is something else — it’s upgrading VW hippie/camper vans. How many Baby Boomers will ditch their crossovers for electric nostalgia? How many Millennials will be excited to buy one of these?
No one knows. Even if Volkswagen has good market research on this, there’s no pre-release market research that shows how many people will actually put in tens of thousands of dollars for one of these. It’s not a Hot Wheels car that costs a few dollars and can be bought on a whim.
I’d be cautious about expecting too much from this model, but I could see it being a surprise hit and reviving the VW hippie bus bonanza in spades. It’s as utilitarian, comfortable, and cool looking as many a person needs and desires. 10,000+ a month? With a little magic — flower power or something else — it’s possible, but keep in mind that a Woodstock revival fizzled and the BUZZ has crossover competition (like the Model Y) that its grandfather and grandmother never had.
“VW Triplets” (e-Up!, eMii, e-Citigo). A few commenters brought up the so called “VW triplets,” which is a reference to three models from different brands (all underneath the Volkswagen Group umbrella) that are basically the same underneath the shell. These are the Volkswagen e-Up!, SEAT eMii (or Mii Electric), and Skoda e-Citigo. The e-Up! is not exactly crushing it in Europe, but could improved specs (thanks, technology learning curve) and the arrival of some rebadged cousins put this small European offering in the 10,000+ a month range? I wouldn’t bet on that happening before the Tesla pickup truck is at full production, but I’ll happily eat my words if I’m wrong.
Peugeot e-208 / Opel Corsa-e. Another game of “Same Book, Different Cover” sits within the PSA Group. You’ve got the e-208 with a Peugeot badge and the Corse-e with an Opel badge. Americans may be confused who these automakers even are, but Europeans know Peugeot and Opel are giants of the European market and that this class of car is abundant on European roads. These models are attractive and could be everything an EV fan with an affinity for Peugeot or Opel wants. Newbies to the EV market could also be enticed to buy them as they hear more and more about electric vehicles and then via a simple test drive.
Peugeot sold nearly 300,000 units of the 208 in 2018. That’s ~25,000/month. Opel/Vauxhall sold 216,000 units of the Corsa in 2018. Together with the 208, that’s 43,000 units a month. If the companies sell just a quarter of that for the electric versions, they’re up above 10,000 unit sales a month. In 2021? 2022? Will PSA Group face a reckoning before that happens for being too slow into the electric revolution? We’ll see.
The e-208 is said to cost around €31,000 before incentives (the Corsa-e should be similar), with subsidies of €6,000 in France, €6,000 in Germany, and similarly helpful in some other markets. That makes an e-208 a no-brainer compared to a 208, in my book, but then again, I’d buy a Tesla Model 3 instead — the question is what more normal buyers will do.
Hyundai Kona EV. If Hyundai had secured enough batteries for the Kona EV by the time the vehicle hit the market, perhaps the company would already be selling 10,000+ Kona EVs a month. There has certainly been enormous demand for the electric crossover that, combined with limited supply, has led to many waiting lists 1 year or so long.
Supposedly, Hyundai is now getting more batteries for this hot electric CUV and increasing production, but is it able to get to 10,000 a week? And is the slow road to this production ramp up going to be too little, too late since electric options in this arena are multiplying quickly? Make your guess public and you can tell us all “Told you so!” if you end up being right.
MG ZS. Another brand that basically means nothing to Americans, MG has a lot more swagger overseas. At just £21,995 ($28,300), the MG ZS is the affordable electric vehicle with some moderate height that many EV fans have been waiting for. On the other hand, range from the 44.5 kWh battery is just 263 km (160 miles) on the overly generous WLTP test cycle. That’s one reason the ZS, despite using my initials, wasn’t on my initial list. Even with a boost from China, I just don’t see it happening. I challenge MG fans to go to their local dealerships and prove me wrong.
Okay, this was a second round, but I’m sure there are more EV models out there that people are excited about. Any more top contenders for 10,000+ sales a month sometime in the coming few years or so? Also, from this list above, which ones do you think could really reach that milestone?
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