March EV Sales 2nd Best Month Ever In US, Momentum Now Unstoppable
The Tesla Model S retook the overall EV sales lead in March
Up against some particularly difficult sales comps a year ago, March 2017 was the one month that there might have been a hiccup in the surging US plug-vehicle market.
Not only did the plug-in sales post year-over-year gains for the 18th consecutive month (or 1.5 years if you will), but March did it in style, with 22 different models touching 2017 highs.
The ~18,107 plug-ins moved was the 2nd best month ever for sales, outpacing a strong 2016 result by more than 4,000 units and 31% (when ~13,857 were sold).
With less than 10 days worth of inventory, the Toyota Prius Prime still sold more than 1,600 copies in March. What is the ultimate sales ceiling for the plug-in Toyota?
Overall for the year, an estimated 40,729 plug-ins have now been sold in 2017, which is a 46.3% jump over the 27,841 moved through the first 3 months of 2016.
Putting another way, at the current pace of gains, the US market is heading for some 232,000 plug-in sales for 2017
and that is before adding in any future Model 3 numbers, projected by CEO Elon Musk to start limited production in July (and ending the year out at a ~5,000 per week pace), or 2nd generation LEAFs this Fall.
Getting to the individual results; as March was the end of a quarter, one can count on Tesla to focus its delivery efforts on the US. And despite losing a week+ of production in February (affecting March deliveries) for Model 3 tooling, the company still managed to deliver and estimated 6,200 EVs for the month (~3,450 Model S, ~2,750 Model X).
The March surge for the Tesla Model S was enough to put it just ahead of the Chevrolet Volt in total sales for the year (by 537 units), but the Volt also outperformed expectations, selling 2,132 copies during the month. We should note that not everything was rosy for GM, as the company cited issues getting Chevrolet Bolt EV inventory to dealers, which caused the 238 mile car to sell just under 1,000 copies for the second month in a row.
On the surprise side, the BMW i3, after floundering for what seems like an eternity, rebounded in March, selling 703 copies up from 318 in February, and 111% better than last year (332 sales). Hopefully this signals the imminent return of the plug-in BMW to former glory, with sales in the 4-digit range. Also the BMW 330e finally got some inventory (only took a year) and notched 365 sales
clearly on the way to bigger and better results finally.
But the biggest surprise of the month was definitely the Ford Focus Electric! After 60 months in a row of selling 150 units (+/-99 copies), the new long ranger model finally arrived (115 miles up from 76 via a 33.5 kWh battery), and with it a sizable amount of customer orders that piled up over the past ~4 months.
Several Most models made new 2017 highs in March, a listing of which one can find under the model-by-model sales chart below. (All-time, month-by-month, historical data for previous years can be found here)
2017 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai-Kia Do Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data
Other Statistical Points of Interest from March 2017
Its the end of a quarter
so Tesla heads back to the top of the list!
Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:
Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In March*
- Tesla Motors* 6,200
- General Motors 3,115
- Ford 2,071
- Toyota 1,618
- BMW 1,556
- Nissan 1,478
- VW Group 885
- BEV 10,377 57.3%
- PHEV 7,730 -42.7%
New Year Highs Set In March By Model (previous 2017 high in brackets)
The longer range Ford Focus Electric arriving in March
bringing with it a new, historically high, level of sales for the model
- Tesla Model S* 3,450 (1,750)
- Tesla Model X* 2,750 (800)
- Chevrolet Volt 2,132 (1,820)
- Toyota Prius Prime 1,618 (1,366)
- Nissan LEAF 1,478(1,037)
- Ford Fusion Energi 1,002 (837)
- BMW i3 703 (382)
- Ford C-Max Energi 662 (639)
- Audi A3 e-Tron 414 (400)
- Ford Focus Electric 407 (228)
- BMW X5 XDrive40e 397 (275)
- BMW 330e 365 (144)
- VW e-Golf 342 (332)
- Fiat 500e* 355 (345)
- Hyundai Sonata PHV* 295 (190)
- Kia Soul EV 171 (152)
- Volvo XC 90 T8 103 (96)
- Kia Optima PHV 70 (61)
- Mercedes S 550e 60 (55)
- BMW 740e 42 (35)
- Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid 3 (2)
- Mitsubishi i-MiEV 3 (1)