February 2018 Sales Numbers

This month, I’m going to start the countdown to 200,000 vehicles, for the three manufacturers that can possibly hit that mark this year: General Motors, Tesla Motors and Nissan. Once that happens, these manufacturers are scheduled to have the $7,500 Federal Income Tax Credit begin to phase out. The mechanics of how this happens can be found here. Here’s how it looked as of the end of last month:

Tesla averaged 4,179 vehicle sales per month last year and the Model 3 production is ramping up. If they maintain last year’s rate, Tesla could be at the 200,000 mark by August. General Motors averaged 3,658 plug-in vehicle sales per month last year, but the Bolt EV was not available in all 50 states until August. At that rate, the 200,000 mark would happen in August, as well. That would mean the 200,000 could get cut in half by December 31st of this year. Nissan averaged 936 plug-in vehicle sales per month last year. At that rate, they would hit the 200,000 mark years from now. However, that’s misleading. Their sales, last year, were hampered by the announcement of a new, redesigned Leaf with much better range (although well short of the Model 3 or Bolt EV). Sales lagged for months as consumers waited for the new Leaf. I expect all these manufacturers’ average sales to be much better, but unless they’re phenomenal, Nissan buyer’s will still be getting the full tax credit into 2019.

February 2018 plug-in vehicle sales were up, across the board, which is very abnormal for February.

As I mentioned a couple months ago, I have dropped the Ford C-Max Energi from the tracking, as Ford has decided to end the model. It has been replaced, in my tracking, by the Honda Clarity EV and Hybrid models. I am combining the two plug-in versions of Clarity, but not the hydrogen fuel cell version.

In total vehicle sales, February 2018 was typical. I sold 5 units. The weather was cold and rainy for the last week of the month and traffic was very low.

In the chart below, the February rebound in plug-in sales is obvious. All the curves jump up, in the last month.EV Sales NumbersHere are the February 2018 sales figures, compared to the previous month:

  • Chevy Volt: UP 38% (983 vs. 713)
  • Chevy Bolt EV: UP 21% (1,424 vs. 1,177)
  • Nissan Leaf: UP 497% (895 vs. 150) **new model
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 37% (2,050 vs. 1,496)
  • Tesla Model S: UP 41% (1,125 vs. 800) **estimated
  • Tesla Model X: UP 25% (875 vs. 700) **estimated
  • BMW i3: UP 63% (623 vs. 382) **new model announced
  • Ford Fusion Energi: UP 24% (794 vs. 640)
  • Honda Clarity BEV & PHEV: UP 55% (1,234 vs. 797)
  • Tesla Model 3: UP 33% (2,485 vs. 1,875)

In February, the average price of gasoline dropped from $2.59 per gallon, at the start of the month, to $2.55 at month’s end. The dive was pretty constant, hitting $2.51 on the 18th, bouncing up for a few days, before bottoming out on the 26th at $2.50, before recovering some of its loss.My Sales By Month

I am shocked by the continued robust sales of the Volt and Bolt EV. As you are probably aware, due to the Federal Income Tax Credit on plug-ins, most sales are biased toward the last half of the year, as people start thinking about their income taxes. Until 2017, I had never sold a plug-in vehicle in January or February. In 2017, I only sold one Volt, during each of those months. However, the world is born anew in 2018! In January 2018, I sold two Bolt EVs and a Volt. In February, I sold three Bolt EVs and a Volt. Is this an indicator that we’re moving beyond first adopters of new technology and more into mainstream buyers?My five February 2018 sales were comprised of three Bolt EVs, one Volt, and one Equinox, which means the Bolt EV is rapidly rising, in my overall lifetime sales by model. It is still in 3rd place (42 units), with the Silverado 1500 (55 units) in 2nd place and the Volt (76 units) in first. The Bolt EV got there in eight months. I’ve been selling the other vehicles for 53 months!My Vehicle Sales By ModelBy vehicle type, my lifetime sales are 28% plug-ins, 20% SUVs, 18% pickups (down 1%), 15% sports cars. The rest are sedans & vans (19%).

Plug-in sales, compared to the same month a year ago, were split:

  • Chevy Volt: DOWN 46% (983 vs. 1,820) **Bolt EV effect?
  • Chevy Bolt EV: UP 50% (1,424 vs. 952)
  • Nissan Leaf: DOWN 14% (895 vs. 1,037) **new model
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 51% (2,050 vs. 1,362)
  • Tesla Model S: DOWN 46% (1,125 vs. 1,750)
  • Tesla Model X: UP 9% (875 vs. 800)
  • BMW i3: UP 96% (623 vs. 318)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 5% (794 vs. 837)
  • Honda Clarity BEV & PHEV: (was not available in February 2017)
  • Tesla Model 3: (was not available in February 2017)

January 2018 Sales

January 2018 plug-in vehicle sales were significantly down, which is normal for January. There were two exceptions: The Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model 3.

In a repeat of last couple of month’s posts, the chart shown below, shows my Volt and Bolt EV sales by month, over the last four-plus years. I sold three plug-in vehicles in January 2018, which is WAY outside norms. Usually, January sales are slow because everyone is focused on getting the Federal Income Tax Credit in November and December of the previous year. Before this year, I’d only sold one Volt in January and one in February, and that was only for the year 2017. Before that, I’d never sold a plug-in in either month! That red bar in January, in the chart below shows how different January 2018 was for me (in plug-ins, anyway…)My Plug-Ins by MonthIn total vehicle sales, January 2018 was typical. I sold 4 units. In January 2015 and 2017, I sold 4 vehicles. In January 2016, my vehicle sales totaled 10, of many different types. Traffic was terrible that January, but sales were good.

The Bolt EV, in just seven months has become my 3rd highest volume vehicle, surpassing the Corvette. In the chart below, you can see that, in the six months they were available in Texas, my Bolt EV sales totaled 37 units. My best year, in Silverados (2015), was 25 units and my best Volt year (2016, when the 2nd generation first became available) was 27 unitsVehicle Sales By Model & Year Sold

In the chart below, the January downturn in plug-in sales is obvious. The Leaf (light blue line) barely budged upward and the Model 3 (dark purple line that starts in July 2017) jumped up significantly.January 2018 EV Sales NumbersOnce again, I am going to point out the beginning of the adoption curves. The curve taking off the fastest continues to be the Chevy Bolt EV. Last month, its adoption curve has started to turn downward, toward the rest of the pack, but almost every other adoption curve did the same. It will be interesting to see how the new Leaf, i3 and Honda Clarity compete this year. The foremost dark purple line is the Tesla Model 3. January sales helped its adoption start to look like the Bolt EV. Those two models have been seen as major competitors, so the coming year should be interesting to watch.Bolt EV ZoomHere are the January 2018 sales figures, compared to the previous month:

  • Chevy Volt: DOWN 63% (713 vs. 1,937)
  • Chevy Bolt EV: DOWN 64% (1,177 vs. 3,227)
  • Nissan Leaf: UP 47% (150 vs. 102) **new model announced
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: DOWN 38% (1,496 vs. 2,420)
  • Tesla Model S: DOWN 84% (800 vs. 4,975) **estimated
  • Tesla Model X: DOWN 79% (700 vs. 3,300) **estimated
  • BMW i3: DOWN 43% (382 vs. 672) **new model announced
  • Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 27% (640 vs. 875)
  • Ford C-Max Energy: DOWN 46% (234 vs. 436) **end of model announced
  • Tesla Model 3: UP 77% (1,875 vs. 1,060)

In January, the average price of gasoline rose from $2.47 per gallon, at the start of the month, to $2.59 at month’s end. Gasoline started out around $2.47 per gallon and remained about the same through the ninth. After that it rose steadily, to $2.55 on the 17th. After a minor dip, over four days, it then rose to the end of the month.My Sales By MonthMy four January 2018 sales were comprised of two Bolt EVs, one Volt, and one Malibu.

Vehicle Sales By ModelBy vehicle type, my lifetime sales are 28% plug-ins, 20% SUVs, 19% pickups, 15% sports cars. The rest are sedans & vans (18%).

Plug-in sales, compared to the same month a year ago, were mostly down, with only two models showing an increase and both were new or revamped models: Bolt EV and the Prius Prime.

  • Chevy Volt: DOWN 56% (713 vs. 1,611) **Bolt EV effect?
  • Chevy Bolt EV: UP 1% (1,177 vs. 1,162)
  • Nissan Leaf: DOWN 81% (150 vs. 772) **new model announced
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: DOWN 8% (1,496 vs. 1,641)
  • Tesla Model S: DOWN 11% (800 vs. 900)
  • Tesla Model X: DOWN 7% (700 vs. 750)
  • BMW i3: UNCHANGED (382 vs. 382)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: UP 6% (640 vs. 606)
  • Ford C-Max Energi: DOWN 51% (234 vs. 473)
  • Tesla Model 3: (was not available in December 2016)

EV charging infrastructure: Who? How? Why?

EV Charge StationThere have been lots of people asking why the makers of plug-in vehicles, other than Tesla, aren’t getting more involved in charging infrastructure roll-out. I wrote about the business model for charging infrastructure, shortly after getting our first two Chevy Volts. I was considering starting a business that installed and operated EV chargers. The path to profitability did not seem viable to me. In fact, it seemed so difficult to achieve profitability, that I still don’t understand how these companies plan to survive! In Texas, there’s an added obstacle: Only energy retailers can sell electricity to the public on a per-kWh basis and the EV charging companies do not meet that standard (unless the law gets modified). In order to resolve this, many EVSE companies have based charging on time connected. This places an undue burden on EVs that charge more slowly than others. For example, the Gen 1 Chevy Volt charged at about half the speed of a Gen 1 Nissan Leaf. By charging, based on connect time, it’s as if one gasoline-powered vehicle was charged twice as much per gallon than a different gasoline-powered vehicle.

EV Charge StationLooking back, five years later, I’ve realized a few things:

  • Plug-in hybrids do not need to charge on public chargers. There, I said it. Better yet, I’ve lived it. In over five years of driving Volts, I have plugged into a public charger under five times, mostly out of curiosity. WHY would I want to be stuck at a public charger to add ten miles of range for each hour I was charging? I can just pull into a gas station and fill up, if my battery won’t get me home.
  • EV etiquette arguments spring up with shorter-range BEV drivers (Leaf, Spark, iMiEV, etc) complaining that they can’t get home because a hybrid was plugged in. The hybrid camp responds with, “Exactly! That’s why we did the ‘smart’ thing and bought a hybrid.” P.S. The correct answer is, “You’re right. Since you asked politely, I will give up the charging spot to you. I’d rather drive home on gasoline than give the anti-EV crowd another nonsense issue with which to dissuade others from buying plug-in vehicles.
  • I believe the newer, longer-ranged EVs, when being used for driving less than 200 miles per day, also will not have a real need to charge at public chargers. If the owner can charge at home, doing so will open up charging stations to those who cannot charge at home (like apartment dwellers).
  • Our government entities are planning on using budget for DC fast-charging infrastructure to build them, primarily, in large, metropolitan areas. This is where they believe the chargers will be most needed because that’s where the EVs are located. That’s fine for Level 2 chargers, since an EV in a large city, is probably less than 25 miles from home and a one hour charge would satisfy that need. But the most critical need will be between major cities, to help EVs make it from one city to another. This is what Tesla has been building: “Destination chargers.” Being from the western U.S., where there’s hours of driving between major cities, I may have a regional bias here…EV Charge Station
  • We need to be smarter about charging locations: Here are some things to consider:
    • Charging centers cannot replicate gasoline filling stations. Have you ever been to a gas station and thought, “This would be a great place to hang out for a couple hours!”?
    • There has to be another attraction, that the EV owner would actually want to use, to fill the charging time and add revenue for the charging station owner. A movie theater and restaurant are good starts. However, movie theaters probably won’t work for destination chargers, as people will show up at all times, not just when a movie is about to start. To facilitate this, you need the ability to stream a movie from the EVSE to the EV’s infotainment system or passengers’ tablets/phones. In this way, the movie starts right when you arrive. This adds another revenue stream to support the cost of the charger.
    • A nice club, like frequent flyer clubs in airports, could be nice. Very clean, quiet reading rooms, restrooms and nice grounds for picnicking, game rooms/arcades, swimming pools, and gyms would be something most EVers would ante up for. Trailheads with chargers (or buses that go to and from the chargers to the trailheads) for nice one to two hour hikes would be a big hit.
    • These “destination chargers” could be a boon to a small town (since that’s where they’d be located). A nice, downtown shopping area, that could be strolled through, would be an invitation for EV owners and their disposable income to stay a little longer…
    • The destination chargers need to be located where they can do the most to push the evolution of transportation forward. Getting to Colorado from east Texas is very difficult because there are no DC Fast Chargers available to the average EV in the Texas panhandle. Due to this, the EV driver has to plan a route that takes them days out of their way, or find hotels/RV parks, with chargers or outlets available for charging overnight. THIS sounds like an obstacle AND an opportunity for small towns who wants to attract visitors.
    • It would be nice, if there was a small EV-specific garage at the destination chargers. Someone who could top off battery coolant, replace or repair leaking tires, replace 12V batteries, etc. Concerns about getting basic EV service in a small town is surely holding back some buyers.
    • These chargers are not going to help move the switch to fun, clean EV driving, unless they are available. Every state needs to have tough fines/towing laws on the books for vehicles (both plug-in and non-plug-in) that are parked at a charger but not charging. There should be a timer, showing time since charging ceased, to prevent fining someone who got back a little bit late. There should also be video surveillance of the site, for the safety of nighttime charging.
    • One last thing that would help: Each charger should have multiple connectors so that the next driver (and the next?) could go ahead and plug-in, knowing that their EV will wait until the previous EV is through charging, before their EV will begin charging. This can make each charger’s utilization climb because, as long as the next EV is in line and plugged in, the charger will experience no downtime or lost revenue.

EV Charge StationNow, who is to responsible for all this infrastructure?

  • The EV manufacturers (some, very late to the EV game) are up to their eyeballs in developing new EVs and trying to get to profitability. I don’t expect much from their camp.
  • The EVSE manufacturers will probably continue to try to ally themselves with EV manufacturers and offer free charging or free memberships. I’m not sure this will do much for those who have already owned a plug-in vehicle, but it will help ease fears of new EV buyers.
  • The government is getting money from the Volkswagen “diesel-gate” scandal and is applying a lot of that to charging infrastructure. Now might be a good time to use some of that to build destination chargers in a small, strategically located town and getting the town to develop surrounding attractions to grow with the charging site. By doing this, we will quickly determine what works and what doesn’t, in added attractions and revenue streams.EV Charge Station

December 2017 Sales Numbers

December 2017 plug-in vehicle sales were mostly up, over the previous month, with two exceptions: The Nissan Leaf and the Ford Fusion Energi. As I mentioned last month, Nissan has announced the next generation Leaf, with much more range (and somewhat improved looks) than the current model.

In a repeat of last month’s post, the chart shown below, shows my Volt and Bolt EV sales by month, over the last four years, with my December 2017 sales fully accounted for. I’ve had two very good months of plug-in sales.

In total vehicle sales, December was a let down. In December 2016, I sold 24 vehicles, including 8 Volts, making plug-ins 33% of my total sales that month. In December 2017, my vehicle sales totaled just 13 vehicles, of which 10 were plug-ins, for 77% of the total! Although I’d have liked higher sales volume, the 77% takes some of the disappointment away.My Plug-Ins by Month

In the chart below, The Bolt EV’s U.S. sales are represented by the dark blue/green line that starts in December 2016. Bolt EV’s December sales were only bested by the Tesla Model X (barely) and the Model S (which bounces around a lot). The Bolt EVs assumed main competitor, the Tesla Model 3, is the dark purple line that starts in July 2017. Today, it was reported widely that Tesla has pushed back the date for production ramp up to 5,000 vehicles a month, to mid-2018. I’ve had three Bolt EV deals that were originally Tesla deals, due to delays in production. At about 1/2 the price of a readily available Tesla model, the Bolt EV, to borrow an old tagline from Apple, is becoming “the EV for the rest of us.”December 2017 EV Sales Numbers Once again, I am going to point out the beginning of the adoption curves. The curve taking off the fastest continues to be the Chevy Bolt EV. This month, its adoption curve has diverged even more from the rest of the pack. It is truly making a splash. Can you imagine if GM really got behind promoting it and the Volt???Bolt EV ZoomHere are the December 2017 sales figures, compared to the previous month:

  • Chevy Volt: UP 14% (1,937 vs. 1,702)
  • Chevy Bolt EV: UP 8% (3,227 vs. 2,987)
  • Nissan Leaf: DOWN 42% (102 vs. 175) **new model announced
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 32% (2,420 vs. 1,834)
  • Tesla Model S: UP 273% (4,975 vs. 1,335) **estimated
  • Tesla Model X: UP 76% (3,300 vs. 1,875) **estimated
  • BMW i3: UP 137% (672 vs. 283) **new model announced
  • Ford Fusion Energi: UP 20% (875 vs. 731)
  • Ford C-Max Energy: DOWN 17% (436 vs. 523) **end of model announced
  • Tesla Model 3: UP 207% (1,060 vs. 345)

In December, the average price of gasoline fell from $2.54 per gallon, the previous month, to $2.46 last month. Gasoline started out around $2.47 per gallon. It dropped steadily, bottoming out at $2.42 on the 18th. It then rose to $2.49 at the end of the month.

My December sales were my second-best ever, but as I mentioned above, they were lower than I anticipated.My Sales By WeekMy thirteen December sales were comprised of seven Bolt EVs, three Volts, one Silverado, one Cruze, and one Tahoe. I probably could have sold even more Bolt EVs, but we ended up with only three left in stock and did some dealer trades to get specific options buyers wanted. There was also a serious delay in shipping Bolt EVs to us. Bolt EVs leave the factory, on a train bound for Ohio. There, they are unloaded and put on a train headed to Texas. For some reason (I was told it was a railcar shortage) nine Bolt EVs we ordered were delayed in Ohio for a month! My Volt sales gained ground against pickups, again last month. I have only been able to sell Bolt EVs for 6 months, but it has already surpassed my 51 months of Corvette sales, becoming my 2nd place vehicle sold, over my entire time selling vehicles! An important note here, is this included the debut of the C7 Corvette, in 2014, which was very, very hot item.

By vehicle type, my lifetime sales are 27% plug-ins, 20% SUVs, 19% pickups, 16% sports cars. The rest are sedans & vans (18%).Vehicle Sales By Model

Plug-in sales, compared to the same month a year ago, were mostly down, with only two models showing an increase and both were new or revamped models: Bolt EV and the Prius Prime.

  • Chevy Volt: DOWN 48% (1,937 vs. 3,691) **Bolt EV effect?
  • Chevy Bolt EV: UP 466% (3,227 vs. 570) **Bolt EV debuted in December 2016
  • Nissan Leaf: DOWN 95% (102 vs. 1,889) **new model announced
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 47% (2,420 vs. 1,641)
  • Tesla Model S: DOWN 15% (4,975 vs. 5,850)
  • Tesla Model X: DOWN 15% (3,300 VS. 3,875)
  • BMW i3: DOWN 15% (672 vs. 791)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 20% (875 vs. 1,099)
  • Ford C-Max Energi: DOWN 66% (436 vs. 1,289)
  • Tesla Model 3: (was not available in December 2016)

Taxing rumor mill…

CongressSeveral sites are quoting an unnamed Republican and announcing that the Federal Income Tax Credit for plug-in vehicles will be retained in the “reconciliation” bill.

For those unfamiliar with how our legislative process works, here’s a quick intro:

  • Lobbyist proposes a change to current law or a new law
  • Trench-coat-garbed smoking men meet in darkened public parking garage to exchange money and verbatim text of proposed law.
  • Congressperson enters new law as a bill.

(just kidding…I hope…)

  • The Senate and House both propose bills, in this case a tax reform bill.
  • Both the House and Senate committees debate and pass (or fail to pass) the bill from committee.
  • The bill is heard by the respective chamber and the entire chamber votes on the bill.
  • If the bills pass both the House and the Senate, someone has to iron out any differences, so that a singular, unified bill goes to the President’s desk for signature. This is done by a “reconciliation committee,” that makes compromises needed to assure passage through both chambers.
  • Both chambers vote on the reconciled bill.
  • If the reconciled bill passes both chambers, the bill is sent to the President for signature, making the bill the law of the land, or veto.

The big news for the last several weeks, in the EV world, is the House of Representatives had a clause, in their version of the tax reform bill, that eliminated the income tax credit, effective this December 31st. The Senate version kept the tax credit in place.

The first rumor I saw was that the reconciled bill contained the House’s wording, eliminating the tax credit.

Now, the latest rumor is exactly the opposite. Many sites are proclaiming the tax credit is saved.

My advice is unchanged: If you were considering the purchase or lease of a plug-in vehicle and the income tax credit was a major factor in the decision, do the following:

  • Do NOT trust. Verify. If there is no public announcement before January 1st, consider pulling the trigger on your acquisition instead of taking the risk of not getting the tax credit.
  • KEEP up the calls, emails, letters, tweets, Facebook posts, petitions, etc to your elected official up. Do NOT release the pressure, until we know the tax credit has been preserved!
  • Of course, if it is announced the tax credit is ending, I recommend taking advantage of it before year’s end. I wish I could do the same, but my current Volt lease doesn’t end until March 2019.
  • Of course, if both houses prematurely end the tax credit, vote against every single incumbent, regardless of party, in the next couple elections. Only then, will they remember who their bosses are and that they are in a subservient role.

November 2017 Sales Numbers

Beginning with this month, my charts will no longer include the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, as its sales have remained very low and there are other, more promising plug-in vehicles to track. In the charts, the Ioniq Electric has been replaced by Tesla’s Model 3. Admittedly, the Model 3 hasn’t fared much better… yet. However, the reservations placed make it a more important vehicle to track. As Tesla Motors continues to try to emerge from “production hell,” the story of their success or failure will be important, in the history of EVs. Ford Motor Company has announced the end of the C-Max Energi. Consequently, I will look for a suitable replacement. I’m leaning toward the Honda Clarity plug-in vehicle. However, since the Clarity has three different drivetrains (HFC, BEV, PHEV) I’m not sure if I’ll go with it. The sales figures aren’t broken up by drivetrain and I don’t want to muddy the plug-in waters with HFC sales numbers.

What vehicle would you suggest?

November 2017 plug-in vehicle sales were mostly up, over the previous month, with one exception: The BMW i3. I expect all plug-in sales to surge, at the end of each year, due to the nearness of the end of the year (and access to the income tax credit). The chart, shown below, shows my Volt and Bolt EV sales by month, over the last four years (December 2017 reflects three I have already sold this month but, of course, there will be many more to go, making the December orange bar much taller. Even without full December 2017 data, you can easily see the trend. There is an anomaly with March and April 2016 (yellow bars). That spike in sales was due to the introduction of the 2017 Volt. The 2016 Volt was not sold in Texas. The July/August 2017 spikes (orange bars) were fueled by the arrival of the Bolt EV in Texas and the factory orders, that had been placed by customers, in advance of those months. However, an obvious bias in plug-in sales, toward the end of the year, can clearly be seen. In November of 2016, I sold two Volts. Last month, I sold 10 plug-in vehicles (1 Volt, 9 Bolt EVs). In December of 2016, I sold 8 Volts. In the first two days of this month, I have already sold three plug-ins (1 Volt, 2 Bolt EVs). The only thing that can keep this month from blowing away all my previous plug-in sales results would be the very real possibility of running out of inventory! As it is, December in car sales is akin to trying to drink from a fire hose. This December, I’m going to have to get better at setting up appointments to maximize my availability to my customers.Plug-in Sales by WeekThis year, there will be additional buying urgency, caused by what happened two nights ago. The Senate passed their version of the Republican tax reform bill. As I posted earlier, the House version of this bill includes the termination of the Federal Income Tax Credit for plug-in vehicles, effective December 31st. The Senate version, the last time I checked, kept the tax credit in effect. Now, the two versions will be reconciled, behind closed doors, in conference committee. There is still a little time to a) get a plug-in vehicle, before the tax credit possibly goes away and b) contact your elected representatives to voice your opinion on this issue, or 3) sign a petition.EV Sales Numbers

Once again, I am going to point out the beginning of the adoption curves. The curve taking off the fastest is the Chevy Bolt EV. Its first twelve months of sales have have grown more rapidly than even the original Toyota Prius. If that curve can continue, transportation will fundamentally change much faster than I’ve been anticipating. The dark almost horizontal line, stretching from the first month to the fifth, is the Tesla Model 3. For an EV with 400K reservations and the majority of press coverage for two years, these two curves really show how Tesla is struggling with the Model 3 launch and the mass production strength of General Motors.Adoption curves

Here are the November 2017 sales figures, compared to the previous month:

  • Chevy Volt: UP 25% (1,702 vs.1,362)
  • Chevy Bolt EV: UP 7% (2,987 vs. 2,781)
  • Nissan Leaf: DOWN 18% (175 vs. 213) **new model announced
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 13% (1,834 vs. 1,626)
  • Tesla Model S: UP 19% (1,335 vs. 1,120) **estimated
  • Tesla Model X: UP 121% (1,875 vs. 850) **estimated
  • BMW i3: DOWN 59% (283 vs. 686)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 1% (731 vs. 741)
  • Ford C-Max Energy: DOWN 8% (523 vs. 569) **end of model announced
  • Tesla Model 3: UP 138% (345 vs. 145)

In November, the average price of gasoline was $2.54 per gallon and started out around $2.53 per gallon, rising steadily until 8th. It peaked on the 18th at $2.57. After the 18th, prices steadily declined through the end of the month, bottoming out under $2.49.

My November sales have been pretty lackluster over the years I’be been selling cars. That is, until this year! This November my sales were over 3X my best November (2014) and 4X my average November. This is due to spiking Bolt EV sales. Without the ten Volt & Bolt EV sales last month, it would still have been my best November, but only by one unit sold.My Sales By WeekMy sixteen November sales were comprised of nine Bolt EVs, two Sparks (equalling my best total year of Spark sales!), one Silverado, one Colorado, one Tahoe, one Cruze and one Volt. Bolt EV is still the hot vehicle. Volt lost a little ground to pickups, and my total Bolt EV sales, over 5 months, is already 42% of my lifetime Volt sales. By vehicle type, my sales are 25% plug-ins, 21% SUVs, 19% pickups, 16% sports cars. The rest are sedans & vans (19%).Vehicle Sales By Model

Plug-in sales, compared to the same month a year ago, were mostly down, with two models showing an increase.

  • Chevy Volt: DOWN 33% (1,702 vs. 2,531) **the Bolt EV effect!
  • Chevy Bolt EV: (was not available in November 2016**new model announced
  • Nissan Leaf: DOWN 88% (175 vs. 1,457) **new model announced
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 135% (1,834 vs. 781)
  • Tesla Model S: DOWN 5% (1,335 vs. 1,400)
  • Tesla Model X: UP 108% (1,875 VS. 900)
  • BMW i3: DOWN 55% (283 vs. 629)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 60% (731 vs. 1,817)
  • Ford C-Max Energi: DOWN 28% (523 vs. 721)
  • Tesla Model 3: (was not available in November 2016)

October 2017 Sales Numbers and a 38 Year Journey Ends

October 2017 plug-in vehicle sales were mostly down, over the previous month, with two exceptions: The Chevy Bolt EV and the BMW i3.

The total sales for the year, of the vehicles I track, have several bunched around one another. The Volt, Prius Prime*, Model X and Bolt EV are all within a variation of only 6%. If the Bolt EV is removed from that group, the variation drops to only 4%. These vehicles (not including Bolt EV) sell at an average rate of 1,614 units to 1,674 units, per month. The Bolt EV, although not available in all states until July of this year, averaged 1,708 units per month. The big showdown, between the Tesla Model 3 and Bolt EV, has failed to materialize, due to Tesla’s production challenges. In its first four months of availability, only 367 Model 3s have been sold. In the same four months, Chevy cranked out 9,491 Bolt EV sales. I have had three Bolt EV customers tell me they had considered a Tesla (including a Model X) before selecting the Bolt EV, due to its bang for the buck. If the rumored end of the Federal Income Tax Credit for plug-in vehicles comes to fruition, Tesla may see a stampede away from the Model 3, in order for buyers to get an electric vehicle before the $7,500 tax credit ends.

*(includes the previous model, the Plug-in Prius)
EV Sales Numbers


Here are the October 2017 sales figures, compared to the previous month:

  • Chevy Volt: Down 6% (1,362 vs. 1,453)
  • Chevy Bolt EV: UP 6% (2,781 vs. 2,632)
  • Nissan Leaf: DOWN 80% (213 vs. 1,055) **new model announced
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: DOWN 14% (1,626 vs. 1,899)
  • Tesla Model S: DOWN 77% (1,120 VS. 4,860) **estimated
  • Tesla Model X: DOWN 73% (850 VS. 3,120) **estimated
  • BMW i3: UP 28% (686 VS. 538)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 3% (741 VS. 763)
  • Ford C-Max Energy: DOWN 17% (569 VS. 683)
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric: DOWN 22% (28 VS. 36) what’s going on here???

In October, the average price of gasoline was $2.47 per gallon and started out around $2.54 per gallon, dropping precipitously until bottoming out on the 22nd. After the 22nd, prices staggered higher, ending around $2.48.

With the exception of 2016, October has been a pretty good month for my sales. This October my sales were about the same as they were in October 2014 & 2015.My Sales By WeekMy ten October sales were comprised of four Bolt EVs, two Silverados, one Equinox, one Cruze, one Traverse, and one Volt. Bolt EV is still the hot vehicle. Volt lost a little ground to pickups, and the Bolt EV is gaining quickly on Volt. I am definitely seeing much more customer interest in the Bolt EV than I am in the Volt. In fact, Bolt EV is my #1 selling vehicle for 2017, even though we didn’t have any to sell, until the very last day of June! My top two vehicles in 2017 are Bolt EV (21 units) and Volt (17 units).

Vehicle Sales By Model

During lunch the other day, I got a call from a reporter from Wards Automotive and we discussed that dynamic. This October tied for my best October, so I should not complain, but I missed a GM target by only one vehicle. It is so frustrating for me when that happens! I had two appointments on Halloween that should have resulted in goal attainment, but one was a no-show and the other decided to keep the vehicle I sold them two years ago.

Plug-in sales, compared to the same month a year ago, were mixed, with two models suffering from new vehicles/models from the same manufacturer.

  • Chevy Volt: DOWN 38% (1,362 vs. 2,191) **the Bolt EV effect?
  • Chevy Bolt EV: (was not available in October 2016**new model announced
  • Nissan Leaf: DOWN 85% (213 vs. 1,412)
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: DOES NOT COMPUTE! (1,626 vs. 0) **previous generation Prius plug-in, dying out last October
  • Tesla Model S: UP 21% (1,120 VS. 925)
  • Tesla Model X: UP 17% (850 VS. 725)
  • BMW i3: UP 55% (686 vs. 442)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 46% (741 vs. 1,372)
  • Ford C-Max Energi: UNCHANGED (569 vs. 571)
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric: (was not available in October 2016)

This week (November 1st through 7th) is a statistically odd week for my sales. In four years of selling cars, I have never sold a vehicle, during that week. Next month, I’ll let you know if I bucked that trend…

Finally, a story 38 years in the making: The Houston Astros finally won the World Series and are the champions. Baseball is the only sport I watch regularly and I grew up in Houston. I was in college, in 1979, when my father-in-law, Dwight Maney, Sr. started taking his sons and me to baseball games, in the Astrodome. That year, they came within 1-1/2 games of winning the NL West. I suffered through the extra-inning Game 5 defeat to the Phillies, in the NLCS, the following season, but was hooked for life.

I was in the Astrodome, when Nolan Ryan got his 4,000th strikeout and was in Rangers Stadium, when he got his 5,000th. I moved away from Houston, in 1986, when oil prices and real estate values collapsed, sending my hometown (and my career) into a downward spiral for a few years. I watched the 1986 NLCS on TV, in Arlington, Texas and was on my knees, screaming, when Kevin Bass struck out, in the 16th inning of Game 6, losing to the Mets.

Due to proximity, I became a Texas Rangers fan and slowly started loving the Rangers, but always had a soft spot for the Astros. In 1987, Nolan Ryan became a Ranger and it just seemed appropos. The only time I would root against the ‘Stros, were when they faced the Rangers. It was an adjustment, watching baseball outdoors. Having watched every game, previous to my move to Arlington, in the Astrodome, made me think of baseball as an indoor sport.

AstrosIn 2005, I took my youngest daughter, Zoe (6 years old at the time) to her first NLCS in Houston’s new stadium and they won. We were screaming after the game and with Zoe perched on my shoulders, a Houston TV station, which was shooting footage of the celebrating fans, captured the moment. The two of us drove the 4-1/2 hours back to DFW that night and heard the next morning that the footage of us celebrating had made the morning news. Zoe has been to many Rangers games since.

Zoe & Me 2005 NLCS

Zoe & me at 2005 NLCS. (that’s the jersey I wore this week, watching the World Series on TV)

Having won the NLCS, the Astros were on their way to the World Series, facing the Chicago White Sox. My youngest brother, Curt had gotten tickets for us, two for him and his wife to Game 4, and two for Bonnie and me to Game 5.

The Astros were swept in four straight games. My ticket was never used and I have it to this day.

Perhaps now, you can understand why I am writing about this on My Electric Vehicle Journey… GO ASTROS!!!!

Champs at last

I waited a long, long time to see this.