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 In the charts, the Ioniq Electric has been replaced by Tesla’s Model 3.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.This 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.
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.
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 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%).
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)