December pushes U.S. EV sales well over the 350K mark
Based on automakers’ sales reports and our estimates, we report a total of 49,900 plug-in electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in December 2018, compared to last year’s 26,107 and last month’s 42,588. This makes December the best month of all time for EV sales on our shores. For 2018 as a whole, we saw 361,307 electric vehicles delivered in the U.S., compared to the 199,818 EVs moved in 2017.
It’s been a solid year for EV sales as a whole, even though most of the progress was made by a single automaker. The months of August, September, October, and November racked up sales figures that more than doubled those of last year. We said up front that we didn’t think last month would be able to double last December’s numbers, and we were right. However, it came pretty close.
Our early estimation put December at over 48,000 EVs sold. We’ll be honest to say that we were a bit concerned when GM’s quarterly numbers came in. Nonetheless, Toyota, Honda, BMW, and Nissan stepped it up to more than make up for the difference.
Six consecutive months in 2018 have claimed a spot on our list of top months of all time for U.S. EV sales, though not in calendar order. While we know full well that the Tesla Model 3 is the most substantial contributor to this new trend, numbers wouldn’t be where they are today without the respectable sales of the Toyota Prius Prime, Chevrolet Volt, Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, Chevrolet Bolt EV, and Nissan LEAF.
Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):
- December 2018 – 49,900
- September 2018 – 44,544
- November 2018 – 42,588
- August 2018 – 36,347
- October 2018 – 34,074
The Tesla Model 3 tops our chart by acres, with 139,782 estimated U.S. deliveries. This makes it 12 months in a row that the Model 3 has been the U.S. EV sales leader. We estimate Tesla sold a monumental 25,250 Model 3 sedans in December.
Model S and Model X sales were up again in December, though the vehicles remain in the 3rd and 4th positions on the year, respectively. Overall, Tesla delivered an estimated 32,600 vehicles last month, which adds up to well over half of all EVs sold in the U.S. in December.
Based on our estimates – for the year as a whole – Tesla has sold a colossal 191,627 vehicles in the U.S. out of a total of some ~361,307 overall EV sales to date. The automaker continues to officially account for well over half of all electric vehicles sold in the U.S. for 2018. In addition, Tesla alone sold almost as many EVs as were sold in the U.S. by all brands in 2017 (199,826). According to the automaker, it also sold almost as many vehicles in 2018 as it did in all prior years combined.
Let’s take a closer look at the other top-selling electric vehicles in the U.S. this December 2018:
The Toyota Prius Prime lands in the five-spot for the month and the second-place position for the year as a whole, with 2,759 deliveries in the U.S. in December.
The Honda Clarity PHEV pulls past the Prime for the first month ever, delivering an incredible 2,770 based on our estimates and Honda’s verification. It lands in fourth place for December and pushes past the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Volt to secure the fifth position overall for 2018.
Nissan LEAF sales jumped up to 1,667 in December, to close out the year strong. It’s in sixth place for December, putting it ahead of multiple vehicles that usually surpass it. However, a combination of weaker months leaves it in the eighth position on the year as as a whole.
Based on our research, BMW 530e sales were up considerably in November, which resulted in a record month for the plug-in. Fortunately, the automaker pushed even harder in December and broke its own record, selling some 1,363 5 Series plug-ins. The 530e finishes 2018 in the nine-spot. While BMW’s all-electric i3 hasn’t succeeded sales-wise as of late, its plug-ins are faring well as a whole as usual. When compared to its primary rival — Mercedes — it’s worlds ahead. We believe that of all OEMs, it will be the one that continues to rise up and make waves in the near future.
Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Bolt EV sales … we don’t want to talk about it. All jokes aside, we needed to adjust our monthly estimates for Q4. GM reported lower numbers than we expected. In addition, after a strong November, the automaker had exhausted inventory, which resulted in very weak December 2018 U.S. plug-in sales. Nonetheless, the Volt closes out 2018 in sixth place, followed by the Bolt EV in seventh.
We’ll close out the month with the usual final data points and another look at our completed sales chart.
Other Statistical Points of Interest from December 2018
Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:
- Tesla* – 32,600
- Honda – 2,857
- BMW Group – 2,774
- Toyota – 2,759
- General Motors* – 2,479
- Nissan – 1,667
Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In December*
- BEV – 36,861
- PHEV – 13,039
Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In 2018*
- BEV – 237,216
- PHEV – 124,091
*Based on estimates due to the lack of U.S. monthly sales reporting by Tesla and GM, as well as BMW i3 splits (BEV + REx), and multiple automakers refusing to reach out or reply related to individual EV sales.
*You may notice that we updated that last few months. Fortunately, Honda offered us actual Clarity splits, so our Clarity PHEV and BEV totals are correct on the year, and December totals are exact as well! We’re hoping we can get some other automakers to provide “real” numbers going forward.
|2018 U.S. EV SALES||JAN||FEB||MAR||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT||NOV||DEC||TOTAL|
|Tesla Model 3*||1875||2485||3820||3750||6000||5902||14250||17800||22250||17750||18650||25250||139,782|
|Toyota Prius Prime||1496||2050||2922||2626||2924||2237||1984||2071||2213||2001||2312||2759||27,595|
|Tesla Model X*||700||975||2825||1025||1450||2550||1325||2750||3975||1225||3200||4100||26,100|
|Tesla Model S*||800||1125||3375||1250||1520||2750||1200||2625||3750||1350||2750||3250||25,745|
|Honda Clarity PHEV*||604||911||1131||1129||1639||1495||1542||1462||1997||2025||1897||2770||18,602|
|Chevrolet Bolt EV*||1177||1424||1774||1275||1125||1083||1175||1225||1549||1975||2825||1412||18,019|
|Ford Fusion Energi||640||794||782||742||740||604||522||396||480||453||1131||790||8,074|
|Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**||375||450||480||425||650||710||450||654||637||623||895||713||7,062|
|BMW i3 (BEV + REx)||382||623||992||503||424||580||464||418||461||424||490||356||6,117|
|BMWX5 xDrive 40e*||261||596||627||563||499||321||431||264||225||224||213||210||4,434|
|Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV||300||323||373||273||297||390||350||366||378||309||376||431||4,166|
|Kia Niro PHEV*||155||246||227||120||218||281||225||346||313||323||619||316||3,389|
|Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*||145||199||214||189||267||238||220||240||230||210||180||265||2,597|
|Volvo XC60 PHEV*||109||155||167||141||214||226||185||210||215||180||225||240||2,267|
|Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid*||1||2||49||336||275||168||195||200||210||170||200||230||2,036|
|Hyundai IONIQ PHEV*||22||178||218||180||217||143||180||43||11||128||136||134||1,590|
|Mini Countryman SE PHEV*||127||100||74||106||163||211||210||128||140||117||74||114||1,564|
|Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV*||99||106||93||90||126||133||115||125||120||100||130||150||1,387|
|Kia Soul EV*||115||163||157||152||133||57||130||33||18||61||61||54||1,134|
|Porsche Cayenne S-E*||113||121||197||265||59||12||15||45||60||25||35||75||1,022|
|Mercedes GLE 550e*||44||70||181||93||83||75||85||90||42||28||35||140||966|
|Kia Optima PHEV*||86||103||156||142||98||83||90||39||17||51||79||21||965|
|Honda Clarity BEV*||153||74||48||39||34||86||102||75||108||106||37||86||948|
|Ford C-Max Energi||234||142||105||57||18||6||4||4||12||0||0||0||582|
|Mercedes GLC 350e*||5||57||59||64||66||60||65||27||20||24||120||567|
|Ford Focus Electric||70||73||137||83||88||50||46||7||4||0||1||1||560|
|Hyundai Sonata PHEV*||52||54||78||38||67||62||60||20||15||5||5||4||460|
|Volvo S90 T8 PHEV*||27||29||52||29||30||35||30||40||45||35||40||45||437|
|Hyundai IONIQ EV*||49||3||60||7||32||47||35||21||12||21||34||24||345|
|Cadillac CT6 PHEV*||6||24||17||42||30||18||26||23||11||12||13||9||231|
|2018 U.S. Sales Totals||12,009||16,845||26,443||19,623||24,307||25,029||29,598||36,347||44,544||34,074||42,588||49,900||361,307|
|2017 U.S. Sales Totals||11,004||12,375||18,542||13,367||16,596||17,046||15,540||16,514||21,242||14,315||17,178||26,107||199,826|
|2018 Worldwide Sales*||82,000||81,000||141,000||128,450||159,346||157,933||144,975||172,400||200,500||208,800||237,553||1,713,957|
Above – 2018 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers. *Estimated Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Monthly or Quarterly Totals. ** Estimated (Based on State/Rebate Data and other reports). BEV models are designated with the icon.
Author: Steven Loveday