Jaguar I-Pace Update: December 2018 U.S. Plug-In EV Sales Report Card

December U.S. plug-in EV sales will climb again, but how high?

December 2018 will mark the 39th month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains for plug-in vehicles.

Each month InsideEVs tracks all the plug-in EV sales/deliveries for the United States by automaker. The last five consecutive months are now the top five best-selling months of all time. We have no doubt December will make the list, but where will it fit in? Is there a chance it could shoot to the top, or will it fail to surpass September and November numbers?

More Info: How about a deep dive into our estimates and methodology?

If history repeats itself (and we believe it will), December will be the strongest month of the year. However, there are many variables involved. Tesla Model 3 deliveries have remained somewhat flat over the last few months. In addition, Chevrolet Bolt and Volt deliveries were way up in November, but that may not be the case for December.

Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):

  1. September 2018 – 44,589
  2. December 2018 – 43,908 and counting!
  3. November 2018 – 42,548
  4. August 2018 – 36,380
  5. October 2018 – 33,944

As of the end of November 2018, an estimated 311,177 plug-in electric vehicles had been sold in the U.S. this year. That only leaves about 39,000 deliveries to push the number to the 350K-mark. Clearly, 350K will be easily achieved, but how much will 2018 sales exceed that threshold.

Check Out: Contributor Josh Bryant’s 2018 yearly sales predictions here

In December 2017, an estimated 26,107 plug-ins were sold in the United States. In August, September, October, and November 2018, we saw well over 100-percent gains from last year’s numbers. Will December be another repeat of this trend? Will we see deliveries pass 52,000?

Our early estimates showed that Tesla delivered significantly more Model S and X vehicles in the U.S. in December than it did in November, and Model 3 sales are record-setting. We put Tesla’s total monthly sales in the U.S. at about 33,000, despite not having any Model 3 data for Canada at that point. As it turns out, Tesla delivered 32,600 vehicles in the U.S. in December based on its quarterly report and our estimates. All other models — at least as a whole — should see a respectable gain over the previous month. Based on our research, we’re looking at about 48,000 electric cars sold in the U.S. for December 2018.

According to our estimates and Tesla’s quarterly report, the automaker sold a fantastic 3,250 Model S sedans and 4,100 Model X crossovers in the U.S. in December. For the quarter as a whole, Tesla delivered 27,550 Model S and X vehicles globally. Our research and estimates show that 15,875 of these went to U.S. customers, which makes sense due to it being Q4, along with the tax credit reduction.

Tesla reported delivering a grand total of 99,394 Model S and X vehicles globally in 2018. Based on our data, 51,845 of these were sold in the U.S.

Tesla’s report also substantiates our Tesla Model 3 delivery estimates. According to our estimates, Tesla delivered 25,250 Model 3 sedans in the U.S. in December. Tesla reported sales of 63,150 Model 3 vehicles in Q4 2018. Our data shows 61,650 delivered. Due to some vehicles going to Canada (approximately 1,500), we’re happy with the success of our research. 

On the year as a whole, Tesla delivered 145,846 Model 3 sedans. Our records account for some 139,722 delivered in the U.S., leaving the remaining 6,314 deliveries to Canada.

Since GM has decided to discontinue monthly sales reporting, we provide you with estimates each month and then reconcile (if needed) at the end of each quarter. We’re happy to report that our research has proven successful and our monthly numbers have been pretty solid. However, this month, the official quarterly numbers became available, and we had to make some adjustments.

For the fourth quarter, Chevrolet reported 6,212 Chevy Bolt EVs and 5,063 Chevy Volts were sold.

According to our research, GM sold 1,412 Bolt EVs and 1,058 Volt plug-ins in the U.S. this December.

Nissan LEAF sales grew in August and escalated even further in September. However, October and November brought a downturn.

Moving on to December, LEAF deliveries are up a nicely, at 1,667. In fact, this is the best U.S. number for the 2018 Nissan LEAF to date.

The Toyota Prius Prime has made positive strides in the last few months, following a significant drop in sales in June and July.

According to Toyota, Prius Prime deliveries in December reached an impressive 2,759.

The Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid hit a high point in September, as it crossed the 2,000-mark for the first time. October continued that momentum, as our estimates pegged Clarity Plug-In Hybrid sales a 1,935. The surge continued into November, with an estimated 1,857 sold.

We’re happy to report that Honda sold a total of 2,857 Clarity vehicles in the U.S. in December. Our research indicates that 2,787 of these sales were plug-in hybrids. This is the car’s best showing of all-time by leaps and bounds!

Keep yourself tuned in and refreshing the pages during the coming days as we put the numbers to the dialogue.

Questions entering December (with answers in italics as they come in):

  1. Will Tesla Model 3 U.S. deliveries rise or remain flat? (Tesla Model 3 deliveries set a new record in December, at 25,250 sold in the U.S. based on our estimates and the automaker’s quarterly report.)
  2. How much was Tesla able to ramp up U.S. Model S and Model X sales due to the upcoming expiration of the U.S. federal EV tax credit? (Tesla hit its guidance for Model S and X sales on the year. According to our research, December U.S. numbers were solid at 3,250 and 4,100, respectively.)
  3. Did the Toyota Prius Prime make another notable delivery surge last month? (Yes. Prius Prime deliveries in December escalated to a healthy 2,759, which is not far off from the Prime’s all-time high of 2,924 in May 2018.)
  4. Will Tesla take the top three positions in the U.S. for 2018 with the Model 3, X, and S, or will the Prime rain on that parade? (The Prime prevails. It holds the second-place position on the year as a whole.)
  5. What do GM’s official quarterly numbers reveal about Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Bolt EV sales in comparison to our estimates? (GM’s quarterly numbers resulted in some adjustments to our monthly scorecard, which are clarified in our Bolt/Volt sales article and our monthly recaps.)
  6. 2018 Nissan LEAF U.S. sales have been on the downturn for the last two months. Can the LEAF close out 2018 with a strong December showing? (Yep. Nissan LEAF deliveries are up a nicely, at 1,667. This is the best U.S. number for the 2018 LEAF to date.)
  7. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid sales have been impressive all year, but especially over the last three months. Can December deliveries set a new record for the Clarity? (Our research indicates that Honda delivered a whopping 2,787 Clarity plug-in hybrids last month.)
  8. Will the Jaguar I-Pace show exponential sales growth again in December? (It’s not so exponential, but U.S. I-Pace sales increased again, to 223.)

Also of note this December:

  • Toyota sold 232 Mirai vehicles.
  • Honda delivered an estimated 14 Clarity FCEVs.

Last update: January 3, 2019 @ 12:06 PM ET

*Keep in mind that we use the words sales and deliveries synonymously. In order for a car to count as SOLD, it has to be paid in full (or leased) and be in the possession of the consumer.

***InsideEVs’ journalist Wade Malone provided in-depth, detailed, and heavily researched sales estimations and related analysis.


(Previous year’s monthly results can be found on our Historical Charts page)


To view our Individual Plug-In Model Sales Recap For Major Models, click here. It contains an individual run-down of each vehicle’s monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers.


2018 Monthly Sales Chart

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
Chevrolet Volt* 713 983 1782 1325 1675 1336 1475 1825 2129 1475 2530 1058 18,306
Honda Clarity PHEV* 594 881 1061 1049 1639 1445 1440 1495 2028 1935 1857 2787 18,211
Chevrolet Bolt EV 1177 1424 1774 1275 1125 1083 1175 1225 1549 1975 2825 1412 18,019
Nissan LEAF  150 895 1500 1171 1576 1367 1149 1315 1563 1234 1128 1667 14,715
BMW 530e* 224 413 689 518 729 942 536 749 756 733 1012 7,301
Ford Fusion Energi 640 794 782 742 740 604 522 396 480 453 1131 7,284
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 5,761
BMWX5 xDrive 40e* 261 596 627 563 499 321 431 264 225 224 213 4,224
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 3,073
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron* 145 199 214 189 267 238 220 240 230 210 180 2,332
Fiat 500e**  210 235 285 215 250 225 220 75 94 100 148 193 2,250
Volvo XC60 PHEV* 109 155 167 141 214 226 185 210 215 180 225 2,027
BMW 330e* 101 142 202 166 150 138 106 192 195 229 373 1,994
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid* 1 2 49 336 275 168 195 200 210 170 200 1,806
Mercedes C350e* 29 172 208 158 166 176 165 170 82 75 80 1,481
Hyundai IONIQ PHEV* 22 178 218 180 217 143 180 43 11 128 136 1,456
Mini Countryman SE PHEV* 127 100 74 106 163 211 210 128 140 117 74 1,450
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV* 99 106 93 90 126 133 115 125 120 100 130 1,237
Volkswagen e-Golf  178 198 164 128 76 32 18 32 14 62 230 1,132
smart ED  84 90 103 80 110 126 103 108 98 95 100 1,097
Honda Clarity BEV 203 104 48 52 37 126 120 75 122 116 37 56 1,096
Kia Soul EV 115 163 157 152 133 57 130 33 18 61 61 1,080
Porsche Cayenne S-E* 113 121 197 265 59 12 15 45 60 25 35 947
Kia Optima PHEV* 86 103 156 142 98 83 90 39 17 51 79 944
Mercedes GLE 550e* 44 70 181 93 83 75 85 90 42 28 35 826
BMW i8 32 39 47 57 64 45 72 67 55 64 133 675
Ford C-Max Energi 234 142 105 57 18 6 4 4 12 0 0 582
Ford Focus Electric  70 73 137 83 88 50 46 7 4 0 1 559
Hyundai Sonata PHEV* 52 54 78 38 67 62 60 20 15 5 5 456
Mercedes GLC 350e* 5 57 59 64 66 60 65 27 20 24 447
Jaguar I-Pace 5 165 223 393
Volvo S90 T8 PHEV* 27 29 52 29 30 35 30 40 45 35 40 392
Hyundai IONIQ EV 49 3 60 7 32 47 35 21 12 21 34 321
BMW 740e* 18 23 31 60 17 16 40 18 25 45 18 311
Cadillac CT6 PHEV* 6 24 17 42 30 18 26 23 11 12 13 9 231
Mercedes B250e  40 49 33 7 3 0 0 1 0 1 0 134
Mercedes S550e* 13 3 11 9 7 7 8 10 8 5 4 85
2018 U.S. Sales Totals 12,049 16,845 26,373 19,556 24,310 25,019 29,514 36,380 44,589 33,994 42,548 43,908 355,085
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.

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Author: Steven Loveday

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