February 2019 EV Sales Low: Tesla Model 3 Saves With Dominance

We report the best February ever for U.S. EV sales, but it was a close call.

Based on automakers’ sales reports and our estimates, we report a total of 17,239 plug-in electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in February, compared to last year’s 16,845 and last month’s 17,040. The number may be a bit higher since we’re still unable to secure sales data for the new Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid (plug-in). Moreover, keep in mind that we are now somewhat in the dark regarding GM and Tesla estimates with the new year and current situations. Bear with us as we work hard to get more information.

As expected, the year is off to a slow start for EV sales. If it wasn’t for massive year-over-year Tesla Model 3 sales growth and the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and Tesla Model X dialing up deliveries compared to last year, we may not be reporting an increase. As the year moves on, we expect sales results to ramp up significantly.

We do know that Tesla is focusing all Model 3 production for overseas markets, so healthy U.S. delivery numbers this February (5,750) are impressive once again compared to last year’s 2,485. As the situation levels out, we should see U.S. Model 3 deliveries rise. Much like the Model S and Model X, Tesla will focus Model 3 production efforts more on the U.S. market as the quarter wears on.

In addition, Tesla announced the launch of its $35,000 Standard Model 3 last week, which will only be sold in the U.S. initially. With its two- to four-week delivery estimates, we may see many of those vehicles in owners’ hands by the end of the quarter. However, we feel that the first quarter will remain somewhat low, as it’s a huge task to shift deliveries to foreign markets. Still, in comparison to Q1 of 2018, Tesla’s sales growth is monumental.

The automaker sold a whopping 8,325 EVs in January 2019 based on our estimates. Last January, that number came in at just 3,375. To put it in perspective, Tesla sales in January 2019 accounted for nearly half of all plug in sales (17,040) in the U.S.

The trend continues in February 2019, with 7,650 Teslas delivered, compared to last February’s 4,585. Based on our research, so far, Tesla’s Q1 U.S. deliveries are ahead of last year by an impressive 8,690 units. Once again, the automaker’s U.S. sales make up close to half of all plug in sales on our shores.

No matter how you look at it, naysayers will have a very difficult time spinning the above information. Tesla continues to make incredible strides when it comes to U.S. EV sales. As anyone can clearly see, month-over-month sales are not a metric that paints the true picture. This is precisely the reason all other automakers report year-over-year gains or losses, in addition to why several automakers are moving to quarterly sales reports.

Honda made notable strides in 2018 with its Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. It outsold its number one rival — the Toyota Prius Prime — in October and December. January brought another win for the Clarity PHEV, and now it appears February proves the same. Honda sold 1,213 Clarity Plug-In Hybrids in January. Sadly, Toyota has decided to stop reporting Pruis model splits, so we only have an estimate of Primes delivered. According to our research, Toyota sold 1,205 Primes in the U.S. in February.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV was the only other plug-in model to eclipse the 1,000-mark last month, with a respectable (estimated) 1,225 deliveries. Sadly, many other models are down even further than anticipated.

With that being said, which month this year will be the first to join our top five list? Let us know your guess in the comment section.

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

  1. December 2018 – 49,900
  2. September 2018 – 44,544
  3. November 2018 – 42,588
  4. August 2018 – 36,347
  5. October 2018 – 34,074

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 February 2019

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 7,650
  2. General Motors* – 1,841
  3. Honda – 1,213
  4. Toyota* – 1,205
  5. BMW Group – 1,110

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In February*

  1. BEV – 10,229
  2. PHEV – 7,010

*Based on estimates due to the lack of U.S. monthly sales reporting by Tesla and GM, as well as Toyota Prius (Prime) and BMW i3 (BEV + REx) splits, and multiple automakers refusing to provide information related to individual EV sales.

2019 U.S. EV SALES JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC TOTAL
Tesla Model 3 6500 5750 12,250
Honda Clarity PHEV 1192 1213 2,405
Toyota Prius Prime* 1123 1205 2,328
Chevrolet Bolt EV 925 1225 2,150
Tesla Model X 950 1100 2,050
Tesla Model S 875 800 1,675
Nissan LEAF  717 654 1,371
Chevrolet Volt* 675 615 1,290
Ford Fusion Energi 557 573 1,130
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid** 436 589 1,025
BMW 530e* 376 414 790
Kia Niro PHEV* 279 505 784
BMW i3 (BEV + REx)  255 350 605
BMW 330e* 216 185 401
Jaguar I-Pace  210 186 396
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron* 175 210 385
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid* 150 160 310
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 133 157 290
Mercedes C350e* 140 145 285
Volkswagen e-Golf  164 118 282
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV* 95 105 200
Volvo XC60 PHEV* 90 100 190
Mercedes GLE 550e* 92 95 187
Porsche Cayenne S-E* 65 95 160
Fiat 500e**  72 87 159
Mercedes GLC 350e* 74 72 146
Honda Clarity BEV  78 68 146
smart ED  83 58 141
Hyundai IONIQ PHEV* 73 54 127
Mini Countryman SE PHEV* 50 63 113
BMWX5 xDrive 40e* 71 38 109
Volvo S90 T8 PHEV* 35 45 80
Hyundai Sonata PHEV* 4 71 75
BMW i8 23 47 70
Hyundai IONIQ EV 34 32 66
Kia Optima PHEV* 30 11 41
BMW 740e* 6 14 20
Mercedes S550e* 8 10 18
Hyundai Kona Electric* 0 16 16
Cadillac CT6 PHEV* 8 1 9
Mercedes B250e  1 2 3
Kia Soul EV 0 1 1
Ford C-Max Energi 0 0 0
Ford Focus Electric  0 0 0
2019 U.S. Sales Totals 17,040 17,239 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 34,279
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
2019 Worldwide Sales*
2018 Worldwide Sales* 82,000 81,000 141,000 128,450 159,346 160,894 144,975 175,362 206,500 214,800 237,553 286,367 2,018,247

Above – 2019 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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