March 2019 U.S. EV Sales Continue The Trend, Barely Exceeding 2018

We report another year-over-year rise in U.S. EV sales, but it’s marginal.

Based on automakers’ sales reports and our estimates, we report a total of 27,628 plug-in electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in March, compared to last year’s 26,443 and last month’s 16,864. While the increase is minimal, it’s an increase nonetheless. Tesla has accounted for much of the large overall U.S. EV sales numbers for several months now. Meanwhile, many other EVs are seeing lackluster sales. With Tesla delivering more of its cars to overseas markets, we anticipated the lack of massive growth, at least early in the year.

As the year moves on and Tesla streamlines its Model 3 delivery schedule, gains should be more notable. However, we assume we’ll continue to see a focus on global deliveries in the first few months of each quarter, followed by a substantial domestic delivery push in the last month. 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. Sales of this variant should ramp up in the coming months.

Tesla sold 14,625 EVs in the U.S. in March 2019, based on our estimates. Last March, that number came in at 10,020. To put it in perspective, Tesla sales in March 2019 accounted for over half of all plug in sales (27,628) on our shores. According to our research, Tesla delivered 10,175 Model 3 sedans, 2,275 Model S vehicles, and 2,175 Model X crossovers in the U.S. this March.

As you can clearly see, month-over-month sales are not a metric that paints the real picture. This is precisely why all other automakers report year-over-year gains or losses in addition to why several automakers are moving to quarterly sales reports. Little attention is paid to whether or not other OEMs have month-over-month gains or losses. Added to this, the first quarter of each year is historically lower for automotive sales than the fourth quarter. This doesn’t just apply to Tesla or other EV sales. With that being said, year-over-year sales are skewed for Tesla as well, since the company was in a completely different position in Q1 2018 with regard to vehicle production and the global Model 3 situation.

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. Moving into 2019, January and February brought two more wins for the Clarity PHEV. In March, it appears Prime sales have topped Clarity sales. However, sadly, Toyota has stopped reporting Pruis model splits, so we only have an estimate of Primes delivered. According to our research, Toyota sold 1,820 Primes in the U.S. in March, compared to 1,416 total Honda Clarity vehicles.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV also eclipsed the 1,000-mark last month. In fact, deliveries shot up to some 2,166, according to our estimates. Other chart toppers for March include the Nissan LEAF with a respectable 1,314 copies sold, as well as the Chevrolet Volt, at 1,230 estimated deliveries. The Volkswagen e-Golf took us by surprise last month, with an unexpected 581 U.S. deliveries.

So, 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 March 2019

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 14,625
  2. General Motors* – 3,399
  3. Toyota* – 1,820
  4. Honda – 1,416
  5. BMW Group – 1,147

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In March*

  1. BEV – 19,496
  2. PHEV – 8,132

*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 10175 22,425
Chevrolet Bolt EV 925 1225 2166 4,316
Toyota Prius Prime* 1123 1205 1820 4,148
Tesla Model X 775 900 2175 3,850
Honda Clarity PHEV* 1192 1213 1311 3,716
Tesla Model S 725 625 2275 3,625
Nissan LEAF  717 654 1314 2,685
Chevrolet Volt* 675 615 1230 2,520
Ford Fusion Energi* 557 573 685 1,815
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid** 436 589 383 1,408
BMW 530e* 376 414 436 1,226
Kia Niro PHEV* 279 505 230 1,014
BMW i3 (BEV + REx)  255 350 359 964
Volkswagen e-Golf  164 118 581 863
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 133 157 341 631
BMW 330e* 216 185 175 576
Jaguar I-Pace*  210 186 179 575
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid* 150 160 195 505
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron* 175 210 45 430
Mercedes C350e* 140 145 135 420
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV* 95 105 155 355
Mercedes GLC 350e* 74 72 175 321
Volvo XC60 PHEV* 90 100 125 315
Mercedes GLE 550e* 92 95 110 297
Porsche Cayenne S-E* 65 95 115 275
Honda Clarity BEV*  78 68 92 238
smart ED  83 58 90 231
Hyundai IONIQ PHEV* 73 54 94 221
Fiat 500e**  72 87 33 192
BMW i8 23 47 91 161
Mini Countryman SE PHEV* 50 63 45 158
Hyundai Kona Electric* 0 16 127 143
BMWX5 xDrive 40e* 71 38 26 135
Volvo S90 T8 PHEV* 35 45 55 135
Hyundai IONIQ EV 34 32 28 94
Hyundai Sonata PHEV* 4 71 7 82
Kia Optima PHEV* 30 11 8 49
Mercedes S550e* 8 10 22 40
BMW 740e* 6 14 15 35
Cadillac CT6 PHEV* 8 1 3 12
Mercedes B250e  1 2 0 3
Kia Soul EV 0 1 2 3
2019 U.S. Sales Totals 16,715 16,864 27,628 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 61,207
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* 159,468 111,541 271,009
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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