Wednesday, May 2, 2018

April 2018 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

This April gives ultimate confidence that 2018 plug-in sales are on the rise toward a massive year.

April aims to mark the 31st month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains* for plug-in vehicles. We expect it to do so without fail. In fact, it should be an easy feat based on what we’ve seen over the past few months.
January 2018 EV sales had us a little worried. The rise was not as expected, but it turns out it was not indicative of what was ahead. February came and we had to wait forever to get the final numbers, but, in the end, it was worth the wait. The month exceeded our forecast significantly. Then, March blew the roof off for plug-in sales. It ended up being the best month of all time for the segment and the strongest quarter to date.
It seems like just yesterday we were reporting March EV sales. April came and went with a vengeance, so here we are again. We considered only running sales articles on a quarterly basis now that GM has decided to change its reporting schedule (and Tesla has been following this method all along). But, as the segment grows, there is an increasing number of other major players.
In the event that other automakers change to quarterly reporting, we may have to reconsider. For now, you can still count on your monthly dose of InsideEVs sales reporting.
For April, we anticipate at least 18,500 plug-in cars sold. However, if the odds are in our favor, it wouldn’t be surprising to approach the 20,000-mark. Even at 18,500 deliveries, this would be a significant jump from April 2017’s 13,367. If sales can creep up even a touch higher, our report will show this April as the 5th best-selling month of all time for U.S. EVs sales. While pushing into the 4th place spot is highly unlikely, anything is possible.
Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):
  1. March 2018 – 26,373
  2. December 2017 – 26,107
  3. December 2016 – 24,785
  4. September 2017 – 21,242
  5. March 2017 – 18,542
It’s important to note that April had one less day than March and potentially four less selling days. This may or may not make a notable impact, but, nonetheless, it’s a valid point to consider.
Let’s take a look at what we know so far this month and some related details.
Nissan finally began to move a notable number of copies of its all-new 2018 LEAF in February, at 895. However, we were confident that March would be the turning point … and it was (Nissan moved an impressive 1,500). We anticipate that number to continue into the second quarter, with the potential to soar. The automaker delivered 1,171 LEAFs in the U.S. for the month of April.
While the Tesla Model 3 continues to suffer production issues, March was an incredible month for Tesla’s hugely popular new small sedan. In fact, in regards to EVs, it was the best month of all time for any automaker in the U.S. This was true not only for the Model 3, but also for Tesla as a whole.
Tesla sold 3,820 Model 3s in March, for a total of over 8,000 in Q1. To top it off, the Silicon Valley automaker delivered an estimated 10,000 vehicles in March in the U.S. alone, over 6,000 of which were the company’s Model S and Model X. To top it off, Tesla took the lead for global EV sales for March and the quarter.
For April, we estimate Model 3 sales at 3,875. This is essentially flat from the previous month, but there was one less working day, potentially four less selling days (although Tesla doesn’t play by the same rules as legacy automakers), production output was about the same, and Model 3 production saw a brief shutdown. Based on our estimations, Model S and X sales are up a touch from last year, though pretty consistent, at 1,250 and 1,025, respectively.
GM boldly decided at the end of the first quarter that it will switch away from monthly sales reporting. Instead, the automaker will follow Tesla’s lead and only release numbers at the close of each quarter. So, it will be July before we have a solid handle on Chevrolet Bolt and Chevrolet Volt deliveries. Between now and then, we’ll make an attempt to estimate sales to keep our chart complete. Keep in mind, when GM shares quarterly sales in July, we’ll watch and update our official numbers.
With that being said, we see Bolt deliveries at 1,275 for last month, as well as a welcome surprise from the Volt, as sales are at an estimated 1,325. These numbers put the Bolt right on target with expectations, at an almost flat number compared to last April. As we anticipated, Volt deliveries are down year-over-year, however, GM has upped production and inventory of its aging plug-in while beginning to reduce Bolt allocations. In late March, the automaker also resumed Bolt deliveries in South Korea, ahead of schedule.
The Toyota Prius PrimeHonda Clarity PHEV, and BMW i3 are also worthy of mention. Of course, the Prime has maintained second place on our sales chart by a pretty wide margin thus far this year. The Clarity PHEV secured an almost miraculous December, which was its first full month of sales. It succeeded again in February, edging it closer to the top competitors in the segment, but March is when it really started to shine, with over 1,000 deliveries. Though i3 sales were weak throughout 2017 and opened this year the same, March saw a surge.
Prime sales are in and show continued success, claiming the second spot once again on our chart thus far, only exceeded by the Tesla Model 3. Toyota sold 2,626 copies last month. We can only hope that Honda keeps inventory up for the newly popular Clarity PHEV, so that sales can continue to climb. BMW i3 sales are just about flat from last April, at 503.
While 2017 plug-in sales fell just shy of the 200,000 mark, it was still an extremely impressive year as a whole. Hitting that mark for 2018 should happen well before the end of the year. However, there are several variables involved in determining where we might be by the end of this year. Will we see 300,000?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


At the beginning of the month, Tesla noted that it had gotten Model 3 production up to 2,000 cars a week at the end of March. More recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told CBS that Tesla had produced 2,070 Model 3s in the week leading up to April 10.
If you assume Tesla stalls at approximately 2,000 cars a week for the whole month, that’s still over 8,000 Model 3 electric super-sedans produced in April.
If you assume Tesla makes its way up to 2,500/week in the second half of the month, that means over 9,000 Model 3s. If you get bullish and expect that Tesla will jump to 3,000/week in that time period, we’re talking perhaps 10,000 Tesla Model 3s in April.
Does that match Tesla’s target over the past 6 months for this time period? No — as we all know all too well. But as Kurt Lowder noted recently, you can’t really say Tesla’s late when it’s so far ahead of everyone else and is moving as fast as it can. To quote Ashanti and Ja Rule, “I’m not always there when you call, but I’m always on time.

It’s somewhat interesting estimating Tesla Model 3 production/delivery numbers, but more interesting is putting those numbers into context. One of my favorite ways to do that is to compare to other cars in the Model 3’s segment. That means the Audi A4/A5, BMW 2 Series/3 Series/4 Series, Jaguar XE, Volvo S60, etc.
We can expect sales of these models to be fairly similar in April to what they were in March, but I’ll round all their numbers up to give them the benefit of the doubt. Just highlighting fairly popular models and their close siblings, here’s what I get:
April Sales Estimate
Acura TLX4,100
Audi A4 + A55,900
BMW 2/3/4 Series9,400
BMW i31,000
Cadillac ATS1,500
Infiniti Q50 + Q606,300
Jaguar XE700
Lexus RC + IS2,600
Mercedes C/CLA-Class7,000
Tesla Model 3 (low est.)8,000
Tesla Model 3 (high est.)10,000
As you can see, the Tesla Model 3 is now more or less at the top of the table even if you add up the sales of somewhat similar models from each brand.
If you go a step further and expect that Tesla gets up to production of 5,000 Model 3s per week at some point in the coming quarter — and that US demand holds steady around that number — then the Model 3 will absolutely crush the competition in this class before the end of the year.
That said, as we’ve pointed out before, it may make more sense to pit the Model 3 against leaders in the non-luxury midsize car segment. The Toyota Camry sees approximately 35,000 sales a month, the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima 24,000 each, the Ford Fusion 16,000, the Chevy Malibu 15,000, the Hyundai Sonata 11,000, and the Kia Optima 8,000. The numbers those cars see cover everything from the near-term estimate for the Model 3 (8,000–10,000/month) to one of the most ambitious targets I’ve seen (40,000/month).
Unless you’re really super, ├╝ber, extremadamente pessimistic, though, it looks like the Tesla Model 3 has already risen to the top of the small & midsize luxury car category and may soon be targeting the podium of the overall midsize car segment in the United States. Not too shabby for an “impossible” car that “will never actually get produced.”

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Forget waiting for your pre-order to be filled, because Volvo’s all electric commercial trucks are ready to go. To try to drive that marketing point home, the Swedish company announced that sales of its first all-electric truck- as well as deliveries to customers- will begin in 2019.
It’s pretty much understood that the automotive future is definitely electric, and that fact seems to be best understood by the makers of big trucks. It makes sense, since trucking companies are, perhaps, the entities that are the most sensitive to fluctuation in fuel price.
As such, big players like Cummins– as well as “wannabe” big players like Tesla- have been pushing hard to get in on the heavily subsidized racket market.
You can check out the company’s official press release, included in its entirety, below. Read it, then let us know how you think their electric trucks compare to Tesla’s in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

    Premiere for Volvo Trucks’ First All-electric Truck

    Volvo Trucks now introduces its first all-electric truck for commercial use – the Volvo FL Electric for urban distribution and refuse operations, among other applications. Sales and series production of the new model will start in Europe next year. With this introduction Volvo Trucks takes the lead in solutions for electrified goods transport in cities.
    “We’re immensely proud to present the first in a range of fully electrically-powered Volvo trucks ready for regular traffic. With this model we are making it possible for cities that aim for sustainable urban development to benefit from the advantages of electrified truck transports,” says Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks.
    With better air quality and less noise in the city, it is possible to plan for housing and infrastructure more freely than at present. An electric truck without any exhaust emissions can be used in indoor terminals and environmental zones. Their low noise level creates opportunities for doing more work at night, thus reducing the burden on the roads during the day.
    There is considerable market interest in electric trucks. Many potential customers have questions about the opportunities generated by the new technology and how it can impact their operations.
    “In order to make the transition secure and smooth, we will offer holistic solutions based on each customer’s individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters. Such a solution may encompass everything from route analysis and battery optimisation to servicing and financing. Volvo Trucks works closely with several suppliers of charging equipment. The aim as always is to offer customers high uptime and productivity,” says Jonas Odermalm, head of product strategy at Volvo Trucks.
    Backing the Volvo Trucks offer is the company’s accumulated expertise in electrified transport solutions. Sister company Volvo Buses has sold more than 4000 electrified buses since 2010. The technology used for propulsion and energy storage in the Volvo FL Electric has been thoroughly tried and tested from the outset and is supported by Volvo Trucks’ far-reaching network for sales, service and parts supply.
    “From experience we know how important it is that cities, energy suppliers and vehicle manufacturers cooperate in order for large-scale electrification to become a reality. With attractive incentives, agreed standards and a long-term strategy for urban planning and expansion of the charging infrastructure, the process can go much faster,” explains Jonas Odermalm.
    Volvo Trucks believes that it is essential to take a holistic view of electrification of the transport sector to handle the ongoing challenges in areas such as electricity generation and batteries.
    “For instance, in order to ensure that raw materials for the batteries are extracted in a responsible way, the Volvo Group works with the Drive Sustainably network, which has a special function that monitors this issue. The Volvo Group is also involved in various projects where batteries from heavy electric vehicles get a second lease of life, reused for energy storage. All the questions about handling of batteries have not yet been solved, but we are working actively both within the Group and together with other actors to drive development and create the necessary solutions,” says Jonas Odermalm.
    The first trucks in the FL Electric range are now entering regular operation with customers in Gothenburg, the home of Volvo Trucks.

Source | ImagesVolvo Group.