May plug-in sales: Tesla, LEAF and Volt back in the top 3, overall sales mediocre

Model S Leaf Volt

The traditional running order reasserted itself in May, as the Model S, LEAF and Volt slid back into the top three spots. While plug-in sales were up substantially over April, they failed to best the May 2014 numbers.

The Tesla Model S grabbed the lead with 2,400 estimated US sales. Deliveries of the D are well underway, and the X is as eagerly awaited as ever. A hit job in the LA Times generated a huge amount of indignant online comment, but had no impact on the TSLA stock price.

LEAF sales increased substantially to 2,104, but are still short of the stellar numbers they were hitting in the last half of 2014. Nissan announced that the 2016 LEAF, which may reach dealers in October, will have a bigger battery, boosting its range to around 100 miles. The constant improvements are taking a toll on the model’s resale value, and used LEAFs are to be had at bargain prices.

The Volt sold 1,619 units in May, a welcome return to respectability after some low figures over the past four months. The last of the first-generation Volts rolled off the line in May, and Chevy dealers started offering some deep discounts. GM has revealed its launch timeline for the 2016 Volt – orders are already being taken in California, and will begin for the rest of the country in October.

Ford is back in fourth place, as the Fusion Energi sold 986 units. The C-MAX Energi (715) and Focus Electric (165) also saw sales increase. The company has announced plans to hire 200 additional engineers to work on electrified vehicles at a new facility, stoking rumors that a new generation of Ford plug-ins is in the pipeline.

The BMW i3 recovered its mojo this month, as US sales more than doubled, to 818. The Toyota Prius Plug-in also rejoined the living, posting a major increase to 727.

The big news last month was the Chevrolet Spark EV, which roared out of the compliance-car graveyard to briefly hold third place. Major price cuts were one reason for the surge, but apparently, there was an even more powerful one. “In one word: advertising,” Chevy spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm told Green Car Reports. “The powers that be decided to put some ad money behind the car.” This month’s sales of 283 were less spectacular, but respectable.

The VW e-Golf and Mercedes B-Class ED both saw healthy increases in May, stirring hopes that they may live up to their potential and emerge from compliance territory.

 

Sources: InsideEVs, Green Car Reports