As more and more automakers are accelerating their plans for an electric future, sales of existing EV models are also gathering momentum. Monthly US plug-in vehicle sales have now beaten previous-year figures for 20 consecutive months. The trend continued in May, as an estimated 16,568 plug-ins were sold, a gain of 44% over last May.
Toyota’s Prius Prime is going from strength to strength – it made the biggest debut in plug-in history last November, and has logged strong sales ever since. It led the pack in May with 1,908 units sold. It’s no surprise that the new PHEV is selling well – with incentives, it’s actually cheaper than the plain old non-plug-in Prius! According to InsideEVs, supplies have been tight, and low inventory levels are holding it back from even more impressive sales.
The Chevy Volt took a close second with 1,817 units, though it failed to beat last May’s figure of 1,901.
Most of the Tesla headlines are about Model 3 these days (unless you count stories about Elon Musk dropping out of our president’s advisory council over his rejection of the Paris climate agreement). Anticipation is building, spy photos are popping up, and TSLA stock is soaring. Meanwhile, the good old Model S and X are still selling – the SUV (1,730 sales) overtook the sedan (1,620 sales) in May, a rare occurrence.
The Chevy Bolt seems to be gathering speed – sales reached an all-time high of 1,566 in May. GM’s state-by-state roll-out has proceeded from the West Coast to the Northeast, and the Bolt is now pretty much available in all 14 CARB states. The full nationwide roll-out will coincide with the arrival of the 2018 Bolt in September.
The next-generation LEAF is also due to make its debut in September. Nissan has taken pains to prevent the upcoming upgrade from stifling sales of the current model, making existing leaseholders an offer they couldn’t refuse, and offering blowout discounts on remaining 2016 and 2017 vehicles. It seems to be working – the LEAF scored a very respectable 1,392 sales in May.
Ford’s two popular PHEVs keep plugging along – the Fusion Energi sold 1,000, and the C-Max Energi sold 950. The unloved and outdated Focus Electric is still finding a few buyers (132 in May). The big news from Dearborn concerns Ford’s new CEO, who is expected to put more emphasis on electrified and autonomous vehicles.
The Fiat 500e, popular with everyone except its creators, sold 665 in May.
BMW’s i3, another model that’s due for a facelift, moved a meh 506 units. The BMW 330e, which started making substantial deliveries in late 2016, may have something about it – it set a new monthly record in May, selling 475 units. The 530e joined the lineup last month and sold 147 in May.
An interesting new entrant is the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (in fact, it’s a PHEV), which started volume deliveries in April and sold a promising 485 in May.