December plug-in sales blew away last year’s figure, a cheery finale to a year that saw a huge increase. 159,139 EVs and PHEVs changed hands in 2016, a 37% increase over 2015’s 116,099. A new breeze seems to be blowing through boardrooms around the industry, from Toyota to Chrysler to Ford.
As usual, Tesla heads the bill – in December the California carmaker had both the #1 and #2 spots in the monthly sales derby. Model S set a new monthly record with 5,850 sales, and Model X did so as well with 3,875. The company fell short of its projected global deliveries for the year, but not by much – it delivered around 76,230 EVs in 2016, just short of the guidance figure of 80,000. Investors seem to find this quite adequate, together with good news from China and Nevada, and TSLA stock has soared over the past couple of weeks.
The Chevy Volt also set a new monthly record, moving 3,691 units to grab third place for the month. Annual sales are up 61% over 2015.
Despite being a bit overdue for an upgrade, the LEAF had its best month of the year in December – 1,899 units sold, a substantial increase over the December 2015 figure, but a little short of some past monthly tales.
Toyota’s Prius Prime made the biggest debut in plug-in history in November, and followed that up with an even stronger month, selling 1,641 in December.
The Chevy Bolt made a strong start, selling 579 in its first month on the market. Many in the media are expecting the Bolt – the first EV to offer 200 miles of range at a price tag in the 30s – to be the “killer app” or “tipping point” that heralds the end of the ICE era, but does GM have plans for a marketing strategy that could make this a reality? Watch this space.
Ford’s PHEVs swapped places this month, as the C-Max Energi had its biggest sales month ever – 1,289 units – and the Fusion Energi turned in an okay 1,099 units – barely besting December 2015’s figure. More electricity is in the air, as Ford announced plans to introduce 13 new electrified vehicles over the next five years.
Even the compliance cars are selling better these days – several models are regularly cracking the 300-unit mark. The Fiat 500e sold 650 in December, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron moved 589, the VW e-Golf shifted 443 and the Hyundai Sonata PHV did 325.