Total EV Sales Nearing 1 Million, Accelerated by Tesla

If monthly sales of BEVs and PHEVs mimic September’s rates (19,412 for BEVs and 10,062 for PHEVs), the 1 million mark should be reached by November.

October 12, 2018

2 Min Read
Tesla Model 3 launch
Tesla Model 3 is third most-popular BEV in U.S.

Total sales of plug-in vehicles in the U.S. soon will hit 1 million units.

From 2008, when the modern electrification era began with the launch of the Tesla Roadster, through Sept. 30, 2018, U.S. sales of plug-in vehicles (plug-in hybrids and battery-electrics) stand at 956,348, Wards Intelligence data shows. Pre-2008 sales roughly number 2,200 units.

BEVs make up more than half of the 2008-2018 figure.

If monthly sales of each continue at September’s rates, the 1 million mark should be reached sometime in November.

Making up nearly half the BEV total is Tesla. While the Roadster wasn’t much of a player, the Model S large sedan, Model X CUV and new Model 3 midsize sedan together have racked up sizable numbers.

The Model S is the best-selling BEV thus far in the U.S., with 133,322 deliveries since it was launched in 2012.

No.2 in total BEV sales is Nissan’s Leaf, with 125,513 deliveries since its 2010 debut.

The Model 3, with 50,130 sales – 49,230 this year alone – is the third-best-selling BEV in the U.S. since 2008.

The Tesla Model X is No.4 in total BEV sales, followed by the BMW i3, which just edged out the Chevy Bolt.

Among plug-in hybrids, the Chevy Volt is by far the leader, racking up 147,081 sales since it went on sale in the U.S. in late 2010.

The plug-in variant of Toyota’s Prius hybrid is No.2 in total PHEV sales, with 86,226 deliveries since 2012.

Rounding out the PHEV top five are the Ford Fusion, Ford C-Max and BMW X5.

BEV annual volume and PHEV annual volume had been similar, but since 2015 BEVs have been the dominant force in plug-in sales. Tesla’s U.S. volume since 2016 helped push BEVs well ahead of plug-in hybrids.

BEV sales in 2018 are up 55.5%, almost entirely due to Tesla. Some 76,918 of the 113,912 BEVs sold since January were Teslas.

Both plug-in hybrids and BEVs have lagged acceptance rates of more conventional hybrids. While PHEVs can operate solely off their gasoline engines, their greatest fuel economy is realized by keeping their batteries charged. BEVs have no backup powertrain, and their batteries must be kept charged.

While it may have taken nearly 11 years to achieve 1 million plug-in sales, forecasts indicate the second million should come much more quickly.

Wards Intelligence forecasts BEVs will make up 2.4% of total U.S. light-vehicle sales by 2025, up from 1.6% today.

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