Latest on Electric Vehicle Sales

Plug-In (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) had a good year in 2016, while sales of hybrids, like the original Prius, continued to fall until the last quarter.

US Sales of Electric Vehicles, Including HEVs 2016

Month

Hybrid (HEVs)

PHEVs&Extended Range Vehicles

Battery (BEVs)

Totals

Total PHEV & BEV

January

20,967

3,137

3,576

27,680

6,713

February

24,371

3,909

4,424

32,704

8,333

March


28,756


5,290


7,815


41,861


13,105


Total 1Q 2016

74,094

12,336

15,815

102,245

28,151

Total 1Q 2015

86,005

7,722

14,127

107,854

21,849

% change


-16%


37%


11%


-5%


22%


April

28,988

5,842

6,266

41,096

12,108

May

30,573

5,619

6,526

42,718

12,145

June


27,679


6,094


7,678


41,451


13,772


Total 2Q 2016

87,240

17,555

20,470

125,265

38,025

Total 2Q 2015

104,965

10,787

20,069

135,821

30,856

% 2Q change


-17%


63%


2%


-8%


23%


July

32,633

6,525

7,762

46,920

14,287

August

32,206

6,372

8,601

47,179

14,973

September


31,286


6,037


10,032


47,355


16,069


Total 3Q 2016

96,125

18,934

26,395

141,454

45,329

Total 3Q 2015

105,405

10,660

17,071

133,136

27,731

% 3Q change


-8.8%


77.6%


54.6%


6.2%


63.5%


October

26,484

5,943

4,864

37,291

10,807

November

28,498

7,858

6,266

42,622

14,124

December


34,507


10,211


13,077


57,795


23,288


Total 4Q 2016

89,489

24,012

24,207

137,708

48,219

Total 4Q 2015

88,029

13,789

19,797

121,615

33,586

% 4Q change


1.7%


74.1%


22.3%


13.2%


43.6%


YTD Year 2016

346,948

72,837

86,887

506,672

159,724

YTD Year 2015

384,404

42,958

50,995

498,426

114,022

% change

-9.7%

69.6%

70.4%

1.7%

40.1%

 
Total sales all light vehicles 2016

17,396,291

% PHEV & BEV to total

0.92%

(Data from Electric Drive Transportation Association)

Sales of both PHEVs and BEVs grew at the same rate during 2016.

Sales of PHEVs and BEVs remained minuscule, at less than 1%, when compared with total light vehicle sales.

The media hype for BEVs continues, but sales remain so small that they must be considered cars for the rich and famous. While sales increased by 70% year over year, they amounted to fewer than 100,000 vehicles.

Total sales of BEVs from 2011, essentially when they entered the market, through 2016 were still only 292,992 vehicles. This is far short of Obama’s prediction of 1,000,000 BEVs by the end of 2015.

The business model for BEVs is highly questionable, with Tesla, for example, having received much of its income from the sale of California Zero Emission Credits amounting to over $390,000,000.

Tesla logo
Tesla logo

There is also the question of whether the federal government will continue to allow a $7,500 subsidy for BEVs.

The introduction of the Bolt by GM, and Tesla’s Model 3, priced at $35,000, and currently still eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, could determine whether battery-powered vehicles go mainstream.

BEVs have four important impediments.

  • Insufficient range, compared with ICE vehicles
  • The high cost of batteries, which results in the high cost of BEVs
  • The lack of charging stations
  • Time required to charge batteries

PHEVs eliminate range anxiety, and partially reduce the cost penalty for the battery.

The real issue is whether BEVs and PHEVs can become a replacement for internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles, without subsidies and EPA fuel mandates for gasoline powered vehicles.

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