Toyota Prius Prime Tops May EV Sales Charts In US


EV salesĀ in the US continued their strong growth in May. Topping the charts was the Toyota Prius Prime. Despite critically short supply, Toyota still managed to move 1,908 examples of its latest plug-in hybrid, giving it the US sales lead over the Tesla Model S, the Chevy Volt, and the Chevy Bolt. (Note: Model S and Model X sales are estimated. Tesla does not announce monthly sales totals and does not break out sales by nation.)


Prius Prime tops EV sales in May

The Chevy Volt is leading the US sales race for the year versus the Tesla Model S, 9187 to 8645. Of course, when you combine Model S and Model X sales, Tesla is the clear overall winner. And for those who want to debate whether a plug-in hybrid should really be considered when reporting EV sales, we have had this conversation before and the answer is yes, they should be. Someday, plug-in sales will wane just as hybrid sales have done, but for the next decade or so, they will continue to be an important part of the transition away from traditional fossil fuel burning cars.

Ford has yet to announce is May sales numbers, but there are some interesting things to note in the chart. Chrysler sold 205 of its Pacifca Hybrid minivans in its first full month on sale. That’s a pretty good start for this brand new vehicle and it will be interesting to track its sales numbers over time.

The lowly Fiat 500e posted 665 sales. Since the vast majority of those are in California, it is interesting that the BMW i3, which is sold nationwide, only managed a dismal 18 sales. The Nissan LEAF continues to pick up sales, even as customers await the arrival of the second generation car later this year. The LEAF has established a reputation for being comfortable and reliable, if a bit odd in the styling department.

Overall, EV sales were up 25% over May last year and are up 40% through the first five months of 2917. Are the numbers still small compared to the total new car market? Yes, they are. But if this pace continues, the tipping point between conventional cars and those with plugs is getting closer every month.

EV sales May 2017

Source and chart: Inside EVs

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I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • Epicurus

    Why are people sticking with the Toyota Prius? Only 25 miles of all electric range.

    • Steve Hanley

      Beats me. Ouch, my eyes!

    • Joe Viocoe

      Not even 25 miles. “Up To” 25 miles, in perfect conditions. The gasoline engine can turn on at any time.

    • Jim Smith

      makes no sense

      • Epicurus

        Brand loyalty evidently. Consumers are not rational economic actors.

    • Tadeusz Piskozub

      Price I presume. Even taking into account the tax credits the Prime is still considerably less expensive.

      On top of that it has significantly better gas mileage in hybrid mode, which matters for people who use their vehicle for something more than just commuting.

    • bioburner

      Brand name. Works for Toyota and hurts GM.

      • Epicurus

        Good point. How many sales has the Volt lost because it bears the Chevy label? At least GM could have made it a Buick, as they are doing in China.

  • Joe Viocoe

    Um… the Prius Prime is not an “EV” by any standard. Even the loose standard that got the best plugins like like the Volt named as an “EV”. At least the Volt truly drives like an EV, as in no matter how hard you push, in any condition… its an EV as long as there is charge in the battery.

    The Prius Prime is a plug in hybrid… but mostly a hybrid. It owes its allegiance to its gasoline engine, the battery is subservient.

    Oh, and this isn’t the first time Toyota’s Plugin Hybrid beat all others on this chart…. two months in 2012 and one month in 2013… the Prius PHV got the best monthly figures. It didn’t last. Monthly numbers are so misleading, I don’t know why the media keeps clamoring for them.