More than 45,000 cars with plugs were sold in America in the three month period that ended September 30. Led by the Tesla Model S and Chevy Volt, EV sales in the third quarter were up 60% over the same period in 2015. Almost 17,000 battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars were sold in September, which helped give a boost to the quarterly numbers.
In addition to the Model S and the Volt, demand for two BMW plug-ins –the 330e and the BMW X5 xDrive 40e was up strongly as sales of its innovative i3 fell. The Union of Concerned Scientist, which reported the quarterly sales numbers, suggests that numbers would be even higher were it not for the fact that gas prices remain historically low and many electric car models are not available outside of California.
There are few caveats to be observed. BMW does not reveal sales figures for its plug-in 3 Series. Hyundai also does not reveal statistics for sales of its Sonata Plug-in Hybrid. Also, Tesla will not reveal its sales numbers by country, so its US sales are an estimate based upon the best available information.
Inside EVs says that EV sales have been up every quarter so far this year. Sales in December typically increase as people buy before year end so they can claim the federal tax credit in April. That extra impetus to the market should help EV sales climb over 20,000 in the fourth quarter for the first time in history.
Things should look even brighter for EV sales next year when the Chevy Bolt is on the market. Also, buyers will have the option of buying a BMW i3 with longer range and several updated plug-in cars from Ford, including the sleek Fusion Energi. The Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid will be available in 2017 as well as hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric versions of the Hyundai Ioniq.
The Union of Concerned Scientists points out that EV sales have risen even as gas prices have fallen. No doubt higher gas prices would give shoppers an extra incentive to consider a battery electric or plug-in hybrid car.
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists Chart via Inside EVs