Toyota Prius Prime Outsells Tesla Model S and Model X in January

First, a disclaimer. Tesla steadfastly refuses to provide monthly sales figures or to break out sales by region, so the information presented below is speculative. That being said, the folks at Inside EVs have been tracking EV and plug-in hybrid sales for many years and have gained a well deserved reputation for being about as accurate and authoritative as any people in the business. Their projections and predictions about Tesla sales usually correspond closely with the actual numbers that come from Tesla at the end of each quarter.


Prius Prime January sales

That being said, let’s move on to January sales figures as compiled by Inside EVs. Keep in mind that we are talking about US sales only in this discussion. They report the Chevy Volt as being the sales leader for the first month of the year, followed closely by the newly introduced Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. The Volt racked up 1,611 sales for the month; the Prius Prime 1,366. Not bad for a new model that is not available in all sections of the country yet as Toyota ramps up production of the new car.

The new-to-market Chevy Bolt scored impressive sales for a brand new car with 1,162 units sold. Then come the Tesla twins — Model S sales are estimated at 900 and Model X numbers set at 750. The Nissan LEAF, which hasn’t changed much this decade, split the two Teslas with 772 sales.

Some of you will want to look at the combined company totals. Chevrolet can brag its two electric cars sold a total of 2,773 cars. Tesla is well behind at 1,650. Ford’s two EVs, the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi, combined for a total of 1,079 sales. After that, the sales numbers fall into the hundreds rather than thousands, with several models recording less than 100 US sales for the month.

What conclusions can be drawn from the numbers? January sales are typically weak while December numbers are strong. That’s due to the vagaries of the federal tax credit for EVs. People who buy in December get to claim their credit 15 weeks later when tax time rolls around. People who buy in January have to wait 15 months to claim their reward. Nevertheless, EV sales in January were up a healthy 70% over the same month last year — a sign that the electric car market is moving in the right direction.

If that sort of sales growth were to continue for the entire year, Inside EVs predicts total US EV sales for 2017 could approach 270,000 or more. One unknown in the mix is whether the new Chrysler Pacific Hybrid minivan will sell well. All its specifications suggest it should be a hit, since it is considerably more efficient than any other minivan on the market without costing a lot more than the conventional Pacifica, but we will have to wait and see how the market responds.

Unless Donald Trump figures out how to mandate coal fired steam cars, the outlook for EV sales in America in 2017 looks bright. The cloud on the horizon is lower Tesla sales this year in January than in the same month last year. That is a trend that will bear close watching as the year moves forward.

Source: Inside EVs

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.