March 2017 EV Sales: Tesla Sprints Ahead, Bolt Lags


Inside EVs is the most reliable source of EV sales data in the US. Its monthly reports are the gold standard when it comes to keeping up with what’s hot and what’s not in the world of cars with plugs. Sales data for March is incomplete at this moment — but information at the top of the chart is in and it reveals some interesting news.

EV sales March 2017
Source: Inside EVs. Image cropped to reflect top selling models.

First, Tesla blew away almost all other manufacturers combined when it came to selling cars with plugs in March. Tesla does not release sales data by country, but Inside EVs does a good job of making reasonable guesstimates of Tesla’s US deliveries using available data such as sales tax information from individual states. It says Model S deliveries were 3,450 in the US in March with Model X deliveries just slightly behind at 2.750 for a total of 6,200 vehicles.

In the plug in hybrid category, the Chevy Volt continued its strong sales record for 2017 with 2,132 cars delivered. The Toyota Prius Prime lagged a bit behind at 1,618, although the Toyota is newer to the market that the Volt and is not yet available in all areas. The other news is that sales of the Chevy Bolt were disappointing, with only 978 delivered. The Bolt is not yet available nationwide and won’t be until later this year, but there are rumblings that things are not going well for the bow tie brand and its new all electric car.

The San Jose Mercury reports that dealers in California are getting more Bolts than they can sell, leading to a glut of inventory and pressure to discount the cars. The problem — frequently discussed here at Gas2 — is that dealers often make little effort to educate consumers about the advantages of electric cars. Instead, they see them as just another product in inventory and try to market them the same way they have been doing since the first Roosevelt administration.

Source and graphic credit: Inside EVs


About the Author

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.

  • Larry Allin

    It makes no sense that GM is dumping the Bolt in California while starving the rest of the country/world. They have had months to ramp up production but have failed to do so.

    • Steve Hanley

      GM wrings its hands and says, “Oh, we are constrained by what our dealers do. There is nothing we can do about it.”

      Bullshit. They could start by stopping their rabid opposition to Tesla’s direct sales model and embracing Tesla’s position that traditional dealers (for the most part) simply are not interested in selling electric cars.

      • Joe Viocoe

        Dealerships can sue GM for disenfranchisement.
        With Tesla, there are no franchisees… So they have to get the governments to enforce laws written under the assumption that there would be franchisees.

        • Rick Danger

          Are franchises for life?

          • Joe Viocoe

            Probably not… but opening up a manufacturer direct store means that any franchisees nearby could claim they are competing and accuse disenfranchisement. So an automaker would have to wait until all franchises in an entire area expire… Meanwhile, losing all sales for a time and allowing competing brands to gain share.