Written by Daniel S. Cohen, Contributor
At the end of the first two economic quarters, Nissan is still the number 1 EV manufacturer with 12,736 units sold, all of them LEAFS, and the Nissan LEAF the best selling EV in America. The LEAF was the only EV model to sell over 2,000 units in June (it sold 2,347), however, its sales declined 24.7% from May 2014. YTD June LEAF sales are 12,736, +37% higher than the next closest EV competitor, Toyota Prius.
While still good numbers for Nissan, Ford had, arguably, the best month. Ford U.S. EV (largely PHEVs) sales for 2014 are now 11,059, making it the second most successful EV manufacturer YTD June 2014. Furthermore, its flagship PHEV model, the Fusion Energi, was the second best selling EV in June. With 1,939 models sold, the Fusion Energi broke its monthly sales record that it set last month. Back-to-back record breaking sales months and 44% monthly growth for the Fusion Energi helped make Ford the best selling EV manufacturer in June. (it is worth nothing that the Ford C-Max Energi sold 988 units, a 26% increase over May sales and its second best month ever). Ford sold 3,124 EVs in June to Nissan’s 2,347, Chevrolet’s 1,862, and Toyota’s 1,662. The race for first between Ford and Nissan may be closer than people think.
Tesla also posted an excellent June with estimated Model S sales of 1,800, an 80% increase from May 2014 sales. With an estimated sales of 7,400 for YTD 2014, the Model S is the fourth best selling EV this year and the best selling electric luxury model. It is unclear if the Model S will beat its sales totals from 2013, however, due to sluggish numbers in the first five months of this year. With YTD US sales down -23% and a shift to Europe and China working to restore growth, it is unlikely that Model S sales in the US will grow over 2013. A recent review of AutoTrader.com shows an increasing number of used Model S listings (60/day) with prices ranging from $69,000-$120,000. New car sales are thin at that price level; even more so for used luxury vehicles which typically experience significant depreciation in the first 1-2 years. So used Model S inventory is still very expensive and new buyers will be looking to get into the Model S in the sub $70,000 price level. Continued absence of leasing hurts US Model S sales growth as well.
June was unkind to Toyota. The Prius PHEV sold only 1,571 units, a 41.6% drop from May, making it the fifth best selling EV model. It was the second best selling model in in each of the previous two months. Combined with the RAV4 EV’s weak performance (only 91 units sold, a 39% decrease from May), Toyota slipped to fourth among manufacturers in EVs sold in June and third in EVs sold YTD 2014.
The Volt continues to show small, though declining, growth. Its 1,777 units sold made it the fourth highest selling EV model in the U.S. in June and represented a 5.5% increase from its sales in May. Chevrolet sold the third most EVs among manufacturers in June but its other model, the Spark, continues to perform poorly. Spark sales dropped by 53% to 85 units. Chevrolet still lags behind Nissan, Ford, and Toyota in EV sales YTD 2014 and will continue to do so unless Volt sales dramatically rise which is not likely since 2015 model year is essentially a carry over vehicle.