US Plug In Electric Vehicle sales are on a tear in 2016 up +31% vs. sluggish 2015 but also up +20% vs. the record setting 2014. So what’s going on? Two words: pricing and innovation.
Tesla delivered 34,455 Model S and Model X through September 30th following a very aggressive (for Tesla) sales push which included Model S and X ‘inventory vehicles’ – produced without a buyer and the ramp up of Model X production. Tesla reportedly converted a number of Model 3 buyers to Model S with its newly re-priced $66,000 base price. I visited Tesla stores in Atlanta and Cleveland where the store”cupboards” were bare and exhausted Product Specialists had delivered every vehicle they could get their hands on before September 30th. Tesla began to make deliveries of its 0-60 in 2.5 seconds P100D with its 315 mile driving range as well.
Chevrolet VOLT – sales for the second generation model and its 53 mile all EV range are up +76% to 16,326 units, beating full year 2015 (15,393) and on pace to best 2014 (18,805). Used car buyer are discovering a great value in the VOLT, which sell for less than 40% of the price of its price when new, attracting the next generation of buyers to the versatile 400 mile range VOLT.
BMW X5 xDrive 40E at almost 4,600 units helped push BMW “E” sales up by 24% off-setting lower sales for the i3 (2017 model gets a longer range battery pack at 110 EV miles) and i8 both off about 20%. BMW just started shipping the 330E with just 323 units delivered and the 740E arrives in the Fourth Quarter of this year.
Federal Incentives (up to $7,500) are still plentiful and many states also have additional incentives on top of Federal continuing to support EV sales. US gasoline prices are creeping up but still very low so not likely impacting the sales growth of EVs.
The next chapter: 2017 Chevrolet BOLT- officially rated by the US EPA at 238 miles of all electric driving range and a base price of $37,495.00 before Federal Incentives. The long-range, mass market EV may be finally here. That is until the Tesla Model 3 arrives in late 2017.