By on July 7, 2016

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Plug-In Outlet

Sales figures point to a record-breaking month for electrified vehicles in June, but the final tally doesn’t tell the whole story.

After a dismal May that saw sales fall below the previous year’s numbers, sales of plug-in vehicles (battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids) surged in June, hitting a combined total of 13,722 units in the U.S., according to Hybrid Cars.

Overall market share for plug-ins reached 0.91 percent last month, close to the meaty, single-digit figures that EV enthusiasts have dreamed of for years. Sales of regular hybrids (sans cord) stood at 1.84 percent of market share.

Taking apart that data, it’s clear that the plug-in world remains a volatile one. Battery electric vehicle sales in June were up 14.4 percent from May, mainly due to increased production of Tesla models. This puts the tally on par with the previous record from December 2014.

While Tesla sales surge, fewer buyers are turning to cheaper, shorter-ranged models like the Nissan Leaf, which hit its sales peak long ago. Overall, battery electric vehicle sales were down 14.6 percent from June 2015.

Plug-in hybrid sales were down 3.8 percent from last month, but more models on the market meant sales were up by 25.7 percent over the same month in 2015. This category has growth potential as key models (like the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Fusion Energi) are newly improved and more models are poised to join the lineup.

Regular hybrids? Not doing too good. Once revolutionary, the technology is now yesterday’s news. June sales fell 10 percent from May, and 15 percent from June 2015.

A slew of lower-cost, 200-mile-range models is expected to start trickling into the marketplace this fall with the arrival of the Chevy Bolt, but it’s hard to say how much that model (as well as the Tesla Model 3 and others due in 2017 and 2018) will grow the category’s market share. New models could easily poach the sales of existing EVs.

 

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15 Comments on “Plug-In Vehicle Sales Reach a High Point, But Things Aren’t as Rosy as They Seem...”


  • avatar

    Gas Prices aren’t the only factor.

    Neither is range anxiety for sub-200 mile range cars.

    Bigger problem is “where am I gonna charge this thing”?

    Charge-point anxiety.

    College campuses have chargers that’ll accept visa/mastercard.

    I wanna see chargers at all malls, all movie theaters and all walmarts.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Having 800-volt charging would help too. That would cut quick charging times in half. So, a 30-minute charge becomes 15 minutes. My little 12 minute top-ups become 6 minutes. That’s when it gets more palatable to the mainstream driving public.

      We do see a lot of charging locations here in New England. I had breakfast this morning at a place that charged my car while I ate. Last week, I had breakfast at a charging location in Concord NH, lunch at a place in Norwich Vt that had huge solar panels next to the charger, and stayed the night at a hotel with quick charging, level 2, and about a half dozen level one outlets.

    • 0 avatar
      here4aSammich

      I would imagine the reason you haven’t seen chargers in all these locations is that they are not commercially viable yet. My local art museum has chargers too. They subsidize the cost. I’m sure the college campuses are subsidizing as well. It’s taxpayer money after all, so spend spend spend. Even if someone started a company to build charging points at malls, movie theaters and Walmarts they’d still have to invest in the infrastructure. And that’s assuming the mall would let them build it for free. Which they won’t.

      Not gonna lie, I was looking at Certified Fusion Energis just last night. They are a steal. But I’ll have to do my charging at home if I pull the trigger.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @Here4aSammich: “Even if someone started a company to build charging points at malls, movie theaters and Walmarts they’d still have to invest in the infrastructure. And that’s assuming the mall would let them build it for free. Which they won’t.”

        Hmm, something must be wrong with the commenting system because this comment is probably several years old. What’s happened since this was probably written is that several companies came into existence and placed chargers at malls, grocery stores, hotels, and cafes. I’m at a cafe in a grocery store across from a Starbucks charging at a free charger managed by ChargePoint.com. They also manage the charger at the bakery/cafe in Vermont I visited last week. The hotel I stayed at had a quick charger from EvGo. EvGo also has quick chargers at most of the Simon malls in the Boston area. Lots of Walgreens in the Boston Area have chargers that I think are managed by ChargePoint.

        Check out plugshare.com for a listing of charging locations. Check out places like Boston and Burlington Vermont. In the Boston area, I actually get picky about where I want to charge. Earlier this week, I was debating which CHAdeMO charger in Salem NH to hit.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Fuel prices have plunged here in the midwest lately (reg in the $1.70s) Certainly no stimulus for hybrid or plug-ins.

    I’ve always felt since it’s the only consumer item displayed on street corners in 3 foot high number pricing, gasoline has a big influence day to day.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    re: “Regular hybrids? Not doing too good”

    Given that the hybrid market is dominated by the Prius, isn’t that a roundabout way of stating that the new Prius isn’t doing too good?

    Maybe people were expecting a bigger improvement in gas mileage, and less ugly. I hear they’ve improved the (lack of) power and directional issues, but nobody buys a Prius for the way it drives.

  • avatar
    LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

    We need a first-generation Scion X-Box hybrid. (2nd generation was not an improvement!) Lots of floor area for the batteries, plenty of useful space above, good visibility, makes good use of its footprint, reasonable price. Everyone that I know who has one loves it. It’s quirky, but has fewer detractors than the Prius as far as its appearance.

  • avatar
    ydnas7

    this is the calm before the storm

    Tesla 3, Chevy Bolt, Nissan LEAF 2

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      I wonder how many “wait and see”-era there are for exactly this. I grabbed a car knowing I wasn’t seeing a model 3 in Canada until (at least) 2018, but if there was ever a “next year will be even better!” Car vibe, the current BEV situation has to be it.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    Ontario has a wonderful incentive plan for EV’s…. trouble is, our infrastructure actually sucks. There are charge points in the city, but they are quite sporadic. Car dealerships, and a few small retail chains have started putting them in place, but I have not seen much from the large box stores (except IKEA). It will be a happy day when Walmart, Loblaws, Shoppers Drugmart, and others start putting charge points in place.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    Much of the “sales up 20%” or “sales down 20%” phrases are rather meaningless when dealing with small numbers. Selling 200 more Volts in a given month is a 20% gain. Selling 200 more F-150’s is just noise.

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