Plug-In Electric Car Sales In May: Leaf, Volt, Others Surge: UPDATED – Green Car Reports

Posted: Wednesday, June 03, 2015
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2015 Nissan Leaf

2015 Nissan Leaf

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As spring arrives, sales of plug-in electric cars have traditionally risen from their winter levels.

During the months of May through August, monthly sales are usually among the highest of the year.

At least for May, that rule holds as strongly for 2015 as it did last year.

DON’T MISS: Will 2015 Plug-In Electric Car Sales Exceed Last Year’s Total?

The Nissan Leaf, now the best-selling plug-in vehicle in the U.S. as well as the world at large, saw May deliveries of 2,104 cars.

That brings the year’s five-month total to 7,742, and the total number delivered in the U.S. since December 2010 to more than 80,000 Leafs.

Last month’s number may have been boosted by sales in the Greater Atlanta area to buyers rushing to beat the end of Georgia’s $5,000 tax credit for purchase of a battery-electric car.

2015 Chevrolet Volt

2015 Chevrolet Volt

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The first-generation Chevy Volt, meanwhile, continues on its long wind-down. Assembly of 2015 Volts at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant has now ended, and the all-new 2016 model will start shortly.

Nonetheless, last month Volt sales surged: Chevy delivered 1,618 Volts, its best monthly figure since last August.

That brings the 2015 total to 4,397, and the total over four and a half years to 77,754.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Chevrolet Volt Configurator Live, California Order Books Open

As always, Tesla Motors refuses to report its monthly sales or break down its quarterly global delivery number by market.

U.S. sales of its Model S electric luxury sedan are likely somewhere between 800 and 1,500 units.

While sales of the BMW i3–both the battery-electric and range-extended versions–didn’t quite return to levels of 1,000 a month or more, the May deliveries of 818 were much better than April’s anemic 406. 

The five-month total for the i3 is 3,906, and BMW missed the magic total of 10,000 since going on sale last May by just three units.

2015 BMW i3 REx - Driven, Portland OR, April 2015

2015 BMW i3 REx – Driven, Portland OR, April 2015

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Another German small electric hatchback, the Volkswagen e-Golf, racked up record sales: It sold 410 units, its best month since going on sale last October.

That brings its five-month total to 1,225 delivered (along with 357 more at the end of last year).

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive–roughly the same size, but pricier than the e-Golf and i3–saw 278 deliveries, its second-best month since going on sale last July.

A total of 930 electric B-Class hatchbacks have been sold over the first five months of 2015.

Plug-in hybrids, low-volume models

California’s green stickers giving plug-in hybrids access to the carpool lane with only a sole occupant are now all but gone.

Between that and production of the current-generation Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid ending this month, sales of that vehicle will likely fall to minimal levels within a few months.

Still, Toyota managed to deliver 727 plug-in Priuses last month–the best monthly total since last August. That brings year-to-date sales to 2,426 and the total number of Prius Plug-Ins delivered in the U.S. to more than 40,000.

Sales of Ford’s two Energi models, plug-in hybrid adaptations of the Fusion mid-size sedan and C-Max compact tall wagon, will be reported later today.

MORE: Why Electric Cars Are Rare Outside CA: Arcane ‘Travel Provision’ Rule

The 14 different low-volume models offered in parts of the country range from compliance cars like the Chevrolet Spark EV to pricey luxury models like Porsche’s two plug-in hybrids.

The Cadillac ELR delivered 116 units, bringing its five-month total to 531 sales. That’s consistent with its sales level over the past year and a half.

The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupe beat the ELR by one unit last month, at 117, bringing its 2015 total to 596.

The pair of plug-in Porsches sold 21 (for the Panamera large luxury sedan) and 105 (for the Cayenne SUV), bringing their 2015 totals thus far to 196 and 398 respectively.

We’re still waiting for sales data for the Smart Electric Drive two-seat minicar, which have historically run from 100 to 200 a month.


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