Summary of USA EV Sales Q1 2017

Summary of USA EV Sales Q1 2017

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Summary of USA EV Sales Q1 2017

We look at the Top brands, Best and Worst Models and how the battle between battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technologies play out in the summary of USA EV Sales Q1 2017.

The highlights for USA electric car sales in Q1 2017 was:

  • USA EV Sales grew 35% Year-on-Year or by nearly 10,000 units over the same period in 2016;
  • BEV outsold PHEV by a healthy 19.2%, despite having fewer models in the class;
  • Nearly ten new models, most of them PHEV’s, were available to consumers in this quarter compared to the same period in 2016;
  • We saw some big shifts in the Top 5 EV Brands in the USA.

The USA Top Electric Vehicle Brands 2017 Q1

There are no surprises in the Top 3 Electric Vehicle Brands as Tesla remained on top, due to increase sales of the Tesla Model X, and GM and Toyota brought new models to book. Quarter 1 2017 was the first full quarter for the Chevrolet Bolt, the world’s first mass-market car. The Chevrolet Bolt‘s performance was rather disappointing, with sales dropping from a January high. The reason can be one of two, either GM‘s slow roll-out is to blame, or most buyers are waiting for the Tesla Model 3. Toyota’s only Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) vehicle, the Toyota Prius Premium, performed remarkably well, taking in consideration that the battery capacity and range does not offer a real advantage to its competitors.

The bad boy on the block was Ford, barely hanging on to the Top 5 list of electric cars. Were it not for Porsche’s bad performance in the VW Group; the German automaker would have unseated Ford in the Top 5. BMW dropped out of the Top 5 list as Toyota entered the list in the third positionDaimler showed commendable improvement while Hyundai and Volvo joined Ford on the losing side. Nissan still shows consistent growth with its only electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf.

Best EV brand-USA-Q1-EV-Sales-2017-wattev2buy-2

The USA Top Electric Vehicle Models 2017 Q1

Of the new electric vehicle models that came to market in this quarter, the Toyota Prius Premium, a PHEV outperformed GM‘s Chevrolet Bolt, a BEV by nearly 30%, a disappointing performance for the first mass-market electric vehicle. Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW had two more models in this quarter compared to 2016, with the Mercedes-Benz C350e and Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e outselling the BMW 330e and BMW 740e.

The Mercedes Benz S550 PHEV, BMW i3 2017 and Tesla Model X were the best performing existing models, although for the BMW i3, its the 50% improvement in battery capacity that attributed to its increase in sales.

The Tesla Model S sales remained flat on a year-to-year basis, despite continued improvements in its software and hardware.

The USA Worst Electric Vehicle Models 2017 Q1

Sales of the Cadillac ELR fizzled out completely in anticipation of the release of the Cadillac CT6 PHEV this month. Both the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera showed big losses in sales from a year ago, impacting on total growth for the VW Group. Judging from the Ford models sales slump, it is clear the century-old automaker needs to reassess it electric vehicle strategy. The big drop in the Volvo XC90 T8 can be attributed to the challenge faced by all automakers coming late to the electric vehicle party. To enter the electric vehicle market, lagging brands alter existing models to include batteries but in the process lose performance as drivers complain about smaller fuel tanks.


The battle between BEV and PHEV models

Battery Electric Vehicle’s (BEV), of which nearly half is constituted by the two Tesla models, outperformed plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Over 20,000 BEV units were sold in the first quarter of 2017 compared to just under 15,000 a year ago. Q1 2017’s 19.2% increase in sales showed a slight improvement for the technology on Q1 2016 when BEV outsold PHEV with 17%. The USA is one of the few countries where BEV vehicles outsold PHEV’s since 2016, read our blog on the Top 10 EV Markets.

In total there is 13 BEV models and 20 PHEV models available in the USA market in 2017 so far. Consumers had a choice of seven new PHEV models in Q1 2017 and one BEV compared to the same period in 2016.

New model’s coming to market in the next quarter include three plug-in hybrids, the Cadillac CT6 PHEV, BMW 530e, and the Porsche Panamera 4 E-H, while only one BEV, the Hyundai IONIQ Electric will be released, should there be no surprises from Tesla on the Model 3.








Please leave us a comment on your thoughts regarding the electric vehicle models available to the US consumer.

Note on data used: For comparison purposes, the BMW i3 sales data was assumed to be divided in two, to accommodate for the BMW i3 BEV and REx PHEV 

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