If we mentioned every time there were some type of new record in electric vehicle sales, there wouldn’t be much room to discuss anything else. So we’ll make this one quick: Plug-ins posted 13,432 sales in July, according to InsideEVs, making it the best such month in U.S. history. Once again, pure EVs and plug-in hybrids demolished year-over-year numbers, this time besting the previous July by 50% across the segment.
While Tesla’s astounding numbers from June did not repeat in July (due to the EV maker’s typical end-of-quarter blitz), other models put up such strong showings there was hardly a letdown in segment totals. Here are the five best-selling plug-ins pacing the pack. As is our wont every month, we sourced the figures from InsideEVs ever-reliable scorecard.
5. Nissan Leaf
After years of sitting at or near the top of the sales charts, the all-electric Nissan Leaf was displaced by Tesla and has settled in at fifth place, where it remained in July with 1,063 deliveries. There are two models for consumers to choose from as far as range is concerned: the 24 kWh model ($29,070) offering 84 miles and the 30 kWh ($34,200) offering 107 miles on a full charge.
Even though the 30 kWh Leaf is the longest-range model available under $66,000, consumers have not been snatching it up the way they did the original model in its first years on the market. In truth, it may be suffering from the EV limbo with Americans forced to either spend big for a Tesla or wait for the next generation of EVs to arrive.
4. Ford Fusion Energi
The Ford Fusion Energi is a unique offering in many ways. With only 21 miles in EV mode, it has the lowest range among the top sellers; as a variant of the standard Fusion, it does not scream “green car”; and it remains one of two plug-in midsize sedans available outside of the luxury class. Whether consumers are warming up to the idea again or taking advantage of the excellent prices on 2016 and 2017 models, Fusion Energi is on a pace it hasn’t seen since the summer of 2014. It posted 1,341 deliveries in July, up 57% year over year.
3. BMW i3
BMW i3 sales were sluggish, to put it mildly, for the first half of 2016. Then July arrived and the electric city car with an available gas engine posted 1,479 sales. That was 58% better than the previous July and nearly 150% better than the model’s performance in June, making it an extraordinary month for many reasons. Consumers apparently are not concerned about adding more range when the next i3 arrives, so we’re guessing the range-extended model (i3 REX) featuring 150 miles between gas and electric mode is powering the car’s comeback.
2. Tesla Model S
While so much attention was dedicated to Tesla in July — for the AutoPilot controversy, the Gigafactory opening, and the release of Part II of its master plan — the Model S was keeping sales numbers strong. The flagship sedan sold approximately 2,150 units on the month (a 30% gain, year over year) to stay on top of the pack in 2016 plug-in sales in the U.S. Looking at the performance of Model X (750 sales, estimated), the EV maker appears to have found a comfort level in the production side of things.
1. Chevrolet Volt
Chevrolet Volt is the best-selling plug-in of all time in America, and in July it stood on top of the pack with a robust 2,406 deliveries. That is close to double the first-gen Volt’s performance in July 2015 (1,225) and as good a sign as any that this car remains a top choice for green car consumers. Though we doubt it will challenge Tesla for the 2016 sales lead much longer, Volt looks like a solid contender for second place if it can hold off a late push from Model X once Tesla ramps up production in the final months of the year.
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