Right off the bat, you should know Tesla set a quarterly sales record for the period ending in March while posting huge gains over its prior year totals. Though we can’t know exactly how many of the company’s 10,030 Model S sales went to U.S. buyers, we do know Tesla investors and well-wishers can sleep tight for another three months.
Otherwise, plug-in sales improved slightly (up 7%) in March 2015 year over year, according to the historically accurate plug-in accounting by InsideEVs.com. Here were five electric vehicles that surprised on March sales charts.
1. Ford C-Max Energi
It had been dreadful January followed by a mediocre February for the Ford C-Max Energi, but this plug-in made a big rebound in March with 715 cars sold. That made it one of the few EVs to improve upon its prior year performance (C-Max was up 17%) and wrote a comeback story for a car that only sold 395 units in the first month of 2015. For its part, the Ford Fusion Energi put up respectable numbers with 837 units sold, fifth best among plug-ins in March.
2. Chevrolet Spark EV
Chevy announced it would expand sales of the Spark EV to Maryland in the spring, but that move hadn’t happened when the lone General Motors EV sold 151 units in March, its second-highest monthly total in history (behind 182 sales in May 2014). Looking at the competition, Spark EV outsold Ford Focus Electric, Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric, and Kia Soul EV (among others) in a surprise performance.
3. Fiat 500e
Fiat 500e, a compliance car if ever there was one, probably surprised the most of any electric car on the market in March 2015. According to InsideEVs, the little EV sold 1,310 units, more than doubling its previous high (644 units, March 2014) and adding almost 1,000 units to its February 2015 total (315 units). What happened with the 500e?
According to Green Car Reports, popular promotions sparked at least one group buy (over 100 units) of the electric Fiat, and apparently there were more to come. InsideEVs cited Clean Vehicle Rebate claims from California as the basis for its impressive sales figures.
4. Tesla Model S
Investors and Tesla boosters must have been holding their breath ahead of the automaker’s quarterly sales report, but the Model S delivered with a record performance of over 10,000 cars sold (up 55% year over year) worldwide between January and March. How many were sold in the United States? There is only speculation on that count, but we will continue to follow InsideEVs’ accurate count until proven wrong. According to the website, Tesla sold 2,450 units of its flagship electric sedan, which would be nearly double its total from the year before.
5. BMW i8
Tesla has proven that cost is hardly an obstacle when trying to sell an electric vehicle in 2015. That’s a good thing for BMW, which starts its i8 plug-in supercar at a starting price of $137,500. In March, U.S. buyers were more than happy to fork down that sum as 143 units sold, more than the Cadillac ELR and Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, among others.
BMW’s main problem with the i8 has been meeting the demand for its hybrid sport coupe. Even after doubling production volumes, company executives said they will never be able to provide enough models of the i8 to satisfy auto consumers. We’re guessing the 2015 World Green Car award it won at the the New York Auto Show won’t help keep any more customers away.
Statistics source: InsideEVs