The records have been rolling in for the plug-in car segment in 2016. With the results from August in, there have been records set in seven of eight months this year, including the all-time best month (15,063 units in June) over the summer. You can point to increased inventory and more options on the market to explain the progress we’ve seen.
August’s 14,882 sales were just a shade off the industry’s high-water mark and a whopping 66% gain, year-over-year. Compared to the auto industry as a whole, which fell 4.2% compared to last August, you can see why there is reason for encouragement for environmental advocates and automakers focusing primarily on electric vehicles.
Here are the five electric cars that drove the new August high with the most gains, according to InsideEVs.
5. BMW X5 xDrive40e
While the Nissan Leaf (1,066) and BMW i3 (1,013) outsold the BMW X5 xDrive40e, neither could compete with the gains shown by the plug-in hybrid SUV, which had its best month to date with 876 sales. Prior to August, the X5 xDrive40e never topped 655 units, making these 35% gains a reason for the segment record. At a base price of $62,100 and its relatively hidden place on the BMW website, this car is more evidence the automaker’s EV program is working.
The X5 xDrive40e travels up to 14 miles on electric power and reaches 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 6.5 seconds. Drivers have access to 308 horsepower from the twin turbo engine and electric motor.
4. Ford Fusion Energi
Ford Fusion Energi has had an impressive year anyway you approach it. First, its 9,998 sales through the first eight months of the year are third in the segment, trailing only Tesla Model S and Chevy Volt. Second, the plug-in Fusion has already topped its 2015 total (9,750) with the final third of the year still to be tallied. Third, its August performance (1,422 sales) was a scorching 50% better than its August 2015 tally. This car’s no-compromise green appeal is finding its widest audience yet in 2016.
3. Tesla Model X
Tesla always has a few unique factors that directly impact its sales totals. One is the issue of how many cars they send overseas versus how many they deliver to American consumers; another is the production levels the EV maker is constantly pushing at its Fremont plant. In August, Model X came close to its all-time high with 1,850 deliveries estimated by InsideEVs. That tally gave the electric SUV the third-highest total of the month and a jumpstart for the rest of the year.
2. Chevrolet Volt
With 2,081 sales in August, the new Chevy Volt crushed its total from 2015 (1,380) by over 30% and gave the plug-in hybrid its second-best month of 2016. After a sluggish start to the year, this model has found its way in the summer and could challenge the original Volt’s record set in 2013 (23,094). With 53 miles of range that you can drive all the way down to zero before switching to gas, Volt is the model that makes range anxiety an afterthought while making electric driving the focus.
1. Tesla Model S
Thanks to the latest Ludicrous upgrade, the Tesla Model S is now the quickest car you can buy in America. It only takes 2.5 seconds to gun this luxury sedan to 60 miles per hour, and it can cover 300 miles on a single charge, provided you don’t drive near its top speed the whole time. There is no comparison on the sales charts, either. Tesla delivered 3,125 Model S sedans in August, according to InsideEVs. That total dominated the pack once again and more than doubled its count from 2015 (1,300 sales). Maybe Tesla will reach its lofty sales projections after all.