All things considered, it hasn’t been a good year for electric vehicle sales. We’ve seen exciting new EV concepts and gotten great news about battery development, but the models currently on the market aren’t selling in large volumes.
As a result, plug-in sales totals are flat through the first half of 2015, year over year, even with new products like the Kia Soul EV and Volkswagen e-Golf on the market. You can probably blame a lack of long-range EVs and inadequate charging infrastructure for the lack of improvement. Or you might argue low gas prices have kept the burden of proof on EVs.
Then again, Tesla seems capable of selling as many cars as its workforce can produce. In a month where plug-in electric vehicles were down almost 17% (per InsideEVs.com), the Model S showed huge gains over its 2014 performance. The interesting stories didn’t end there. Here are five things we learned from June electric vehicle sales.
1. The BMW i3 is not yet a juggernaut.
After such a strong February (1,089 sales) and March (922 sales), it appeared the BMW i3 was ready to become a true force in the EV segment. An uneven second quarter will put that idea on hold. Just 551 models of the i3 sold in June, which put BMW’s EV behind the Ford Fusion Energi for the third straight month. Instead of taking third place in the segment from the Chevrolet Volt, the i3 risks being lapped by Ford’s midsize plug-in hybrid.
2. Nissan Leaf is heating up with the warm weather.
The Nissan Leaf has not been match its record pace from 2014, but has showed signs of gaining momentum this summer. Its 2,074 sales in June marked the second straight month it broke the 2,000 mark, keeping its lock on second place in the segment behind Model S. For a car that has just 84 miles of range, the consistency of the Leaf is impressive and bodes well for the next iterations of Nissan’s electric car.
3. The 500e and Spark EV already peaked in 2015.
The only thing more surprising than the Chevy Spark EV’s April (920 sales) was the Fiat 500e’s March (1,310 sales). Well, it turns out those months were indeed flukes for the mini EVs. June found the 500e more than back to earth with 363 sales and the Spark EV down to 226 sales. While inventories would never be high enough to sustain their dramatic runs earlier in the year, we have to accept the fact they’ve both seen their peak for the time being.
4. Tesla has hit its stride.
To meet its lofty sales goals for 2015, Tesla will have to continue increasing production and sales throughout the year. For the second quarter, the automaker was up to the challenge, posting 11,507 sales, 52% better than the previous year’s numbers. Its 2,800 sales in June were the best mark of the year for Tesla, and show that the company has fully hit its stride this summer. Expect another record quarter once the reports come in at the end of September.
5. Ford’s plug-in hybrids remain relevant.
Over two years after its release, the Ford Fusion Energi can seem like a dated entry to a rapidly shifting segment, but this model is remaining relevant with 727 sales in June, which leaves it a few hundred cars behind the BMW i3 for fourth place in 2015. C-Max Energi (667 sales in June) also moved enough units to lock down its hold on fifth place. These plug-in hybrids are keeping Ford in the game, whereas the Focus Electric vehicle (152 sales) continues to struggle.
Source for sales stats: InsideEvs