Final Update: December 2018 U.S. Plug-In EV Sales Report Card

December U.S. plug-in EV sales will climb again, but how high?

December 2018 will mark the 39th month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains for plug-in vehicles.

Each month InsideEVs tracks all the plug-in EV sales/deliveries for the United States by automaker. The last five consecutive months are now the top five best-selling months of all time. We have no doubt December will make the list, but where will it fit in? Is there a chance it could shoot to the top, or will it fail to surpass September and November numbers?Additional EV Sales-Related Content:

If history repeats itself (and we believe it will), December will be the strongest month of the year. However, there are many variables involved. Tesla Model 3 deliveries have remained somewhat flat over the last few months. In addition, Chevrolet Bolt and Volt deliveries were way up in November, but that may not be the case for December.

Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):

  1. December 2018 – 49,900
  2. September 2018 – 44,544
  3. November 2018 – 42,588
  4. August 2018 – 36,347
  5. October 2018 – 34,074

As of the end of November 2018, an estimated 311,177 plug-in electric vehicles had been sold in the U.S. this year. That only leaves about 39,000 deliveries to push the number to the 350K-mark. Clearly, 350K will be easily achieved, but how much will 2018 sales exceed that threshold.

Check Out: Contributor Josh Bryant’s 2018 yearly sales predictions here

In December 2017, an estimated 26,107 plug-ins were sold in the United States. In August, September, October, and November 2018, we saw well over 100-percent gains from last year’s numbers. Will December be another repeat of this trend? Will we see deliveries pass 52,000?

Our early estimates showed that Tesla delivered significantly more Model S and X vehicles in the U.S. in December than it did in November, and Model 3 sales are record-setting. We put Tesla’s total monthly sales in the U.S. at about 33,000, despite not having any Model 3 data for Canada at that point. As it turns out, Tesla delivered 32,600 vehicles in the U.S. in December based on its quarterly report and our estimates. All other models — at least as a whole — should see a respectable gain over the previous month. Based on our research, we’re looking at about 48,000 electric cars sold in the U.S. for December 2018.

According to our estimates and Tesla’s quarterly report, the automaker sold a fantastic 3,250 Model S sedans and 4,100Model X crossovers in the U.S. in December. For the quarter as a whole, Tesla delivered 27,550 Model S and X vehicles globally. Our research and estimates show that 15,875 of these went to U.S. customers, which makes sense due to it being Q4, along with the tax credit reduction.

Tesla reported delivering a grand total of 99,394 Model S and X vehicles globally in 2018. Based on our data, 51,845 of these were sold in the U.S.

Tesla’s report also substantiates our Tesla Model 3 delivery estimates. According to our estimates, Tesla delivered 25,250Model 3 sedans in the U.S. in December. Tesla reported sales of 63,150 Model 3 vehicles in Q4 2018. Our data shows 61,650delivered. Due to some vehicles going to Canada (approximately 1,500), we’re happy with the success of our research. 

On the year as a whole, Tesla delivered 145,846 Model 3 sedans. Our records account for some 139,722 delivered in the U.S., leaving the remaining 6,314 deliveries to Canada.

Since GM has decided to discontinue monthly sales reporting, we provide you with estimates each month and then reconcile (if needed) at the end of each quarter. We’re happy to report that our research has proven successful and our monthly numbers have been pretty solid. However, this month, the official quarterly numbers became available, and we had to make some adjustments.

For the fourth quarter, Chevrolet reported 6,212 Chevy Bolt EVs and 5,063 Chevy Volts were sold.

According to our research, GM sold 1,412 Bolt EVs and 1,058 Volt plug-ins in the U.S. this December.

Nissan LEAF sales grew in August and escalated even further in September. However, October and November brought a downturn.

Moving on to December, LEAF deliveries are up a nicely, at 1,667. In fact, this is the best U.S. number for the 2018 Nissan LEAF to date.

The Toyota Prius Prime has made positive strides in the last few months, following a significant drop in sales in June and July.

According to Toyota, Prius Prime deliveries in December reached an impressive 2,759.

The Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid hit a high point in September, as it crossed the 2,000-mark for the first time. October continued that momentum, as our estimates pegged Clarity Plug-In Hybrid sales a 1,935. The surge continued into November, with an estimated 1,857 sold.

We’re happy to report that Honda sold a total of 2,857 Clarity vehicles in the U.S. in December. Our research indicates that 2,770 of these sales were plug-in hybrids. This is the car’s best showing of all-time by leaps and bounds!

Keep yourself tuned in and refreshing the pages during the coming days as we put the numbers to the dialogue.

Questions entering December (with answers in italics as they come in):

  1. Will Tesla Model 3 U.S. deliveries rise or remain flat? (Tesla Model 3 deliveries set a new record in December, at 25,250sold in the U.S. based on our estimates and the automaker’s quarterly report.)
  2. How much was Tesla able to ramp up U.S. Model S and Model X sales due to the upcoming expiration of the U.S. federal EV tax credit? (Tesla hit its guidance for Model S and X sales on the year. According to our research, December U.S. numbers were solid at 3,250 and 4,100, respectively.)
  3. Did the Toyota Prius Prime make another notable delivery surge last month? (Yes. Prius Prime deliveries in December escalated to a healthy 2,759, which is not far off from the Prime’s all-time high of 2,924 in May 2018.)
  4. Will Tesla take the top three positions in the U.S. for 2018 with the Model 3, X, and S, or will the Prime rain on that parade? (The Prime prevails. It holds the second-place position on the year as a whole.)
  5. What do GM’s official quarterly numbers reveal about Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Bolt EV sales in comparison to our estimates? (GM’s quarterly numbers resulted in some adjustments to our monthly scorecard, which are clarified in our Bolt/Volt sales article and our monthly recaps.)
  6. 2018 Nissan LEAF U.S. sales have been on the downturn for the last two months. Can the LEAF close out 2018 with a strong December showing? (Yep. Nissan LEAF deliveries are up a nicely, at 1,667. This is the best U.S. number for the 2018 LEAF to date.)
  7. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid sales have been impressive all year, but especially over the last three months. Can December deliveries set a new record for the Clarity? (Our research indicates that Honda delivered a whopping 2,770Clarity plug-in hybrids last month.)
  8. Will the Jaguar I-Pace show exponential sales growth again in December? (It’s not so exponential, but U.S. I-Pace sales increased again, to 223.)

Also of note this December:

  • Toyota sold 232 Mirai vehicles.
  • Honda delivered Clarity FCEV.
  • Hyundai sold Nexo FCEVs.

Last update: January 5, 2019 @ 10:10 AM ET

*Keep in mind that we use the words sales and deliveries synonymously. In order for a car to count as SOLD, it has to be paid in full (or leased) and be in the possession of the consumer.

2018 Monthly Sales Chart

Tesla Model 3*  187524853820375060005902142501780022250177501865025250139,782
Toyota Prius Prime14962050292226262924223719842071221320012312275927,595
Tesla Model X*  700975282510251450255013252750397512253200410026,100
Tesla Model S*  8001125337512501520275012002625375013502750325025,745
Honda Clarity PHEV*604911113111291639149515421462199720251897277018,602
Chevrolet Volt*713983178213251675133614751825212914752530105818,306
Chevrolet Bolt EV*  11771424177412751125108311751225154919752825141218,019
Nissan LEAF  150895150011711576136711491315156312341128166714,715
BMW 530e*224413689518729942536749756733101213638,664
Ford Fusion Energi64079478274274060452239648045311317908,074
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**3754504804256507104506546376238957137,062
BMW i3 (BEV + REx)  3826239925034245804644184614244903566,117
BMWX5 xDrive 40e*2615966275634993214312642252242132104,434
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV3003233732732973903503663783093764314,166
Kia Niro PHEV*1552462271202182812253463133236193163,389
BMW 330e*1011422021661501381061921952293736062,600
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*1451992141892672382202402302101802652,597
Volvo XC60 PHEV*1091551671412142261852102151802252402,267
Fiat 500e**  21023528521525022522075941001481932,250
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid*12493362751681952002101702002302,036
Mercedes C350e*291722081581661761651708275802401,721
Hyundai IONIQ PHEV*2217821818021714318043111281361341,590
Mini Countryman SE PHEV*12710074106163211210128140117741141,564
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV*9910693901261331151251201001301501,387
Volkswagen e-Golf  1781981641287632183214622302221,354
smart ED  84901038011012610310898951001221,219
Kia Soul EV*  1151631571521335713033186161541,134
Porsche Cayenne S-E*11312119726559121545602535751,022
Mercedes GLE 550e*44701819383758590422835140966
Kia Optima PHEV*861031561429883903917517921965
Honda Clarity BEV*  1537448393486102751081063786948
BMW i83239475764457267556413397772
Ford C-Max Energi234142105571864412000582
Mercedes GLC 350e*5575964666065272024120567
Ford Focus Electric  70731378388504674011560
Hyundai Sonata PHEV*525478386762602015554460
Volvo S90 T8 PHEV*272952293035304045354045437
Jaguar I-Pace*  5165223393
Hyundai IONIQ EV*  4936073247352112213424345
BMW 740e*182331601716401825451828339
Cadillac CT6 PHEV*6241742301826231112139231
Mercedes B250e  404933730010101135
Mercedes S550e*133119778108541196
2018 U.S. Sales Totals12,00916,84526,44319,62324,30725,02929,59836,34744,54434,07442,58849,900361,307
2017 U.S. Sales Totals11,00412,37518,54213,36716,59617,04615,54016,51421,24214,31517,17826,107199,826
2018 Worldwide Sales*82,00081,000141,000128,450159,346157,933144,975172,400200,500208,800237,5531,713,957
2018 U.S. EV SALES
Tesla Model 3*  
Toyota Prius Prime
Tesla Model X*  
Tesla Model S*  
Honda Clarity PHEV*
Chevrolet Volt*
Chevrolet Bolt EV*  
Nissan LEAF  
BMW 530e*
Ford Fusion Energi
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid**
BMW i3 (BEV + REx)  
BMWX5 xDrive 40e*
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Kia Niro PHEV*
BMW 330e*
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*
Volvo XC60 PHEV*
Fiat 500e**  
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid*
Mercedes C350e*
Mini Countryman SE PHEV*
Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV*
Volkswagen e-Golf  
smart ED  
Kia Soul EV*  
Porsche Cayenne S-E*
Mercedes GLE 550e*
Kia Optima PHEV*
Honda Clarity BEV*  
BMW i8
Ford C-Max Energi
Mercedes GLC 350e*
Ford Focus Electric  
Hyundai Sonata PHEV*
Volvo S90 T8 PHEV*
Jaguar I-Pace*  
Hyundai IONIQ EV*  
BMW 740e*
Cadillac CT6 PHEV*
Mercedes B250e  
Mercedes S550e*
2018 U.S. Sales Totals
2017 U.S. Sales Totals
2018 Worldwide Sales*

Above – 2018 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Monthly or Quarterly Totals, ** Estimated (Based on State/Rebate Data and other reports). BEV models are designated with the icon.

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