December 2018 U.S. EV Sales Recap: Over 360K Secured!

December pushes U.S. EV sales well over the 350K mark

Based on automakers’ sales reports and our estimates, we report a total of 49,900 plug-in electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in December 2018, compared to last year’s 26,107 and last month’s 42,588. This makes December the best month of all time for EV sales on our shores. For 2018 as a whole, we saw 361,307 electric vehicles delivered in the U.S., compared to the 199,818 EVs moved in 2017.

It’s been a solid year for EV sales as a whole, even though most of the progress was made by a single automaker. The months of August, September, October, and November racked up sales figures that more than doubled those of last year. We said up front that we didn’t think last month would be able to double last December’s numbers, and we were right. However, it came pretty close.

Our early estimation put December at over 48,000 EVs sold. We’ll be honest to say that we were a bit concerned when GM’s quarterly numbers came in. Nonetheless, Toyota, Honda, BMW, and Nissan stepped it up to more than make up for the difference.

Six consecutive months in 2018 have claimed a spot on our list of top months of all time for U.S. EV sales, though not in calendar order. While we know full well that the Tesla Model 3 is the most substantial contributor to this new trend, numbers wouldn’t be where they are today without the respectable sales of the Toyota Prius Prime, Chevrolet Volt, Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, Chevrolet Bolt EV, and Nissan LEAF.

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

The Tesla Model 3 tops our chart by acres, with 139,782 estimated U.S. deliveries. This makes it 12 months in a row that the Model 3 has been the U.S. EV sales leader. We estimate Tesla sold a monumental 25,250 Model 3 sedans in December.

Model S and Model X sales were up again in December, though the vehicles remain in the 3rd and 4th positions on the year, respectively. Overall, Tesla delivered an estimated 32,600 vehicles last month, which adds up to well over half of all EVs sold in the U.S. in December.

Based on our estimates – for the year as a whole – Tesla has sold a colossal 191,627 vehicles in the U.S. out of a total of some ~361,307 overall EV sales to date. The automaker continues to officially account for well over half of all electric vehicles sold in the U.S. for 2018. In addition, Tesla alone sold almost as many EVs as were sold in the U.S. by all brands in 2017 (199,826). According to the automaker, it also sold almost as many vehicles in 2018 as it did in all prior years combined.

Let’s take a closer look at the other top-selling electric vehicles in the U.S. this December 2018:

The Toyota Prius Prime lands in the five-spot for the month and the second-place position for the year as a whole, with 2,759 deliveries in the U.S. in December.

The Honda Clarity PHEV pulls past the Prime for the first month ever, delivering an incredible 2,770 based on our estimates and Honda’s verification. It lands in fourth place for December and pushes past the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Volt to secure the fifth position overall for 2018.

Nissan LEAF sales jumped up to 1,667 in December, to close out the year strong. It’s in sixth place for December, putting it ahead of multiple vehicles that usually surpass it. However, a combination of weaker months leaves it in the eighth position on the year as as a whole.

Based on our research, BMW 530e sales were up considerably in November, which resulted in a record month for the plug-in. Fortunately, the automaker pushed even harder in December and broke its own record, selling some 1,363 5 Series plug-ins. The 530e finishes 2018 in the nine-spot. While BMW’s all-electric i3 hasn’t succeeded sales-wise as of late, its plug-ins are faring well as a whole as usual. When compared to its primary rival — Mercedes — it’s worlds ahead. We believe that of all OEMs, it will be the one that continues to rise up and make waves in the near future.

Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Bolt EV sales … we don’t want to talk about it. All jokes aside, we needed to adjust our monthly estimates for Q4. GM reported lower numbers than we expected. In addition, after a strong November, the automaker had exhausted inventory, which resulted in very weak December 2018 U.S. plug-in sales. Nonetheless, the Volt closes out 2018 in sixth place, followed by the Bolt EV in seventh.

We’ll close out the month with the usual final data points and another look at our completed sales chart.

Other Statistical Points of Interest from December 2018

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla* – 32,600
  2. Honda – 2,857
  3. BMW Group – 2,774
  4. Toyota – 2,759
  5. General Motors* – 2,479
  6. Nissan – 1,667

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In December*

  1. BEV – 36,861
  2. PHEV – 13,039

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In 2018*

  1. BEV – 237,216
  2. PHEV – 124,091

*Based on estimates due to the lack of U.S. monthly sales reporting by Tesla and GM, as well as BMW i3 splits (BEV + REx), and multiple automakers refusing to reach out or reply related to individual EV sales.

*You may notice that we updated that last few months. Fortunately, Honda offered us actual Clarity splits, so our Clarity PHEV and BEV totals are correct on the year, and December totals are exact as well! We’re hoping we can get some other automakers to provide “real” numbers going forward.

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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