December to Remember? Could Electric Vehicles Reach 30,000 in Sales for the Month; 200,000 for 2017?

December 2017 is shaping up to be the highest month ever for sales of electric vehicles in the US. With November being another strong month, we could also see EV sales top 200,000 for the full year. We will know for certain on January 4.

According to data from InsideEVs Sales Scorecard, at 24,785 units sold, December 2016 is far and away the biggest month ever for EV sales in the US. The only other month with more than 20,000 in sales was September of 2017, with 21,332 EVs sold. The just completed month of November rang up sales of 17,178, making it the 5th highest-selling month of all time.

EV - US Sales 2010-2017 December and Full Year

Since 2010, December has been the top sales month for EVs except for 2013, when December was the third highest month. In most years December is a top sales month for vehicles because it is the end of a quarter and year, when dealers, sales people, and automakers are doing what they can to close out the year well. This can mean some sweet deals for consumers.
In 2017, the threat of Congress eliminating the Federal EV tax credit on December 31 is another factor that could send EV sales to record highs. Add to that Tesla’s continued production challenges for the Model 3 – which means fewer sales of that Model – but potentially more volume for the Chevrolet Bolt and Volt, Nissan LEAF, and other models.

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It would likely require all-time highs for the Tesla Models S and X, Chevrolet Bolt and Volt, and Toyota Prius Prime to come close to reaching 30,000 EVs sold in December:

  • Tesla Model S – 6,000
  • Tesla Model X – 3,500
  • Chevrolet Bolt – 4,000
  • Toyota Prius Prime – 2,200
  • Chevrolet Volt – 2,000
  • Nissan LEAF – 1,000
  • BMW i3 – 500 (The i3 is temporarily recalled, so sales in December could be zero)
  • Everything else – 10,800

Not unsurprisingly, the top 4 sales months for electric vehicles since 2010 were during the last month of the year or quarter in 2016 or 2017. The top 20 months for EV sales are :

  1. 24,785 – December 2016
  2. 21,332 – September 2017
  3. 18,542 – March 2017
  4. 17,224 – September 2016
  5. 17,178 – November 2017
  6. 17,053 – June 2017
  7. 16,639 – August 2017
  8. 16,596 – May 2017
  9. 15,540 – July 2017
  10. 14,863 – June 2016
  11. 14,592 – August 2016
  12. 14,298 – October 2017
  13. 13,857 – March 2016
  14. 13,699 – December 2015
  15. 13,237 – November 2016
  16. 13,067 – July 2016
  17. 12,375 – February 2017
  18. 12,362 – May 2014
  19. 12,172 – August 2014
  20. 12,063 – June 2014

Through November, according to InsideEVs, US electric vehicle sales reached a total of 173,941 in 2017. To reach 200,000 in sales for the first time ever would require the best month ever in December, with just more than 26,000 units sold. With sales in 2017 up nearly 10% over 2016, a December of 26,000-27,000 units sold is not unrealistic. That rate would put sales over 200,000 for the first time in US electric vehicle history. With an even greater month, could we see the first ever month with 30,000 in sales?

Stay tuned …