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Top 10 EVs Comprise 80% of US Sales; Expect Little Change in 2018

While electric vehicle (EV) sales continue to see strong growth, the majority of sales in the US come from just a handful of models.

Through September, the top 10 selling EVs (see chart) comprise exactly 80% of all US electric vehicle sales. Currently there are 35 plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) and battery electric (BEVs) available on the market in the US. Though several models like the Fiat 500e, Hyundai Sonata and Honda Clarity are only available in a few states. And the Tesla Model 3, while technically in production, is only being made available to employees, investors and others, but not general reservation holders.

US Top 10 Sales Percent of Total EV Sales jan-Sep 2017

The top 10 cars comprise 28.6% of the currently available EVs, putting them in the ballpark of the “80/20 rule.”

Going forward, the percentage of sales from the top 10 EVs will likely go up and peak around 85%-87%. In 2019 when a slew of new EVs reach the market, we should start to see a broader mix of around 15 EVs comprise 80% of total EV sales. However, in the short term, when the Tesla Model 3 production starts to scale and the new Nissan LEAF sees a resurgence in sales, look for a bump in the share from the top 10 selling EVs.

This exercise raises an interesting question: Which existing or soon to reach the US market EVs will crack, or significantly climb up, the top 10 EV sales rankings? I’ll address this question in more detail in a future post, but some quick thoughts follow:

  • Tesla Model 3: This is of course a no brainer. Once Tesla gets through “production hell,” the Model 3 will easily jump to the number 1 position.
  • Jaguar I-PACE: Promised to reach the US in the second half of 2018, the I-PACE BEV crossover should sell well and easily crack the bottom of the top 10 ranks.
  • Nissan LEAF: Already in the top 10, but the existing LEAF is no longer competitive with its range of 107 miles. The 2018 updated model which looks better (in most observers’ opinion) and has a range of 150 miles, will likely jump past the Chevy Volt.
  • Hyundai Kona BEV: Reports are that Hyundai will launch a BEV version of their Kona crossover in early 2018 in South Korea, but it isn’t clear if it will make it to US shores by the end of 2018. If it comes to market next year, a 200+ mile range crossover that is priced in the $30K range could be a strong seller and easily replace sales of the Fiat 500e, for example.
  • Others: The only other likely shake up to the top 10 ranking would be if BMW delivers on its promise from early in 2017 to launch an electric version of its 3 series sedan.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments if you think I’ve missed a potential top 10 selling EV in 2018.

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Loren McDonald


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