February 2013 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

February Plug-In Sales Show Big Jump From 12 Months Ago

February Plug-In Sales Show Big Jump From 12 Months Ago

February 2013 was to a rebound month of sorts, as January was generally considered to be a let down from the previous month’s results, despite some strong year-over-year gains.

The story previously in January was supply and demand.  Either there was no supply (Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt, Ford Energi products, Tesla Model S), or there was no demand thanks to the resetting of the “tax credit calendar” for the likes of the Toyota Prius plug-in.

The rising tide in February did not lift all boats, but most plug-ins rebounded decently during the month as inventories filled up and new models started to arrive at local dealerhips.

NOTE: This scorecard is published as soon as the first auto maker reports, and is populated/updated throughout the day as soon as more data is available.

(last update:  Friday, March 1st, 2013 @ 3:55 pm)


2013 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt: Sales for February rebounded to 1,626 units, a 40% improvement over Janauary, and almost 60% up from a year ago’s result.  (full recap here)

Previously, in the first month of 2013, GM posted its worst result in 12 months, as Chevrolet only sold 1,140 Volts.  Thankfully, this was not because America was growing weary of the longest-running production EV in the nation, but rather because an extended holiday shutdown in December (Dec 13th to Jan 2nd), seriously affected inventories entering 2013.

Sources inside GM said this week that the company plans on selling 36,000 Volt-based vehicles worldwide in 2013.  We figure 30,000 of those would have to come from the United States for the automaker to achieve their target..

That can’t be the excuse going forward however, as GM has now ramped up their Hamtramck facility production facility  and churned out almost 3,000 units (2,949) in January and another 3,298 in February.


2012 Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF: Nissan slightly bested Januarys result, with 653 LEAFs selling in February.

While not a huge number, this was a win of sorts for Nissan.  (Read the full February Nissan LEAF sales report here)

Taken at face value, 653 plug-ins would normally be considered a disastrous month for the Japanese automaker.  However, considering Nissan only had about 350 of the outgoing 2012 LEAFs remaining to sell entering the month, being able to sell more than that amount means 2013 LEAFs have not only started to arrive at dealerships, but they already getting into customer’s hands.

A Nissan corporate spokesperson says that only 30 model year 2012 LEAFs still remain in the automaker’s inventory;  which means about 330-od ’13s were sold during the month.  Also of interest; the bulk of the new 2013 production is currently headed to California and the West Coast to fill the inventory of the largest market for plug in vehicles.

Nissan expects dealer inventories to start to fill up by month’s end, with things getting back to normal sometime in April.  Look For March’s sales results to be comfortably into the 4 digits.




2013 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales…but they do give a lot of updates, and consumers fanatically track their progress, so we can make a pretty accurate guess.  That, and they just had a quarterly report made public this month.

Last year, Tesla sold 2,400 electric sedans in the last 3 months of the year, and 2,650 for the year in total.  A result that missed the company’s earlier prediction of selling 2,500 to 3,000 for the fourth quarter alone, and 2,750-3,250 for the year…but almost bang-on to our earlier monthly estimates for the company. (back-pats all around)

Tesla estimates that they can sell 4,500 units in Q1, but we figure they sold about 1,200 in January, thanks to a  week’s production shutdown in January and some iffy selling practices in December that stole sales from 2013.

For February, we can now do basic math on a 28 day fiscal month, and a 400/week production rate (according to Tesla) and say that they probably sold about 1,400 of their 85kWh and 60 kWh Model S sedans in February.

  • Why not 1,600+ (4 weeks x 400 cars) you ask?  Well, because Tesla has overestimated sales and production every step of the way so far.  Also the fact they could barely achieve that 400 per week threshold working employees nearly 70 hours a week also comes to mind.  The motto of Q1 for Tesla is to prove to shareholders they can be profitable; and to do that, labor costs have got to be reigned in as they build the last remnant of their premium reservations


Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma: Like Tesla, Fisker does not report monthly sales.

Which really doesn’t matter, because there is virtually no sales, no inventory, and nothing has been built since July.

The company is currently being ‘managed’ by the Huron Consulting Group out of Chicago until/if they can convince one of three Chinese automakers to buy the company out.

Still, if we must guess, we will use our handy InsideEVs calculator to do the complicated task of subtract.  Fisker had about 120 Karmas at dealers across the US going into February, and the ended the month about 107.  So lets call February, oh…13 Karmas sold.



2013 Ford Fusion Energi

2013 Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi: Although Ford won’t officially give out results until Monday, March  4th, we can tell you that no Fusions Energi were sold in February.

Although dealerships have been advertising (not yet arrived) inventories for the past 6 or 7 weeks, we talked to Ford spokeperson, Taylor Blackburn, and he says the Fusion Energis are just now starting to arrive at dealerships from their final assembly plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.

“…we won’t have any Fusion Energi sales to report in February, but we can expect first sales to hit in March. Fusion Energis are shipping to dealers now.”

Ford is planning on having a big media launch in March in San Francisco, Los Angeles and DC to kick off sales.

The Fusion Energi basically offers the same package as the C-Max Energi, but in a larger sedan package.  The third plug-in to be offered from Ford has just been rated by the EPA at a combined 100 MPGe (92 MPGe highway, 108 MPGs city), and has an all-electric range of 21 miles.

Unlike the C-Max Energi, the Fusion Energi has been priced in-line (and above) the other 5 Fusion trim levels in the model lineup, so as not to ‘steal’ sales from itself. This has resulted in a starting MSRP of $39,495, which we feel is a bit steep.


2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In

Toyota Prius Plug-In: Toyota had a bit of a head-scratcher in February, with only 693 plug-ins sold,  a result that almost matches Toyota’s worst effort to date (688 were sold last July)

The Prius plug-in finished 2012 as the second best seller in the segment, with 12,750 units sold, but we now question whether Toyota can put up enough of a fight to hold that position against the likes of the new 2013 LEAF, and a similar (but longer ranged) Ford C-Max Energi.

While two month’s worth of results are still a very small sample size, we may be seeing the effect of  increased plug-in competition taking its toll on the plug-in Prius.



2013 Ford C-Max Energi


(For some reason Ford does not report plug-in sales on the same day as all the other EV manufacturers, looks for the numbers to be released on Monday, March 4th)

Ford entered January with less than 175 C-Max Energis on dealership lots, and it really showed up in the sales numbers, as only 338 units were sold.  Current inventories at February’s end are nearly four times January at nearly 600 cars.

In December, Ford sold 971 C-Max Energis.



2013 Honda Fit EV

Honda Fit EV:

Sales of the Honda Fit EV broke into double digits with 15 units sold in February 2013.

Although the Fit EV is purely a compliance play for Honda to satisfy CARB, they have still built (and need to sell) 1,100 of the 82 mile EV.  At the current selling rate of 14 per month, it is going to take Honda 6.5 years in total to move all their cars.  We think it might be a touch hard selling 2013 model year cars in 2020.

To rectify this inventory/selling disaster, Honda has expanded their selling area to now include more than just California and Oregon, as the company announced sales of the Fit EV would now be available in certain areas of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey.   The Honda Fit EV is a lease only proposition, offered at $389/month, but we feel the pricing is not as out of touch as it sounds, as their is no down payment and the pricing includes some insurance coverages.


2013 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric:  NO DATA TO REPORT YET

(For some reason not known to us, Ford does not report plug-in sales on the same day as all the other EV manufacturers, looks for the numbers to be released on Monday, March 4th)

In January, sales of Ford’s 76 mile, pure electric vehicle were halved to just 81 units, and Ford is not expecting 2013 sales of the model to improve by very much overall, despite a tripling of the dealership base that is able to sell the plug-in car.




Continuing to Ruin our “All Black” Motif Of EVs, the All-new 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV

Toyota RAV4 EV:  Despite some huge incentives in February, only 54 plug-in SUVs were sold during the month for Toyota.  (25 were sold in January)

Unlike with the Prius plug-in, Toyota has a bit of a problem getting anyone to consider buying its Tesla-sourced electric conversion of the RAV4.

In an attempt to restart sales, Toyota is currently offering $10,000 off the RAV4 EV, with 0% financing, which means customers in California can save a total of $20,000 of the Toyota’s MSRP price of $49,800 with incentives included in the mix.  How can this 100+ mile SUV not be selling with this kind of deal?




2012 Mitsubishi i

Mitsubishi i-MiEV:

Shockingly, Mitsubishi sold 337 i-MiEVs in February, which brings the year-to-date total to 594 units, or 6 more than Mitsubishi sold in all of 2012.

Almost as amazing as February’s result was January, when 257 i-MiEVs were sold (their best result at the time) thanks mostly to some heavy discounting (as low as a $69/month lease).

Mitsubishi’s best result last year was only 85 cars sold in a month (May of 2012), so 2013 results are a significant turn-around for the little Japanese EV.  The people have spoken, and at a lease price under $100 per month, they will buy definitely buy the tiny Japanese EV.

Still, we can’t help but notice there is still no 2013 model year Mitsubishi i-MiEVs yet inside the United States while Mitsu tries to burn through the excess 2012 inventories. (And that is despite being only about 6 months away from the 2014s) 


2014 (yes, 2014) Honda Accord Plug-In (via automedia)

Honda Accord Plug-In:  Even though Honda said their plug-in Accord went on sale on January 15th, there really wasn’t any inventory, and only two were sold.

We still are not seeing cars at the dealership level, so February is a virtual wash-out as well, but somehow Honda did sell 17 units in February, nearly 9 times the 2 sold in January…a 850% increase if you like to talk in percentages.

Officially classed as the new year’s first ’2014′ model, the Accord PHEV doesn’t come cheap, as Honda has recently priced the sedan at a very Fusion Energi-like $38,780, markedly higher than consumer expectation for the car.

The Accord plug-in has a 13 mile all-electric range, and has been given a MPGe valuation of 115 MPGe, the highest rating of any plug-in extended range vehicle.



2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Smart ForTwo Electric Drive: Coming In Late March/Early April

First set to arrive in Canada this month, and next month in the US, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive sets a couple new benchmarks in the electric vehicle segment.

A new “lowest price” EV price tag, starting at $25,000 before federal credits (the Smart qualifies for the full $7,500 btw), but also is the first electric vehicle in the US to come as a Cabrio.  Drop top fun begins at $28,000.

The 2-seat Smart electric car gets 68 miles of range from a 17.6 kwh battery.

And before you say that might not be enough range for you; if you live in the city, you will easily destroy that range benchmark, as the Smart EV is a virtual brick in the wind tunnel skewing the range rating much lower than what can be expected driving in town.  Conversely, that also makes the Smart EV a terrible choice if you drive on the highway a lot.   City MPGe is rated at 122, while highway fuel efficiency falls all the way to 93 MPGe.

Of note:  Smart did record 2 Fortwo ED sales in January of 2013, but these were not the 3rd generational Smart EDs (2013 models) that are destined for public consumption in the spring of this year, but reportedly from an earlier 2nd generation offering.

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21 Responses to “February 2013 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card”

  1. Schmeltz says:

    “…So lets call February, oh…13 Karmas sold.” –LOL! This is why you have come to be nicknamed Jay “the calculator” Cole. :)

    In other news, regarding the Rav 4, I wonder even with the $20,000 off, if that will even be enough to goose sales. Maybe would be buyers are waiting on the Tesla Model X?

  2. Rick says:

    Ford really doesnt seem to be in any hurry to get those Fusion energis out, maybe they know it is probably going to bomb at that price! Nice recap!

    • Bloggin says:

      Ford actually has customer backorders over 3 months old for the Fusion Energi. And not just the base model, but the Fusion Energi Titanium which seems to be the big seller.

      Also Ford stated the Focus Electric is to account for 5% of total hybrid/plug-in and EV sales. With their target of 100k vehicles, we are looking at 5k Focus Electrics for 2013. A little over 400 per month.

      Not bad when you have two other plug-in vehicles being sold at the same time(C-Max Energi/Fusion Energi). Which has Ford chasing GM to become the #1 selling plug-in manufacturer in the US.

      BTW: Toyota had 693 prius plug-in sales. 181 less than January. Something tells me that 181 will be added to the C-Max Energi number once available on Monday.

      • Jay Cole says:

        whoop, sorry about that, didn’t mean to miss out on giving Toyota its due

        ….although they would probably have preferred not to mention February’s results

      • James says:

        PIPrius sales do puzzle me a bit. Gas prices are at record
        highs for this time of year, and I’d think there’s enough die-
        hard Prius faithful that trade-ins of gen2 Prii and an upsell
        from standard to plug-in would happen more often.

        Perhaps many of those folks drove a Volt and don’t need
        a third seating positon in back? Comparing a Volt’s driving
        dynamics to a Prius pretty much quashes Prius – I do like
        Prius and still own one – but you pay a penalty for economy.

        PIPrius’ tiny battery and lousely AER certainly factors in at
        it’s current pricing – C-Max and Fusion just look better for
        the money – much better, esp. with Ford STILL promoting
        it’s inflated EPA numbers that literally nobody short of
        extreme hypermilers will get.

        One other factor is that carmakers refuse to make their
        plugin visually stand apart from their other models. Toyota
        needed to dazzle up Prius visually ( different nose cap,
        more stylish wheels… rear cap… ) instead of the tacky
        little touches they did add ( metal appliques on door
        handles and a strip above the license plate?! ) …

        Spring/Summer will be better for PIP, but how much????

        • Stuart22 says:

          I suspect the halo over the Prius has lost its glow, and buyers for these kind of cars are savvy enough to notice. The PIP was a very tepid response by Toyota to the Volt, falling way short in performance while not saving much on the bottom line. Sophisticated buyers are passing the PIP up because it is more ‘old’ than it is ‘new’.

          • John O'Dowd says:

            I have had a volt for over two years and have added 5 gal of gasoline each year. I have solar cells on my roof that produce enough energy to run my volt and most of my house. My gas use is 5 gal a year for about 6000 miles a year.

            • GSP says:

              I also have a Volt and also used one tank of gas for all of 2012 including several out of town trips. I used severla tanks in 2011 however, when I took some longer trips.

              As nice as the Volt is now, for my next car I am looking for more EV range and faster charging. Looking at the PiP, Accord, and Energi’s, I just will not settle for less EV range and EV power than my Volt.


  3. evnow says:

    I expect some nice incentives on PIP soon.

  4. James says:

    LEAF sales must all be in California and Washington State.
    I literally see LEAFs all over the place where I live.

    I’m told the nation’s no.1 LEAF seller is about 5 miles from
    my door.

  5. James says:

    C-Max data might be underwhelming due to the
    production shortages. But I can’t wait for those numbers
    as this model just might be a game-changer and cut
    into several different segments’ sales.

    I hope Lyle provides us with an ownership update soon.
    One thing I noticed on CNET’s test was that they
    said the huge battery in the Energi stuck up so far
    in the cargo area that it made a weekly trip to the
    recycle center a bust since he would’ve had to make
    two trips. That battery does stick up a whole lot
    more than in the hybrid.

    Hopefully next-gen will mean a proprietary setup
    where Ford doesn’t just slam a pack in the rear
    cargo area of an existing platform. ( Hello, FocusEV? )

    • evnow says:

      Funny thing is – C-Max in the US is purely a hybrid/plug-in. Yet, the battery eats into the trunc space. Utility of the CUV is somewhat low ?

      • Bloggin says:

        The C-Max has been gasoline/diesel only in the UK for years, before it came to the US as a hybrid/plug-in. Next gen is supposed to integrate the battery more into the underbody.

        And since the new high volume F-150 will use more high strength steel and aluminum, the lightweight material will make it to other Ford vehicles like the C-Max, to reduce weight and increase fuel economy.

  6. Stuart22 says:

    Biggest news to me is Mitsubishi iMiev’s giant gain in sales, over half the number of LEAFs sold for the month. Used to be i sales languished at 10% of LEAF sales, February was a giant turnaround.

    • James says:

      Yeah it proves the EV bargain hunters are out there.

      When GM drops Volt sales the numbers definately will pick up.

  7. Bloggin says:

    Ford may be holding onto their official hybrid/plug-in vehicle sales stats for a reason.

    Based on Ford’s Fusion sales for Feb at 27,875, and Ford stated that 25% of Fusion sales have been hybrid sales. They may be looking at 5k to 7k Fusion Hybrid sales for Feb. Outselling the Camry Hybrid by a wide margin.

    Fusion Hybrid sales for Jan were 3,043 vs Camry Hybrid at 3,826.

    Then there is the C-Max sales of 3183 for Feb. Which outsells the Prius v at 2,543, and just 53 short of also outselling the Prius plug-in(693) combined.

    So we should see a press release from Ford to promote either outselling the Camry Hybrid, C-Max Hybrid outsells Prius v again, or the C-Max Energi outsells the Prius plug-in, which would be a first.

  8. James B. says:

    I will contribute the anecdotal Fusion Energi info, as a waitee in that line. The FFE boards are rife with those of us tracking our orders/VINs/train car shipments. It looks like Ford started building SE’s the last week of Jan. and Ti’s the 2nd of Feb. All due in the showrooms RSN.

  9. Bloggin says:

    It looks like Ford, GM and Nissan are ramping up plug-in vehicle production this month.

    As of today dealer inventory is:

    - Fusion Energi: 139 (Volt 5,527)

    - Focus Electric: 472 (Leaf 683)

    - C-Max Energi: 608 (Prius plug-in 1,197)

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