Chevy didn’t quite pull it off in November, but it could well happen this month in a burst of end-of-year sales.
In this case, “it” would be selling 3,000 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars in a single month: the delivery total reported last month was 2,987.
That brings year-to-date Bolt EV sales to 20,070, although the car wasn’t on sale throughout the U.S. until July.
Sales of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid were 1,702, bringing its 11-month total to 18,412.
Its rival the Toyota Prius Prime saw 1,834 deliveries, for a year-to-date total of 18,516—continuing what’s essentially a neck-and-neck race between the two.
Sales of the outgoing first-generation Nissan Leaf were down to 175, as the company runs down its remaining stock. The year-to-date total is now 11,126; the 2018 Nissan Leaf will appear at dealers early next year.
As always, another top seller in November was likely the Tesla Model S, with sales that could well put it among the top three vehicles.
But as always, we don’t know, because Tesla refuses to break down its quarterly global delivery data by country, meaning we don’t know exactly how many were delivered in the U.S. last month—or indeed in any month.
That, sadly, makes it impossible for us to add comparable Tesla sales data to these monthly reports. Nor do we know anything about deliveries of the Model 3 said to be still in “production hell.”
The market overall continued what Edmunds called its “unrelenting demand for SUVs,” which poses a problem for electric vehicles since there are not yet any plug-in crossovers or SUVs built in volume and sold at affordable prices (which we define as $40,000 or below).
The average transaction price for November, Edmunds says, reached an all-time high of $35,852.
Back to plug-in vehicles: A remarkable 459 Honda Clarity Electric sedans were sold last month, in just its fourth month after sales started.
While the battery-electric version of the Clarity is rated at just 93 miles of range, it’s the sole all-electric mid-size sedan on the market aside from the Tesla Model S, starting at $75,000; the lease-only Clarity Electric starts at $269 per month.
Five Clarity Plug-In Hybrid models also found buyers last month, even though sales didn’t officially start until December 1. “Our dealers are just so excited that they started selling them early,” explained Natalie Kumaratne, a senior environment and safety specialist for American Honda.
As an aside, no hydrogen-powered Claritys were delivered in November for the second month in a row. “New Clarity Fuel Cell shipments have been delayed pending a software update,” Kumaratne said.
“This brief delay will not affect our planned production volume, and we’re working hard to meet the expectations of customers eagerly awaiting their cars,” she continued. “We expect to quickly catch back up with planned deliveries shortly after the update becomes available.”
Sales of the BMW i3—both battery-electric and REx range-extended versions—fell sharply last month, to just 283, after a stop-sale order was imposed due to a safety issued identified in NHTSA testing.
BMW expects to start modifying control logic for the airbag software sometime this month to address the problem; 5,604 i3s have been sold so far this year.
The Volkswagen e-Golf found 289 more buyers in November, for a year-to-date total of 3,191.
Sales of Ford’s pair of Energi models were unimpressive, with 523 C-Max and 731 Fusion plug-in hybrids delivered. Year-to-date totals are 7,704 and 8,757 respectively; the C-Max Energi has already been discontinued.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of May 2017, this monthly report covers only plug-in electric cars with sales of 100 units a month or more—with occasional exceptions for new models, exceptionally large changes in sales volume, or other newsworthy events.