In a year of record electric vehicle sales, you could look at the total from October 2016 (10,832 units) and consider it a disappointment. Four consecutive huge months — including nearly 17,000 sales in September — set the bar high this year. However, automakers and EV enthusiasts can take solace in the year-over-year gains (9%) and the fact they set a new October record.
Other factors suggest there is no reason to consider the month a slump in any way. According to InsideEVs, which estimates Tesla sales to come up with monthly stats for the industry, there were only 26 sales days. Adjusting the figures puts gains at 17.5% over October 2015.
Meanwhile, the usual flurry of late-quarter deliveries by Tesla also skewed the numbers a bit. All things considered, nearly 11,000 plug-in sales made it another solid month for automakers. Here are the five best-selling electric vehicles of October.
5. Tesla Model X
After posting its best month ever with 3,200 estimated deliveries in September, Tesla Model X dropped to an estimated 725 sales in October. The shift is not worrisome in the slightest given Tesla late-quarter pushes and the lull in production that came following the self-driving update (per InsideEVs). Even with these things working against it, the all-electric SUV took fifth place in U.S. plug-in sales. It also held its spot in third place for EV sales in 2016.
4. Tesla Model S
In September, Tesla Model S set the all-time record for sales with 4,350 deliveries. Its October slide to an estimated 925 deliveries resulted from the switch-over to self-driving hardware and the usual early-quarter focus on foreign markets. Tesla maintains it will hit delivery targets for 2016, so we expect Model S to break its own monthly record and topple the annual sales record set by the Nissan Leaf in 2014.
3. Ford Fusion Energi
Ford Fusion Energi’s remarkably consistent run continued in October with 1,372 sales. That figure represented a 62% gain, year over year, and continued the plug-in hybrid’s record year. Fusion Energi’s previous 12-month high came in 2014, when it posted 11,550 sales. Through the first 10 months of 2016, it has already shattered that mark and reached 13,022 deliveries on the year. In our plug-in vehicle tests, this model rated among the best in the segment.
2. Nissan Leaf
Though sales of Nissan Leaf slumped in early 2016, June marked the beginning of a run that included five straight months of 1,000 models or more sold. In October, Leaf had its best showing of the year with 1,412 sales, good enough to guarantee the EV a top-five finish for the year. Among cars priced around $30,000 before incentives, only Leaf S30 (a new trim priced at $32,450) offers over 100 miles of range on a single charge.
1. Chevrolet Volt
There were many reasons for GM to celebrate Volt sales in October 2016. First, the 53-mile EV (420 miles total range) sold better than Tesla Model S and Model X combined. While that triumph was a product of Tesla’s production shifts, Volt remains the most consistent plug-in seller on the U.S. market. Since March, monthly sales ranged between 1,865 and 2,406 units. Its October showing of 2,191 sales were over 50% better than the second-place Leaf. Only Tesla Model S has done better in the segment this year.