If you believe the electric vehicle sales trends of 2016, the coming year will set a new standard for plug-in vehicles in America. For the 14th consecutive month, a new sales record was set in November. The Toyota Prius Prime made its first appearance in U.S. dealerships last month, and up ahead for December is the long-awaited Chevrolet Bolt EV. Combined with a big output expected from Tesla, December should shatter the all-time monthly high.
But we’ll review what happened in November first. Automakers moved 13,337 plug-in hybrids and pure electric models, according to InsideEVs. This total represented a 32% gain over the stats from the previous year and the fourth-best month of 2016. Due to a monster month from the Ford Fusion Energi and a dip in Tesla deliveries, Ford was the winner with 2,604 plug-in sales among automakers, with GM (2,575) close behind.
Tesla sales, which are estimated with amazing accuracy every month by InsideEVs, came in at 2,300 deliveries for third place among automakers. Here are the six best-selling electric cars of November 2016.
6. Toyota Prius Prime
According to InsideEVs, no plug-in vehicle ever had a better debut than Toyota Prius Prime did in November. Despite limited availability in dealerships, Toyota moved 781 units, putting it within a few sales of the top five. The record month also catapulted Prime past nine other models for the entire year, including Smart Electric Drive (630 sales through 11 months). To review, Prime is Toyota’s new plug-in hybrid Prius featuring 25 miles of EV range and 133 MPGe.
5. Tesla Model X
The same machine overhauls that slowed Tesla U.S. deliveries in October affected deliveries in November. An estimated 900 Model X SUVs left the Fremont plant headed for buyers around the country, according to estimates. That represented about half what Tesla managed in the previous second month of a quarter (1,833 in August). We expect a record performance from Model X in December, based on how previous quarters ended.
4. Tesla Model S
One subplot of the monthly EV sales stats was Tesla’s second straight month of low factory output. According to multiple sources, the shift to installing full self-driving hardware on every model threw the automaker off its ambitious pace these past months. As a result, the 1,400 estimated Model S deliveries landed the flagship sedan in fourth place among plug-in models. If this car is to break the yearly sales record in December, Tesla would have to deliver about 6,500 units to surpass the 30,200 Leaf sales of 2014.
3. Nissan Leaf
Nissan quietly dropped the price of the 2016 Leaf featuring 107 miles of range earlier in 2016. Consumers can now pick up this model with onboard charger and quick charger for $33,315 including destination fees. That’s a solid deal in a pre-Bolt world, and 1,457 buyers got in on the action in November, which represented nearly 40% gains over the previous year. Nissan’s “No Charge to Charge program” is a good hook for first-time buyers, too.
2. Ford Fusion Energi
A different grille, a touch more electric range, and slightly better efficiency are all that separate the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi from the ’16. Nonetheless, the combination of great deals on the outgoing model and lower base price on the ’17 have Fusion Energi surging. In November, Ford dealers clocked 1,817 sales of the plug-in hybrid, which nearly doubled its total from the previous year. It was this car’s best performance of 2016 and the second-best showing in its four years on the U.S. market.
1. Chevrolet Volt
While there is no question Tesla will take the EV sales title in 2016, GM’s Chevy Volt kept the race interesting into the year’s final month. Volt, which offers 53 miles of electric range and a gas motor as its bridge between plugs, sold 2,531 units in November. That figure was its best showing of the year and over 25% better than it sold the previous year. At the start of December, Volt trailed Model S by about 2,500 units for first place on the plug-in sales leaderboard.