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USA Plug-in Vehicle Sales for 2016 – Final

December was the best month ever for Plug-in sales in the US, both in terms of volume and share. A total of 24 500 units were delivered converting to 1,46 % of the light vehicle market. The total for 2016 stands at 157 130 units and a share of 0,9 %; growth over 2015 was a healthy 36 % (41k units). This beats our estimate of 150 000 units at the beginning of the year and is somewhat of a surprise following weak October and November results. Read further down what we forecast for 2017.

The volume increase in 2016 can be attributed to Tesla (+97 % for S & X combined), the new GM Volt (+61 %), Ford Fusion (+63 %) and a number of newcomers, mostly in the Plug-in Hybrid category. The details for individual models are listed further down in the article. By its growth contribution, the Tesla Model X must be regarded the most significant vehicle this year.

The public charging infrastructure made good progress: the number of charging locations increased by 22 % from Oct 2015 to Oct 2016. For DC fast charging nearly 1300 locations for DC  were added on the AFDC map. Their total number should be around 3300 by now, including Tesla Superchargers.

Interest rates stayed low, consumer confidence improved, employment went up and the overall light vehicle market finished 0,4 % above 2015 (+76 800 units). The 2016 total of 17 459 200 new cars and light trucks is a new all-time-high.

first USA Plug-in Vehicle Sales for 2016 – Final image

More attractive PHEVs

In 2016, the share of PHEVs in the mix moved decidedly upwards, from 38 % to 46 % of all Plug-is sold. This reasons were higher sales of the new Volt, Ford Fusion and many PHEV introductions from import makes. Meanwhile, the ever so popular Nissan Leaf (soon to be replaced) lost further buyer interest. We still deem this trend towards PHEVs to be temporary, until more affordable long range BEVs become available.

As a footnote, we have started tracking fuel cell vehicle sales. Not so much because of their efficiency and charging convenience (FCEV offer neither), but for the headlines they create, at times. In total, 1082 FCEVs were registered by 3 brands, 1034 of them were Toyota Mirai. The total for 2015 was 110 units. The FCEVs are not included in the statistics because they are not Plug-ins.

second USA Plug-in Vehicle Sales for 2016 – Final image
third USA Plug-in Vehicle Sales for 2016 – Final image

California Dreamin'

Nearly 50 % of US Plug-in sales are still in California. The other 9 states with ZEV mandates (CT, ME, MD, MA, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT) stand for 13 %.  The data shows the accumulated sales between January 2011 and October 2016. Credit: ZEV Facts by The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

The 10 ZEV States typically have a combined 28 % of the total vehicle market but their share in Plug-in sales is around 62 %. In 2015 / 2016 the Plug-in share in the 10 ZEV States was 4-5 times higher than in the US-States without ZEV targets. With an nation-wide PEV adoption like in the ZEV States, the Plug-in sales would be 2 times or more of what they are today.

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