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USA Plug-in Vehicle Sales for Q3 YTD

The 3rd quarter of 2017 finished with a sales increase of 30 % compared to the same period of 2016. Over 142 000 plug-in vehicles were delivered so far,  62 % of them being pure electric (BEV). The plug-in share of the total light vehicle market is now 1,1 %, compared to 0,9 % in 2016.

Much of the growth can be attributed to the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the new Toyota Prius Prime, with this last one representing 20% of all Prius sales. Monthly volumes remain significant for the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, with the Japanese hatchback proving to be quite resilient. For the entire year of 2017, Tesla retains the 1st position for both individual nameplates (Model S) and OEM totals.

We reduce our outlook of for the complete 2017 to 222 000 units (was 250k), as it appears that the long awaited Tesla Model 3 will likely have fewer deliveries to customers than assumed in the previous round. This means that by the end of 2017, 780 000 Plug-ins will be in the total US vehicle population.

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Production Hell - First Chapter

Elon Musk tweeted in July the ramp-up plan, targeting 100 units in August, 1500 in September and 5000 per week by the end of the year.

In the first days of October, Tesla reported the Q3 report and we could see how the first chapter of the Production Hell turned out, with 260 Model 3 being built and 220 delivered, numbers below what was expected.

According to Tesla: "Model 3 production was less than anticipated due to production bottlenecks"

These problems were not unexpected, if Tesla does manage to solve these problems now, when production volumes are not relevant, then 2017 deliveries won't be much affected and the Model 3 will be ready to fulfill its destiny in 2018, leading plug-ins into mainstream.

second USA Plug-in Vehicle Sales for Q3 YTD image
third USA Plug-in Vehicle Sales for Q3 YTD image

Q4 Depending on Tesla and Nissan

Plug-in vehicle shares tend to develop in accordance with peaks in Tesla deliveries, high at the end of the quarters, dropping afterwards. The September peak was higher than usual, with larger than expected Model S deliveries.

Our outlook is that the real take-off comes in 2018, with this December becoming a record month, as the expected next generation Leaf arrives and the Model 3 deliveries ramp up.

As such, we are likely to see over 2 % plug-in vehicle share in the month of December, prenouncing a game changing 2018.

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