Category Archives: Personal Automobiles

August Electric Vehicle Sales

This might be the right time to begin separating monthly sales of plug-in hybrids vehicles from battery vehicles.  So here goes.

Plug-in hybrids (PHV) August Sales.

The August PHV sales were up by 83% over July’s sales.  Volt led this category with 3,351 vehicle sales and a 52% share of this market. Volt year-to-date sales were 14, 994. The Prius PHV sales were 1,791 and with year-to-date sales of 6,822.   Others making a showing were Ford C-Max with sales of 621 and Ford Fusion Energi with 600.


(Click on chart for clarity)

The chart does show some reasonably good upward movement for PHEV sales. But not to get too excited just yet, Green Car Congress posts that: “With overall light-duty vehicles sales of 1,503,151 units in August (up 17% year-on-year), according to AutoData, plug-in hybrids had a 0.4% share of the August new vehicle market.”

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) August Sales

The Nissan LEAF August sales were 2,420 with year-to-date sales at 14,123.

Tesla is the elephant in the room.  The next report on sales will be at the end of the third quarter so it is a guess where they rank in the scheme of things.  Green Car Congress reports sales of Leafs plus a number of other models with sales in the 200 or below would add to August BEV sales of 3,206.  They estimate that upward of 1700 Teslas were probably sold in August increasing the total BEV August sales to about 4,900 units. BEV sales would be about 0.3% of the August new vehicle sales.

Still far from impressive.


Fuel Cell Vehicles–Hydrogen Too Costly

A previous posting, “Fuel Cell Vehicles”, reviewed the basics of the fuel cell and the fuel cell vehicles.   At the end of that posting, it was said that: “There are a lot of things going for H2 powered fuel cell vehicles except the economics.”

Hydrogen form Periodic Table of Elements

What does that mean? There are two factors that make H2 non-competitive versus other alternatives.  Factor one is that hydrogen (H2) is very costly to produce, and distribute.   The second are the physical characteristics of H2 that increase the cost of distribution and use.

Continue reading

Fuel Cell Vehicles

Like the tide, going in and out and so does the Fuel Cell Vehicle favorability.   Right now favorability is pretty well in the tank, but not completely.  The city of London is installing hydrogen (H2) fueling stations with the objective of encouraging their use.  California has a similar program, as does Germany.

Some of you may not be familiar with fuel cell cars because they have been  out of the spotlight recently.  The following is an overview of  the  fuel cell and the fuel cell car.   The cartoon below pictures most of the hardware needed.


Courtesy of

Continue reading

July EV Sales Down But Still Some Hope For 100,000 Sales By Year End

July sales for the leaders, Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf were off compared to their June sales.  The Volt sold 1,788 in July versus 2,698 in June.  The Leaf sales were 1,864 in July versus 2,225 in June.

The table below shows the models having sold more that 1000 vehicles year-t0-date.  (Tesla would be in this table but they only report sales quarterly.)

Nissan Leaf 1,864 11,703
Chevy Volt 1,788 11,643
Toyota Prius Plug-In     817   5,035
Ford  C-Max Energi    433   2,915
Ford Fusion Energi    407  1,991
Ford Focus Electric    150  1,050

Continue reading

Price Cutting Gives A Sales Boost To The Volt And The Nissan Leaf

GM’s Volt June sales rebounded to 2,698 in June from the reported May sales of 1,607 resulting in year-to-date sales of 9,839. The increase is being attributed to the incentive programs that have lowered the Volt’s price.  It is estimated that there is a one hundred day inventory of Volts at the dealerships.  GM says that it will continue to offer the incentive programs for at least the month of July; no doubt to get the inventory down before the introduction of the 2014 model.

Nissan’s Leaf June sales of 2,225 were slightly better than the May sales of 2,138.  No doubt last months lowering of the price has helped the Leaf.  The year-to-date sales for Leaf are 9,855.

Honda’s Fit EV sales were 208 in June.  Fit EVs sales for the first five months  only  totaled 83.  Honda offered a very attractive lease program last month on the Fit EVs which seems to have been major factor behind  increased sales.  Nissan says they still have a sizeable inventory of Fit EVs.  The Fit EV is available from 200 dealers.  One per month per dealer average, it looks like.

Ford is not having much luck selling their Focus EV with year-to-date sales of 880.  However, the Ford Hybrid has sold 8,177 units in the first 5 months of the year.


h/t Detroit News’ Business + Autos Section.

May 2013 EV Sales Update and Price-Cutting Is The New Normal

Yes, I am really late in posting this info.  None-the-less, here is the data.

Nissan Leaf had a big May selling 2,138 vehicles. Their second best month all time behind March’s 2,236 Leafs sold.  Year to date sales are 7,614.

Volt May sales were 1,607 with year to date sales of 7,157 putting Volt in second place behind the Leaf.

It is reported that Chevy dealers have more than 9,000 Volts in inventory.  With the 2014 soon to be in the show rooms, the dealers need to sell the 2013 model inventory.

Price-cutting going on across the board

Fewer sales than needed and California’s requirement that all major makers must offer a minimum number of zero emission vehiclesare pushing the manufacturers to cut prices.

Nissan reduced the price of the Leaf by 18%, or $6,000, when it launched a new, stripped-down model at the beginning of the year.

The Detroit says:

A California buyer can now purchase a Chevrolet Volt for as little as $28,495.  The base price for the plug-in is $39,995 but all buyers qualify for $4,000 off on a 2013 model and $5,000 off for a 2012 Volt. They also can get an extra $1,000 if they are currently leasing a non-GM vehicle. Meanwhile, the federal government provides a $7,500 tax credit while the state kicks in another $1,500.

Chevrolet also is now reducing lease pricing for the Volt to $269 a month for 36 months, with a $2,399 downpayment. 

Recently, a posting maintained that GM had to sell the Volt for about $75,000 to break even.  How long can they keep the Volt line going at this rate?

Detroit Bureau also reports that the Honda Fit EV’s will reduce the lease pricing from $389 to $259 a month, and customers will no longer face mileage limitations.

Clearly the price-cutting reflects the lack of enthusiasm by the US population for these vehicles.   The manufacturers of the vehicles are likely to be operating at a loss on each car.  The government (and thus the average tax payer) is spending a lot of money on an idea that is not showing signs of capturing the public’s imagination.




Steep Depreciation Rates For EVs A Serious Problem

According to the National Automobile Dealers Association the used plug-in electric vehicles depreciate at a 30% rate that is the highest depreciation of any vehicle segment in the American automotive market. For other vehicles, according to “New cars depreciate about 20% the moment you drive them off the lot.”   Then the depreciation is about 15% per year for the second and third year and less in subsequent years. says:

“The steep rate of depreciation for used plug-in electric vehicles can be attributed to limited range, manufacturer incentives and federal tax credits intended to offset the higher prices of new plug-in electric vehicles,” said Jonathan Banks, executive automotive analyst for the NADA Used Car Guide.

If the forecasted decline continues, it could be a serious problem for both manufacturers struggling to boost demand for their latest plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, as well as federal and state government officials who have been using financial incentives to help promote the technologies.

 Another ominous sign for the EV business.