Electric Vehicles: October Best Months for Sales

Crystal ball, magic ball, tell me what the future holds for us, the economy and electric vehicles, EV, and plug-in hybrids, PHEV.

Surely you don’t believe in crystal ball magic and not too many would bet on them, so how can our so-called economist predict accurately?

One hint, look at the past numbers, draw a trend and keep the overall picture in mind. Sounds easy, somehow not too many experts get it right.

The Best EV, PHEV Sales Record Month of October. According to the latest figures from Pike Research, the month of October has been kind for alternative vehicle proponents. This defies the constant and poor publicity over how theoretically lithium-ion battery technology does not working. Starting with the ubiquitous Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid that reached another best-seller month with 2,961 vehicles. That is compounded on top of the January to October period where GM sold 19,309 Volts, up 286%. But on the electric vehicle side, Nissan also faired well with its best month this year, 1,579 Leafs sold, which is an increase of 86% compared with the same period last year.

Putting Numbers Into Perspective. But all these numbers are no reason to celebrate yet, after all, they are only a month’s worth and must bee seen under the harsh light of this current wobbly economy. In other words, a hiccup doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, especially considering the uncertainties this election year’s worth of fear these “debates” instilled in the minds of many. As for Nissan, the company is still not able to meet its over-estimated target of 20,000 Leafs by the end of the year in the US with only 6,791 Leafs sold through the period of January to October, down 15.6%. As for GM, the picture isn’t as chirpy as it is painted to be. Those sales were won due to the automaker’s hefty incentives designed to boost sales for its Volt.

Ford Up. The other EV and soon PHEV player is Ford and the company faired very well so far with its C-MAX Hybrid sales. What was even more surprising was to find the C-Max Energi, the plug-in hybrid version of the C-MAX on its first month of full sales in October with 144 units out the door. The surprise here is the high level of commitment and faith the Ford clientele has with the company for a car no one has driven yet to our knowledge. Ford sold 118 Focus Electric last month also, that is up from 89 units in June, which reached the total of 346 units this year.

Toyota Prius and Friends. The Prius is always a strong sale despite the general mood of the economy but the plug-in version of the Toyota Prius must have surprised many at Toyota. About 1,900 units were sold last month beating its previous record high by 43%. Toyota, can you hear them? They are ready for the electric drive.

Here are the numbers:

Chevy Volt, 2,961 sold
Toyota Prius Plug-In, 1,889 sold
Nissan Leaf, 1,579 sold
Tesla Model S, 290-300 sold although those numbers are estimates
Ford C-Max Energi, 144 sold
Ford Focus Electric, 118 sold
Fisker Karma, 75-100 sold although those numbers are estimates
Toyota RAV4 EV, 47 sold
Mitsubishi i-MiEV, 30 sold
Honda Fit EV, 16 sold

Looking at the numbers this reminds me of a Tuareg saying, especially considering the continuous alarmist headlines from the so-called general media: “The dogs bark, but the caravan marches onward, regardless” Electric cars, hybrids and plug-in hybrids are selling. They fit the lifestyles and needs of some people. Yet some questions should be asked, such as, are those sales based on fear of an eventual Romney administration winning and cutting loans to electric car makers?

Is one month enough to define a trend? We will have to wait after the election to see how well electric cars, EV, hybrids, HEV and plug-in hybrids, PHEV are selling.