Sales of Alternative Power cars in the United States increased by a substantial 32.2%, a rate of expansion considerably faster than that of the second fastest-growing segment, SUV Premium Compact. Comprising of regular hybrid, PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and EV (electric vehicle) segments, Alternative Power cars ended the first half of 2017 with almost 260,000 cars sold, more than the Subcompact segment, and not far off the Minivan segment. For accounting purposes, keep in mind that we classify many of the Alternative Power cars in other segments too e.g. Toyota Prius liftback figures in the Compact segment, while Ford Fusion PHEV figures in the Mid-sized segment. At least part of the reason for this growth is that EVs and PHEVs continue to benefit from Federal and State rebates, which lower their price even before consumers consider the lower cost at the pumps/mains.
First, let us look at the EVs segment, which grew by 41.2% in the first half of 2017, to a total of 45,150 cars.
Highlights for the first half of 2017:
- Tesla Model S retains the leadership of the segment despite losing an estimated 12.1% of its volume
- The number two model in the first half of 2016, Nissan Leaf, shows just how quickly this segment is evolving – despite gaining 25% of volume it falls down to fourth in the rankings, and is leapfrogged by Tesla Model X and the new Chevy Bolt, which makes the latter the most popular affordable EV in the US right now
- Despite its petrol-powered model losing sales at a quick rate of pace, the electric Fiat 500e almost doubled its sales compared to last year, and remains the bestselling EV version of a mainstream model
- By comparison, sales of the acclaimed BMW i3 hardly changed in the past year, resulting in the model dropping from fourth to sixth in the rankings
- The compact VW e-Golf sees its sales rise slightly slower than the segment on average (29.7%), while its direct competitor Ford Focus EV sees its sales rise by almost 150%, and substantially cuts the distance between the two cars, all while leapfrogging the Kia Soul EV (up 36.4%)
- Despite being on sales since the beginning of the year the fuel cell Honda Clarity FCV managed fewer than 300 sales, less than half of what the bestselling fuel cell car, Toyota Mirai, managed
Note: Clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model. clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off