Sales in the Alternative Power segment accelerated their freefall by plummeting 21% in Q2 of 2016 to just 63,084 vehicles, after an 11% decrease in the first quarter. This is the biggest decline of all segments in the second quarter, and the main reason for the softening demand is clear: cheap gas keeps luring people away from EVs, hybrids and more fuel-efficient cars in general into larger crossovers, SUVs and pick-up trucks. And there’s no indication of the oil price going back up anytime soon, which spells more bad news for EVs and hybrids. Perhaps a few new model launches can breath some new life into the segment, most notably the new generation Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model X.
Highlights in H1 2016:
- Sales of the three-vehicle Toyota Prius family dropped 25% as the new generation of the liftback volume model has only just started to arrive in the showrooms. The upcoming plug-in hybrid version will be renamed Prius Prime and is expected to take a higher share of Prius sales than the previous generation did.
- After a 37% increase in Q1, the Tesla Model S lost 22% in Q2 as the facelifted model wasn’t fully available yet and there may be some cannibalization from the all-new Model X SUV. Model S sales are still in the positive for the first half.
- The freshly redesigned Chevrolet Volt was the only model to show a sales increase in Q2, and it did so by 55% on its predecessor’s figures from last year. As a result, it was the third best-selling model of the segment in the second quarter, behind the Prius and the Ford C-Max.
- The Nissan Leaf is taking a big hit, not just because of low gas prices, but also because the EV subsidies in some cities and states have been suspended, and the design may be starting to age. The technology has aged for sure, and that’s why Nissan has launched an updated version with a larger battery pack, and therefore more range.
- The Tesla Model X sold over 5,000 units in the first half, and almost outsold the Leaf in Q2. It has consolidated its sixth place, ahead of the Lexus CT and BMW i3. The latter two sold almost the same number of vehicles in the second quarter, which translates to a 19% increase for the i3 (after losing 72% in Q1) and a 42% decrease for the CT200h. In the first half, they’ve lost 35% and 37% respectively.
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