US sale of fully electric vehicles up 82% in 2017

  • Published on September 9th, 2017

The US market for electric vehicles has continued to grow at a rapid pace in the past year — led by California’s particularly strong electric vehicles market, of course. From January through August, national sales of 8 fully electric vehicles* grew 82%. Sales of 6 plug-in hybrid cars were up 28%. Overall, that meant sales of these 14 plug-in car models were up 40%.

electric vehiclesBy Zachary Shahan 

August 2017 vs August 2016 was less dramatic but still a period of strong growth. Fully electric car sales were up 61.5%. Plug-in hybrid sales were flat. Overall, that meant a 13% increase in plug-in car sales.

If the Tesla estimates** are to be believed, the Tesla Model S was far ahead in the #1 spot, the Chevy Bolt held tight at #2, the Toyota Prius Prime rose to #3, the Tesla Model X dropped to #4, and the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF retained their places at #5 and #6, respectively. Ah, gone are the days of the neverending LEAF vs Volt battle at the top of the charts (which was a super tight competition for many months).

If you look at the January through August stats (below), the Model S is crushing it (despite its high price tag, which hints at how extremely competitive the car is in its niche segment). The Volt has a slight lead over the Model X, which has an even slighter lead over the Toyota Prius Prime. The Chevy Bolt has a gap to cover to catch up with any of those models, but now that sales are picking up and availability is nationwide, it has potential to climb up the ranking and perhaps even land on the podium by the end of the year.

We can surely expect electric car sales to keep increasing as Tesla Model 3 production ramps up, the next-generation Nissan LEAF arrives on dealer lots, and overall EV awareness rises. I would be surprised if our report one year from now doesn’t show a more dramatic electric car sales increase of 82% at this point in time.

Here are more 2017 sales details in table format:

EV Model August 2017 August 2016 % Change YTD 2017 YTD 2016 % Change
Audi A3 e-tron 129 346 -62.7% 2467 2637 -6.4%
BMW i3 504 1013 -50.2% 4097 5372 -23.7%
BMW i8 29 145 -80.0% 304 931 -67.3%
Chevy Bolt 2107 0 11670 0
Chevy Volt 1445 2081 -30.6% 13895 14295 -2.8%
Ford C-Max Energi 705 707 -0.3% 5954 4687 27.0%
Ford Focus Electric 131 75 74.7% 1332 579 130.1%
Ford Fusion Energi 762 1422 -46.4% 6522 9998 -34.8%
Nissan Leaf 1154 1066 8.3% 9685 7922 22.3%
Tesla Model 3 100 0 130 0
Tesla Model S 2700 3000 -10.0% 20882 17093 22.2%
Tesla Model X 1800 1800 0.0% 13356 10000 33.6%
Toyota Prius Prime 1820 2 90900.0% 13157 48 27310.4%
Volkswagen e-Golf 317 454 -30.2% 2512 2253 11.5%
All EVs Total 13703 12111 13.1% 105963 75815 39.8%
100% Electric Total 4213 2608 61.5% 29296 16126 81.7%
PHEV Total 9490 9503 -0.1% 76667 59689 28.4%

*There are several automakers that don’t break out sales of their electric models (for example, sales of the BMW 330e are hidden within sales of the BMW 3 Series). As such, we have little insight into how many of these cars are sold in the US. Rather than guess, we exclude them from these monthly reports.

**I base these on every Tesla statement I can find on the matter.

(Originally appeared at our sister-site, EV Obsession’s Electric Car Sales pageCheck out their new 93-page EV report)


About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.