All-New Toyota Prius V Spied Track Testing

Rumors have been that Toyota will discontinue the Prius v wagon but if spy photos are any indicator, declarations of its pending demise are greatly exaggerated.

The Japanese automaker was recently seen testing a mule at the Nurburgring in Germany that was disguised with borrowed parts from the Lexus NX, fake tail lights and the front end from the new Prius.

No, it was not seeking to set a new lap record, but the long track does provide an excellent opportunity to push the vehicle as hard as would be expected by a caffeined-out parent with child late to soccer practice.

The new Prius v, called the Prius + in Europe, could have what it takes for such excursions, as a 215 horsepower improved 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain is considered “likely.”

SEE: 2014 Toyota Prius v Review

The base Prius has just 121 horses, so this would help the plus-sized car which is ultimately expected to have “more extreme” funky styling taken from the present Prius Liftback’s playbook, according to the spy photogs who nabbed these photos.

There’s no word on whether Toyota will be really accommodating to American desires and give it the E-Four AWD system that’s only a $1,500 option on the Prius in Japan, but which it leaves off here.

No word also on whether a plug-in version would be announced.

Otherwise, the current Prius v originated in 2011 is getting long in the tooth, and its U.S. sales have withered to maybe a third of what they were a couple years ago as its AWD cousin steals the show.

Namely, Americans are actually accepting less than the FWD Prius v’s 41 mpg and opting in far greater numbers for the 32-mpg RAV4 Hybrid, which though it’s more thirsty, does offer contemporary crossover styling and AWD.

Where hope may still lie is that Toyota will markedly improve the fuel economy up around the 50 mpg region, as it did with the Camry this year. Assuming they take feedback from the many detractors of the current Prius Liftback’s styling, and make it suitably attractive, it could be a solid proposition.

The second-generation Prius v could be introduced next year as a 2019 model.

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2017 Kia Niro Review – Video

As Kia’s first dedicated hybrid, the Niro blends very good fuel economy, sporty intentions, and crossover styling.

Proof that it hits a sweet spot is best shown by how many people are buying them, and thus far the 43-50 mpg compact crossover has surpassed three dozen entries in the U.S. hybrid market to fourth-best-seller through September.

Available in five trims, the base FE, LX, EX, Touring and the Launch Edition, they all borrow the 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain from sister company Hyundai’s also-new Ioniq Hybrid. The Niro however hides its super fuel sipping sister’s powertrain in what Kia calls an “un-hybrid.”

All versions of the semi-athletic hatchback that the U.S. EPA anachronistically classifies as a “small station wagon” are propelled by the front wheels, with AWD unavailable, and for its part, Kia describes it as a crossover.

And why not? There’s no universally accepted definition of “crossover,” but the implication is the Niro’s more hip than a type of car that went out of vogue in the 90s.

Although lacking AWD as some have said is a prerequisite, Kia does price it from a modest $23,000 while promising fuel economy and driving fun that make for a unique vehicle.

Let’s take a closer look.

‘Urban Crossover Hybrid Vehicle’

The Niro’s exterior and interior design shuns hybrid pretenses by avoiding a techy or pseudo-futuristic impression, instead tapping into a present day psychographic nerve.

Dimensions: Length: 171.5 inches; width: 71.1 inches; height: 60.4 inches (w/o rails or add 0.4 inches with); wheelbase (106.3 inches). Luggage capacity, rear seats upright, with luggage under tray: 19.4 cubic feet; Luggage capacity, rear seats folded with luggage under tray: 54.5; Luggage capacity, passenger volume: 97.1 cubic feet.


While the more-efficient new Toyota Prius is suffering its worst sales since 2004, in part due to the styling, Kia’s Korean product designers took input from California – not odd vibes from Japan – for a car that absolutely nails a trend in the U.S.

In short, Americans want crossovers and the Niro – AKA “Urban Crossover Hybrid Vehicle” – is stylized with overtones of just that with a long-enough 106.3-inch wheelbase, and wide and low presence. The car is also useful, with small SUV-ish body height, and respectable interior room.

As mentioned, lacking is AWD which has become a must-have on some peoples’ shopping lists. Kia says it wanted to max the fuel efficiency, but if it had contrived an electric motor drive in back like Toyota sells with its hybrid SUVs – or Japan-market Prius – it could have sacrificed little or no mpg.

For now that is not in the cards, and meanwhile the Niro’s style is winning hearts and minds thanks in no small part to its excellent hybrid powertrain.

Go Power

Further making it unlike other crossovers is the 40-percent thermally efficient 1.6-liter GDI Atkinson cycle engine paired with electric motor and merged with a six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.

The Atkinson cycle hybrid setup is typical for hybrids but not typical is the dual clutch automatic transmission. The usual recipe for hybrids is some form of continuously variable tranny. gratifyingly to some, Kia – and Hyundai – have an institutional aversion to CVTs which while giving incrementally better fuel economy, do provide a different drive experience.

Total power is 139 horsepower, 195 pounds feet. The engine has 104 horses at 5,700 rpm, and 109 pounds feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The motor contributes 43 horses and 125 pounds feet. Why don’t the horsepower and torque numbers from the motor and engine add to 139 and 195? Because they hit peaks at different operating speeds, so the net is less than the sum of the two peaks.

CVTs have infinitely variable ratios and thus the engine will rev and sound like motor boat, lacking the distinct stepped gear changes of a six-speeder such as Kia equipped.

The DCT is thus a bone thrown to driving enthusiasts who like the “normal” soundtrack, and power delivery, but concessions for the environmentalist are there as well.

Namely, the powertrain when equipped in the Hyundai Ioniq beats the new Prius Liftback by a couple mpg and matches it with superlative efficiency specs and also makes for a chart topping “crossover.”

The different trims do achieve a disparity in mpg however. The base FE is rated 52 city/49 highway/50 combined, the LX and EV are rated 51 city/46 highway/49 combined, and Touring Launch and Touring (as driven) are rated 46/40/43.

By contrast Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid, although AWD, gets a just-OK 34 mpg. Enthusiasts are hoping Honda’s CRV-Hybrid if/when it gets here could get near 40, but meanwhile you have this awesome Niro.

When the Ioniq’s powertrain is transplanted into the Niro – that weighs 3,100-3,200 pounds but which is less slippery than the teardrop Ioniq – fuel usage does suffer by as much as 15 mpg at the extremes, but it’s not a bad compromise.

A few trims of the Niro get 49 mpg, and the FE gets 50, which is only 6-8 mpg down from the Ioniq and the benefits are a car more attuned to drivers and those wanting to stylistically blend in. The Touring and Touring Launch Edition are rated 43 mpg due to extra weight, roof rails, and bigger tires.

Inside

A functional “normal” looking interior layout also adds to the distancing of the Niro from techno-futuristic electrified vehicles.

Buttons and knobs logically positioned make for a comfortable experience as do firm but well shaped seats, good sight lines, and enough legroom for most front and back.

A seven-inch touchscreen comes in lower trims and the eight-incher in the upper level works well, and provides the usual bevy of infotainment, efficient data, nav functions, and even Kia’s UVO3, Apple Carplay or Android Auto.

And, let’s not forget the optional driver assistance features that are becoming the new normal as cars evolve (the plan is ultimately they’ll all drive themselves, but meanwhile advanced safety just tries to help).

Within a high-strength steel cage and adding to seven airbags are available Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Change Assist (LCA) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

Drive Experience

Quiet running thanks to acoustic glass and sound deadening in the A and B pillars and elsewhere, the car picks up speed nicely, and after driving it back to back with a Prius, its extra oomph ws noticeable.

Zero to 60 can be in the 8-second range or low 9s, better than over 10 for a Prius, and in exchange the car handles nicely enough (but then again, so does the new Prius).

Our Touring with 18-inch alloy wheels and wider tires instead of the 16s on the FE, LX and EX also added to the grip, and braking capability.

The 10-way power adjustable seat for the driver with height adjuster and 2-way power lumbar support provided adequate support, and the car is all-day comfortable.

Infotainment functions work as expected, and the Nav is easy enough to work as well.

As for the all-important fuel economy, the U.S. EPA may be the most accurate estimates in the world – far better than what regulators estimate in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere – and the Touring is good for th 43 mpg it’s estimated for. We’ve heard the 50 mpg FE and 49 mpg LX and EX are also reasonably estimated.

Take care, and you can exceed the official estimates. Drive over the limit, and don’t work with the hybrid system’s strengths, and you’ll get worse.

All told, the Niro is very easy to get accustomed to.

The Crossover Hybrid for You?

Pricing including $895 destination fee is as follows: FE: $23,785; LX: $24,095; EX: $26,595; Touring Launch: $28,895; Touring: $30,545.

Through September, Americans have purchased 20,670 Niros compared to the class-leading RAV4 Hybrid with 36,352 sales. So far we’ve not been able to get sales info on the Nissan Rogue Hybrid, but it should be a competitive model too, but of these, the Niro far outclasses them in mpg, while being a smaller car than the true crossover SUVs.

Amazingly, it is the fourth best-seller among all hybrids with only the Ford Fusion Hybrid (44,677) and Toyota Prius (50,911) exceeding it.

We would like it more if they made an AWD option, but find it otherwise hard to fault. Kia (and Hyundai) are really improving their hybrid game as they aim to be second behind Toyota in sales by decade’s end.

The Niro shows how well an aspiring maker can move up, as the established flagship Prius suffers relatively in part for the same reason the Niro succeeds: design.

Its fuel economy, price, style and utility make it a strong contender, and certainly worth a closer look.

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Never Minding Tesla’s Delayed Semi, Toyota Calls Its FCV Big Rig ‘The Future’

While the world awaits Tesla’s delayed Semi due this fall, the Japanese company that brought you the Prius, Mirai FCV, and other nifty electrified vehicles is drumming up interest in an electric semi of its own.

This one however happens to be a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, and starting Oct. 23 Toyota’s “Project Portal” will begin a 200-mile test route and feasibility study in the Port of Los Angeles.

“If you see a big-rig driving around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that seems oddly quiet and quick, do not be alarmed!,” said Toyota playfully. “It’s just the future.”

For now a test project, the vehicle is being used as a drayage hauler, or a shorer-distance interim step in freight moving.

Powered by a pair of Mirai fuel cell stacks, this 80,000 gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) truck really hauls too, and scoots up to speed quicker than conventional diesel trucks, thanks to 670 horses, 1,325 pounds-feet of torque, while avoiding all that nasty soot and NOx, emiting nothing but water vapor.

It even does have a lithium-ion battery, a modest 12-kWh one, in what is essentially a hydrogen hybrid setup relying primarily on the fuel cell stacks with battery as an energy buffer.

First introduced in April, the special truck will begin testing on routes, moving goods from the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals to surrounding rail yards and warehouses for distribution.

Tesla Semi.

Toyota is being quite methodical about the whole endeavor, too.

“These localized, frequent route patterns are designed to test the demanding drayage duty-cycle capabilities of the fuel cell system while capturing real world performance data. As the study progresses, longer haul routes will be introduced.”

Already under the class-8 proof of concept truck’s belt are over 4,000 development miles. And, at this stage it is still quite early to be predicting what technology has the ultimate long-term “future” potential, but don’t count anything out.

Among many open questions just as much for Tesla however is its Semi’s prospect of long-haul capability. Reports have said it too would be a short-route driver, and then Tesla CEO Elon Musk has implied via Twitter it will be able to go on long trips too.

Presently diesel tractor trailers with room for a whole lot of “energy storage” – those barrels below the cab that hold upwards of 100 gallons of diesel fuel – have been the technology of choice for interstate and coast-to-coast freight hauling.

A question Tesla aims to answer is how a battery electric semi will overcome the energy storage an cost advantage diesel fuel possesses. A Model S sedan requires a battery weighing upwards of 1,200 pounds, and to date electric trucks and buses have been seen as ideal for routes where fast charging lets them get back on the road with minimal down time. The challenge of going cross country is another matter.

By using gaseous hydrogen, Toyota is advancing its agenda that advocates fast fill times, and relatively greater energy storage. Assuming the 200-mile truck works out, Toyota could easily add hydrogen tanks which are more compact and lighter weight than a li-ion battery.

Nikola One FCV.

Both battery electric and hydrogen technologies face their challenges, however. Another company, Nikola Motors, has also been promoting its FCV big rig with plans for infrastructure on the way. General Motors likewise just announced it will showcase a smaller FCV truck platform which has potential for more.

At this stage, many irons are in the fire, and whether it is a question of either/or or both is also up in the air.

For its part, Toyota is calling its FCV “the future.”

“Toyota has led the way in expanding the understanding and adoption of fuel cell technology,” said TMNA Executive Vice President Bob Carter. “From the introduction of the Mirai passenger vehicle to the creation of the heavy-duty fuel cell system in Project Portal, Toyota continues to demonstrate the versatility and scalability of the zero-emission fuel cell powertrain.”

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Tesla Model 3 Volume Production is Late, But On Its Way

Tesla has some good news, and some not as good news.

The good news is there’s this revolutionary new electric car base priced at $35,000 plus destination fee with 220 miles range, and with style and lessons learned from the Model S.

You may have heard of it. Called the Model 3, it has an unprecedented half a million paid reservations, threatens to turn the automotive world on its head, but news concerning to some is mass production is a tad late.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously projected from its July launch through September that 2,000 would be produced. To date, around 240 or so are estimated in new owner’s hands, and it’s questionable how many will be produced this month.

Officially, Musk’s estimated 4,000 units produced in October, 10,000 in November, and 20,000 in December, for 35,000 total, or more than any single EV in the U.S. has sold in a whole year since the dawn of the EV era.

Still Good News

Filed under the better-late-than-never category, great numbers of the Model 3 are still on their way, and Musk and company have tweeted they know their work cut out for them.

And, despite worries expressed in other quarters, it is little early to fret overly much, says analyst Alan Baum who has for a while now forecasted a far-more modest 12,000 units to be produced this year.

In the interim, Tesla is showing other encouraging signs including a record 4,500 estimated Model S sales and 3,400 Model S sales in September.

These numbers – about double what a typical month has been this year – were accomplished thanks to some changing around of options, and prices to stimulate confidence as the bread-and-butter car struggles to get up to speed.

Hold Tight

If Tesla is still building the Model 3 at a slow pace at the end of this month, that may be cause for the 12,000 estimate to be downgraded, said Baum, but for now he’s holding out hope that the monkey wrench in the assembly line gears will be cleared.

At a certain point, Tesla expects “exponential” production of a car intended to contribute 80 percent of a half a million total annual production.

The idea all along is production would initially be slow – and as things would have it, “slow” is going on longer than projected.

Tesla at least did manage to bring 30 hand-prepped Model 3s to market on time this summer – a first for the company which previously over promised and under delivered even more on the Model S and X delivery timelines.

Those cars experienced delays in projected first-delivery dates, and the 3 at least beats that trend.

Meanwhile investment bears are doing what bears do best, and optimists are adjusting the narrative on the fly for a company whose high-flying stock price shows what the market yet believes.

And, even conservative analysts who do not believe hype also believe.

Baum’s estimate remains 105,000 Model 3s sold in the U.S. alone in 2018, and 164,500 in 2019.

No, those do not add up to what Tesla has said either, and yes, they could be revised when evidence more that tweets is presented, but at this stage the Model 3 is still the one car with the best hope the EV world has for upending how people travel.

To date, close to 300 Model 3s will soon be in the hands of owners, and the pipeline is due to be unclogged soon. Stay tuned.

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The Toyota Prius Is Suffering Its Worst Sales in The Last Dozen Years

The 52-56 mpg Toyota Prius Liftback is the best it’s ever been, and it is suffering its worst sales year since 2004.

A car that has seen sales over 140,000 units in two years this decade has through the third quarter this year just 50,911 in the bag, and may finish the year at 70,000, according to analyst Alan Baum.

Last year it managed 98,863 sales, and meanwhile, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, a former upstarts that used to never hold a candle to it, outsold it once again last month.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

The Prius’ 5,722 sales in September actually put it in third place behind the Ford’s 6,326, and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s 5,759. Before this year, it had never been anything but first place this decade by a margin as high as three-four times the sales of the next-nearest competitor.

Calendar year to date, the three top sellers have 50,911 (Prius), 44,677 (Fusion), and 36,352 (RAV4).

What Gives?

Technically, the new Prius is hard to fault. Built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture, it now handles much better than before, and raises the bar in all other meaningful measures.

The front-wheel drive five passenger midsized hatch is smooth, quiet, and sips gas such that drivers may get into the 60 mpg range with not too much extra care.

Prius and Fusion hybrids.

In short, it out-Priuses every Prius before it, but while it stands out relative to the former generation whose fuel economy it had to beat by as much as 10 percent, competition is also increasingly conspicuous to shoppers.

While it’s doing well in other markets, particularly in Japan, North American buyers have also noted they’re discouraged by the creases and lines the new techno-mod car presents.

SEE ALSO: 2016 Prius Designer Owes Inspiration to Lady Gaga

Couple this with cars like the Fusion, which is deemed particularly handsome, and the RAV4, which caters to the shift toward AWD crossovers, and the issues start to become clear.

And then there’s a couple dozen other hybrids, and plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars that present choices.

In positioning the new Prius, Toyota said it was aiming at a more mainstream audience, which is a tacit admission it was no longer seen as the ultimate green machine next to pure EVs, and plug-in hybrids.

Indeed, its own Prime plug-in stablemate is cannibalizing some sales, and its 1,899 sales last month, and 15,056 for the year mean it’s having the best year since 2012 when the the plug-in Prius was introduced – just 292 sales less than the reigning champ Chevy Volt, which it may beat this year.

Prius Prime.

And even in the Liftback’s own arena, there are now apple-to-apple Prius challengers vying for peoples’ attention. These include the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, benchmarked on the Prius, and which offers a couple mpg better, and more moderate styling.

A plug-in version is also coming to tackle the Prime on its own turf, and Hyundai’s sister company, Kia, has its also popular Niro with up to 50 mpg.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid.

Neither of these are selling in the same league, with the Ioniq at 1,101 last month, and 8,127 for the year, and Niro at 2,554 last month, and 20,670, but they took almost 30,000 sales that might have gone to the Prius.

The Prius happens also to be the latest update in what is really a family line. Toyota a few years back reportedly considered officially splitting the Prius into a sub-brand, and it did at least make “Prius” its own unofficial sub-brand.

Former top-four sellers – the Prius c and Prius v are now five-year-old designs and flagging along with the progenitor Liftback. Their sales have fallen back to 937 of the Prius c last month and 9,707 for the year, and 728 of the Prius v last month, and 7,647 for the year.

Kia Niro.

Just two years ago, the c was second-best seller, and in Sept. 2015 sold 3,367 adding to 29,649 for the year. The v that same month sold 2,575, and had accumulated 22,479 for the year.

Prius c.

So the whole Prius line, except the new Prime PHEV are in limp-home mode in the sales race this year.

“These are the lowest sales of the Prius Liftback since 2004,” Baum noted. “That is even true if you add the Prius Liftback, Prius C, and Prius V together.”

Moving Forward

The Prius Liftback is the world’s best selling electrified car and if it was sold at McDonalds, a sign could say “Millions and Millions Sold.”

A confluence of events have shifted for it, while it remains an extremely competent car that is more evolved than any other on the electrified market.

Its resale values and service records are good, and its reliability as a tool that does the job are still intact.

It’s just that the market is looking in other directions, and sure enough, there are viable alternatives to see.

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Plug-in Vehicles On Track For Record Sales in 2017

Would it surprise you to hear U.S. plug-in vehicle sales are ahead of where they were last year at this time, and they’ll finish the year at an all-time high?

We’re guessing probably not. The feeling among some is progress is happening fast, by next decade a tipping point could be reached whereby conventional cars start to decline as plug-ins take their place, so what else would they expect?

While no one really knows the future, and some market watchers are less optimistic, the actual picture today is things are indeed progressing and plenty more needs to happen.

Thus the story is not “EVs Take Over the World” quite yet, and for 2017 an incremental gain over last year’s record 157,181 sales of plug-in hybrids and battery electrics should be reached.

The future to Dec. 31, 2017 can be reasonably projected as with three-quarters of the year over, PEV sales through September are at 140,187, and it’s assured more than 17,000 will be sold between now and Dec. 31.

Progress

Plug-ins began sales in the U.S. last decade with Tesla’s Roadster being the most prominent, and the first major manufacturer models – Nissan’s electric Leaf and Chevrolet’s extended-range electric Volt – arrived in December 2010.

From 2011 onward more models were introduced, by 2013 there were 16, albeit some were limited market, and a trend was established that a few vehicle models did the heavy sales lifting and others just held a spot on the roster.

By 2014, nine plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) were for sale in the U.S. and 13 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were as well, and deliveries crested to 118,682 for 0.73 percent of a total passenger vehicle market of 1,498,210 sales that year.

It was progress, but really just a rung in a long ladder PEVs have yet to climb as gasoline prices started to plummet, and pushback continued among Americans moving toward crossovers, SUVS, and trucks, and away from sedans.

In 2015, sales actually declined from 2014’s 118,682 to 114,682 – thanks to a decline in PHEV sales to 43,143 and despite an increase of BEV sales to 71,105 for the year.

Among PHEVs, the major contributors in 2015 were the Volt with a relatively low 15,303 sales and the Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max with 9,750 and 7,591 respectively. Among BEVs, the leaders were Tesla’s Model S (25,202) and the Leaf (17,024). The BMW i3 was third with 11,024 including the range-extended version.

Elon Musk with an earlier Model S.

2015 was a weak year for both the Volt and Leaf which have been leaders all decade, as they were now at the end of their product life. Chevrolet introduced the generation-two Volt that year for 2016, and Nissan held on until this year and the new Leaf will be here early next year.

Despite the lame duck status of these cars, more models came along, and in 2016 there were about as many plug-ins for sale as hybrids, or 17 PHEVs and 13 BEVs. Thanks to a strong year-end push by Tesla and the Volt, a new record of 157,181 total sales was set comprised of 72,935 PHEVs and 82,246 BEVs.

This Year

There are now 23 PHEVs on the market, and 16 BEVs. As has been the case, not all are nationally distributed, and California accounts for around half of these numbers in a very lopsided state of affairs.

This year’s 140,187 sale through September consists of 65,886 PHEVs and 74,301 BEVs. New models helping the tally include the Chevy Bolt EV whose 14,302 sales trail the Volt’s 15,056 by just 754 units.
Toyota’s Prius Prime is also doing well after the former plug-in Prius faded away last year, and its 15,056 sales are nipping at the Volt’s heels with just 292 units separating them.

Tesla of course remains the strongest still, with 19,200 estimated Model S sales, and 15,600 Model X sales estimated.

This state of affairs simultaneously speaks well of Tesla, and puts a spotlight on weakness in the entire market picture. Basically, the major manufacturer cars are doing just OK while the Teslas costing 2-4 times more are volume leaders.

In the far more mature conventional vehicle market, “mainstream” cars of more modest prices sell in much higher volumes, but this is not the case with the PEV market. It’s being carried by luxury performance cars costing as much with options as a Mercedes S-Class, pointing to relatively weak performance in what are presented as bread and butter level cars below $30,000 after incentives.

Further highlighting an imbalance is California is responsible for around half the plug-in sales volume, leaving 50 percent to the other 49 states which in turn have a few standouts, while others see PEVs as a comparative rarity.

What’s more, the first “mainstream” plug-in car expected to do mainstream-like numbers is projected to be another Tesla. Eventually – but the Model 3 is late with just 220 estimated sales for the year.

Fourth Quarter 2017

Green car analyst Alan Baum still holds out optimism Tesla will work the snags out of its Model 3 production line and start churning them at a much higher rate in the last months of this year.

Baum estimates the electric car company could be at a level by December such that it will sell 105,500 Model 3s in 2018 and 162,500 in 2019. These numbers are estimates of course, and subject to change with new info helping or hurting the prospects.

But what about the entire market for 2017? Figure around 198,000 total based on 88,000 PHEVs or about 0.5 percent of a projected 17-million passenger vehicle market, and 110,000 BEVs for around 0.7 percent of 17 million.

The Volt and Prius Prime are expected to do the most for the PHEV total and Tesla as stated is most helping the BEVs while we hear lots of news from the majors about what is coming later this decade into next.

So, PEVs may make up 1.2 percent of the market this year, and will still be a minority, but sales close to 200,000 is a new high mark, though PEVs have a way to go before they outsell regular hybrids.

Hybrids are more familiar, cost less, are nationally distributed, and established since the 2000 Honda Insight and Toyota Prius so they are carrying momentum for now.

Through September hybrids are at 279,179 and could hit 375,000 tyhis year for 2.21 percent of the market.

Next year they’re projected to improve to 493,000, or 2.95 percent of sales, says Baum, while BEVs could be 224,000, or 1.3 percent, and PHEVs could be 129,000, or 0.8 percent for a total 2.1 percent.
Total electrified vehicle share could thus reach 5 percent in 2018, up from 3.63 percent this year.

As for this year, it’s a new high, and also a waymarker on much higher projections on the road to supplanting conventional vehicles, sooner or later.

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2017 Toyota Prius Prime Review – Video

With 10 months having passed since its U.S. release, Toyota’s Prius Prime plug-in hybrid is proving clearly more popular than the 2012-2015 Prius Plug-in Hybrid it replaced.

Called the “Prime” because it’s the range topper, the part-time EV derived from the hybrid Prius Liftback delivers 25 miles of all-electric driving range, a superlative 54 mpg, and its sales are threatening the perennially leading Chevy Volt.

Last month the Prime again beat the Volt by a few hundred sales, and trails it by just 292 sales this year. At its present rate, the Prime could be the first PHEV to relegate the Volt to second-best-selling PHEV for the year since that model inaugurated the major-manufacturer plug-in era in December 2010.

To balance this picture, it should be noted talk of a sales race among PHEVs is like discussing box scores for the local little league team. It’s fun to keep track, does speak to potential, but with around 1 percent of the market, plug-ins sell far below the mainstream.

In the Prius Prime’s case however, considering its Liftback sibling has been a “mainstream” seller with as many as 140,000 sales during stronger years this decade, one might wonder why the Prime is not doing even better than it is.

Priced from $28,000, the Prime is eligible for a $4,500 federal tax credit, and state incentives where available and can seem like a no-brainer next to the Prius-sans-plug. How so? For one, the EPA rates the Prime 2 mpg better than all but the Prius Liftback Eco 2 trim, and its net price can come in couple-few thousand below comparable Prius Liftback trims assuming government kickbacks.

“‘Prime'” means best or top,” said Toyota when the Prius Prime was introduced. So what did it do? It positioned it so it could be had for fewer dollars than the less-than “best” Liftback. Go figure.

Carbon fiber reinforced plastic molded with weave pattern helps save weight. And adds bling factor for the most technologically “advanced” Prius.

True, its ability to travel gas free for just 25 miles pales next to the 53-mile Volt which nets for $3,000 more assuming a larger $7,500 federal credit, but 25 miles is enough for half of all drivers’ daily needs.

Couple that with the super duper fuel economy, Toyota’s reputation for quality and resale value – and the consensus among armchair automotive beauty contest judges that it looks better than the Liftback – and what’s not to like? Why isn’t everyone buying this and not the regular Prius?

One reason is it’s new, another is there are other competitive choices, and so like every plug-in in the yet-limited market, it is not a complete slam dunk. Instead, the Prime is a balance of pros and cons, and so, let’s take a closer look.

Answers Objections

The original Prius PHV was introduced five years ago after Toyota had resisted the idea of a plug-in with li-ion battery. It finally built the 2012 plug-in Prius (which was hardly distinguishable from the Liftback) after private tinkerers had taken to modifying their Prii to plug in – in cases with li-ion batteries replacing the NiMh unit Toyota also resisted moving away from.

After Chevrolet’s Volt, and more handwriting on the wall, reluctant Toyota brought in the plug-in hybrid version with the mid-cycle refresh of the third-generation Liftback which had been developed for 2009 in Japan, and 2010 in the U.S.

The factory built plug-in won customers in no small part by resting on the its parent’s laurels, but underwhelmed others with the smallest li-ion battery available among plug-in hybrids – just 4.4 kWh. Granted it was triple the size of the non-plug-in Liftback’s battery, but half the size of competitors’ and about a quarter the size of what came in the Chevy Volt. With 95 MPGe, it was only good for roughly 11 miles at up to 62 mph in EV mode and unlike the Volt, the “blended” PHEV could disappointingly kick the gas engine on when greater acceleration was needed – annoying for people wanting pure EV benefits.

Meanwhile, even some plug-in advocates groused, calling it a tepid effort that barely deserved a solo-occupancy HOV lane sticker in California. This was the market for which the car sold in only 15 CA-ZEV states had been custom tailored, and where some Californians who bought it did so just to escape thicker traffic and might not even bother plugging in and preventing the few extra emissions it could save.

Enter the 50-state Prime: It has 8.8 kWh and makes much better use of the still-modest-sized battery with electrical efficiency better than anything from Tesla, GM, and even BMW. Its 133 MPGe let it beat Toyota’s initial range estimate of 22 miles with the 25 mile EPA rating.

Forty percent thermal efficiency is superb. So is 133 MPGe. The air-cooled 8.8-kWh battery can be charged with the supplied cord in five-and-a-half hours. A 240-Volt EVSE cuts it to two hours and is handy for intra-day charging if bouncing from the home base. Otherwise 5.5 hours is quick enough for overnight charging.

Matching this boasting point is the new Prius’ equally impressive gas-electric hybrid system based on an Atkinson cycle 1.8-liter engine with a stratospheric 40-percent thermal efficiency.

Output for the entire gas-electric system is 121 horsepower (90kW) with no torque number provided. The engine alone is rated 95 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm (71kW @ 5200 rpm) and 105 pounds-feet @ 3,600 rpm (142 Nm @ 3,600 rpm).

The Prime’s powertrain differs from the donor Liftback however with dual motor drive in EV mode using both motor generator one and two by way of a one-way clutch. This permits the desired all-electric experience that keeps the gas off under full acceleration. At last it could do close to what the Volt could by keeping gas-free EV drive up to 84 mph assuming charged battery, albeit at a slower pace.

Acceleration is about the same as the 2009-2015 Prius despite improved fuel economy, or 0-60 in a bit over 10 seconds, give or take, depending on conditions. In pure EV mode, add a couple seconds because the gas engine can’t help. This is still not bad compared to PHEVs like the Ford C-MAX and Fusion Energis which glacially muster themselves to 60 in pure EV drive in more than 15 seconds. The Chevy Volt remains the best in this arena with minimal difference between pure EV and gas operation in the eight-second range.

Futuresque

The Prime’s looks are basically a trim package to distinguish it from the Liftback. Full disclosure: yes, the Prime has been called more handsome, but the Liftback has received more than the usual harsh criticism for its angular evolutionary lines.

We think the commotion and histrionics have been a bit much, and the car has a good look from most angles. However, for whom it may concern, exterior styling is a big factor for those wanting to be seen driving cars projecting an image that makes them feel better than what Toyota’s latest Japanese techno-mod Prius can provide.


The Prius now rides on the modular Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) chassis built with more stiff hot-stamped and high tensile steels permitting intricate lightweight and strong forms throughout the body. The result is a better car, and they contribute to improved handling and steering responsiveness.


The Prime does otherwise offer in the eyes of many an aesthetic advantage over the regular hybrid Prius, as Toyota has imbued a more premium air – outside, as well as in.

Distinguishing it first – while chassis and 106.3-inch wheelbase are the same – is a body 4.2 inches longer than the Liftback, and the same width. It’s also 6.5 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the former Prius PHV.

Further setting it apart from the Liftback are different front and rear fascias, bumpers and lighting. In front are very low profile but effective LED headlights and a large acrylic grille supposed to evoke a “more advanced EV image.” (If this were the 50s, perhaps it would have gotten bigger tailfins and sold as looking like a faster airplane?)

Also not lost in the sculpted corporate statement are design elements borrowed from the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Toyota still insists hydrogen is the technology with ultimate long-term potential for society’s needs, so Mirai design language is a compliment in the company’s eyes.

Adding to the slight cosmetic changes to differentiate the plug-in Prime is a “dual wave” rear window and full-width LED rear lamp panel.

Inside, changes are also evident, but it is here one backwards step was taken to copy the old Chevy Volt in a way no one wishes Toyota had done: It deleted the middle rear seat, making it a four seater.

The midsized non-plug-in Prius Liftback is a suitable-capacity five-seater, and the old compact Volt was hated upon by GM bashers, and curmudgeons everywhere for occupying the middle rear seat with the humongous battery occupying the middle of the car front and back.

Toyota says it put an armrest with cupholders in the middle rear spot to reduce its load holding capacity and save on engineering. There’s been talk a five-passenger version would be introduced due to demand, but this is not official at this stage.

Otherwise the Prime is pretty cool.

Grabbing your attention first in the upper two trims is a generous 11.6-inch vertically oriented tablet like infotainment master control.

The touch screen integrates many functions to complement other buttons and knobs in an altogether functional cockpit.

Heated and cooled seats in our top Advanced trim are nice also, and meaningful also is legroom for most average and above size people is good.

One odd feature not often discussed is Toyota’s headrests are canted too far forward, and cannot be adjusted back. If you really want to press the contour of your torso against the convex seatback and headrest, the Japanese car bends you into a C. Yes, there is adjustable lumbar, but we’d be looking to carve material from the headrest uncomfortably cocking the neck forward as though pre-loaded for a frontal impact.

See the forward canted headrest and cupped back on the driver’s seat?

Was this for better crash test results? With the headrest already pushing you forward, we could see how a nine out of 10 crash dummies would thank you for preventing neck injuries. Meanwhile other dummies may find themselves wishing for relief for the neck in seats that were not co-developed by ergonomic engineers from the Better Back Store.

Other tradeoffs include the rear cargo area, which is cut 28 percent for the maximum possible size of the largest capacity Prius Liftbacks, or 19.8 cubic feet.

A bicycle with front wheel removed can still be stuffed in OK, as can a good supply of luggage or boxes from Best Buy where you conspicuously park your high-tech computer-controlled car and go in and buy more stuff.

About That Drive Experience

Toyota worked to imbue a higher fun-to-drive quotient than any Prius before it, while outdoing its fuel economy and giving it a modest EV drive capability as well.

Not often reported is the EPA’s standards have gotten a bit tougher over the years to attempt to match “real world” mpg with the window sticker, and if the Prime had been tested a few years ago, it might have been rated above 54 mpg, and 25 miles EV range.

As it is, the proof is indeed what the odometer really says, and the car can certainly meet or exceed 25 miles on battery alone. We had no trouble in mixed driving going 27 miles, and with a bit more care could hit 30 or more. Same goes for fuel economy, which can meet or exceed EPA estimates, though you must learn the best way to drive a hybrid to get the most from it. Also, in cold weather, the EPA does say fuel economy is more affected in hybrids than conventional cars, so be advised.

But what about all the fun? Well, first we picked a drag race with a Nissan GT-R and won! Then we mixed it up on our favorite twisty road with a Corvette C7 and showed it the fast way home. Then we woke up and realized we were only dreaming.

Actual fact: It’s still a Prius, but has a much more stable chassis and the rear double wishbone suspension adds a measure of control as well. If acceleration is still in your definition of a fun car, this will disappoint, as a Volt is a good couple seconds quicker to 60, and even quicker from 0-30. A Camry Hybrid good for 50 mpg is quicker still, and might hit into the 7-8 second range for 0-60.

What the Prius does excellently however is balance all those balls in the air it is juggling: efficiency on gas, efficiency on electricity, poise around corners even with low rolling resistance tires, effectiveness as a driving tool everywhere, and with 640 miles range.

Its 0.25 coefficient of drag and noise dampening mean a fairly quiet ride, with sight lines all good. The pedal does not feel wooden with its regenerative braking, and comfort is fine – with some points knocked off for the seat that bends you into a C.

The infotainment is also impressive, with the available 11.6-inch screen providing a great experience, if not that of the 15 incher on a Tesla Model 3.

A Good Choice?

The Prius is the best it’s ever been, but the market is expanding fast, and the regular hybrid Liftback is actually having its worst year this decade.

Toyota says it positioned the Prius line at a more mainstream audience meaning it tacitly acknowledges it’s no longer the ultimate in emissions savings when pure EVs are on the rise.

That said, in markets with coal-intensive energy grids, it can still be net greener than even the Chevy Volt when factoring upstream emissions, so despite the decrease on the hoopla scale, the Prius is very effective, and the Prime even more so.

Available in three trims, the Prime Plus including $895 destination fee is $27,995, the Prime Premium is $29,695, and the Prime Advanced is $33,995.

Of all competitors, Hyundai’s pending Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid which attacks the Prime directly – mpg, miles range, price, style, thermal efficiency of engine, and more – is the nearest alternative. That’s not yet available.

Other apple-to-orange choices should contemplate all variables including available incentives, expected costs of insurance, fuel, maintenance, repair, and depreciation.

As the highest expression of a model now in its 20th year since its Japanese introduction, the Prime version of the Prius is tough to beat given its pricing and all else.

Don’t be surprised to see it come close to or beat the Volt in sales this year, and while it and all others could pale when Tesla actually gets the Model 3 assembly line moving from its present crawl, the Prime is a proven and solid proposition.

The post 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Review – Video appeared first on HybridCars.com.

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September 2017 Dashboard

Overall sales for September were exceptionally strong, as fleet sales and replacement demand from Harvey and to a lesser extent, Irma, led to the highest monthly rate (adjusted for seasonality) since July 2005 (when the auto industry provided incentives so that everyone could buy vehicles at employee prices). While sales for the year have declined from year-ago, the decline is now 1.9% rather than 2.8 percent as of the end of August. All categories (hybrid, plug in, battery electric, and diesel) were up from August and last September, and with the exception of diesels, all categories were up year-to-date.

As noted above, sales for full electric vehicles were up from August and as compared to last September. In fact, monthly sales of these vehicles were the highest ever, beating out the previous high of December 2016. The primary reason is Tesla which had high sales of both the Model S and X, although the Chevy Bolt also had its best ever monthly result (which sold over 2,600 vs. the 2,000 of prior months). As noted here previously, the Model S and X generally spike at the end of each quarter and this was certainly true in September. The model offering of the Model S continues to change and incentives were available in order to meet quarterly goals. Sales of the Model 3 were very modest, since only 260 have been produced since launch. The new Leaf was shown, and will be available early next year. Therefore, sales will be modest and in fact may not increase dramatically until late next year when the longer range model (albeit at a higher price) is available.

SEE ALSO: August 2017 Dashboard

Plug in hybrids had a good month with the category leaders, the Prius Prime and the Volt, selling at a strong level. This category is remarkably consistent with the two Ford Energi products following (although sales were mildly lower than the average of previous months). Sales of the Pacifica (estimated) were consistent, although we expect a modest drop in coming months since the plant is down for changeover all of October. This segment is broken out relatively evenly among Toyota, GM, Ford, BMW, and everybody else. While the Bolt has grown as it has been more widely available across the country, the Volt is down from last year and unlikely to increase as more products are coming from GM in the next couple years. The Volt will continue until approximately 2021 or 2022 when it is redone, probably as a crossover.

The hybrid category had a good month, with the Ford Fusion Hybrid finding itself (uncharacteristically) at the top of the category. The underlying Fusion is relatively new, as is the hybrid version. Year-to-date, the Fusion hybrid has sold twice as many copies as last year. The RAV4 also snuck ahead of the Prius Liftback for the month, although the Prius Liftback remains the best-selling hybrid for the year. The RAV4 continues to grow while the Prius Liftback is in decline. The newly-released Sierra hybrid had its second strong month, but this is a specialty vehicle (a mild hybrid only available on two wheel drive models). We believe the same technology is offered on the Silverado, but sales data are unavailable. The Kia Niro, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry all had good months, with the latter reflecting the first month of the new model. As a result, Camry sales in general and the hybrid in particular should be strong the rest of the year. The Malibu hybrid also had a good month, again because the product is relatively new. As was true last month, Toyota’s share of the category was just barely over 50 percent given the success of a number of products not sold by Toyota (or Lexus). We would expect that Toyota’s share will fall under 50 percent soon.

The diesel segment showed improvement as the Transit sold well (and led the category) and the recently approved diesel engine started to reappear in the Ram Pickup (although share is still building and will be for several months). A new vehicle has been added, namely the GMC Terrain. The Chevy Equinox will also appear soon.

September 2017 Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

Hybrids sold in the U.S. (September 2017): 37,319
Hybrid Take-Rate: 2.46%

U.S. Hybrid sales for September 2017

MfrModel 9-17 Sales vs. 8-17 vs. 9-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month US Share
FordFusion Hybrid 6,326 36.8%67.5% 44,677 105.1% 21,784 16.95%
ToyotaRAV4 5,759 12.3%39.5% 36,352 10.2% 32,989 15.43%
ToyotaPrius Liftback 5,722 -5.3%-41.6% 50,911 -35.0% 78,372 15.33%
GMCSierra Hybrid 2,992 -4.3%N/A 6,308 N/A - 8.02%
KiaNiro Hybrid 2,554 -4.6%N/A 20,670 N/A - 6.84%
HondaAccord Hybrid 2,278 5.4%96.4% 17,430 505.2% 2,880 6.10%
ToyotaCamry Hybrid 2,090 62.8%9.9% 13,472 -18.6% 16,551 5.60%
ToyotaHighlander Hybrid 1,500 5.7%291.6% 12,599 205.9% 4,119 4.02%
HyundaiIoniq Hybrid 1,101 0.7%N/A 8,127 N/A - 2.95%
ToyotaPrius C 937 9.8%-35.8% 9,707 -38.9% 15,893 2.51%
HyundaiSonata 866 13.6%-52.3% 8,737 -38.6% 14,241 2.32%
LexusRX 400 / 450 h 835 -2.0%115.8% 6,173 -3.2% 6,375 2.24%
FordC-Max Hybrid 820 -18.7%11.0% 7,239 -25.9% 9,773 2.20%
ToyotaPrius V 728 -12.8%-40.4% 7,647 -32.0% 11,241 1.95%
ChevroletMalibu Hybrid 499 65.8%-19.3% 3,499 60.8% 2,176 1.34%
LincolnMKZ 435 -20.6%-5.4% 4,585 -17.4% 5,550 1.17%
LexusES Hybrid 424 -33.3%-14.7% 3,982 -35.0% 6,124 1.14%
ToyotaAvalon Hybrid 398 -6.4%-42.2% 3,840 -37.2% 6,113 1.07%
KiaOptima Hybrid 396 34.7%-33.0% 2,421 -50.0% 4,840 1.06%
AcuraMDX Hybrid 239 10.1%N/A 1,075 N/A - 0.64%
LexusNX Hybrid 189 -20.3%-18.9% 1,971 -3.9% 2,051 0.51%
LexusCT200h 91 -55.4%-85.7% 4,663 -31.6% 6,821 0.24%
InfinitiQ50 Hybrid 33 32.0%-81.0% 771 -48.0% 1,484 0.09%
HondaCR-Z 27 3.8%-83.6% 651 -65.1% 1,864 0.07%
AcuraNSX Hybrid 26 23.8%-31.6% 355 327.7% 83 0.07%
AcuraRLX Hybrid 18 38.5%-25.0% 161 1.9% 158 0.05%
LexusLC 500h 16 6.7%N/A 83 N/A - 0.04%
InfinitiQ70 Hybrid 5 25.0%-37.5% 46 -48.9% 90 0.01%
LexusGS 450h 5 66.7%25.0% 46 -27.0% 63 0.01%
BuickLacrosse Hybrid 4 -20.0%-88.6% 107 -83.7% 655 0.01%
SubaruXV Crosstrek Hybrid 3 50.0%-96.2% 45 -97.8% 2,077 0.01%
HondaCivic Hybrid 2 N/A-98.4% 60 -93.6% 944 0.01%
VolkswagenJetta Hybrid 1 -83.3%-98.7% 69 -87.7% 560 0.00%
AcuraILX Hybrid - N/AN/A - -100.0% 1 0.00%
AudiQ5 Hybrid - N/A-100.0% - -100.0% 18 0.00%
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 (535ih) - N/A-100.0% - -100.0% 17 0.00%
BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid - N/AN/A - -100.0% 1 0.00%
BuickRegal Hybrid - N/AN/A 6 -86.4% 44 0.00%
ChevroletImpala Hybrid - N/AN/A 1 -97.1% 35 0.00%
HondaInsight - N/A-100.0% 3 -95.2% 63 0.00%
InfinitiQX60 Hybrid - N/A-100.0% 298 -66.6% 892 0.00%
LexusLS 600h - N/A-100.0% - -100.0% 36 0.00%
MercedesE400H - N/A-100.0% 3 -75.0% 12 0.00%
NissanPathfinder Hybrid - N/A-100.0% 389 -34.1% 590 0.00%
NissanRogue Hybrid - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
Total Hybrid 37,319 7.1%19.0% 279,179 8.4% 257,580
Total Auto Sales 1,515,759 2.8%6.0% 12,801,207 -1.9% 13,046,414
Overall Hybrid Take Rate2.46%2.18%1.97%

September 2017 Plug-in Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

Plug-in Hybrids sold in the U.S. (September 2017): 7,719
Plug-in Hybrid Take-Rate: 0.51%

U.S. Plug-in Hybrid sales for September 2017

MfgrModel 9-17 Sales vs. 8-17 vs. 9-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month U.S. Share
ToyotaPrius Prime 1,899 4.3%47375.0% 15,056 28853.8% 52 24.60%
ChevroletVolt 1,453 0.6%-28.5% 15,348 -6.0% 16,326 18.82%
FordFusion Energi 763 0.1%-53.8% 7,285 -37.5% 11,650 9.88%
FordC-Max Energi 683 -3.1%-0.9% 6,612 23.0% 5,376 8.85%
BMW5-Series Plug in 511 48.1%N/A 1,598 N/A - 6.62%
ChryslerPacifica 450 12.5%N/A 2,342 N/A - 5.83%
BMWX5 333 5.0%-30.9% 3,259 -28.9% 4,584 4.31%
BMW3-Series Plug in 329 -19.6%509.3% 2,994 799.1% 333 4.26%
VolvoXC90 Plug In 236 -10.9%59.5% 1,482 -1.7% 1,508 3.06%
KiaOptima Plug In 228 25.3%N/A 930 N/A - 2.95%
HyundaiSonata Plug In* 175 -12.5%-36.4% 1,950 -12.4% 2,225 2.27%
MercedesC350We Plug-in Hybrid 126 -40.6%N/A 738 N/A - 1.63%
PorscheCayenne S E-Hybrid 124 -30.3%-5.3% 1,440 -12.3% 1,642 1.61%
VolvoXC60 Plug In 97 49.2%N/A 175 N/A - 1.26%
AudiA3 Plug In 85 -34.1%-72.8% 2,552 -13.5% 2,949 1.10%
MiniCountryman Plug In 80 -7.0%N/A 251 N/A - 1.04%
BMW7-Series Plug in 43 10.3%760.0% 465 9200.0% 5 0.56%
MercedesS550 Plug In 35 9.4%-14.6% 602 137.9% 253 0.45%
BMWi8 27 -6.9%-82.9% 331 -69.6% 1,089 0.35%
CadillacCT6 27 17.4%N/A 116 N/A - 0.35%
MercedesGLE 550e Hybrid 14 -39.1%-46.2% 332 235.4% 99 0.18%
PorschePanamera S E-Hybrid 1 0.0%-96.4% 11 -95.8% 264 0.01%
CadillacELR - -100.0%-100.0% 17 -96.7% 523 0.00%
Total PHEV 7,719 0.7%27.8% 65,886 34.8% 48,878
Total Auto Sales 1,515,759 2.8%6.0% 12,801,207 -1.9% 13,046,414
Overall PHEV Rate0.51%0.51%0.37%
* Estimated

September 2017 Battery Electric Car Sales Numbers

Battery Electrics sold in the U.S. (September 2017): 13,421
Battery Electric Take-Rate: 0.89%

U.S. Battery Electric sales for September 2017

MfgrModel 9-17 Sales vs. 8-17 vs. 9-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month U.S. Share
TeslaModel S* 4,500 114.3%19.8% 19,200 -7.9% 20,856 33.53%
TeslaModel X* 3,400 100.0%52.6% 15,600 26.5% 12,328 25.33%
ChevroletBolt 2,632 24.9%N/A 14,302 N/A - 19.61%
NissanLeaf 1,055 -8.6%-19.8% 10,740 16.3% 9,238 7.86%
BMWi3** 538 6.7%37.6% 4,635 -19.6% 5,763 4.01%
Fiat500e* 305 30.3%-17.6% 2,661 -9.5% 2,939 2.27%
KiaSoul EV 255 -15.0%17.5% 1,536 32.2% 1,162 1.90%
VWe-Golf 187 -41.0%-64.7% 2,699 -3.0% 2,782 1.39%
FordFocus EV 131 0.0%59.8% 1,468 122.1% 661 0.98%
SmartforTwo EV 123 30.9%179.5% 274 -48.0% 527 0.92%
TeslaModel 3* 120 71.4%N/A 220 N/A - 0.89%
MercedesB-Class Electric 87 50.0%70.6% 543 16.0% 468 0.65%
HondaClarity BEV 52 246.7%N/A 101 N/A - 0.39%
HyundaiIoniq EV 36 -45.5%N/A 302 N/A - 0.27%
ChevroletSpark - N/A-100.0% 14 -99.5% 2,719 0.00%
Mitsubishii - N/A-100.0% 6 -92.7% 82 0.00%
Total BEV 13,421 51.6%44.1% 74,301 24.8% 59,525
Total Auto Sales 1,515,759 2.8%6.0% 12,801,207 -1.9% 13,046,414
Overall BEV Take Rate0.89%0.58%0.46%
* Estimated
** Breakdown between electric and range extended model is not available.

September 2017 Compressed Natural Gas Car Sales Numbers

Compressed Natural Gass sold in the U.S. (September 2017): 0
Compressed Natural Gas Take-Rate: 0.00%

U.S. Compressed Natural Gas sales for September 2017

MfgrModel 9-17 Sales vs. 8-17 vs. 9-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month US Share
HondaCivic - N/AN/A - -100.0% 1 N/A
Total CNG - -100.0% - -100.0% 1
Total Auto Sales 1,515,759 2.8%6.0% 12,801,207 -1.9% 13,046,414
Overall CNG Take Rate0.00%0.00%0.00%

September 2017 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Car Sales Numbers

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles sold in the U.S. (September 2017): 201
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Take-Rate: 0.01%

U.S. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle sales for September 2017

MfgrModel 9-17 Sales vs. 8-17 vs. 9-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month US Share
ToyotaMirai 184 162.9%166.7% 1,044 47.0% 710 91.54%
HondaClarity 14 -66.7%N/A 432 N/A - 6.97%
HyundaiTucson 3 N/A-25.0% 24 -38.5% 39 1.49%
Total Fuel Cell 201 -20.5%175.3% 1,500 100.3% 749
Total Auto Sales 1,515,759 2.8%6.0% 12,801,207 -1.9% 13,046,414
Overall Fuel Cell Take Rate0.01%0.01%0.01%

September 2017 Diesel Car Sales Numbers

Diesels sold in the U.S. (September 2017): 9,133
Diesel Take-Rate: 0.60

U.S. Diesel sales for September 2017

MfgrModel 9-17 Sales vs. 8-17 vs. 9-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month US Share
FordTransit Diesel* 4,741 33.2%25.4% 32,843 -16.7% 39,413 51.91%
RamRam Pickup Diesel* 1,137 212.4%-17.8% 2,149 -93.5% 32,816 12.45%
ChevroletColorado Diesel 832 10.9%-19.3% 6,681 16.3% 5,744 9.11%
BMW X5 Diesel 366 21.2%357.5% 2,235 34.8% 1,658 4.01%
GMCCanyon Diesel 356 17.1%-0.6% 2,753 11.7% 2,464 3.90%
Land RoverRange Rover Sport 268 22.9%-7.6% 2,452 -0.4% 2,463 2.93%
ChevroletCruze Diesel 260 -3.0%3614.3% 1,024 314.6% 247 2.85%
VolkswagenPassat Diesel 184 36.3%N/A 2,890 N/A - 2.01%
Land RoverRange Rover 183 35.6%0.0% 1,879 -4.7% 1,972 2.00%
JaguarXF 154 266.7%N/A 490 N/A - 1.69%
BMW 3-Series Diesel 153 3.4%206.0% 1,191 0.1% 1,190 1.68%
JaguarF-Pace 126 -23.2%N/A 1,871 N/A - 1.38%
JaguarXE 79 -32.5%27.4% 1,372 1917.6% 68 0.86%
VolkswagenGolf Sportwagon Diesel 75 -41.9%N/A 4,313 N/A - 0.82%
Land RoverRange Rover Velar 60 172.7%N/A 82 N/A - 0.66%
VolkswagenJetta Diesel 45 -45.8%N/A 2,215 N/A - 0.49%
RamPromaster Van Diesel 36 -21.7%12.5% 318 23.3% 258 0.39%
GMCTerrain Diesel 24 700.0%N/A 27 N/A - 0.26%
VolkswagenBeetle Diesel 19 -38.7%N/A 282 N/A - 0.21%
VolkswagenGolf Diesel 16 -48.4%N/A 715 N/A - 0.18%
AudiA3 Diesel 9 -57.1%N/A 111 N/A - 0.10%
MercedesGL-Class Diesel 3 0.0%-62.5% 31 -96.2% 811 0.03%
MercedesGLK Class Diesel 3 N/AN/A 3 -90.0% 30 0.03%
MercedesGLE-Class Diesel 2 N/A-95.6% 16 -98.3% 923 0.02%
MercedesE-Class Diesel 1 0.0%-90.9% 26 -95.9% 641 0.01%
MercedesML Class Diesel 1 -50.0%N/A 8 -69.2% 26 0.01%
AudiQ7 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
AudiQ5 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
AudiA6 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
AudiA7 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
AudiA8 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
BMW 5-Series Diesel - N/A-100.0% 41 -94.2% 701 0.00%
BMW 7-Series Diesel - N/AN/A - -100.0% 2 0.00%
BMW X3 Diesel - N/A-100.0% 28 -96.0% 695 0.00%
JeepGrand Cherokee Diesel - N/A-100.0% 725 -76.5% 3,086 0.00%
MaseratiGhibli - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
MercedesC-Class Diesel - N/AN/A 10 66.7% 6 0.00%
MercedesGLS-Class Diesel - N/AN/A 3 N/A - 0.00%
Porsche Cayenne Diesel - N/AN/A - -100.0% 18 0.00%
VolkswagenTouareg Diesel - N/AN/A 1 N/A - 0.00%
Total Diesel 9,133 32.8%18.1% 68,785 -27.8% 95,232
Total Auto Sales 1,515,759 2.8%6.0% 12,801,207 -1.9% 13,046,414
Overall Diesel Take Rate0.60%0.54%0.73%
* Estimated

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Chevy Bolt Raises The Bar Again With Best Sales Month Ever in September

Chevrolet’s Bolt EV has again raised its monthly sales total to a new level with 2,632 sales in September.

The month prior it had sold 2,107 in the U.S. and led all plug-ins, including the Tesla models, and the month before that it did the same with 1,971 sales.

The car is on a bit of a streak.

It began its retail life last December and after national roll-out was completed this summer to all 50 U.S. states, the car has been outselling the Chevy Volt on an increasingly frequent basis.

Of its 2,632 sales, General Motors reports 2,505 were retail sales, meaning the car also being used for carsharing and autonomous driving development saw 127 sales go to parties other than just consumer deliveries.

This breakout by the automaker is a bit uncommon, and other brands such as Toyota fold in retail and fleet sales in one number.

As it is, even the 2,505 retail sales was enough to put a gap of 1,052 sales between the all-electric compact crossover, and all sales reported for its extended-range EV sibling, the Volt.

General Motors has never aggressively marketed the Volt, and there has been a rumor of its being sun-setted after this generation next decade, and it possibly morphing to a crossover.

SEE ALSO: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review – Video

GM otherwise just announced 20 new pure battery electric cars will come with lessons learned from the Bolt EV by 2023 – a comparatively reckless release of “future product” plans from the automaker which has played its cards closer to its chest than others.

The Bolt EV is the tip of GM’s present modest-sized spear, and it appears its market appeal is sharpening with sales up were the Tesla Model S and X have been.

Tesla’s new $36,000-with-desitination (and up) Model 3 is still coming from the factory slowly with fewer than 300 made since its first ceremonial handing over of 30 units a couple months back,.

Tesla has said its output will be radically upwards before this year is out. It is behind schedule, but assuming progress even close Tesla’s ambitious plans, it should eclipse all plug-ins next year and make 2,500 sales a month seem small.

For now, the Bolt is doing well, in fact it’s basically at the top of the roster.

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Are Tesla’s Model 3 Goals Too Ambitious?

Tesla’s Model 3 is clearly poised to raise the bar high above other electric cars, but in order to hit ambitious production goals the company will have to stretch like no one before it.

In 2015 Tesla’s Fremont, Calif. plant produced around 52,000 cars for global distribution, in 2016 it jumped to 84,000, this year it’s on track for 111,000 and the year following it’s projected 500,000.

It’s been a story of raising limits annually, but next year’s five-fold increase will be something to behold if it comees to pass, say analysts.

Underlying Facts

Of an estimated half-million 2018 cars hoped for and comprised of Model S, Model X and Model 3, it’s believed a good 400,000 or 80 percent will be the entry level Model 3 whose base $36,000 price and 220 mile range has lined up half a million reservation holders.

The massive five-fold increase was projected in March 2016 by CEO Elon Musk, and since then the company has fine-tuned estimates on what it hopes to see.

A goal such as it has set is daunting, and Tesla has admitted it will be a tortuous test of production capability for the plant in Fremont.

According to analyst Alan Baum, while demand is there, and he’s optimistic Tesla could sell more Model 3s if it could make them, in question is what is really likely to happen.

Given myriad data collected, and combined with Tesla’s most-recent statements, a more probable worldwide production number will be 245,000 units in 2018, Baum said, or around half of the shoot-for-the-stars goal Tesla has teased investors with.

In 2019, barring further indicators the company can spool up the revitalized plant it bought late last decade, Baum estimates 280,000 – still well short.

While it’s believed Tesla has been looking at increasing its production plants from just the one in California, for now, Fremont is the global production center.

In its heyday, when managed under Toyota’s leadership in joint venture with General Motors, the NUMMI plant as it was called, produced a maximum 429,000 Toyota Corollas, Pontiac Vibes and Toyota Tacomas.

At the time it was using more square footage than Tesla is using and meanwhile Tesla is off to a halting start.

The Model 3 was released a couple months back, and since then less than 300 have been produced if a less-than-positive indicator based on the fact VIN number 269 was recently reported is a semi-reliable gauge.

Weekly Rate

This month Tesla may produce about 5,200 Model S units, 3,100 Model X units, and a paltry number of Model 3s meaning for the month it could produce maybe 8,400 for a per-week average of 2,100 total cars.

An estimated less than 300 Model 3s produced so far is small, but probably on track as Tesla prepares to kick production to Ludicrous Speed. The company said it would produce 30 Model 3s in July, 100 in August, and begin this month to ramp up exponentially so it may be in process, if a bit behind the curve.

By the fourth quarter, Tesla’s most-recent statement is that it will crest to 5,000 total cars per week including Model S, X and 3, so it has its work cut out for it, as it has said.

For December, Baum figures the company could be up to 12,800 total units, or 3,200 per week, well short of the 5,000. Said 5,000 by the way is supposed to be just a way marker on the way toward 10,000 units per week Tesla says it will hit “sometime next year.”

So, even by Tesla’s own most-recent statements, it will need to seriously pick up the pace come January. If it beats Baum’s estimate and does produce 5,000 per week in the fourth quarter, it will need to hit 10,000 weekly almost immediately in January – a doubling when it really takes a progressive amount of time to increase units out the door.

The reason 10,000 weekly units are needed is multiplied by 48 weeks that would come to 480,000 and Tesla’s half million goal in 2018 is essentially met.

Others besides have raised their eyebrows at what Tesla aspires to do so quickly. If it manages to do so, it will mean also the Fremont plant exceeds the best Toyota and GM ever did in a plant that produced 373,000 units in 1999, 395,000 units in 2003, 417,000 units in 2005, and the peak 429,000 in 2006.

Furthermore, the cars Toyota and GM built were not luxury performance models, but all high-volume units – GEO Prizms, Toyota Corollas and Tacoma pickups, and Pontiac Vibes.

Today the biggest plant in the U.S. is Nissan’s Smyrna, Tenn facility. With its years of expertise, it has built up to 650,000 units in 2016, and Honda’s 30-year-experienced Marysville, Ohio plant comes in next at 437,000.

But Tesla says in one year it will take production of its cars from less than 90,000 to more than Honda’s Marysville plant or the NUMMI plant at its peak under Toyota’s guidance.

Still Impressive

Tesla has set impressive goals for itself, and knows it will have to do more to make them.

If it even does just half of the half-million units next year it will have done what no other electric car maker has done, and far exceed its competitors.

Looking just at U.S. sales, Baum estimates in 2018 the Model 3 will sell a phenomenal volume of 105,500 – more than Model S and X did in 2016, and far above any other plug-in electrified car.

Current U.S. sales estimates. Subject to revision with new data as it comes. Source: Baum and Associates.


Sales of 105,000 units breaks out to a theoretical 8,750 units monthly and this volume is more the stuff of the Ford Fusions, Honda Civics, Toyota Camrys of the world, and well above the Model 3’s actual competitors.

The Model 3 targets entry level Audis, BMW, Mercedes, and other U.S. and Japanese luxury performance cars. No direct competitive model does 100,000-plus annual sales in the U.S.

What’s more, in 2019, the Model 3 rockets further ahead, even under Baum’s conservative estimate to 162,500, or 13,542 units per month on average.

If Tesla pulls that off, it will be beating the best year for the top-selling Chevy Volt every two months of sales and the Bolt EV General Motors developed as an ostensible Model 3 competitor also will be eclipsed by a similar margin, according to Baum’s estimates.

Looking Ahead


These are heady times for Tesla and the EV market as the maverick company looks to be on track to blast through a glass ceiling even if it only makes half its lofty goal.

Baum said he is confident Tesla could indeed sell 400,000 Model 3s annually if it could produce them, noting over the next 2-4 years battery costs will continue to decline, production processes will improve, and costs will improve for Tesla.

It will also put the company far out in front of major automakers who are watching the live experiment Tesla is performing. Most establish automakers have announced big plans, but with ramp up times into the 2020s, and they will be free to partake of their own expertise and supply and production advantages as the case may be.

In question is how aggressively might, say, the VW Group or Daimler’s new EQ brand, or even GM, Honda or Nissan be willing or able to follow a runaway success Tesla aspires to prove.

Those and other open questions are free for speculation. More certain is Tesla is shooting for a tall order indeed, may not fill it, but is moving the dial forward significantly nonetheless.

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These Nations Look Forward to the Extinction Of Fossil Fuels

If proposed bans on conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles by some of the nations of the world are any indicator, the days of fossil fuels could be headed toward extinction

It is a tall order at this stage, but the very fact some are already talking about it says something in itself

That is, even before global plug-in car market share reaches a significant sliver, more than a half dozen countries are looking for the day that conventional vehicles would no longer be permitted to drive on their roads.

US’ status? Pushing back, but some states want to cut gas car sales by 2050

Proposals are various, and permitted along with pure EVs could possibly be hybrids, plug-in hybrids or hydrogen fuel cell cars, but the end goal is zero emissions and no more non “electrified” vehicles.

Today 95 percent of plug-in electrified vehicles are sold in only 10 countries, and worldwide, their market share is less than 1 percent, but the will to change the paradigm appears extremely strong even at this juncture.

Some of what analysts are calling aspirational goals are as much political statements for timelines as soon as 2025 or 2030, and by 2040. A child born this year would be 13 in 2030, or age 26 in 2040, so this is not something happening overnight.

True also is projections so far out cannot contemplate innumerable variables, and twists and turns of the plot that will happen between now and far-out dates pinned on the calendars of legislators who themselves will be out of office by then.

But things otherwise seem to be pulling in this direction. Here are countries looking toward to the extinction of fossil fuels:

France – 2040

Named first not because it was the first to propose the end of fossil fuels, but because it is the home of the Paris Accord on climate change, France is eyeing a 2040 deadline to end the sale of conventional gas and diesel cars.

“It’s a very difficult objective,” said Nicolas Hulot, the French environment minister in July following a visit by President Trump who is pulling the U.S. from the Paris Accord. “But the solutions are there.”

France’s stepping up was as much a protest, and is part of a larger plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The UK – 2040

On the heels of France came the United Kingdom, which two weeks later in July said by 2040 sales of gas and diesel cars shall be no more. It hopes.

The goal is carbon neutrality, and auto industry execs have said the move is premature and being pushed by idealistic bureaucrats.

“Policy makers should not try to be engineers,” said Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer who is not alone in feeling this way. Palmer said, and London’s announcement was “just spin” without any practical potential for being achieved.

At the time, the decision had been defended by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

“We can’t carry on with diesel and petrol cars,” said Gove on a BBC Radio show about the proposition. “It’s important we all gear up for a significant change which deals not just with the problems to health caused by emissions but the broader problems caused in terms of accelerating climate change.”

Germany – 2030?

In October 2016 the Bundesrat, Germany’s parliament house, passed a resolution to ban internal combustion engines by 2030.

Not legally binding, the penciled-in plan would call for plug-ins or fuel cell vehicles.

Germany is home to Europe’s largest automakers including Daimler, VW Group, and BMW.

Further teeth was given to the idea in August 2017 when Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested it’s just a matter of time that fossil fuels go the way of the dinosaur.

“I cannot name an exact year yet, but the approach is right because if we quickly invest in more charging infrastructure and technology for electric cars, a general changeover will be structurally possible,” said Merkel

India – 2030?

As the “I” in the emerging BRIC nations, India has 1.3 billion people, and burgeoning growth and air pollution blamed on the annual death of 1.2 million people to contend with, and by 2030 hopes to end the reliance on conventional gas and diesel cars.

India is the world’s third-largest importer of oil, and being on board with the Paris Accord’s goal of slwong rising global temperatures, it is pushing through a policy in the name of something has to give.,

“This is an aspirational target,” said Anil Kumar Jain, a government energy adviser. “Ultimately the logic of markets will prevail.”

According to India’s road transport minister Nitin Gadkari in a Sept. 7 statement to SIAM, India’s automobile lobby group, “we should move towards alternative fuel. I am going to do this, whether you like it or not.”

Others

China – 2040?

The largest car market and largest market for electrified vehicles is also looking to 2040 but has not made it official. Yet.

This month Bloomberg reported China’s Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Xin Guobin said regulators are working on a phase-out timeline for the sale and production of ICE-powered vehicles.

The Netherlands – Mid Next Decade?

One of the more aggressive, progressive embracers of sustainable transport has been the Dutch, and while a date is not set, it’s talked about 2025, and is working toward such a goal.

Last August, a ban initiative, promoted by the Dutch Labor Party, passed in the lower house of the Netherlands parliament but later was not approved by the upper chamber.

“We need to phase out CO2 emissions and we need to change our pattern of using fossil fuels if we want to save the Earth,” said politician John Voss, the major force behind the Netherlands ban prior to it being shot down. “Transportation with your own car shouldn’t be something that only rich people can afford.”

Voss also admitted the country can’t enforce such a ban until the cost of battery-electric and hydrogen vehicles decreases, and more infrastructure is available.

So, those are on the agenda, and the desire to electrify remains strong.

Norway – Mid Next Decade?

The leading nation by percentage of market share also has floated a 2025 deadline which was reported last year as in motion, then counter reported as not.

SEE ALSO: Norway is On its Way To Becoming A ‘Fully Electric’ Society

Like the Netherlands, it is on its way – even further along – but has come short of approving a ban even though it’s closest to being in position to do so with a third of cars sold being plug-in.

That same rationale is why it won’t ban them however, because at the rate they’re going in the Nordic country, they’re putting the ICE on ice so fast the species is due to die a natural death around the time they might have mandated it, so they’ll get what they want either way.

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So Many Automakers Are Committing To Electrify So Many Of Their Cars

If just some of the automakers who’ve made statements committing to electrify a large percentage or all of their future products stay true to their word, the world ought to be swimming in plug-in cars by mid next decade.

Or sooner. Or so one might think given relatively radical projections made by automakers who only a few years back were looked at by EV advocates as recalcitrant “dinosaurs” or hiding behind allegedly clean diesels.

Of course a brave new automotive world has yet to materialize amidst the hyperbole, and aside from outliers, the market share for plug-in electrified vehicles in Europe is around 1.5 percent and in the U.S. it’s a bit over 1 percent.

Jaguar i-Pace Concept. A clean sheet design built as an EV.

But globally, a sea change in future “mobility solutions” is on the agenda even as American consumers flock to dealers to buy conventional trucks, SUVs and crossovers, and the world over, amidst Big Plans, the inherited fossil fuel status quo persists.

If we are to believe a seismic shift in the way cars are propelled is imminent, it still therefore takes a measure of faith, but indicators are strong – so strong, in fact, barring unforeseen complications, a tipping point may well be on the near horizon.

There are a few key reasons for this. For one, automakers, in order to stay ahead of regulations threatening to slap them with penalties for failing to keep fleet averages above minimum emission and mpg targets, are now expressing positive vibes for plug-in vehicles.

Synergies pushing and pulling at the same time include also the rise of Tesla, a political climate worried about the global climate, and a growing constituency of people now interested in things billed as sustainable.

As such, just in the past few weeks we’ve heard from automakers including Jaguar-Land Rover and Aston Martin on accelerated plans to electrify their products on a timeline. JLR says by 2020 all models thereafter will be electrified. Aston Martin says its entire fleet will be offered in PHEV or EV format this decade.

SEE ALSO: Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Set to Launch a Dozen EVs by 2022

Those statements followed Volvo’s also-recent announcement that all new models produced after 2019 will be electrified in some form or fashion.

And last fall, as millions and billions in fines had put diesel in perceptive disgrace, Europe’s automakers were quickly distancing themselves from oil burners and embracing plug-ins.

SEE ALSO: Ford To Invest $4.5 Billion Into Electrified Vehicle Development

Most prominent was the VW Group, which after admitting 11 million vehicles had been equipped with “defeat devices,” said its Strategy 2025 will usher in 30 new battery electric vehicles by 2020 amongst its 13 brands.

“The company estimates that such vehicles could then account for around a quarter of the global passenger car market,” said the company in a statement. “The Volkswagen Group forecasts that its own BEV [battery electric vehicle] sales will be between two and three million units in 2025, equivalent to some 20 to 25 percent of the total unit sales expected at that time.”

And, at this month’s Frankfurt Auto Show, VW Group CEO Matthias Mueller said 80 electrified vehicles will be here by 2025 across the group’s brands, including VW, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Skoda, Lamborghini, and Bugatti.

SEE ALSO: Half of Porsche Models Could Be Electric By 2023

VW’s intention to build 30 EVs by 2020 had been announced last fall, and coinciding with that was another bold statement by BMW at the Paris Motor Show. There CEO Harald Krueger said 15-25 percent of all BMW and Mini brand vehicles are to plug-in by 2025.

Also at the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes parent Daimler projected a similar 15-25 percent of all sales will be plug-in by 2025.

The Europeans are most interested in EVs. Unlike U.S. policy leaders who are pulling out of the Paris Accord on climate change and bending an ear to automakers asking for weakened 2022-2025 emissions standards, the Europeans are looking at climate change as seriously as a loaded .45 pointed at the planet’s skull.

Sympathies for the same are also emanating from Asia and China. The latter is now the largest auto market and largest plug-in market and as other nations have already, it is considering a ban on fossil fuel some time before 2040.

Japanese automaker Honda has meanwhile said by 2030 two-thirds of its global products will be “electrified” (code for either micro hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric, or fuel cell). And, just last week it said by 2025 two-thirds will be electrified in Europe.

“Here in Europe, we see this move towards electrification gathering pace at an even higher rate than elsewhere,” said CEO Takahiro Hachigo.

Toyota also is working on a long-term plan to be utterly green by 2050 (with no small help, it hopes, from fuel cell vehicles)/ And, while the Japanese automaker has primarily resisted EVs this decade, it’s now planning according to the Nikkei Asian Review, to begin mass production of EVs next decade.

Proving that automakers are doing what they are in large part because they have to, Subaru – which has no trucks and a better emission profile than some competitors whose fleet averages are pulled down by heavy fuel drinkers – will wait until 2021 to launch its first EV. And, the class champ, Mazda, which sells no trucks, and whose U.S. fleet average is above a healthy 30 mpg plans to wait until 2035 before most of its cars are electrified.

Or so it says now. If things actually progress as it seems regulators and automakers are hunkering down in anticipation for, critical mass may as mentioned swing things faster than even wild-eyed optimists would have predicted in 2010.

And so far, this does not count the high-end luxury and supercar makers but at least Aston Martin has said by 2030 25 percent of its sales will be electrified.

Tesla has put a big spotlight on EVs, and captured the public’s imagination.

Some of the elites, including Lamborghini and Ferrari and Rolls Royce and others are avoiding pure battery electrics however.

Despite what Tesla is trying to prove, these makers say their customer base wants what at best only plug-in hybrids can provide, and they cite “limitations” of pure EVs including curb weight, failure to lap race courses competitively, fast-fill long range afforded by gas, among other concerns.

Plug-in hybrids, by the way, are being embraced by luxury makers because the way the regulations are set up, they are like the perfect solution to pass government tests. That is, in their tame EV mode or battery assist they can ace liberal GHG sniff tests and provide mpg to brag about. Once their relatively small batteries run out however, they resort to 300-600 horsepower hybrids and even a herd of hybrid horses drinks a lot of fuel.

For example, in May 2013 Porsche said the then-pending 416 horsepower Panamera S-E Hybrid could net 54 real world mpg even with some Autobahn driving at as high as 143 mph was included in a test loop.

The U.S. EPA later said the car was good for 25 mpg combined from its 50 MPGe powertrain, and real-world use of the car’s potential can cut that mpg in half. https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34789

But not to pick on one brand, the same phenomenon can be generally true for any power plug-in hybrid and other brands implying one may eat cake and have it too skirt the edge of accuracy. Actually, one may not in the same drive enjoy max range and mpg while enjoying amazing 0-60 times, and aggressive perfornance with foot to the floor. It is either fast performance / or superlative energy efficiency and range – not both – but advocates otherwise say things are moving in the right direction, and a sedate driver now may choose to nurse out relatively great efficiency numbers from cars that formerly could only deliver relatively poor numbers.

The Porsche Mission E may much better fulfill what the Panamera S-E-Hybrid promised. Price for the 2020 EV could start around $85,000.

To be fair also, the same is true of EVs. They promise superb range, but not if you drive it like you’re running from the cops – or in markets like Europe where it’s legal, just driving with aplomb.

But so it goes, and in the mix of mixed motives to greenify fleets, automakers are also saying their production costs will be steep, profits will be less, and some will lose money on specific models for the first several years as they go ahead with their commitments.

Going ahead anyway, they are, as the global market is being inexorably pulled by a rip tide toward electrification which for all anyone knows may only intensify now that it is reaching critical mass.

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2018 Honda Clarity PHEV Could Be The Chevy Volt’s Strongest Competitor Yet

With Honda’s revelation of electric range for its 2018 Clarity Plug-in Hybrid just 5 miles shy of the Chevy Volt’s, it stands to be the reigning sales leader’s toughest competition yet when launched later this year.

Since its December 2010 release, the “extended-range electric” Volt has been the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the U.S., although Toyota’s cut-rate Prius Prime has vied with it closely from January through August, and it’s anyone’s guess which could finish ahead for 2017 sales.

Even before we know the outcome of the Prius/Volt question, Honda will be releasing its plug-in hybrid Clarity which – like the Volt – will be made available in all 50 states. The new Honda is one of three Clarity variants – a battery electric version, hydrogen fuel cell version, and the PHEV.

Clarity PHEV vs. Volt

Unveiled in April at the New York Auto Show, the largish-midsized Clarity will beat Honda’s conservative 42-mile estimate it gave when introduced and instead serve up 47 miles on the U.S. EPA cycle.

With PHEVs, every few miles makes a difference when the range champ – the compact Volt – tops the scale at 53 miles, and others are only in the mid-to-high 20s.

2018 Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. Honda has not supplied more photos of the Clarity PHEV, and more info is forthcoming as well. Top photo next to Volt is of similar Clarity FCV.

Given electric range is the most prominent metric in what is really a balance of many pros and cons buyers choose from, the Clarity’s second-best EV range status – Honda says best “in class” for midsized vehicles – is good.

It’s also useful enough to get the job done which is avoiding gasoline usage day to day, and meanwhile it’s a luxurious, larger car that may be priced competitively – enough.

Under the hood is essentially a variant of the dual motor hybrid system from the Accord Hybrid, albeit with 1.5-liter engine instead of 2.0-liter, and a 17-kWh battery for electric only driving.

Said battery is a bit smaller than the 18.4 kWh unit in the Volt, and as a matter of trivia, the Clarity PHEV’s battery is not all that much smaller than the pure-electric Clarity’s 25.5 kWh battery which yields 89 short EPA-rated miles range.

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Review – Video

The Clarity PHEV’s engine is based on a next-generation 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine first used in the 2015 Honda Fit, according to Honda’s Natalie Kumaratne, Environment & Safety Public Relations.

“However, for the application to the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid the engine has been optimized for the unique requirements of a plug-in vehicle using the Atkinson cycle, where it functions primarily to generate electricity,” said Kumaratne, “but can also serve as a direct power source under certain driving conditions in parallel with the electric motor.”

The EPA rating now revealed for this engine is less than the Accord Hybrid’s however – 40 mpg city, 40 highway, and 42 mpg combined.

For 2016, the second-generation Volt introduced an aluminum 1.5-liter Ecotec engine with direct injection, 12.5:1 compression ratio, cooled exhaust gas recirculation and a variable displacement oil pump, and is rated for 101 horsepower at 5,600 rpm.

Fuel efficiency in hybrid mode is close, with the same 42 mpg combined rating based on 43 mpg city, 42 mpg highway.

The Clarity has three drive modes – Normal, Econ, and Sport which let drivers maximize efficiency or driving performance. A fourth HV mode maintains the battery’s state of charge and can be selected in conjunction with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes.

Its electric motor produces 181 horsepower and 232 pounds feet of torque. The battery recharges in 2.5 hours when fed 240 volts suggesting a faster on-board charger than what comes in the Volt which takes 4.5 hours to recharge its 18.4-kWh battery.

The Clarity’s horsepower otherwise compares to the compact Volt’s lower 149 horsepower and higher 298 pounds-feet from a 1.5-liter engine and electric power.

Acura Level – Almost

The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is significantly roomier than the Volt and has Acura-level refinement and features.

Both the Volt and Clarity are well contented, but the Clarity may prove more refined.

Initial drive reviews of the Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle already on the market have won it praise as being nice enough to be an Acura, and the Plug-in Hybrid is expected to be the same.

Materials such as ultrasuede, and standard Honda Sensing suite make it a premium package indeed, but where it is hands down the winner is interior volume.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric. Photo of Plug-in not available.


Honda will release more specs later this year, but the three Clarity variants were built to satisfy focus groups who said a sedan should comfortably fit five.

The compact Volt technically fits five, but knee room is less, and space in the back seat is all around tighter. Honda media rep Chris Naughton also let on the Clarity is a bit roomier than the Accord Hybrid which is on the large scale of a midsized class car.

2017 Chevy Volt.

Martin emphasized also the Clarity will top the Volt in cubic feet for cargo and passenger by a significant margin.

“We expect it will have the most interior volume of any of the versions of Clarity,” said Martin of a provisional projection of around 121 cubic feet of passenger plus cargo space topping the Volt’s 100.9 total cubic feet, “and the cargo volume, the Volt is 10.6. we’re at 19.1.”

Aesthetics

In the looks department, the call may be closer, though time will tell.

The Volt is more “mainstream” and mirrors a Cruze with hints of the Honda Civic, Kia Forte, and other vehicles by automakers conspiring to make vehicles both attractive and ordinary all in one stroke.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric


That is, they blend in, while the Clarity stands out with semi-faired in rear wheel reminiscent of the original Insight which set the tone 17 years ago as an odd looking green car.

Some will like the originality, others may see it as awkward or stylistically tone deaf, if not as much as some have disliked Honda’s Japanese rival’s car, the Prius.

Not hurting anything however is the Clarity is a Honda, and loyalists have been known to see beauty where others do not, and Honda has a fair number of loyalists.

Driving Dynamics

Based on the same chassis as the Clarity fuel cell vehicle, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid uses a stiff body structure with strategic use of high-strength steel, optimized weight distribution, and it promises a relatively controlled drive experience.

It may yet do alright as the Accord is a solid, if not in sports car territory, and the Clarity is in league. Further, if you haven’t noticed, a lot of family sedans these days are competent handlers.

The Volt’s fans like to emphasize it has a fun-to-drive factor, but both it and the Clarity are eco cars focused on efficiency, and may be within realm.

Brand

Chevrolet has proven the Volt’s quality this is stated preemptively because people with long memories may otherwise sneer at a GM product or American brand in general. To who think along those lines, just the fact the Clarity is a Japanese Honda is enough to settle any question.


Beyond that, Chevrolet has won more awards than an other brand for the past three years, and it is on a mission to remake its name after GM’s federal bailout and restructuring embarrassment of last decade.

The Volt is a pinnacle product and so if you are just catching up, it actually is the more proven of the two. Now in its second generation, among plug-in fans it is a premium nameplate, even if there is a “bowtie” on the front of the grille wearing silver “braces.”

Price

The Volt starts at just below $34,000 and is eligible for a $7,500 federal credit and state incentives as the case may be. Honda says the Clarity, eligible for the same subsidies, will start in the mid 30s, so that may mean very close or a couple thousand or more above the Volt.

SEE ALSO: 2017 Chevy Volt Review – Video

Enthusiasts are speculating after credits it could be below the critical $30,000 mark, but this is not definite until Honda tells us.

More to Come

We sought more info, such as whether the Clarity’s battery is liquid cooled like the Volt’s is, and other details to make a closer comparison, but such data is on hold.

Honda says more will be revealed closer to launch, and it will remain to be seen how well the car is marketed and received.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric.

On paper so far, it is plain why Honda says the plug-in model will sell the most among its low-range EV, and limited-market FCV.

Whether it wins more buyers than the Volt will depend on the total value proposition, so we shall see.

The post 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV Could Be The Chevy Volt’s Strongest Competitor Yet appeared first on HybridCars.com.

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How Will The 2018 Nissan Leaf Compare to the Chevy Bolt EV?

With last week’s unveiling of Nissan’s second-generation Leaf people can now focus less on comparing the Chevy Bolt to the dissimilar Tesla Model 3, and look at a closer matchup.

Such apple-versus-orange matchups can be explained however. Including the just-revealed Leaf, there are but three new-generation EVs priced below $40,000 with longer range than first-generation 62-124 milers. Media and consumers have thus inevitably compared Tesla’s Euroesque sedan to the utilitarian Chevy crossover, but Nissan is now here.

Or, it is in Japan where production at the Oppama plant has begun churning them out for domestic sales, and Nissan says the all-new front-wheel drive hatchback will arrive in other markets including North America by early 2018.

But now here’s where things get complicated: While the Leaf is aimed at the Bolt’s demographic, there are perceptive pros and cons to the value proposition of each, so actually, this is not a clear apple-to-apple lineup either.

That’s the case especially for year one, as Nissan, in positioning the 2018 Leaf with a smaller 40-kWh battery lifted from the top-selling Euro Market Renault ZOE with 150 miles EPA-rated range versus the 60-kWh Bolt’s 238-mile range. The $30,875 (with destination) entry Leaf is also $6,620 less than the entry $37,495 Chevrolet – thus avoiding Chevrolet’s attempt to position its new EV above Tesla’s $36,000 entry point Model 3.

In 2019 it’s reported Nissan will offer a 60-kWh or so pack in a more-expensive Leaf offering 225 miles putting it in the 200-mile club along with the aforementioned other two 200 milers at this price point. By then, look for competitors available or on the horizon from Hyundai, Kia, BMW, VW, and more, but for today’s shopper, we’ll run down a few of the differences between the Nissan and Chevy.

Manufacturer Experience

Nissan has sold 270,000 Leafs and it is the best selling worldwide. Chevrolet’s new Bolt EV has about 12,000 in the bag since last December and it just reached national distribution in the U.S.


GM is no novice however. It built and killed the 1996-1999 EV1, has sold over 120,000 extended-range Volts, a handful of Spark EVs and Cadillac ELRs, and has a host of global projects and concepts under its belt.

Last year on a conference call with GM engineers overseeing the Bolt project, their genuine pride in what they had built could not be concealed. It did not seem like hype as they expressed confidence in an EV that had 1,000 engineers tasked to 55 test mules that did not skip beta testing but were throughly shaken down. The car was to be a showcase of in-house tech and was done in collaboration with LG of Korea.

As for Nissan, its engineering skills are well documented, and the new Leaf is evolved from real-world lessons learned, and addresses some if not all concerns the first 2011-2016 model had – which saw range increases from 73 miles originally to 84 and ultimately 107.

Powertrain

Nissan increased horsepower for the new “e-powertrain” to 147, and torque is 236 pounds-feet. Chevrolet offers 200 horsepower and 266 pounds-feet of torque.

Prior to track testing of the new Leaf, acceleration is a guess, but estimates have been as low as 8.0 seconds by Motor Trend which uses a “rollout method” to gain a few tenths of a second to somewhere below 9 seconds. The Bolt zips to 60 in around 6.5 documented seconds, not surprising with a comparable mid-3,000s curb weight and more power on tap.

As noted the new Leaf has a 40 kWh battery, and Bolt gets 60-Kwh. The Bolt’s pack is liquid thermally managed (cooled) and it is heated as well to manage temperatures. The Leaf’s appears to be similar to what was offered before – no liquid cooling, so it saves in expense on the both the size of the pack, and the critical cooling aspect.

Batteries, like humans, prefer temperate climates. Nissan from the beginning insisted its 2011 Leaf was good to go with the way it engineered it. Early adapters in Arizona, Texas, and California soon said otherwise and screamed bloody murder over accounts of abysmal range loss within two years of ownership until Nissan addressed their concerns. It updated the warranty, ultimately revised the battery chemistry, but has never added as sophisticated a thermal management system that GM, Tesla, and others use – and range loss reports were more frequent for even the improved Leafs.

SEE ALSO: Chevy Volt Travels 300,000th Mile

The Bolt on the other hand takes lessons learned from the Volt. Aiming not just to avoid excessive warranty claims, the goal GM has said its goal is to make a battery last acceptably for the life of a car. The definition of “life” may be under 200,000 miles, and cars may go longer, time will tell, but GM has done more to ensure longevity.

Design

The new Leaf no longer looks like a frog as early focus groups has asked Nissan to do so they could stand out more clearly than even Toyota Prius drivers.

As had long been reported, the 2018 model assumes a mainstream look, blending in advanced design language from the IDS concept car shown in 2015 and fits the family line.

Chevrolet, with help from a GM design house in Australia, made the Bolt into a taller box on wheels to create cargo space an utility closer to the gen-one Leaf. Called a compact crossover, its interior volume is actually midsized on paper.

Inside, both cars offer expected details like smartphone-compatible infotainment, comfortable heated seats, sufficient room for five, and neat attention to detail here and there to give their own personal experience.

Buyers will decide which looks more attractive. Exterior design is usually cited as the first or second-most important aspect in a list of considerations new car buyers base their choices on. Both will have their fans, and to each his own.

Miscellaneous Pros and Cons

While Nissan sandbagged on its entering the 200-mile range club for year one, the 2018 Leaf adds value by including level 2 semi-autonomous “ProPilot” software and E-pedal regen for improved ability to stop the car just with regenerative braking.

The Bolt has caught flak for avoiding advanced cruise control (ACC) for this year, though Bolt watchers are waiting to see if the 2018 model gets it – it would be a logical move if GM does choose to do so.

Leaf.

For now the Nissan offers this and its “e-Pedal” regen-based stopping according to an early test drive review by Motor Trend, does Chevrolet – and Tesla – one better.

“In its transmission’s Low mode, the Bolt will come to a one-pedal stop without touching the friction brakes, but the deceleration rate isn’t always enough,” writes MT’s Kim Reynolds. “E-Pedal leapfrogs both with a deceleration rate of 0.2 g’s (covering 90 percent of real-driver stopping, Nissan says) and comes to a complete stop (including automatic friction braking, if necessary).”

If the stop is on a hill, the Leaf’s motor holds the car at a standstill and after a pause both feet can be removed from the pedals, a handy feature.

Bolt.

The Bolt does have a very effective regen paddle behind the steering wheel, and its regen effect is otherwise strong. These systems are a novel way to stop while saving wear on the friction brakes, and have the extra added bonus of feeding enough electrons to the battery to supply a few miles range over the course of a drive.

Another area both cars miss is any sort of Tesla-like DC fast charging network, and even DC fast charging capability is an option. It costs about $1,600 extra for the Leaf and $750 for the Bolt, putting the Bowtie brand ahead here.

The Leaf also uses the CHAdeMO standard while Chevrolet uses the SAE CCS standard being favored by more automakers selling in the U.S. At this stage charge rate is a question, but both ought to be roughly comparable, although the smaller battery in the Leaf naturally means it will become full faster.

Both cars are positioned as regional runners, with the Bolt a better candidate for long-distance trips, and likely to be an only car for more people, not just a second car.

As has been observed abundantly by EV advocates, 100 miles range is enough for most daily needs, 150 ought to be plenty and compares to some gas cars from yesteryear, but buyers wanting a bigger range buffer will feel more comfortable with the Bolt’s extra 88 miles.

Drive Performance

As noted by Motor Trend, the Leaf will “probably lag in a three-EV drag race” between the Bolt and faster Model 3, but 0-60 mph or quarter mile times are just one aspect of a whole picture.

Around town the Leaf ought to be quite satisfying, and the previous generation already had featured commercials boasting of its instant torque winning stoplight drags. It was quick to 45 mph and the new one ought to feel peppier, but the Bolt will surely beat it with its 0-30 mph time of 2.9 seconds.

Handling wise, both cars carry their batteries in the floor for a low center of gravity. The Bolt – with thinking adapted from the Spark EV which had 400 pounds-feet of torque – carries forth the pocket rocket ethos, and does a passing imitation of a hot hatch.

Chevrolet was so sure of this that last month it invited media to Detroit to sample Bolts on an autocross course, and even brought out a Golf GTI with stickier tires and lots of power to show how closely they compare.

The Leaf appears to build on the platform of what came before, and will be fun enough, but don’t be surprised if the Bolt feels more adroit and fleet footed.

Nissan has said a Nismo version will address the need for speed, but news on that model’s release has yet to come.

Price

Price was partially addressed up top, and to carry on, Nissan says the Leaf is aimed now at a mainstream buyer – that means it wants it to be an alternative to the Versa, Corolla, Civic, Cruze, and Golf, etc. buyers of the world. The Bolt too is supposed to be aimed at the mythical mainstream buyer.

At least that’s the sales pitch, but the Bolt has not achieved mainstream sales volume with its best months seeing a bit over 2,000 sales, analysts not predicting more, and time will tell if Nissan can break that glass ceiling either.

To give it a helping hand, unlike Chevrolet, Nissan clearly undercut the price of the Model 3 and does not even pretend to make it in the same league. Chevrolet actually priced its car above the TM3 which for now is not available at “$35,000” plus destination, but is supposed to be in time.

Between the Bolt and Leaf, actual street prices will be another question. Both the $30,875 and up Leaf and $37,495 and up Bolt are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit and potential state incentives. In their biggest market, California, after discounting, don’t be surprised to see Bolts net for mid 20s and Leafs for low 20s or below 20.

Those are mainstream prices, but of course buyers must front the money before receiving incentives back. Also, more consumers and the dealers that sell to them must have their minds tuned into the benefits of EVs. At present, in the USA, crossover- and SUV-conscious Americans and the dealers that sell to them do not and EVs hold 0.60 percent of the market.

The good news is the picture is getting brighter. And to help that, both cars are a fresh start, offer much more than was available from pure electric cars even last year, and it’s onward from here.

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China’s Pending Fossil Fuel Ban Stands To Stimulate EV Development into Overdrive

As various countries and automakers set deadlines to ban fossil fuel powered vehicles, the latest to potentially add its name to the list is the world’s largest car market, China.

Assuming it does set a date-certain deadline for the phase-out of vehicles powered by conventional internal combustion engines (ICE), the fast-growing market stands to shift automakers’ decisions to develop electrified vehicles into a higher gear.

Unlike France and the UK, which have set fossil fuel ban dates by 2040, or other countries eyeing a sooner termination, China has not yet established a deadline, but it is believed it will be by 2040, if not sooner.

That China is mulling its options was revealed in a Bloomberg report of China’s Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Xin Guobin. The official said Saturday at an auto forum that regulators are working on a phase-out timeline for the sale and production of ICE-powered vehicles.

China has been pushing for EVs since last decade, and companies like BYD and Geely have also proven against earlier reports domestic makers can turn out competent plug-in hybrids, with the BYD Qin outselling all plug-in vehicles last year, including Tesla’s Model S.

China otherwise prefers pure EVs which are technologically less encumbered than hybrids with only one propulsion system – a plus for budding domestic companies, and potentially cleaner for the country concerned about air quality that can be abysmal in some regions.

After initial stumbling steps early this decade to jump start its EV industry, China’s formula of heavily incentivizing consumers and domestically based manufacturers hit stride, and last year it sold more plug-in vehicles than Europe or the U.S.

Its cumulative total of plug-in electrified vehicles – it calls them “new energy vehicles” – is also ahead of number two Europe, and number three USA. As of last year, the three markets combined had sold more than 2 million plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles cumulatively since their inception.

That’s just a drop in the bucket compared to 84-88 million vehicles estimated sold worldwide in 2016 alone, and the 290 million total vehicles on China’s roads alone, but synergies are happening to accelerate the shift.

Other markets on board with putting the ICE on ice include Norway and the Netherlands shooting for as soon as 2025, and Germany and India are proposing a deadline as soon as 2030.

Meanwhile automakers are setting internal deadlines for themselves as they see regulatory handwriting on the global market wall intended to address climate change concerns.

For example, Volkswagen Group, Daimler, and BMW last year announced that by 2025, 15-25 percent of their vehicle models would plug in. Honda has also said by 2030 two-thirds of its models would be electrified including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric.

Others are setting hard-and fast deadlines, including Geely owns Volvo saying by 2019 all subsequent models would be hybrid. plug-in hybrid, or all-electric. Another is Aston Martin which like other luxury performance and supercar makers knows it must do something drastic to stay in business, and by 2025 all its vehicles will be hybridized.

The latest entries – and don’t be surprised to see more – came last week, when Lincoln said by 2022 it would offer electrified variants of all its models, and Jaguar-Land Rover said by 2020 all future vehicles would be electrified.

Gung Ho Here, Dragging Feet There

General Motors is positioned well in China and in electrification technology. It also treats its North American Volt as a “niche” product with much less robust marketing than is provided for trucks, SUVs and crossovers.

All this is happening on a global scale even while the U.S. is a barometer of how many automakers really feel.

While automakers are otherwise smiling upon the electric future, the majority of global automakers doing business in the U.S. have asked the Trump administration to put on the brakes for 2022-2025 federal emission and mpg regulations.

Said regs do not even mandate plug-ins like California’s ZEV rules do, and the EPA has said 0-2 percent plug-ins would be needed, or a minimal amount.

The carmakers are showing their hand however in where there is weak point perceived in an otherwise unified regulatory wall pushing the boundaries back toward electrification, they are throwing on the wall what they think can stick with the U.S. EPA.

In broad terms automakers have complained about the Obama administration’s early settling of 2022-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules, implying electrification would still be needed. Plug ins, they’ve said through lobbying arms are: 1) too expensive to profitably make, 2) consumers do not favor them, and 3) they resent being mandated by bureaucrats what kind of technologies they must implement to meet emission and mpg goals.

“The CA zero emission vehicle program is particularly disliked by automakers because it requires specific technologies, but look at the plethora of vehicles (even at small volume) in the market or planned in the near term,” said Michigan-based analyst Alan Baum.

Baum noted that like it or not, California-style rules have pushed automakers doing business here to develop vehicles they would not have otherwise.

From around the globe, China has studied the success of California rules, and sought to implement aspects of its program. So, while critics pejoratively call California “leftist” in its leanings, China need not be shy about it – it is communist, and is mandating what its central planners see fit.

Automakers in that market therefore are, as capitalists will, attempting to make the best of what some see as a golden ground floor opportunity. In order to qualify for fat government incentives however, they must pair up with domestic joint-venture partners – another controversial fact some have resisted in an attempt to keep intellectual property secret.

But IP secrets are already out, and meanwhile the global market is pushing in more or less harmony with what China is trying to accomplish and the message that plug-ins are on the rise is clear.

Embracing Greenness

An early Nissan Leaf ad. The company soon ditched that approach, and sought to prove the value proposition. Its new 2018 version shoots for a mainstream audience, but the idea of embracing all things sustainable and clean remains in the industry accelerating as fast as it feels comfortable doing so.

Given this, carmakers are opening divisions for themselves to champion electrification; they are making forward-looking statements of their commitment to the environment and sustainability. Some of them mean it, and others are ambivalent behind a crafted public face and doing it because they have to as the tide is pulling them in a direction they cannot easily resist.

It’s an awkward position carmakers are in. Consumers have begun to embrace plug-ins. Most people do believe climate change is a dire threat, and this is a huge lever to impose technology specific rules on carmakers who are already responsible for obeying tens of thousands of pages of regulations on other issues.

As wise corporate citizens, carmakers must also now be seen as embracing the future, as they hope to sell vehicles they’re being forced on the other hand to make – including now by Tesla which is both helped by regs and helping regs as a “disruptive” element.

Just a couple years ago diesel was also seen as a way to satisfy regulations, but while it’s still being proffered, there’s been an emigration from this out-of-favor technology.

For its part, diesel cheating scandal originator VW Group – and its 13 brands which sold around 10 million vehicles last year – needs to put dirty diesel in its rear view mirror, and has given a polar-bear-sized hug to plug-ins.

China’s Latest Stimulus

BYD Qin.

And now China, the biggest growth market, is setting a deadline that was already implicit in the first place. Reports including this one are going out that this latest move will profoundly impact carmakers, but they were already moving that way in the tractor beam of the collective unconsciousness.

Having a deadline for a phase-out does however raise the intensity level, said Baum.

“The Chinese government can set bans/incentives easier than democracies, but they can also roll them back quickly,” said Baum noting China has already done so with a previous program suggesting a certain percent of EV sales.

And so the pressure increases on coming up with ways to make it profitable. Today Daimler predicted after slashing almost $5 billion in costs its electrified EQ sub-brand and electrified Smart cars would make half the profit it was accustomed to.

It will be tight but as the saying goes “where there is a will [or no other choice], there is a way,” and costs have otherwise been declining faster than predicted.

Last year an indicator was shown of this when GM reported its price for batteries has dropped dramatically.

The Bolt EV gets LG Chem cells for $145/ kWh, hundreds of dollars cheaper than five years ago.

And while GM and most other carmakers petitioning the U.S. saying EVs are a tough sell, the incentive to refine marketing and sales is also ratcheting up.

Automakers will need buyers for their products, and their third-party franchised dealers will need to learn how to better sell them.

To date, this has been a problem EV advocates have beaten the band about to “tone deaf” carmakers – other than Tesla, that is.

But now China has hammered a new gong and whose sound may go around the world, or so it is hoped.

Either way, things are falling into place faster than many thought just a few years ago.

Bloomberg

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Toyota Prius Prime Could Take Chevrolet Volt’s Plug-in Hybrid Sales Leader Crown

Since the late-2010 beginning of the major manufacturer plug-in car era, the Chevy Volt has been the plug-in hybrid sales king, but this year it could its crown is in jeopardy.

Toyota’s Prius Prime, which has been rolling out this year and thus ramping up in sales, has been nipping at the heels of the Volt all year, and in August it again took a chunk from a small sales lead being held onto by the Volt.

To some, there is not a little irony that the Volt would be threatened by the Prime. On paper, the Volt with 53 miles all-electric range is heads-above the 25-mile Prime – and that EV-like experience is typically why many opt for a plug-in over a regular hybrid. Apparently however, there are just about as many buyers who are willing to opt for the sum total value proposition represented by Toyota’s Prius Prime.

Last month the Prime again led the plug-in hybrid sales board over the second-place Volt by 375 units for a total 1,820 units sold compared to the Volt’s 1,445. For this year to date, Toyota now trails by just 738 units, a gap which could be closed if it has just a couple more months of similar Volt-beating sales.

East vs. West

The Detroit-built Volt also costs more than the Prime but assuming buyers recoup a full tax credit, the spread is about $3,000 at sticker – not counting potentially greater discounting and other possible perks for the larger-battery wielding Bowtie car which help its competitiveness.

More specifically, the Volt costs about $34,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. The Prime is around $28,000 at entry level and is eligible for a $4,500 federal credit and Toyota was clever in its pricing scheme compared to how it marked up the former (inferior) Prius Plug-in Hybrid’s $30-40k barrier to entry.

The sharpened pencil went so far as to make the Prime attractive next to even the non-subsidy eligible, non-plug-in Prius Liftback. The Prime now starts within the low and high price points for the Liftback, meaning the Prime can be perceived by more tire kickers at the Toyota dealer than was previously the case.

Without factoring potential state incentives which may narrow the Volt-Prius difference further, the Volt nets for an effective $26,500 and the Prime is around $23,500.


What do you get in each? Both are positioned like “green cars” are these days – a blend of stylized frugality, and a tip of the cap toward the now requisite fun-to-drive factor.

Both sip fuel in gas-electric hybrid mode, with the icing on the cake being all-electric range so they can run as pure EVs for a stretch, ideally long enough to avoid gas day to day.

On this metric, the Volt beats the Prime’s electric range as mentioned: 53 miles vs. 25, while the Prime beats the Volt in mpg. In gas-electric hybrid mode, the Prime beats most trims of the donor Prius Liftback with 54 mpg, instead of 52, whereas the Volt – a purpose-built “extended-range electric vehicle” – is rated 42 mpg.

Keeping to the bare-usefulness comparison, the compact Volt has less interior space with 10.6 cubic feet cargo volume, and the midsized Prime lets you cram in more stuff with 19.8 cubic feet. The Volt however has seating (theoretically) for five, while the Prime devolved back to four.

From the Driver’s Seat

The 1.8-liter hybrid Prius Prime boasts a modest 121 net system horsepower, compared to the Volt’s 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain rated for 149 horses, and unlike Toyota, GM provides a torque figure of 294 pounds-feet – respectable.

This is enough to make the Volt feel much more lively when one stomps on the go pedal. With all its torque instantly available from a standstill, the 3,543-pound Volt leaps to 30 mph in just 2.6 seconds – quicker than the 2.9-second Bolt EV – and this satisfies the itch for useable acceleration in these cars’ natural habitat – around town.


In that same mini-drag run, 60 mph comes along a bit less progressively in 8.4 seconds. Not amazing and well short of the Bolt EV’s roughly 6.5 seconds, the Volt is otherwise fleet-footed next to the 3,365-pound Prime, whose walk from 0-60 is comparable to the former Prius, or in the neighborhood of 10 seconds. The Prime is not sluggish feeling, but it’s at the other end of the spectrum from any kind of a hot hatch.

Around corners however is another matter. The first-gen 2011-2015 Volt was a nice handler, and the new one is too even with stock low rolling resistance tires. For its second go-around after the 2012-2015 Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Toyota went and made sure the new Prius handles sharply too.

The Prime’s stiffer “Toyota New Global Architecture” (TNGA) chassis and more-expensive-to-produce (slightly) double wishbone rear suspension make it track in a worthy manner around the bends much better than limp-noodle Prius generations of yore.

Beauty Contest

The Prime has been unofficially declared better looking than the non-plug-in Prius Liftback by a majority vote in the court of public opinion. Their results can be found in random article comments all over the Net, but their approval is only half a compliment. The self-appointed Prius Looks Jurors otherwise declare the regular Liftback hybrid’s image anything but fetching, with many of them reserving expletives, and not saying anything so polite as this.


Fortunately for the Volt, mobs with pitchforks have not burned it in effigy, and let it have a pass. The Volt follows its maker’s strategy of blending into the sea of me-too designs by not just borrowing elements of the Honda Civic and Kia Forte. Chevrolet’s stylists actually lifted much from the bread-and-butter Cruze, but it’s considered snappy looking enough.

Of course you are free to disagree as to which you like more. You know what they say about perceptive beauty, right?

Why Else is the Prime So Threatening?

Toyota originated the Prius hybrid in Japan 20 years ago, the plug-in came along in 2012. Both the Volt and it are second-gen plug-in products – the only fully redesigned plug-in cars sold, actually.

Brand perception however goes a long way in “the second largest purchase the average consumer will ever make,” and, well, how do you think an average consumer in a shopping mall would answer a survey between Chevrolet’s reliability, resale value, and quality, versus Toyota’s?


The Prius in particular has a strong fan base, and solid track record. It’s such a good used car, Consumer Reports a few years back came out and recommended a used Liftback over a new Prius c – because they thought the subcompact c was of cheap quality, and a pre-owned Prius would be a better buy even though used.

This said, sometimes stereotypes are deserved, and sometimes they are undeserved in the case of Chevrolet. More to the point, the automaker has been racking up quality and consumer satisfaction survey awards for a few years now, and the Volt in particular has been afforded white glove treatment.

The U.S. automaker has called the Volt a “niche” product “just like Corvette” – albeit the Volt is a niche in its growing technological portfolio it hopes to undergird continued brand-image improvement, and in short, with the Volt, it has something to prove, and does.

Reliability has been decent the liquid cooled 18.4 kWh battery has had a very good reliability and range-holding record, and incidentally, said batter costs GM more to produce, so a Volt buyer is getting value in this regard.

So Will The Volt Be Outsold by the Prime?

The Volt is actually the country’s second-best selling plug-in electrified vehicle this year, and its 13,895 sales through August trails only the Tesla Model S which has 14,700 estimated. Toyota’s Prime plug-in Prius is however third-ranked, and with one third of the year remaining (four months), it’s anyone’s guess, but one analyst is projecting a tie.


That would be Michigan-based Alan Baum, who projects the Volt will garner 21,000 sales, and the Prime will also achieve 21,000 sales.

This is otherwise an educated guess, and realistically, either could beat the other, and in all likelihood, there won’t be a dead-even tie, and one will come out ahead.

Any conjectures on which it would be?

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Chevrolet Bolt EV Leads All in August Plug-in Electrified Car Sales

Just in time for Chevrolet’s announcement that it’s available nationwide, the Bolt EV has finished a sales month ahead of every other plug-in electrified vehicle sold in the U.S.

At least, it probably did assuming an estimated Tesla Model S sales just 7 units less than the Bolt’s 2,107 August sales is accurate.

Chevrolet’s all-electric front-wheel-driver otherwise did well compared to 1,820 Toyota Prius Prime sales, 1,700 Model X sales, and 1,445 units of its gas-electric sibling, the Chevy Volt.

One might expect this result from the Bolt and even more, given its on-paper credentials are what they are. Last month Consumer Reports – which has more-often under-rated cars mpg and range potential in its tougher-than-EPA tests – said it’s good for an honest-to-goodness 250 miles range, and the five-seater after $7,500 federal tax credit can be had for under $30,000.

This year the Bolt’s sales have climbed as availability has climbed, and the last two months of July and August were progressively its best sales months so far.

Chevrolet Bolt EVs lined up at a media program at Babcock Ranch, Friday, July 21, 2017 on Florida’s Gulf Coast. (Photo by Mark Elias for Chevrolet)

Chevrolet is not running an aggressive nationwide advertising campaign for the EV though, and given Tesla is still selling its cars in higher volume for 2-4 times the money (without advertising either), one might say the Bolt is performing below its potential.

Nor would this be a new thing. Chevrolet has demonstrated its marketing of the Bolt and Volt to be unable to grip a mainstream audience, and the Bowtie-brand plug-in cars have elicited a lot of gawking, oohs, ahhs, and awards, but sales are another story.

This said, the five cars mentioned – the all-electric Model S, Model X, and Bolt, plus the plug-in hybrid Prius Prime and Volt – are all trading places as the top five and stand heads above numerous other plug-in cars that sell not as well.

Specifically, U.S. sales through 2017 are: Model S (14,700 estimated); Chevy Volt (13,895); Prius Prime (13,157); Model X (12,200 estimated); Bolt EV (11,670).

Next down on the sales leader list is the Nissan Leaf with 9,685 deliveries, and it’s actually doing respectably thanks in part to slashed prices and despite pent-up interest in its replacement which was just revealed yesterday. The Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is holding its own with 6,522 sales, and the C-Max Energi is too with 5,929.

BMW’s i3 has but 4,097 sales through August, less than half as much as the fifth place Bolt which this month is the best-selling plug-in.

2018 Nissan Leaf.

The Bolt has benefitted by being newsworthy and word is trickling out despite lack of an aggressive ad campaign GM might have paid for to move its better selling trucks, SUVs and crossovers.

Does it have upside potential to break out therefore?

Not with people sandbagging their choice waiting for the next Leaf – though it will for its first year have just 150 miles range, albeit $7,500 less expensive at entry level. Tesla’s Model 3 also is creating strong interest, and is arguably the car to beat in the price segment, although initial examples are north of $40,000, not mid 30s and south of 30 as with the Bolt and Leaf which know their place in life.

Glass Ceiling

On this day, as the U.S. EPA is giving just one public meeting prior to potentially weakening 2021-2025 emission and mpg laws, and as Americans are focusing on crossovers and trucks, plug-ins are yet confined.

According to Michigan based analysts Baum and Associates, the Bolt may now continue selling within a monthly range it has now crested into despite its national availability.

“I do not think the Bolt will move much beyond a 2,000-2,500 monthly range even as it is fully available in all states,” said Alan Baum. “Production will have to increase as well as marketing, and I do not yet see an indication that will occur.”

Next year’s best seller.

Baum’s forecast projects the Bolt’s year-end sales tallying to just 19,000 units. This is yet ahead of the Leaf’s 15,000 estimated, and Nissan says the 2018 model will be available next year. Tesla’s Model 3 which just began production is estimated to see 12,000 deliveries by December 31.

What car is projected to finish first? The Model S. Again. But, an estimated 22,700 sales are well below 2016’s 29,156. The Model X, is estimated to finish slightly up from 2016’s 18,028 with 19,000 sales.

And, the Volt and Prius Prime may hit 21,000 which all told would leave this month’s first-place Bolt tied for fourth place.

Unless something changes, that is.

The post Chevrolet Bolt EV Leads All in August Plug-in Electrified Car Sales appeared first on HybridCars.com.

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Chevrolet Bolt EV Leads All in August Plug-in Electrified Car Sales

Just in time for Chevrolet’s announcement that it’s available nationwide, the Bolt EV has finished a sales month ahead of every other plug-in electrified vehicle sold in the U.S.

At least, it probably did assuming an estimated Tesla Model S sales just 7 units less than the Bolt’s 2,107 August sales is accurate.

Chevrolet’s all-electric front-wheel-driver otherwise did well compared to 1,820 Toyota Prius Prime sales, 1,700 Model X sales, and 1,445 units of its gas-electric sibling, the Chevy Volt.

One might expect this result from the Bolt and even more, given its on-paper credentials are what they are. Last month Consumer Reports – which has more-often under-rated cars mpg and range potential in its tougher-than-EPA tests – said it’s good for an honest-to-goodness 250 miles range, and the five-seater after $7,500 federal tax credit can be had for under $30,000.

This year the Bolt’s sales have climbed as availability has climbed, and the last two months of July and August were progressively its best sales months so far.

Chevrolet Bolt EVs lined up at a media program at Babcock Ranch, Friday, July 21, 2017 on Florida’s Gulf Coast. (Photo by Mark Elias for Chevrolet)

Chevrolet is not running an aggressive nationwide advertising campaign for the EV though, and given Tesla is still selling its cars in higher volume for 2-4 times the money (without advertising either), one might say the Bolt is performing below its potential.

Nor would this be a new thing. Chevrolet has demonstrated its marketing of the Bolt and Volt to be unable to grip a mainstream audience, and the Bowtie-brand plug-in cars have elicited a lot of gawking, oohs, ahhs, and awards, but sales are another story.

This said, the five cars mentioned – the all-electric Model S, Model X, and Bolt, plus the plug-in hybrid Prius Prime and Volt – are all trading places as the top five and stand heads above numerous other plug-in cars that sell not as well.

Specifically, U.S. sales through 2017 are: Model S (14,700 estimated); Chevy Volt (13,895); Prius Prime (13,157); Model X (12,200 estimated); Bolt EV (11,670).

Next down on the sales leader list is the Nissan Leaf with 9,685 deliveries, and it’s actually doing respectably thanks in part to slashed prices and despite pent-up interest in its replacement which was just revealed yesterday. The Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is holding its own with 6,522 sales, and the C-Max Energi is too with 5,929.

BMW’s i3 has but 4,097 sales through August, less than half as much as the fifth place Bolt which this month is the best-selling plug-in.

2018 Nissan Leaf.

The Bolt has benefitted by being newsworthy and word is trickling out despite lack of an aggressive ad campaign GM might have paid for to move its better selling trucks, SUVs and crossovers.

Does it have upside potential to break out therefore?

Not with people sandbagging their choice waiting for the next Leaf – though it will for its first year have just 150 miles range, albeit $7,500 less expensive at entry level. Tesla’s Model 3 also is creating strong interest, and is arguably the car to beat in the price segment, although initial examples are north of $40,000, not mid 30s and south of 30 as with the Bolt and Leaf which know their place in life.

Glass Ceiling

On this day, as the U.S. EPA is giving just one public meeting prior to potentially weakening 2021-2025 emission and mpg laws, and as Americans are focusing on crossovers and trucks, plug-ins are yet confined.

According to Michigan based analysts Baum and Associates, the Bolt may now continue selling within a monthly range it has now crested into despite its national availability.

“I do not think the Bolt will move much beyond a 2,000-2,500 monthly range even as it is fully available in all states,” said Alan Baum. “Production will have to increase as well as marketing, and I do not yet see an indication that will occur.”

Next year’s best seller.

Baum’s forecast projects the Bolt’s year-end sales tallying to just 19,000 units. This is yet ahead of the Leaf’s 15,000 estimated, and Nissan says the 2018 model will be available next year. Tesla’s Model 3 which just began production is estimated to see 12,000 deliveries by December 31.

What car is projected to finish first? The Model S. Again. But, an estimated 22,700 sales are well below 2016’s 29,156. The Model X, is estimated to finish slightly up from 2016’s 18,028 with 19,000 sales.

And, the Volt and Prius Prime may hit 21,000 which all told would leave this month’s first-place Bolt tied for fourth place.

Unless something changes, that is.

The post Chevrolet Bolt EV Leads All in August Plug-in Electrified Car Sales appeared first on HybridCars.com.

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Chevy Bolt EV Now Available Nationwide

The U.S. rollout of the Chevy Bolt EV that began last December in California and Oregon has reached national availability startus.

Today Chevrolet announced the 238-mile range electric compact crossover is available either in stock or by ordering in all participating U.S. dealers.

As the automaker’s entry into the sub-$40,000, over-200-mile club ahead of Tesla’s Model 3 now slowly ramping up production, the vehicle has had respectable sales success to date.

Chevrolet has reported 11,670 units sold this year of the car that was yet rolling out. Couple that with 579 California and Oregon sales in December, and the tally of Bolts bolting down the roads of the USA are 12,249.

This year the car has received an outsized proportion of praise – both from professional auto reviewers, and customers who’ve bought the spacious, quick, five-passenger car.

With almost 40 awards under its belt, the Bolt EV tops all other EVs for the most-packed trophy case, including Motor Trend 2017 Car of the Year, 2017 North American Car of the Year and Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal.

It also scored a 2017 Top Safety Pick designation by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) for models equipped with available Driver Confidence II Package. It was nicked for having sub-par headlights according to the IIHS, or else it would have achieved Top Safety Pick+.

Meanwhile customers are also raving about it, including occasional HybridCars.com contributor Brian Ro, who was among the first Bolt buyers to get one.

“It’s been everything I had hoped!” said Brian Ro of Columbia, Maryland who shipped his car from California before they were available in his state. “The CUV-styling fits my family of four just fine, and the EV performance and 200-plus mile range simply can’t be beat at this price point.”

With a $7,500 federal tax credit, assuming one’s tax situation permits, the Bolt can net for below $30,000, and potential state incentives on a state by state basis can whitle more from this figure.

For that, the car comes standard with electronic precision shift, a “Regen on Demand” to feed regenerative energy for the steering wheel, and a 10.2-inch color touchscreen.

Also baked in is a 0-30 time of 2.9 seconds, and 0-60 in around 6.5 seconds, and handling good enough to hold its own next to a VW GTI on a tight autocross racing course in a parking lot.

In sum, the Bolt has the interior volume of a midsized vehicle in a compact form, was rated by Consumer Reports for 250 miles range, is super efficient with 119 miles per gallon equivalent, and is fun to drive.

That it is not as perceptibly cool as a Model 3 is a subjective factor for some, but it appears to be well executed, though as is true of others, the long-term reliability, resale value, and total ownership costs have yet to be seen, and some are still sitting it out …

While others are not.

Everyone who rides in it just loves it,” said Maria Mraz of San Francisco, Calif. “It’s very modern-feeling and so easy to drive … I’m very happy with my Bolt EV.”

The post Chevy Bolt EV Now Available Nationwide appeared first on HybridCars.com.

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August 2017 Dashboard

The HybridCars.com monthly sales Dashboard is a collaboration of HybridCars.com and Baum & Associates, a Michigan-based market research firm focusing on automotive issues including the hybrid and electric vehicle market.

Overall sales for August were down from a year ago although they were up from July.

Clearly, sales this the year overall are down from a year ago as well, and this trend is likely to continue as the decline for 2017 is currently at 2.8 percent. Each of the non-conventional powertrain categories was up from July, and all were up from August 2016 except diesels. Year-to-date, all categories were up except for diesels.

About Top Photo: Chevy Bolt was best-seller; also makes a groovy autocrosser!

Sales for full electric vehicles were up from July and as compared to last August. Of course, year-to-date sales are up significantly based primarily on new entries. We estimate an additional 70 Tesla Model 3s were sold in August as production ramps up slowly. We believe that Model S and X sales were up from July, but Model S sales were down from year-ago. The Bolt actually led the category (and enjoyed its best month yet) as vehicles are now available throughout the U.S. (although often by order only). However, the increase from July was relatively modest and sales remain around 2,000 per month. The Leaf had another poor month, but the new version will be shown in early September, and be available for sale early in 2018. Sales of the current model will remain modest as buyers wait for the increased range and improved styling of the new model.

SEE ALSO: July 2017 Dashboard

Plug-in hybrids were up from July, last August, and year-to-date. The Prius Prime and the Volt led the category, with the Ford Fusion and C-Max following. Volumes of the Pacifica are still estimated and we believe that the quality issues have been solved and therefore sales are increasing, albeit at a modest rate. Volumes of the Volt have been declining since they peaked in March of this year. Year-to-date, they are down modestly from last year’s total. Sales increased in the second half of the last year (since the model was new), so the decline in sales for this year is likely to increase as the year continues. The Prius Prime has reached a steady rate of between 1,600-1,900 monthly and of course is up from last year since it has only been available since November 2016. The Volvo XC60 is new to the Dashboard this month, although sales began in July (and those sales are now included). It joins the larger Volvo XC90 which has been available for two years.

Hybrid sales were up from July, last August and year-to-date, with the Prius Liftback still leading the category. That said, the vehicle remains well below previous years. The Toyota RAV4 had another good month, as did the Fusion hybrid. A new entry has been added to the category, namely the GMC Sierra mild hybrid. This vehicle is only available in California on two wheel drive models and is an experiment to see if demand for this vehicle justifies continued and/or expanded production. Of course, four wheel drive is very popular on full size pickups, thus this will limit the volume of this product. The vehicle uses the eAssist technology which is used on a variety of other GM vehicles including the Malibu. Volumes in August were over 3,000 with a total of 3,300 year-to-date. Sales of this model are likely to be somewhat erratic, particularly given that plants producing this vehicle will be down for several weeks this fall for preparation of a new model (including gasoline engine versions) that will appear late in 2018. The Kia Niro and Honda Accord hybrid also had strong sales above 2,000 each in August. Toyota’s hybrid share in August is just over 50 percent as other automakers experienced relatively good sales last month as compared to Toyota.

The diesel segment had a good month (following a poor July) based on two important factors: 1) Ford Transit sales returned to “normal” and the vehicle leads the category by a large margin and 2) Ram Pickups are now being sold (albeit in small numbers in August) with the EcoDiesel engine. This engine has been off the market since early this year because of a lack of certification from EPA. That certification is now in place and sales volumes will rise in coming months as more production becomes available. In addition, a new vehicle has been added, namely the Range Rover Velar.

August 2017 Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

Hybrids sold in the U.S. (August 2017): 34,850
Hybrid Take-Rate: 2.36%

U.S. Hybrid sales for August 2017

MfrModel 8-17 Sales vs. 7-17 vs. 8-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month US Share
ToyotaPrius Liftback 6,043 0.1%-40.6% 45,189 -34.1% 68,582 17.34%
ToyotaRAV4 5,128 9.2%4.2% 30,593 6.0% 28,862 14.71%
FordFusion Hybrid 4,623 111.0%54.0% 38,351 113.0% 18,008 13.27%
GMCSierra Hybrid 3,128 4015.8%N/A 3,316 N/A - 8.98%
KiaNiro Hybrid 2,677 -3.1%N/A 18,116 N/A - 7.68%
HondaAccord Hybrid 2,162 7.7%142.9% 15,152 780.9% 1,720 6.20%
ToyotaHighlander Hybrid 1,419 -7.1%180.4% 11,099 197.1% 3,736 4.07%
ToyotaCamry Hybrid 1,284 -0.5%-40.4% 11,382 -22.3% 14,649 3.68%
HyundaiIoniq Hybrid 1,093 -9.6%N/A 7,026 N/A - 3.14%
FordC-Max Hybrid 1,009 1.4%14.8% 6,419 -28.9% 9,034 2.90%
ToyotaPrius C 853 -1.7%-41.5% 8,770 -39.2% 14,434 2.45%
LexusRX 400 / 450 h 852 5.7%48.4% 5,338 -10.9% 5,988 2.44%
ToyotaPrius V 835 -0.2%-38.0% 6,919 -30.9% 10,019 2.40%
HyundaiSonata 762 3.1%-33.5% 7,871 -36.7% 12,426 2.19%
LexusES Hybrid 636 6.4%-8.1% 3,558 -36.8% 5,627 1.82%
LincolnMKZ 548 26.0%1.3% 4,150 -18.5% 5,090 1.57%
ToyotaAvalon Hybrid 425 3.4%-45.2% 3,442 -36.6% 5,425 1.22%
ChevroletMalibu Hybrid 301 9.9%-42.3% 3,000 92.6% 1,558 0.86%
KiaOptima Hybrid 294 10.9%-55.0% 2,025 -52.3% 4,249 0.84%
LexusNX Hybrid 237 -16.0%5.8% 1,782 -2.0% 1,818 0.68%
AcuraMDX Hybrid 217 -13.5%N/A 836 N/A - 0.62%
LexusCT200h 204 -53.8%-75.1% 4,572 -26.1% 6,183 0.59%
HondaCR-Z 26 -48.0%-88.3% 624 -63.3% 1,699 0.07%
InfinitiQ50 Hybrid 25 -3.8%-83.3% 738 -43.7% 1,310 0.07%
AcuraNSX Hybrid 21 -30.0%-4.5% 329 631.1% 45 0.06%
LexusLC 500h 15 150.0%N/A 67 N/A - 0.04%
AcuraRLX Hybrid 13 30.0%-31.6% 143 6.7% 134 0.04%
VolkswagenJetta Hybrid 6 50.0%-95.3% 68 -86.0% 484 0.02%
BuickLacrosse Hybrid 5 N/A-91.7% 103 -83.4% 620 0.01%
InfinitiQ70 Hybrid 4 0.0%-55.6% 41 -50.0% 82 0.01%
LexusGS 450h 3 0.0%0.0% 41 -30.5% 59 0.01%
SubaruXV Crosstrek Hybrid 2 N/A-98.3% 42 -97.9% 1,998 0.01%
AcuraILX Hybrid - N/AN/A - -100.0% 1 0.00%
AudiQ5 Hybrid - N/A-100.0% - -100.0% 17 0.00%
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 (535ih) - N/AN/A - -100.0% 15 0.00%
BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid - N/AN/A - -100.0% 1 0.00%
BuickRegal Hybrid - N/AN/A 6 -86.4% 44 0.00%
ChevroletImpala Hybrid - N/AN/A 1 -97.1% 35 0.00%
HondaCivic Hybrid - -100.0%-100.0% 58 -92.9% 817 0.00%
HondaInsight - -100.0%-100.0% 3 -95.2% 62 0.00%
InfinitiQX60 Hybrid - N/A-100.0% 298 -64.1% 829 0.00%
LexusLS 600h - N/A-100.0% - -100.0% 30 0.00%
MercedesE400H - N/A-100.0% 3 -70.0% 10 0.00%
NissanPathfinder Hybrid - N/A-100.0% 389 -23.7% 510 0.00%
NissanRogue Hybrid - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
Total Hybrid 34,850 19.6%8.2% 241,860 6.9% 226,210
Total Auto Sales 1,475,030 4.7%-2.1% 11,285,648 -2.8% 11,616,706
Overall Hybrid Take Rate2.36%2.14%1.95%

August 2017 Plug-in Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

Plug-in Hybrids sold in the U.S. (August 2017): 7,668
Plug-in Hybrid Take-Rate: 0.52%

U.S. Plug-in Hybrid sales for August 2017

MfgrModel 8-17 Sales vs. 7-17 vs. 8-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month U.S. Share
ToyotaPrius Prime 1,820 10.6%90900.0% 13,157 27310.4% 48 23.74%
ChevroletVolt 1,445 -4.8%-30.6% 13,895 -2.8% 14,295 18.84%
FordFusion Energi 762 8.4%-46.4% 6,522 -34.8% 9,998 9.94%
FordC-Max Energi 705 -16.5%-0.3% 5,929 26.5% 4,687 9.19%
BMW3-Series Plug in 409 5.7%702.0% 2,665 855.2% 279 5.33%
ChryslerPacifica 400 220.0%N/A 1,892 N/A - 5.22%
BMW5-Series Plug in 345 0.6%N/A 1,087 N/A - 4.50%
BMWX5 317 -31.5%-63.8% 2,926 -28.7% 4,102 4.13%
VolvoXC90 Plug In 265 52.3%50.6% 1,246 -8.4% 1,360 3.46%
MercedesC350We Plug-in Hybrid 212 89.3%N/A 612 N/A - 2.76%
HyundaiSonata Plug In* 200 0.0%-20.0% 1,775 -9.0% 1,950 2.61%
KiaOptima Plug In 182 40.0%N/A 702 N/A - 2.37%
PorscheCayenne S E-Hybrid 178 11.3%-9.6% 1,316 -12.9% 1,511 2.32%
AudiA3 Plug In 129 -40.8%-62.7% 2,467 -6.4% 2,637 1.68%
MiniCountryman Plug In 86 14.7%N/A 171 N/A - 1.12%
VolvoXC60 Plug In 65 400.0%N/A 78 N/A - 0.85%
BMW7-Series Plug in 39 -51.3%N/A 422 N/A - 0.51%
MercedesS550 Plug In 32 -74.2%6.7% 567 167.5% 212 0.42%
BMWi8 29 -47.3%-80.0% 304 -67.3% 931 0.38%
CadillacCT6 23 4.5%N/A 89 N/A - 0.30%
MercedesGLE 550e Hybrid 23 -14.8%-4.2% 318 335.6% 73 0.30%
CadillacELR 1 -50.0%-83.3% 17 -96.7% 517 0.01%
PorschePanamera S E-Hybrid 1 N/A-98.3% 10 -95.8% 236 0.01%
Total PHEV 7,668 3.3%20.3% 58,167 35.8% 42,836
Total Auto Sales 1,475,030 4.7%-2.1% 11,285,648 -2.8% 11,616,706
Overall PHEV Rate0.52%0.52%0.37%
* Estimated

August 2017 Battery Electric Car Sales Numbers

Battery Electrics sold in the U.S. (August 2017): 8,835
Battery Electric Take-Rate: 0.60%

U.S. Battery Electric sales for August 2017

MfgrModel 8-17 Sales vs. 7-17 vs. 8-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month U.S. Share
ChevroletBolt 2,107 6.9%N/A 11,670 N/A - 23.85%
TeslaModel S* 2,100 40.0%-30.0% 14,700 -14.0% 17,100 23.77%
TeslaModel X* 1,700 21.4%0.0% 12,200 20.8% 10,100 19.24%
NissanLeaf 1,154 -10.1%8.3% 9,685 22.3% 7,922 13.06%
BMWi3** 504 -16.1%-50.2% 4,097 -23.7% 5,372 5.70%
VWe-Golf 317 2.9%-30.2% 2,512 11.5% 2,253 3.59%
KiaSoul EV 300 106.9%96.1% 1,281 35.6% 945 3.40%
Fiat500e* 234 -8.9%-25.0% 2,356 -8.3% 2,569 2.65%
FordFocus EV 131 -11.5%74.7% 1,337 130.9% 579 1.48%
SmartforTwo EV 94 N/A70.9% 151 -68.7% 483 1.06%
TeslaModel 3* 70 133.3%N/A 100 N/A - 0.79%
HyundaiIoniq EV 66 53.5%N/A 266 N/A - 0.75%
MercedesB-Class Electric 58 -28.4%1.8% 456 9.4% 417 0.66%
ChevroletSpark - -100.0%-100.0% 14 -99.4% 2,404 0.00%
HondaClarity BEV - -100.0%N/A 34 N/A - 0.00%
Mitsubishii - N/A-100.0% 6 -90.8% 65 0.00%
Total BEV 8,835 13.2%7.7% 60,865 21.2% 50,209
Total Auto Sales 1,475,030 4.7%-2.1% 11,285,648 -2.8% 11,616,706
Overall BEV Take Rate0.60%0.54%0.43%
* Estimated
** Breakdown between electric and range extended model is not available.

August 2017 Compressed Natural Gas Car Sales Numbers

Compressed Natural Gass sold in the U.S. (August 2017): 0
Compressed Natural Gas Take-Rate: 0.00%

U.S. Compressed Natural Gas sales for August 2017

MfgrModel 8-17 Sales vs. 7-17 vs. 8-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month US Share
HondaCivic - N/AN/A - -100.0% 1 N/A
Total CNG - -100.0% - -100.0% 1
Total Auto Sales 1,475,030 4.7%-2.1% 11,285,648 -2.8% 11,616,706
Overall CNG Take Rate0.00%0.00%0.00%

August 2017 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Car Sales Numbers

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles sold in the U.S. (August 2017): 165
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Take-Rate: 0.01%

U.S. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle sales for August 2017

MfgrModel 8-17 Sales vs. 7-17 vs. 8-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month US Share
ToyotaMirai 70 -14.6%-81.1% 860 34.2% 641 55.12%
HondaClarity 57 -30.5%N/A 433 N/A - 44.88%
HyundaiTucson - -100.0%-100.0% 21 -40.0% 35 0.00%
Total Fuel Cell 127 -123.0%-66.0% 1,314 94.4% 676
Total Auto Sales 1,475,030 4.7%-2.1% 11,285,648 -2.8% 11,616,706
Overall Fuel Cell Take Rate0.01%0.01%0.01%

August 2017 Diesel Car Sales Numbers

Diesels sold in the U.S. (August 2017): 4,752
Diesel Take-Rate: 0.34

U.S. Diesel sales for August 2017

MfgrModel 8-17 Sales vs. 7-17 vs. 8-16 CY 2017 CY 17 vs 16 CY 2016 Current Month US Share
FordTransit Diesel* 3,560 174.1%-15.2% 28,102 -21.1% 35,633 51.58%
ChevroletColorado Diesel 750 -26.5%-9.9% 5,849 24.1% 4,713 10.87%
RamRam Pickup Diesel* 390 N/A-91.6% 1,038 -97.0% 34,913 5.65%
GMCCanyon Diesel 304 1.0%-10.6% 2,397 13.8% 2,106 4.40%
BMW X5 Diesel 302 23.3%70.6% 1,869 18.4% 1,578 4.38%
ChevroletCruze Diesel 268 103.0%3728.6% 764 218.3% 240 3.88%
Land RoverRange Rover Sport 218 -4.4%-9.9% 2,184 0.5% 2,173 3.16%
JaguarF-Pace 164 -23.0%N/A 1,745 N/A - 2.38%
BMW 3-Series Diesel 148 25.4%23.3% 1,038 -8.9% 1,140 2.14%
Land RoverRange Rover 135 -14.6%-33.2% 1,696 -5.2% 1,789 1.96%
VolkswagenPassat Diesel 135 -42.8%N/A 2,706 N/A - 1.96%
VolkswagenGolf Sportwagon Diesel 129 -58.1%N/A 4,238 N/A - 1.87%
JaguarXE 117 -7.9%1850.0% 1,293 21450.0% 6 1.70%
VolkswagenJetta Diesel 83 -48.4%N/A 2,170 N/A - 1.20%
RamPromaster Van Diesel 46 53.3%43.8% 282 24.8% 226 0.67%
JaguarXF 42 16.7%N/A 336 N/A - 0.61%
VolkswagenBeetle Diesel 31 -11.4%N/A 263 N/A - 0.45%
VolkswagenGolf Diesel 31 -57.5%N/A 699 N/A - 0.45%
Land RoverRange Rover Velar 22 N/AN/A 22 N/A - 0.32%
AudiA3 Diesel 21 16.7%N/A 102 N/A - 0.30%
MercedesGL-Class Diesel 3 -50.0%-93.8% 28 -96.5% 803 0.04%
MercedesML Class Diesel 2 100.0%100.0% 7 -73.1% 26 0.03%
MercedesE-Class Diesel 1 -50.0%-96.7% 25 -96.0% 630 0.01%
AudiQ7 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
AudiQ5 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
AudiA6 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
AudiA7 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
AudiA8 Diesel - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
BMW 5-Series Diesel - N/A-100.0% 41 -93.8% 663 0.00%
BMW 7-Series Diesel - N/AN/A - -100.0% 2 0.00%
BMW X3 Diesel - -100.0%-100.0% 28 -95.9% 688 0.00%
JeepGrand Cherokee Diesel - N/A-100.0% 725 -73.3% 2,716 0.00%
MaseratiGhibli - N/AN/A - N/A - 0.00%
MercedesC-Class Diesel - N/A-100.0% 10 66.7% 6 0.00%
MercedesGLS-Class Diesel - N/AN/A 3 N/A - 0.00%
MercedesGLK Class Diesel - N/AN/A - -100.0% 30 0.00%
MercedesGLE-Class Diesel - -100.0%-100.0% 14 -98.4% 878 0.00%
Porsche Cayenne Diesel - N/AN/A - -100.0% 18 0.00%
VolkswagenTouareg Diesel - N/AN/A 1 N/A - 0.00%
Total Diesel 6,902 45.2%-39.6% 59,675 -34.4% 90,977
Total Auto Sales 1,475,030 4.7%-2.1% 11,285,648 -2.8% 11,616,706
Overall Diesel Take Rate0.47%0.53%0.78%
* Estimated

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