• Plug-In EVs
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Light Duty Vehicles

US PEV Sales Update: 2018

Raquel Soat
Feb 28, 2019

EVs 5

In the US and around the world, 2018 was a record-breaking year for plug-in EVs (PEVs). Over 360,000 PEVs were sold in the US, demonstrating an 80% increase in sales from 2017. In December, nearly 50,000 PEVs were sold making it the most successful sales month for EVs in the US. Worldwide, around 2 million light duty PEVs were sold over the course of the year.

PEV Sales and LDV Market Share, US Markets: 2018

PEV Sales and LDV Market Share US Markets 2018

(Source: Guidehouse Insights)

In 2018, over 238,000 battery EVs (BEVs) were sold in the US. BEVs accounted for 66% of all PEV sales, with plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) accounting for over 122,000 sales. While BEVs took the majority of sales, only 15 BEV models were available for purchase in the US as opposed to 28 PHEV models. 

End of Year Market Update

Despite early production woes and stock instability throughout the year, Tesla stole the show with nearly 140,000 Model 3 deliveries in 2018. The automaker also had over 50,000 Model S and Model X sales. Tesla accounted for 53% of EV sales last year in the US, up from its 25% market share of EVs in 2017. 

The Toyota Prius Prime was the leading PHEV last year with over 27,000 sales. The affordable PHEV, with prices starting at $27,350, increased its sales by 31% from 2017. Of the top 10 best-selling PEVs in 2018, six were from economy brands (plus the more affordable Model 3), indicating that consumers are responding to the improving economics of PEVs. The Honda Clarity PHEV, a relatively new model in the market, was the second-highest selling PHEV electric model in 2018. In December, it was the top-selling PHEV, barely outpacing the Prius Prime.

Outlook for 2019

Model 3 sales are expected to remain high in 2019, but with production leveling off it is unlikely the market will see as large of a bump in sales as it did in 2018. Guidehouse Insights forecasts 2019 PEV sales to reach over 430,000.

PEV models come and PEV models go, but 2019 is expected to see several new deployments like the crossover Audi e-tron fully electric vehicle. These models expand the PEV availability among the various light duty vehicle market body styles, appealing to a larger audience of consumers. On the other hand, General Motors will be discontinuing its production of the Chevy Volt PHEV come March. The vehicle, which was the third best-selling PHEV in the US in 2018, entered the market in 2011 and has been one of the top-selling EVs in the US. The vehicle is being discontinued due to restructuring at GM, which includes staff cuts and factory closures.