Green Car Sales Continue to Lag Behind Projections

By now it’s no surprise that the plummeting price of oil has stalled the green car movement. In fact, sales of SUVs and trucks have been up all year.  Tesla Motors, the electric car company at the forefront of the green car initiative, reported lower-than-expected sales in June. In fact, their delivery rate was the lowest it has been since Q3 of 2014 having delivered 14,370 vehicles for the quarter, including 9,745 Model S sedans and 4,625 Model X SUVs.

Tesla isn't the only company feeling the pinch. Overall, sales of diesels, plug-ins, and hybrids fell in the US by 22% in June to about 34,700 units. Plug-in vehicle sales have been especially slow, only increasing by 5.1% total over the past year. There is good news for the industry however. In Q2 Tesla produced more than 18,000 vehicles with nearly half manufactured in June alone. This steep ramp-up in production should provide a nice lift for the company in the third quarter, getting them closer to their milestone of 100,000 vehicles in one year.

The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt have been running neck-and-neck for most of the past year, however Q2 showed the Leaf falling drastically behind. Currently the Volt averages 2,000 sales per month with the Leaf coming in a distant second at 1,000 units. Ford showed stronger-than-expected sales in June with their Energi plug-in. Their C-Max Energi model hit its best sales numbers since October 2015. Volkswagen fell behind Ford, having sold 248 e-Golfs in June, which brings their half-year total to 1,468. Audi is on a similar pace, hitting a 6 month total of 1,942 for its A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid hatchback.

While the future of electric car sales is still uncertain, one thing that is certain is gas prices through December 31st. According to the 2016 Gasoline Forecast by Gas Buddy, we can expect to see the average price-per-gallon staying just above $2 throughout the rest of the year. The main driver of these lower prices is the continued high-volume / low-demand of oil created by OPEC. Even diesel fuel is projected to remain low throughout Q3 and Q4.


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