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Global Electrical Vehicle Sales Grew by 63 Percent in the Third Quarter, But Model 3, Leaf, and Bolt Say You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Tesla may still be the industry leader in global electrical vehicle sales. And though a very important player — primarily as a gadfly that’s helping to spur key renewable energy innovation through clean energy business models and competition — this story of a breakout in new energy production isn’t just about Tesla.

During July, August and September of 2017, according to Bloomberg, 287,000 electrical vehicles were sold worldwide. This is some pretty stunning growth equaling 63 percent more than during the same period of 2016 and 23 percent more than during April, May and June of 2017.

Electrical vehicle sales saw broad growth in all major markets. However, China experienced very rapid expansion of EV sales and was the primary driver of such a large jump with 160,000 electrical cars sold there in the 3rd quarter alone. Europe came in second with around 70,000 EV sales with North America following third with more than 55,000 EV sales. Since Bloomberg only tracked these major markets, total global EV sales were likely even higher, particularly when you consider that EV sales in places like Japan, India, other parts of Southeast Asia, and Australia are also on the rise.

China’s incentives aimed at cleaning up dirty air through EV purchases weighed strongly. In addition, pledges by various cities, states and nations to fully transition to electrical vehicles coupled with numerous policy incentives are helping to produce a ground swell of rising EV demand. However, EVs are also increasingly available, lower cost, and feature an expanding array of capabilities that are often competitive with or superior to their global warming producing fossil fuel competitors. And a number of new developments indicate that EV sales will continue to rapidly expand in the near term.

Signs the Model 3 Production Log Jam May Be Starting to Clear, Serious Competition on the Rise

During 2017, primarily on the strength of Model S and X sales, Tesla is the global sales leader for EVs at 73,227 cars sold through September. Chevy, runs a distant 7th with 36,963 EV sales through same period. While BYD, BMW, BAIC, Nissan and Toyota fall 2-6th in the global sales rankings thus far.

In the coming months, Tesla plans to be adding thousands of high-quality, lower cost Model 3s to its trend-setting volume. For 2017, the company is likely to hit near 100,000 sales in total. But if Tesla is able to achieve 5,000 Model 3 per week production by early 2018, that number could more than double in the follow-on year.

Presently, Tesla represents 10 percent of global electrical vehicle sales. And Bloomberg expects 1 million electrical vehicles to be sold globally during 2017. Yet during 2018, vehicles like the Leaf, the Model 3, and Chevy’s Bolt really have the potential to blow the lid off even these far-stronger numbers.

(The 2018 Nissan Leaf sold a pheonomenal 14,000 units during October of 2017. A record setting number of an all-electrical vehicle launch. Image source: Nissan.)

Nissan launched its longer range Leaf on October 1 of 2017 in Japan and Europe. And early reports indicate that sales of this model have just been going gangbusters. In total, 14,000 of the vehicles are reported to have moved in just one month — close to Tesla’s goal of hitting 20,000 per month by early 2018. The 2018 Leaf features a shorter range than the Model 3 (150 miles vs 210 for the base Model 3). But it also has a more attractive base price of 30,000 dollars (5,000 dollars lower than the base Model 3). And though not as zippy or sporty as the Model 3, the Leaf’s new design and 147 horsepower are nothing to shake a stick at. In total, for the same price, Leaf buyers are now getting a far more attractive and capable zero emissions vehicle. And though not in the same class as the Model 3, the Leaf is a serious competitor for those without the extra cash.

Hunger for lower cost EVs was also evident in Chevy’s sales of 2,871 Bolts in the U.S. during October. Though nowhere near the pheonomenal Leaf sales totals, the Bolt is giving Tesla a serious run for its money on its home turf in the U.S. And the high quality, 238 mile range Bolt is certainly a competitor of note. Priced about the same as the Model 3’s base vehicle at around 36,000 dollars, the Bolt is unable to compete on performance in any measure other than range. And its economy styling is certainly less appealing. However, the Bolt is nonetheless capable of capturing serious market share. Probably at least in the range of 30,000 to 50,000 annual sales.

With 500,000 pre-orders, the lower cost, longer range EV market still appears to be the Model 3’s to lose. And with a production ramp struggling to reach 440 vehicles by end October, Tesla looked like it was in a bit of a bind as competitors circled in. Yet some clouds appear to be readying to clear for Tesla as lots swell with Model 3s and the company opens up Model 3 orders to regular reservation holders. An indicator that production may finally be starting to ramp.

Understanding the Context — Sooner or Later, Model 3 Ramp is Imminent

In other words, the fact that Tesla is now transferring reservations into orders is an indicator that Tesla is now more confident in its ability to clear bottle necks and to rapidly ramp production. With a large number of employee pre-orders that need to be completed before it starts to meet regular customer orders, it appears that Tesla may be set to hit in excess of 1,000 Model 3s produced per week sooner than feared. However, we’ve seen hopeful signs of Tesla hitting an early production ramp disappointed before. So this news may just be another false signal.

What do you think? Will Tesla meet new competition coming from Chevy and Nissan by hitting a faster production ramp soon? Or are the Tesla woes of September and October here to stay for at least another few months? Please feel free to provide your take in the comments section below.

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30 Comments

  1. wili

     /  November 22, 2017

    Vehicle to Grid technology is getting some play in the UK media right now:

    http://www.v2g.co.uk/2017/11/v2g-explained-by-the-mainstream-media/

    Reply
  2. Andy_in_SD

     /  November 22, 2017

    Climate change is here: Wisconsin is seeing earlier springs, later falls, less snow and more floods

    In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated the Wisconsin plant hardiness zone map.

    The new map extended the state’s warmest zone — with temperatures bottoming out at minus 10 to minus 15 degrees — from two small pockets clinging to the Lake Michigan coast near Manitowoc and Milwaukee to a swath that runs from the Illinois border up the coast to the tip of Door County.

    http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/environment/climate-change-is-here-wisconsin-is-seeing-earlier-springs-later/article_036581ae-2726-5344-a8c6-fe68410625e1.html

    Reply
  3. Abel Adamski

     /  November 22, 2017

    From a comment on ClimateCrocks

    The Chevy Bolt has been the highest-selling EV in the U.S. for months. Chevy idled the factory which makes them. They raised the price in Europe by more than 5,000 euros and then told European dealers not to expect any more shipments for the time being. Chevy Volt sales have fallen off to almost nil. They are not offering extremely attractive leasing rates on them.

    The new Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid goes 30 miles full electric. They are selling briskly indeed. Interestingly, though, Chrysler does not even mention that it is a plug-in! For them, it is just a “hybrid”.

    The Koch brothers promised the world they were going to put the kibosh on electric cars. Looks like their plans are working. The Repugnants are getting rid of the $7500.00 EV rebate, and Tesla has been having mysterious production problems with suppliers.
    https://climatecrocks.com/2017/11/20/will-2018-be-the-year-of-evs/

    Reply
    • Pretty clear that there are serious challenges. And of course there is at least some reason to expect that the support by Chevy for EVs is, at the least, conflicted. My opinion is that the Volt would have sold at much higher rates if it was supported. There may be a similar problem for the Bolt — in the sense that it may be undercut by management. There is also the possibility that these are simply being placed as market defenders to take some of the wind from Tesla sales.

      Nissan seems very serious about the Leaf. And 14,000 in just one month is amazing. It does show that demand for high quality EVs is out there.

      RE sabotage of Tesla… I wouldn’t discount the notion entirely. But supplier issues are probably genuine in some respects. Looks like Tesla is moving toward in house production of parts to reduce these risks anyway. I think what we can say with full honesty is that there is a huge effort afoot by certain interests to sink Tesla and its all-renewable business model. But this has been the case since jump.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  November 23, 2017

        Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi are one of the few old car companies to actually have spent serious money and effort on EV’s, and they seem to be starting to reap the rewards of being early to the party. If you add the sales of the electric Zoe and the new Leaf together, then throw in some Outlander PHEV’s, you can see they are pushing forward.

        The new Leaf has an advantage no other EV has really had before, at least at the lower end of the market, an established and largely satisfied user base. One of the reasons they could shift those cars quickly is owners of the old model who have been waiting to upgrade. The original may have been modest and rather unattractive, but it worked very well for the right kind of customer.

        One particularly interesting thing about this company is that we can compare performance and sales of a pure EV with a ‘compromised’ design like the Zoe. I have this funny feeling that although the new Leaf will certainly be a much better EV than the Zoe, the margin of difference will not be as big one might expect, for the extra money. I looked around for back to back comparisons, but they don’t quite seem to have emerged yet. I know that the 2 cars are not totally comparable, but they do give a clue to what this transitional period might look like.

        One final thought, ‘production hell’ has been well oversold by critics, partly because Musk was relatively open about it, but mostly because Tesla is the biggest target in the US, for those who deny reality. All manufacturers struggle to get production lines going smoothly at first (especially when they are breaking new ground), that is the nature of the beast, but none do it in the intense, politicised spotlight we see with Tesla.

        I really loved the Semi, especially the parallel charging trick, there must have been a few dropped coffee’s in the automotive boardrooms of the world. But I think it needs a new name outside the US, because (in casual usage) a semi means something entirely different here in the UK!

        Keep up the fantastic work RS, and all the great posters. I always come for a look when the big stories drop.

        All this great tech isn’t going to stop an ice sheet collapse once it has started

        Reply
  4. Abel Adamski

     /  November 22, 2017

    Another from Climate Crocks
    https://climatecrocks.com/2017/11/21/tax-plan-takes-aim-at-non-carbon-energy/

    Republicans’ long-awaited tax bill, unveiled on Thursday, targets key renewable energy tax credits that have helped make clean energy a crucial high-wage job-creating sector in the United States.

    The measure would slash the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) by over a third, weaken the solar tax credit, and eliminate the $7,500 credit for the purchase of electric vehicles. The solar and wind credits were part of a major bipartisan deal reached in December 2015, in which the credits were extended for several years while being reduced or phased out over time.

    Reply
    • The House Bill includes a repeal of the credit, the Senate Bill does not. Some analysts are saying that it’s unlikely that the credit will be removed in the final Bill:

      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-final-tax-bill-wont-touch-renewable-energy-tax_us_5a0ddb38e4b03fe7403f8414

      In any case, a number of provisions in the Bill are very unpopular and the Bill itself appears unlikely to pass. At least in its current form. Republicans are getting hit hard for increasing taxes on the Middle Class, reducing taxes for billionaires like Trump, being unable to show how any of this will support jobs growth as claimed, and basically pledging to blow another massive hole in the budget leading to further and worsening deficits. Pretty much every economist says this Bill is coming at the worst time imaginable and that now is not the time to cut taxes for the wealthy and raise taxes for an already struggling middle class.

      Reply
  5. Abel Adamski

     /  November 22, 2017

    Censorship by stealth
    https://climatecrocks.com/2017/11/21/red-alert-for-internet-users-trump-takes-aim-at-net-neutrality/
    Red Alert for Internet Users – Trump Takes Aim at Net Neutrality

    Reply
    • This blew up in social media yesterday. A top trending hashtag on twitter with a lot of folks and major players up in arms about it. Expect this to draw major opposition.

      Reply
  6. Abel Adamski

     /  November 22, 2017

    Some good news
    https://climatecrocks.com/2017/11/21/disruption-job-cuts-at-big-maker-of-gas-oil-generators/

    FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Siemens (SIEGn.DE) will cut about 6,900 jobs, or close to 2 percent of its global workforce, mainly at its power and gas division, which has been hit by the rapid growth of renewables.

    Most of the cuts, about 6,100, will be made before 2020 at Siemens’s Power and Gas division, which once thrived on supplying large gas turbines for electricity generation but has been overtaken by the global surge in solar and wind capacity.

    “The power generation industry is experiencing disruption of unprecedented scope and speed,” Siemens management board member Lisa Davis said. “With their innovative strength and rapidly expanding generation capacity, renewables are putting other forms of power generation under increasing pressure,” she added.

    Reply
  7. Abel Adamski

     /  November 22, 2017

    OT, but IMO relevant to where the world now stands
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/fascism/Intellectual-origins

    Reply
  8. Shawn Redmond

     /  November 22, 2017

    Rising emissions and pitiful excuses
    Last Monday (November 13th) the Global Carbon Project announced the results of its annual assessment of emissions data. In 2017 carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and cement is anticipated to be 2% higher than in 2016. Is this really such a surprise?

    Witness the US and the EU’s fervour for locking-in high-carbon gas[4] behind a veil of closing down old coal. Academic enthusiasm for evermore quixotic ‘negative emission technologies'(NETs)[5] and geo-engineering to support ‘big oil’ and infinite growth. A growing cadre of climate glitterati ratcheting up its rhetoric to align with its rocketing emissions. The UNFCCC’s promotion of expedient offsetting to ‘neutralise’ emissions from air-travel to Bonn and its other global meetings. Meanwhile journalists remain unwilling or ill equipped to call time on this catalogue of subterfuge. It’s twenty-seven years since the IPCC’s first report and a quarter of a century since the Rio Earth Summit, but still our carbon emissions are rising.

    Certainly the modellers can turn the ‘NET’ dial still further to the right – reconciling their Wonderland with our Paris Commitments. But away from the Mad Hatter’s tea party holding to 2°C is now much more of a profound challenge than we appear able to accept. Whether the latest depressing data signals that humanity was only ever set to be a destructive aberration is still not clear. Indeed we may yet discover the moral fortitude to wrestle a decarbonised phoenix from the fossil-fuelled flames. But delivering such a fundamental transformation demands we reject rhetoric, dishonesty and fear and embrace the challenges and opportunities posed by clear thinking, integrity and courage.
    http://kevinanderson.info/blog/personal-reflections-on-the-23rd-cop-in-bonn-fiji-nov-2017/

    Reply
    • As usual, Anderson’s view is probably a bit too dark to be accurate. And his one-sided attacks on Paris still weigh heavily in my opinion of his actions and intent.

      Primary reasons for the increase in 2017 — if it actually materializes as projected — is movement by China back toward coal due to drought hitting hydro power. Western movement toward nat gas as opposed to pure renewables has slowed rates of emissions declines, however. So we shouldn’t discount this point, even if it is overblown and overshadows the actual reality on the ground.

      What we can say is that the west is, overall, definitely not moving fast enough with regards to energy transition. The supports for renewables are helpful, but they need to be broader. Increasing consumption based policies would also be helpful so long as they don’t go too far and break economic systems (advocating radical degrowth is tantamount to austerity and would cause severe systemic fractures). The primary barrier to expanding helpful policies like these is right wing political opposition to or slow movement on renewables. If Anderson wanted to actually help matters, he would point this out.

      Anderson is far too negative on the issue of atmospheric carbon capture. Others are far too positive. It’s likely that we could probably draw down between 1 and 2 billion tons of carbon per year at most. That is useful in a world where warming hasn’t pushed feedbacks too far along. But we should be clear that such a policy in no way should replace the necessary energy transition.

      I am 100 percent in agreement with Anderson when it comes to the geo-engineering proposals to manage solar radiation and similar programs. I think this is atmospheric voodoo and would likely cause serious unintended consequences. Continuing to burn fossil fuels while injecting sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere would create an environment similar to the early Permian with the exception that rates of net atmospheric carbon gain would be much more rapid as would rates of ocean acidification. Harm from direct warming may be delayed, but rainfall patterns would be seriously altered, ocean health would still decline, dead zones would still expand, and atmospheric CO2 levels would rise into ranges that would likely generate brain damage and/or reduced mental function for humans and animals. In order to maintain temperature reduction, sulfur dioxide injection would also have to be maintained. For generation, after generation, after generation. The words very dangerous, short-sighted, irresponsible, and very impractical come to mind.

      Reply
  9. Suzanne

     /  November 22, 2017

    Yesterday at Grist….”Ice Apocalypse”
    https://grist.org/article/antarctica-doomsday-glaciers-could-flood-coastal-cities/

    Now, as carbon dioxide traps more heat in the atmosphere and warms the planet, the scales have tipped.

    A wholesale collapse of Pine Island and Thwaites would set off a catastrophe. Giant icebergs would stream away from Antarctica like a parade of frozen soldiers. All over the world, high tides would creep higher, slowly burying every shoreline on the planet, flooding coastal cities and creating hundreds of millions of climate refugees.

    All this could play out in a mere 20 to 50 years — much too quickly for humanity to adapt.

    “With marine ice cliff instability, sea-level rise for the next century is potentially much larger than we thought it might be five or 10 years ago,” Poinar says.

    Reply
    • Excellent article by Eric Holthaus here. Watch out for well-intending gate keeping from the Washington Post.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  November 23, 2017

        I saw that excellent piece, too. But there is a bit of good news recently wrt PIG. They just got the first accurate look at the ocean floor beneath it and it is much less flat than expected, to say the least.

        http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42052072

        So some of those submarine crags down there might help at least slow down the rate at which the ice from that area makes it to the sea. The end result, though, is still probably inevitable.

        Reply
  10. Greg

     /  November 22, 2017

    One of the reasons fir the adoption rates of EVa’s going up rapidly is the build out of charging stations. Example: this Tesla super charger station in Shanghai now has 50 super chargers:

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  November 22, 2017

      And this one in Baker, California. Note the solar arrays:

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  November 22, 2017

        And now in Kettleman City, California, right next to fast food and gas stations is this first of its kind one with a lounge and barista and snacks.

        Reply
    • Greg

       /  November 22, 2017

      Correction: Beijing (baolong mansion) not Shanghai.

      Reply
    • So we’ve got charging stations in our region popping up too. Went to a local coffee shop only to find three charging stalls outside. So nice to see these things.

      Reply
    • Will add to Greg’s statement here by noting that Tesla, unlike other major automakers, is building a massive charging infrastructure — which it owns. This will become a major asset down the road as Tesla charging will ultimately serve as another revenue source — especially if the infrastructure grows large enough for Tesla to charge to serve other EVs. Presently Tesla plans to generate some income from Model 3 buyers through charging in order to help fund future projects. The charging fees are still less than what one would typically pay for gas.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  November 23, 2017

        Just like in the US, we seem to be getting a real upturn in charging points in the UK, and Tesla are responsible for small part of that, but only a few of the new ones here are at car dealers and such like. I never bought a drop of petrol or diesel off of a car company, so it all seems a bit odd to me.

        I know it isn’t a huge issue as long as the charging points we need are widely available, and as we have government money going in over here, it can’t really be manufacturer exclusive (particularly in high density areas). I probably need a refresher on the different charger/plug formats to really grasp how this is playing out on different continents.

        Reply
  11. coloradobob

     /  November 22, 2017

    New Study: Larger, More Intense U.S. Storm Complexes on the Way

    The mammoth clusters of thunderstorms known as mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) could dump up to 80% more water across North America by late this century, according to a study published Monday in Nature Climate Change. The study, “Increased rainfall volume from future convective storms in the U.S.,” found that increased atmospheric moisture in a warming climate will help lead to a 15 – 40% increase in peak MCS rainfall rates, along with a 20 – 70% jump in the rainfall area. Together, these lead to a 30 – 80% boost in the total hourly volume of rain deposited by a typical MCS.

    “The combination of more intense rainfall and the spreading of heavy rainfall over larger areas means that we will face a higher flood risk than previously predicted,” said the study team, led by Andreas Prein (National Center for Atmospheric Research).

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/new-study-larger-more-intense-us-storm-complexes-way

    Reply
    • So this is based primarily on changes to the hydrological cycle. However, interaction with changing upper level wind patterns appears to be a concern as well.

      From the article:

      “Schumacher noted that the pseudo–global-warming method used in this study does not account for potential changes in large-scale dynamics, such as the location of upper-level troughs and ridges. Still, he added, “the findings are in line with other studies that have used different methods, and the Prein et al. study also offers plausible physical reasoning for the modeled changes. I don’t think that this study, and its companion studies also published recently, give the last word on the subject of future precipitation changes, but they contribute to an important conversation on this worrisome topic.””

      Reply

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