Global sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) totaled more than 764,000 units in the first nine months of this year, up 46% compared with sales in the same period last year. September unit sales topped 120,000 units to set an all-time monthly sales record.
The largest gain came in China where nine-month sales rose by 113,000 units to 340,000. Japanese sales doubled to 36,000, while European sales rose 39% to 215,000 units and U.S. sales rose 31% to 142,000.
In Europe, German sales doubled and smaller markets rose sharply from low starting points: Iceland, for example, saw sales rise 268%; sales in Ukraine rose 304%; and Slovakian sales jumped 800%.
The data were reported last week by research firm EV-Volumes, which noted third-quarter growth was strongly influenced by growth in China, the United States and Europe. Toyota’s Prius Prime PHEV was an instant best-seller in Japan.
The top-selling vehicle in the third quarter was the BJEV EC180 EV from China’s Beijing Automotive group with sales of nearly 20,000 units. The Tesla Model S sold more than 14,000 units in the quarter to finish second in the rankings, while China’s Zhi Dou D1/D2 EVs with sales of nearly 14,000 ranked third. The ZD D2, as it is known, is a best seller in Slovakia, and the Chinese maker is considering opening a manufacturing plant in the country. The company already operates four assembly plants in China with a new plant under construction in South Korea.
Other vehicles with large nine-month sales gains include:
- Toyota Prius Gen-2 PHEV: up 51% to 13,898 units
- Tesla Model X: up 38% to 12,006 units
- Chevy Bolt: new this year with sales so far of 7,280 units
- Renault Zoe EV: up 69% to 6,767 units
Sales of BEVs accounted for 66% of all electric car sales in the first nine months of the year. EV-Volumes researchers expect 2017 sales to total reach 1.15 million units for the full year and the total global populations of EVs to reach 3.15 million by the end of 2017.