2018 Toyota Prius Prime Crushing Bolt, Volt, and Leaf In Affordable EV Sales Race
The Toyota Prius Prime is the affordable EV sales leader by a country mile in America. April’s sales of the Prius Prime topped 2,600 units again, for the second consecutive month. And for the second consecutive month, the Bolt, Volt, and Leaf were unable to find even 2,000 customers each. With sales at 9,094 units for the year to date, the Prius Prime has outsold the Chevy Volt (4,803) and Chevy Bolt (5,650) by nearly two to one this year. The Leaf is floundering with sales of just 2,545, due in part to a launch in which Nissan had almost no Leafs built for customers for multiple months.
The Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. EV purists hate it when it gets lumped in with other vehicles that can operate using electricity. That’s a shame, because many Prius Prime owners report using their Prius Primes almost entirely as EVs. Isn’t reducing carbon and emissions the primary goal? If it is, the Prius Prime is the most successful vehicle in America under $40K that achieves that objective.
You’ll notice we are not including the Tesla Model 3 as an affordable EV. That’s because is isn’t one. The Model 3's entry-level price point is $46,000, not the $35,000 that uninformed publications continue to bandy about. Tesla hasn’t sold any $35,000 Model 3 cars, and may never do so. The Model 3 Consumer Reports bought cost $59,000. Let’s stop pretending the Model 3 is anything but a luxury vehicle for folks with deep pockets, but not deep enough to drive home a six-figure Model S. If you’re wondering how well the Model 3 sold, check out our focus story, but be prepared for bad news if you’re a Tesla fan.
The rest of the affordable EV sales data is a rundown of the long list of models that are barely in production. Models like VW’s eGolf, which sold a whopping 128 units in April. Even the BMW i3, affordable in the eyes of many of its customers moving down from a 5 Series or X5, has dropped off a cliff. BMW reports selling just 503 in April. Down by almost half since March.
* Sales figure note: General Motors has bailed out of monthly EV sales reporting. So we rely on Inside EVs for estimates on that brand's sales numbers. Nissan's, VW's, Toyota's and BMW's are based on actual manufacturer reporting.