Torque News is one of the only publications that provides an annual sales forecast for the U.S. electric vehicle market by model number. This is our third year running and the pressure is on, since our forecast for 2019 was pretty much spot-on. We nailed the Tesla Model 3 sales and deliveries to within 2% accuracy.
Here is what we think will be the sales by each major player in the EV market. We will comment on the models that are not major layers at the end of the story.
Tesla Model 3 2019 Sales Forecast
Tesla's sales for the Model 3 in the U.S. will not continue to grow. This isn't only due to demand in the U.S. dropping as those who want a Model 3 get one. Rather, Tesla will start to dilute its U.S. sales by sending Model 3 cars to other markets in increasing numbers. The real wild card here is the never delivered upon promise by Elon Musk and Tesla to offer a $35K version of the Model 3. Were Tesla to actually honor this, the Model 3's sales would be limited again only by production. We are betting Tesla does not deliver a car that costs $35K to a consumer before incentives (state and federal tax credits and rebates).
Here is our estimate for the Model 3 by quarter:
Q1 = 60,000 Cars delivered
Q2 = 44,000Cars delivered
Q3 = 39,000 Cars delivered
Q4 - 51,000 Cars delivered
Total for 2019 = 194,000 Model 3 cars sold and delivered in the U.S.
Tesla Model S and Model X
Both models have hit a plateau in sales. Our estimate is that the Model 3 begins to be more parasitic to the Model S as Tesla ramps up special performance editions of the 3 that overlap the S.
2019 Model X sales = 25,000
2019 Model S sales = 20,000
Honda Clarity PHEV &BEV
We predict the Clarity PHEV will overtake the Toyota Prius Prime in 2019 and become the leading seller among all affordable U.S. EVs. 2019 Sales estimate is 34,000 units delivered. We won't predict the Clarity BEV sales. There is simply no way to know if Honda will build a meaningful number or sell it outside of California. We've tested the Clarity PHEV and can tel you that once word spreads about this car Honda will have customers lining up at dealer doors.
Toyota Prius Prime
Prime sales will settle in at about 2,000 units per month and slowly decline as 2019 progresses. Our estimate is 23,000 delivered.
If there is one car on this list that we are having trouble separating our emotions from our forecast numbers this is it. We love the new Leaf. With a new longer-range version coming, we are not sure how many Nissan will build. We will be bullish and say the Leaf beats the Prime this year and that Nissan builds and sells 24,000.
Not dead yet. Our prediction is that Chevy will sell about 1,800 per month as long as the factory builds them. You can do the math.
Chevy Bolt - 22,500 Units in 2019. Supported by fire sale discounting.
Kia and Hyundai PHEVs and BEVs
No way to tell how many this automaker will build and import, so a forecast is not possible.
Every Other EV
Does not matter. None of the rest are priced to sell to a mainstream market. BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, VW, Ford and the rest can make some great products if they so choose. None are positioned to do it at a price their customers will pay in 2019. If you see any models other than the ones we detailed above with forecasts that will average 2,000 units monthly call us wrong.
Overall EV sales will stabilize in 2019 and remain at about 2% of overall U.S. market sales. Perhaps as much as 2.4% if the overall sales are somewhat lower in 2019 compared to 2018. The only real reason for the strong growth in 2018 was the Model 3. Our best guess for an optimistic target would be about 430,000 units total of all types of EVs (PHEVs, BEVS, EREVs) in 2019 in the U.S. market.