The Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid electric vehicle reached a critical American EV sales milestone in 2017. Coming in at third place in overall EV sales, and second among affordable electric vehicles, the Toyota Prius Prime garnered 20,935 units sold for the year. That number tops the Chevy Volt and Tesla Model X. Only the Chevy Bolt's 23,297 and Tesla Model S's 27,060 units sold topped the Prius Prime.
Twenty thousand has become the new benchmark for electric vehicle sales in the U.S. marketplace.
These are the five electric vehicles that really have steady, regular sales. The remaining forty or so EVs are simply wannabes. Heading into 2018, it looks like only the Tesla Model 3 will have enough punch to join this exclusive, and important club. That assumes that Tesla can find a way to produce more than the 1,060 it built and delivered in December. We are rooting for Tesla, but in the past, deliveries have been the young company's challenge.
The Toyota Prius Prime plugin hybrid electric vehicle has an EV range of about 25 miles and a total range of over 600 miles before fuel or electricity needs to be added back. That makes it one of the longest range vehicles of any type, and among EVs only the Volt comes anywhere close to that level of range convenience. Most owners report that they operate their Prius Prime primarily as an EV.
Unlike battery-electric vehicles which take a significant amount of time to charge, the Prime is fully charged very quickly. That enables its use on trips that stretch its EV range. Once the EV power is used up, the Prime reverts seamlessly to a 50 MPG hybrid. Like the other EVs on our list of winners, the Prius Prime qualifies for federal and state tax breaks and incentives and qualifies for state HOV lane operation.
Looking ahead to 2018, the Prius Prime is poised to maintain this level of sales. In December, the Prime sold 2,420 units and in the past seven straight months has maintained sales at a rate equal to or above 20,000 annual units.
Image courtesy of Jesse Rudavsky.