It’s three-quarters of the way through the year, and green-car watchers can probably surmise that 2016 won’t likely be a banner year for sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, or – gasp – diesels. Through September, US green-car sales have fallen a solid 19 percent from a year earlier to about 321,000 units. And that’s factoring plug-in vehicle sales that have risen 16 percent to almost 87,000 units. With that context, then, September wasn’t a bad month: last month’s green-car sales were down just one percent from a year earlier to more than 40,000 vehicles.
That said, the sector may have hit bottom and may be on its way up, especially as Nissan prepares to update its Leaf electric vehicle and General Motors readies the release of the Chevrolet Bolt EV. That’s because, factoring out the impact of the stop-sale on Volkswagen diesel vehicles because of the German automaker’s dreaded emissions scandal, green-car vehicle sales were actually up (very) slightly in September. In fact, plug-in vehicle sales rose 13 percent to almost 10,000 units. Through August, plug-in vehicle sales had advanced 8 percent, and September marked a new record for EV sales in the US.