Like US, Canadian electric car market grows in small numbers

As electric cars become a bigger part of the US auto market, the electric vehicle market is also expanding in Canada. For example, Chevrolet Volt sales in Canada are expected to surpass previous records, but its monthly sales are still in the hundreds. 

David Zalubowski/AP/File
A 2012 Chevrolet Volt at a Chevrolet dealership in the south Denver suburb of Englewood, Colo. As electric cars become a bigger part of the US auto market, the electric vehicle market is also expanding in Canada.

The Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car remains Canada's plug-in sales champion, but the Nissan Leaf battery-electric--the best-selling electric car in history--is coming up fast in its rear-view mirror. As consistently as the Toyota Camry tops the US car sales charts, the Chevy Volt leads Canada's plug-in electric vehicle category.

Barring a record-breaking month for Tesla, the Volt will settle in at Number One again in July, with 132 sales. Its 963 units this year have now surpassed last year's disappointing number (931), and put it on pace to smash its 2012 tally (1,225).

Though the Chevy team deserves a pat on the back for these achievements, helped by nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales improvements, they can't afford to be complacent--because the Nissan Leaf is closing in.

Nissan Canada set a new Leaf sales record for a third consecutive month in July, moving 117 of its "Leading Environmentally-friendly Affordable Family car", up from 104 in June.

With seven consecutive months of steadily rising sales, Nissan's battery-electric hatchback looks ready to seize the Canadian sales crown – for the first time since January 2012 – as soon as the Volt has a slow sales month.

And, as with the Volt, the Leaf's year-to-date sales (579) have also handily surpassed last year's full-year totals (470).

Among other automakers, Mitsubishi sold 15 i-MiEVs; Canadians also bought five Cadillac ELRs and four Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrids.

BMW i3 sales figures tend to come a few days later in the month, and we're still working on the Ford C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi data. We'll provide updates when we get these numbers.

June vehicle registration roundup

Tesla sold 104 Model S electric luxury sedans in June, the company's third-best-ever result in Canada.

With the company expanding production at its Fremont factory, we'll soon see whether Canadian sales have been supply-constrained, as seems to have been the case for the Nissan Leaf until this year.

Almost half of the newly-registered Teslas in the country during June were in British Columbia, where the company opened a showroom in May. That said, most of the delivered vehicles would have been ordered before it opened, so it's too early to infer the showroom's impacts on consumer demand.

The Smart Electric Drive, meanwhile, followed up on a record-setting May (67 sales) with another 59 in June. (Monthly sales were in the 20 to 30 range, earlier this year.)

Much of the increase for Smart came from the province of Ontario; thanks to theToronto Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Club mailing list, we know that this is the result of favorable lease terms being offered.

And if these offers get "butts in seats", who are we to complain?

Rounding out the vehicle records, June brought a further 11 Ford Focus Electrics, plus one more Chevy Spark EV and a further Fisker Karma, onto Canadian roads.

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