June Electric Car Sales Continue To Climb: Leaf Soars, Volt Steady

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2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

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Sales of plug-in electric cars continued their slow climb in June.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf racked up its best U.S. sales number ever while the 2011 Chevrolet Volt sales held steady, as the company had warned they would.

Following a May total of 1,142 sales--the first time more than 1,000 Leafs had been sold--the June sales figure surged again, to 1,708.

That brings total Nissan Leaf sales to 3,875 for the year (plus another 19 sold in December 2010).

The 2011 Volt, on the other hand, logged 561 sales. That's more than its May total of 481, and it brings total U.S. Volt sales for the year to 2,745 (plus 326 more last December).

Nissan Leaf on track at Laguna Seca. Photo via MyNissanLeaf forum member nader.

Nissan Leaf on track at Laguna Seca. Photo via MyNissanLeaf forum member nader.

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It's important to keep these numbers in perspective. Sales of both cars reflect not the pent-up market demand for electric cars, but rather the most their factories can produce.

This perspective, sadly, is lacking from some of the less nuanced reporting around electric-car sales.

Other manufacturers selling plug-in vehicles in the U.S. are Smart, Tesla, Wheego, the newly bankrupt Think, and Fisker, which expects to deliver its first cars this month to retail customers.

None of those companies report monthly sales, and their totals are much lower than Leaf and Volt sales.

[Nissan, Chevrolet]


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Comments (5)
  1. With a build rate of under 6,000, the Volt is fast
    setting records as the worst selling car in GM
    history. The Leaf is unexpectedly doing much better,
    despite its early teething problems. But sales for the
    Leaf would also lead to cancellation if the car were
    gas powered. These early EVs are paying the price for
    poor styling, cramped design, and, in the case of the
    Volt, successive lies from GM about its cost ($42 versus claimed "under $30K) and looks - a radical restyle. Electrical propulsion advocates are now getting acquainted with the fact that simply being powered by electricity is not enough - in the words of Elon Musk : the car should be something people actually want to own. That's why he wins

  2. A lot of people thought the IBM PC was a bad idea that would go nowhere too. Lets face it, the article is right on the money, way too soon to declare a fatwa. Chevy and Nissan are being thoughtful about how many they make. These cars are barely more than prototypes, and they are putting them into the hands of eager early adopters at a rate that sustains demand yet exposes the product to the general public. They aren't selling mood rings for the Xmas rush. The true measure of success for these cars is sustaining the demand whilst continuing to improve capability and quantity. We can certainly compare quantities to, say, how many VW Beetles were made, but that says nothing.

  3. Elon's right that the car should be exciting, however, the Volt has already outsold the Tesla Roadster and will likely do so by a large margin once the car is rolled out in all 50 states rather than 5 or 6.

  4. @Chris O, thank you...! But Ramon never lets facts in the way of an amusingly illogical diatribe; you should have read his hilarious attack on ABS brake systems recently here...
    But you have to love the "logic" of a guy who attacks the other makes for not selling and then turns right around and tells them they're losing to Tesla, which sells in FAR smaller quantities.
    It's probably not worth it, but let's try again, anyway... Ramon, what part of limited capacity and being sold in only 6-7 of 50 states don't you get yet? I mean, the rest of us seem to get it...

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