Electric Car Sales: Leaf Trounces Volt, But Don't Take It Seriously

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Ryan Reynolds Nissan's latest Leaf Spokesperson

Ryan Reynolds Nissan's latest Leaf Spokesperson

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It was a slow month for electric-car sales, with just over 1,000 Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt vehicles together delivered during July.

Nissan delivered 931 Leaf battery-electric cars, a decline from June's 1,708, and Chevrolet--which is suffering from a now-ended four-week summer shutdown for retooling at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant--sold a mere 125 Volts.

That brings the 2011 Leaf total to 4,806, and the number of Volts sold to 2,870 (plus another 326 Volts and 19 Leafs in December 2010).

One warning: Be on the lookout for silly, misleading articles that claim electric-car demand is ebbing, that plug-ins are a failure in the marketplace, and so forth.

That's been a running theme from certain news outlets almost since the first plug-ins were delivered last December, and it's simply not true.

Both the Leaf and the Volt have waiting lists with thousands of names on them, and neither car is close to available nationwide. Chevy says its Volt rollout will reach all 50 states by the end of the year, while Nissan announced its newest sales territories last month.

2011 Chevrolet Volt on test in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 2011

2011 Chevrolet Volt on test in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 2011

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Now that Volt production is up and running again, Chevrolet expects to deliver a total of 16,000 Volts by December 31. That means it will have to sell more than 2,500 a month for each of the five remaining months of 2011.

By comparison, Chevrolet sold 24,648 Cruze gasoline compact sedans in July, or more than three times the total number of plug-ins sold this year. in other words, it's early days yet for electric cars.

July was also the first month in which the first deliveries the 2012 Fisker Karma extended-range electric car were logged. At least two were delivered: the first one to actor and environmental advocate Leonardo DiCaprio, and the second one to the chairman of Fisker's board, the noted venture capitalist Ray Lane.

However, "we are still awaiting final sign off from CARB and EPA on certification, which is due in the next couple of weeks," wrote Fisker representative Roger Ormisher. "So although keys have been handed over, the cars are not officially registered yet and will most likely show up in August registrations."

Tesla, Think, and Wheego may also have delivered plug-in cars during July, but those companies do not provide monthly sales data.

Overall car sales for the month of July were expected to be down slightly on the same month a year ago.

[Chevrolet, Nissan]


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