February Plug-In Car Sales Rise: Leaf Drops, Volt Soars

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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U.S. vehicle sales soared in February, and so did sales of plug-in cars.

A drop in the number of all-electric Nissan Leaf sales was more than offset by a rise in sales of the range-extended electric Chevrolet Volt.

At least 1,500 plug-in cars were sold last month, with totals for the Mitsubishi 'i' and Ford Focus Electric not yet released.

Nissan sold 478 Leaf models in February, a 29-percent decline from the 676 it sold in January.

That brings Leaf sales this year to 1,154, and total Leaf sales since December 2010 to 10,847.

The Leaf is being rolled out nationwide this year, with orders opening up in new states for deliveries by this summer.

2012 Nissan Leaf

2012 Nissan Leaf

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Chevrolet sold 1,023 Volt range-extended electric hatchbacks in February, a significant 70-percent boost over the January figure of 603.

In California, the country's prime market for plug-in electric vehicles, Volt sales may have been helped by special offers on early 2012 models not eligible for the coveted "green sticker" that permits single-occupant access to High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes.

Eligible 2012 Volt models went on sale in California this week.

Total Volts sold in the U.S. since the car was launched in December 2010 now total 9,623.

Including Tesla Roadsters, sales of which are not reported monthly, more than 21,800 modern plug-in cars have been sold in the U.S. since 2008.

[UPDATE: There were also 44 Mitsubishi 'i' electric minicars sold and, rather to our suprise, even 7 Prius Plug-In Hybrids found buyers on the last day or two of the month--some of the very earliest of that model to land at the first Southern California dealers closest to the ports.]

Next month, we expect to see much higher sales numbers for the latest plug-in vehicle to join the sales charts: the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, first models of which arrived at California dealers early this week.


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Comments (7)
  1. Sounds to me like sales are not accelerating in 2012...yet

  2. So does anyone have an explanation for the LEAF? Why aren't they making enough of them? What gives?

  3. Given the relentless Fox News and congressional PR campaign against the Volt, I am surprised that sales are doing this well. I think CA will drive steady sales for the rest of 2012 now that some 2012 Volts are HOV eligible. Those stickers are like gold out here.


    The Ford Focus EV is out now? Well I'll be. Gotta take a look at that one, and soon too.

  5. So I've assumed that low LEAF sales have been production-limited but is it so? If Nissan touts ordering now and getting your car by the summer then they may not have the long waiting list anymore? People are just not ordering them like they used to? Can it be?

  6. Well, the plug-in Prius doesn't really "excite". The EPA window sticker shows 6-miles AER, 11 miles mixed-mode and then the remainder on gasoline. If buyers really think this is at-all better than a regular old Prius, then they are missing out. If they want more AER, there is the Volt and Leaf. The Plug-in Prius doesn't even offer the EV-range you can do yourself with an Enginer plug-in add-on pack (4kWh being common) that is available for older Prius models.

  7. Leaf sales are extremely unbalanced due to lack of infrastructure in most of the country. if you live in an area supported by the EV Highway Project, you have probably Leafs sitting at the dealer, many of them orphaned to get a 2012 for various reasons or simply a change in heart from waiting so long for delivery.

    in other areas, there is simply no public charging, dealer support, etc. that is all changing but slowly. We shall see what happens with the entire country now able to order, but at the same time having to wait 2-4 months for delivery?? sounds like its not a supply problem more than its a distribution problem

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