September Plug-In Electric Car Sales Surge, As Tesla Sells 200 (Or So)

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2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

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Sales of plug-in electric cars surged in September, after setting a new record in August.

And this month's notable event was the projected delivery of 200 or more 2012 Tesla Model S all-electric luxury sport sedans to buyers.

Tesla refuses to release monthly sales figures, as every other automaker does, but the company said it would deliver between 200 and 225 Model S cars by the end of the month.

That figure came from a quarterly report filed by Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Tesla has not provided an exact total of the cars it sold last month.

Even without confirmed Tesla numbers, plug-in sales in September totaled more than 5,550 cars. That gives last month the highest total since modern electric cars went on sale in December 2010.

The Chevrolet Volt continued its recent strong sales, with 2,851 Volts delivered in September.

That number is just a fraction higher than previous highest-ever number of 2,831, registered last month, and it brings total sales for the year to 16,348 of Chevy's range-extended electric car.

New incentives and lower lease rates on the Nissan Leaf helped its September sales, which rose to 984 from 685 in August--the Leaf's best single-month sales total since September 2011.

Total sales this year for Nissan's all-electric hatchback are still only 5,212, fewer than the 7,199 that had been sold at the same time last year.

Sales of the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, the third of the three high-volume plug-in cars this year, were 1,652--just two units shy of its best month ever, which was this past April.

The September total is a huge increase from the 1.047 of its plug-in Prius sold in August, and Toyota has now sold 50 percent more plug-in Priuses (7,734) than Nissan has Leafs (5,212) so far this year.

Continuing its recent trend, 36 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric minicars also found buyers. Ford Focus Electric sales numbers won't be available until tomorrow.

There were 16 sales of the 2013 Honda Fit EV, and no fewer than 61 copies of the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EVs sold in its inaugural month as well--though both models are still only limited-volume compliance cars.

Of the other makers of plug-in electric cars, Coda Automotive and Fisker Automotive decline to provide any monthly sales data.

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