2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott
Toyota was lucky to have improved on its February figures, as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV tied its all-time best Canadian monthly sales total of 26 (also achieved in May 2012) but had to settle for fourth place, among reporting automakers.
2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George ParrottEnlarge Photo
This was quite the turnaround, the i-MiEV having put in its two worst-ever Canadian sales months in January and February. Indeed, Mitsubishi sold almost as many i-MiEV's in Canada last month, as in America (31).
Overall Canadian plug-in electric car market
Paced by the Volt and Leaf, Canadian plug-in electric car sales for those four automakers in March nearly doubled the February levels (218 vs. 118) and improved on a year-over-year basis, as well (March 2012: 150).
While this is progress, we need to note that in Canada, March generally enjoys a 50 percent bump in auto sales over February, and this year was no exception. A similar but smaller trend is seen in the United States, with February-to-March sales typically jumping 20-25 percent.
2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model
Reported plug-in sales volumes represented 0.14 percent of the Canadian market in March, their third-best showing behind May and September 2012, both of which featured 200+ Chevy Volt sales -- showing the Volt's potential (if you'll excuse the pun) if the company were to pursue sales aggressively.
While this represented a healthy year-over-year improvement from March 2012 (0.09 percent), Canadians still face a long road ahead to catch up to their American cousins in electric vehicle adoption.
2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production modelEnlarge Photo
Plug-in electric cars from reporting automakers represented about 0.25 percent of the American market in March 2013. Add plausible Tesla sales of 2,000 vehicles, and plug-in market share in the United States approaches 0.40 percent -- almost triple the Canadian level.
Matthew Klippenstein is a professional engineer and plug-in electric vehicle enthusiast. A member of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, he lives with his family in the nearby suburb of Burnaby, and blogs at www.eclecticlip.com.