Plug-in Electric Car Sales In Canada, April 2013

2013 Chevrolet Volt - Driven, December 2012

2013 Chevrolet Volt - Driven, December 2012

Enlarge Photo

Most Canadians will remember last month for the introduction of the country's new $5 and $10 bills, which arrived just in time for the playoff-hockey betting season.

Canadian electric vehicle enthusiasts may remember April 2013, on the other hand, as the month the Toyota Prius Plug-in fell into fourth place among the country's plug-ins. 

But before we ponder sinking sales fortunes, let's celebrate the podium-holders (among the carmakers who release monthly sales data).

Chevy Volt: 14 months and counting

After sharing the plug-in sales championship with the Nissan Leaf (82 units) last month, the Chevy Volt outpaced its rival in April, with 64 vehicles sold.  Still, April marked the second consecutive month that its sales were down year-over-year (April 2012: 76 units).

May will probably continue that trend, as May 2012 saw the Volt rack up an impressive (by Canadian standards) 211 sales, representing 80 percent of the country's plug-in electric vehicle market that month.

Nissan Leaf: always a bridesmaid

While the Nissan Leaf was the second-best selling car of any kind in Norway in April, in Canada it had to settle for the more modest title of second-best selling plug-in car, with 48 sales. 

While this was a drop from March's Volt-tying levels, April represents the third month in a row that sales had roughly doubled year-ago levels.  (April 2012: 26 units)

i-MiEV, then Prius Plug-in

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV rolled back into third place in April, selling 24 units across the Great White North, essentially level with month-ago (26) and year-ago (22) levels. 

In doing so, it nipped past the Prius Plug-in, whose 22 units were the lowest this calendar year.  And the Prius Plug-in's sales torpor is North America-wide.

One wonders if Toyota is suffering the problem with the plug-in Prius that its competitors did in selling hybrids: Do early adopters prefer vehicles built on dedicated platforms, with distinctive silhouettes to make it clear to onlookers that the owners are, well, early adopters?

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012

Enlarge Photo

Among plug-in electric cars, three-quarters of U.S. electric vehicle sales come from dedicated plug-in platforms (Volt, Leaf, and Tesla Model S). 

In the United States, in recent months the Prius Plug-in, Ford Fusion and C-Max Energi, Focus Electric, and Honda Accord PHEV -- all based on existing, non-electric vehicle platforms -- seem to be splitting a shrinking slice of the pie.

Canadian plug-in sales stalling?

Not including Tesla, plug-ins comprised about 0.4 percent of the American new car market in April.  Adding our best Tesla sales estimates -- and assuming virtually all Tesla volume remains in the U.S.-- this figure pushes above 0.55 percent.

Unfortunately, April plug-in sales fell to 0.09 percent of the Canadian new car market, a nine-month low.  This might be statistical noise, as combining April numbers with higher March figures (0.14 percent) gives a two-month average of 0.11 percent, in line with the trend of the past six months.

But this is only modest progress over the 0.09 percent for the same period last year.

A plausible reason that the Canadian plug-in market has enjoyed only modest growth is that there is no Federal incentive for purchase of an electric car -- not a surprise, given the federal government's bitumen focus. In contrast, the U.S. market for such cars tripled last year, assisted by a Federal income-tax credit of up to $7,500.

Follow Us

Comments (10)
  1. News from Canada? GCR now has a very international feel.

  2. "While incentive programs continue in Ontario and British Columbia, the rebate system in Quebec has now run its course."

    Matt: This is only true for hybrid vehicles. Rebates for all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are still in place in Quebec, valid until December 31, 2015.


  3. Hi Ricardo,
    Sorry for the superlatively delayed reply. You are indeed correct (again) and I'll be making a correction shortly.

  4. Thanks for the correction, Matt.

    (and for the credit. :)



  5. Those numbers are appalling
    In Israel, a seven million country, 125 renault Fluence ZE were sold in April
    Which by 25% more than the previous month
    Is it because in Israel range is unlimited?

  6. It all comes down to cost. Nobody wants to spend 40 g's on a Nissan Leaf

  7. Kevin:

    The prices have significantly come down (28,000-34000) and that is before incentives of at least 7500.00. I just wish the Cheve people would bring its 41000.00 price tag down.

  8. Well see here's the problem, USA already had the 2013 LEAF starting at 20 000$, we (Canada) still are in the 2012 version which starts at 38 000$, Nissan Canada said that the 2013 LEAF was supposed to arrive in April (mid-spring) now even with the provincial incentives that's still 33 000$. The Ford C-MAX is way worst.. the ENERGI model starts at 44 000$ and in Quebec the incentive is 5000$. The reason why barely anyone buys them in Canada is because they're just too damn expensive and most of them haven't been Canadian Winter tested (except Mitsubishi) so about 35% battery capacity is gone just from the cold.

  9. I'm thinking that very few want an ugly electric car that only travels 11 miles before you have to burn gas again. Also, the highest trim level is almost $40,000 with options. For that money, you can get a Volt which is more stylish, has more range, and is definitely more fun.

  10. We're rapidly approaching mid-year and Nissan Canada is still selling the 2012 model. That can't be helping, especially at the old, significantly higher price!

    I'm looking forward to the day that the electric GM Spark is released for general purchase. (GM Canada has said it will be released first as a fleet vehicle.)

Commenting is closed for old articles.

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you

Find Green Cars


© 2015 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.