In Canada, the Chevy Volt's record-setting sales last month overshadowed the Tesla Model S's equally impressive deliveries the month before, in March.
Building on strong momentum in March, the Chevy Volt tallied 222 sales in April, breaking its own monthly record for deliveries of a single plug-in electric car in Canada (214 units back in September 2012).
It was the third time GM's electric flagship had reached more than 200 monthly sales in Canada (211 Volts were sold in May 2012). Incentives likely assisted each time.
Added to roughly 100 sales each month in February and March, the Volt has a good chance of setting a new yearly sales record as well. Two years ago, Chevy sold 1,225 Volts in Canada; this year, after just four months, they're 40 percent of the way there.
Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, Apr 2014Enlarge Photo
The Nissan Leaf, meanwhile--fresh off winning the 2014 Canadian Green Car Award for Best Electric / Zero-Emission Vehicle--achieved 77 sales.
That total ranked as its third consecutive second-best sales month ever, at least north of the 49th Parallel. April's numbers bumped March's 75 sales to third-best-ever, and February's 64 to fourth-best.
The relatively consistent sales over this three-month period leave us wondering if this might be the new normal for Leaf sales in Canada – until the company expands Leaf production at its Smyrna, Tennessee, factory once again, that is.
Toyota sold 11 Prius Plug-ins in Canada in April, down slightly from March (13). Mitsubishi sold 10 i-MiEV electric minicar, also down slightly month-over-month (12). Four Cadillac ELR's were sold as well.
New Tesla sales record
Looking back to registration data for the previous month of March, the Volt's astonishing April overshadowed a magnificent March for the Tesla Model S: 119 of the company's "engineless carriages" were registered for Canadian roads, just beating the 111 seen last March.
That 119-unit sales figure was good enough to steal the March sales crown from the Volt, one month later. It also qualifies as the sixth-highest monthly sales total for any individual plug-in electric vehicle in Canada, behind an array of Volt titles.
A look at the first-quarter monthly sales figures for 2013 and 2014 suggest that Tesla's Canadian operations may have been supply-constrained in both years, and weren't able to catch up with demand until March--which would explain the unusually high numbers in that month two years in a row.
As for the rest, 26 new Smart Electric Drives were registered in Canada in March, up slightly from January and February (22 and 20 sales, respectively). The Ford Focus Electric sold 8 units, and one more Chevy Spark joined the Canadian automotive fleet.
Unfortunately, Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi sales data won't be available until mid-year. When it arrives, we'll see if the C-Max Energi's Canadian Green Car Award for Best Plug-in Hybrid, boosted sales.
Overall market: best ever?
While we won't be able to confirm it until vehicle registration data arrives next month, it seems likely that April was the best-ever sales month for plug-in electric vehicles in Canada. They were led by the Volt's exceptional showing, continued strength in Leaf sales, and potentially strong Tesla sales as well.
Canadian plug-in sales still have a long way to go to reach the new-car market-share levels seen in the United States (let alone Norway). But the fact that April could be electric vehicles' best-ever sales month is a positive development for enthusiasts.
It suggests that plug-in sales momentum is strong enough and broad enough to keep growing, even in the face of occasional setbacks--including the expiration of electric-vehicle incentives in British Columbia.
To appropriate a famous Victor Hugo quote, "Nothing is as powerful as a propulsion system whose time has come".