To borrow from an old soccer saying, plug-in electric car sales in Canada are a game in which about a dozen models compete, and the Chevy Volt wins.
But in the broader competition with combustion, based on current trends, the Canadian market looks ripe to hit a nice round milestone by the end of the year. And Canadians have made some Smart moves in electric cars recently.
The country's drivers bought 163 Volts in June, helping the extended-range electric vehicle top the country's plug-in sales charts for the 25th time. While down a bit from May's 177 sales, this was still the Volt's fifth-best-ever monthly tally, with three of those top five months coming this year.
Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, June 2014Enlarge Photo
In the bigger picture, the Volt's 831 sales in the first six months of the year almost match 2013's full-year total (931) and put it in good shape to best its record (1,225) set two years ago.
Meanwhile, Nissan sold 104 Leafs in June, nosing past its prior record of 101, set last month. Fully five of the Leaf's six best-ever sales months have come this year, helping it accumulate 462 sales at the year's halfway point -- only eight cars shy of its total for the whole of 2013.
The BMW i3 moved 28 vehicles in June, building on its successful launch the month before (22 sales). May's vehicle registration information is now available, and shows an even split between the pure electric and range-extended models.
Canadians continued to adopt Mitsubishi i-MiEVs and Toyota Prius Plug-ins at an unhurried pace in June. The i-MiEV's eight sales matched May, giving it 50 for the year. Toyota sold give Prius Plug-ins in June, half of May's figure, for 47 sales year-to-date. If these sales rates continue, both vehicles will finish the year with about half their year-ago sales.
Lastly – at least among reporting automakers – three Cadillac ELRs moved off dealer lots in June, bringing its calendar-year sales to 17.
Ford has experienced delays in forwarding the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi sales stats for the first half of the year, so we'll provide an update on those figures when we receive them.
May registration roundup
By far the biggest surprise in May's data was that 67 Smart Electric Drives were added to Canadian roads, by far the best monthly showing for Daimler's diminutive city car.
We'll be watching to see if this momentum continues in future months. This was more than double the 28 Smarts sold in April, and triple the year-ago figure (22 sales in May 2013).
The Smart sales were high enough to push Tesla into fourth place for May sales. The Tesla Model S enjoyed another solid month in May, moving 61 vehicles.
While a slight dip from April (71 sales) it's a very consistent showing with the year-ago May (64 cars). The consistency is also reflected at the cumulative level: The 290 Tesla registrations this year essentially match the 281 in the same five-month period a year ago.
Rounding out the vehicle records, four Chevy Spark EVs, three Ford Focus Electrics, and two more 2012 Fisker Karmas made their way onto Canadian roads in May.
Canada at the half
Once Ford plug-in hybrid sales and June vehicle registration data arrive, cumulative electric-car sales in Canada will probably have topped 7,800 vehicles--with about 2,200 of those coming in the first half of 2014, roughly a 50-percent improvement over the year-ago period.
At this rate, the country should get its 10,000th plug-in vehicle around the end of the year. In contrast, the U.S.--with nine times the population of Canada--is likely to have 300,000 or more electric cars and plug-in hybrids on its road by then.
Though the milestone won't be reached in time for the country's national EV trade show in late October, it should be cause for celebration as Canadian electric-car advocates ring in 2015, across the country's six time zones--or any number of other time zones in the tropics, where winter-weary Canucks are wont to gather.