Sales of plug-in electric cars tripled last year, so how's the New Year looking?

Based on January sales, being reported throughout the day by automakers, the year is starting slowly.

General Motors said it delivered 1,140 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric cars last month. That's more than the 603 delivered in January 2012, but the lowest monthly total since last February.

Nissan's sales of Leaf battery electric cars, on the other hand, fell to 650 cars (a preliminary number).

The company explained that supplies of Leaf models are low, because it has already taken delivery of the last 2012 models produced in Japan.

Production of 2013 Leaf models is ramping up slowly in its Smyrna, Tennessee, assembly plant, and those cars will go on sale at Nissan dealers later this month.

As for the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, it actually outsold the Leaf--but at a low level of 874 units, the lowest total since last July.

January was the first month of (very limited) sales for the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid, of which precisely 2 were delivered. The car now is arriving at certain Honda dealers in California and New York.

Ford won't report sales breakouts for its C-Max Energi model--perhaps along with first deliveries of the Fusion Energi sedan--or its Focus Electric until Monday.

Sales of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, on the other hand, were a relatively whopping 257 units--or 44 percent of the entire 2012 sales total for the car of 588.

Mitsubishi spokesman Dan Irvin attributed the sales to very attractive incentives on the battery electric minicar, which will continue through the month of February.

As for compliance cars, 8 Honda Fit EVs were delivered in January, along with 25 Toyota RAV4 EVs.

As always, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] won't discuss monthly sales figures as every other carmaker does, saying owners and potential buyers don't care, and investors are content with quarterly reports.

The eagerly awaited statistic for deliveries of Tesla Model S electric sport sedans, although only through December, won't be revealed until Tesla releases its year-end financials sometime later this month.

As for Fisker, it also declines to report monthly sales, but it hasn't built any cars in about six months.

Coda Automotive, meanwhile, is struggling from challenge to challenge, with the latest reports of unpaid bills following two separate sets of layoffs within several weeks of each other.


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