Americans and Canadians alike returned to work this week after a festive St. Patrick's Day.

For sales of plug-in electric vehicles in Canada, the (idiomatic, good) luck of the Irish arrived for one U.S. automaker.

General Motors sold 51 Chevrolet Volts in Canada in February, up slightly from its Canadian total in January (44), and good enough for its twelfth consecutive month atop the country's plug-in sales charts.

Its leadership seems assured for the time being: At the time of writing, Nissan Canada had not even begun advertising the cheaper, made-in-America 2013 Nissan Leaf on its website.

The picture of consistency, Nissan maintained its second place, following up its 37 Leaf sales total in January, with another 37 in February.

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid remained in third place, moving 25 units, down from January's 33.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, meanwhile -- which had posted a Canada-leading 20 plug-in sales in February 2012 -- sold only 5 units this February, up from an even-worse January (4 sales).

The little electric car's fading fortunes in Canada are a stark contrast to its renewed success in the U.S. Buoyed by favorable incentives, by the end of February, Mitsubishi had already beaten its full-year 2012 sales total there (594 vs. 588).

While Tesla doesn't report monthly sales figures, queries to British Columbia's auto registrar revealed that 5 new Teslas were registered there in January.

Since the province has about one eighth of the Canadian population and one sixth of its plug-in electric fleet, we might expect sales of something on the order of 30 to 40 Tesla Model S luxury sport sedans in January in Canada.

That would have put the Model S in striking range of the Volt's category-leading 44 sales last month. Of course, given Tesla's unwillingness to divulge monthly sales figures, we may never know if it took the checkered flag.

All in all, the Canadian plug-in electric car market held steady in February. Manufacturers with easily-accessible data reported 118 plug-in sales, making February the fourth straight month where sales hovered around 120 units, for a new-vehicle market share of about 0.10 percent. 

(Plug-ins have about 0.35 percent of the new-vehicle market share in the United States. See here for Green Car Reports' analysis of February plug-in auto sales in America.)

St. Patrick's Day, of course, marks the contributions of the Irish to their national and popular culture. In Canada, that largely means hockey. Irish influence in the game's early years is hinted at, in the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs -- the NHL's most valuable franchise -- were for a time called the Toronto St. Patricks.

Toronto, however, currently suffers from the (historically, terrible) luck of the Irish: Its team hasn't won a Stanley Cup since Canada's Centennial, way back in 1967

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.


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