Plug-in Electric Car Sales in Canada, March 2013 Page 2

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

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Toyota was lucky to have improved on its February figures, as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV tied its all-time best Canadian monthly sales total of 26 (also achieved in May 2012) but had to settle for fourth place, among reporting automakers. 

This was quite the turnaround, the i-MiEV having put in its two worst-ever Canadian sales months in January and February.  Indeed, Mitsubishi sold almost as many i-MiEV's in Canada last month, as in America (31).

Overall Canadian plug-in electric car market

Paced by the Volt and Leaf, Canadian plug-in electric car sales for those four automakers in March nearly doubled the February levels (218 vs. 118) and improved on a year-over-year basis, as well (March 2012: 150). 

While this is progress, we need to note that in Canada, March generally enjoys a 50 percent bump in auto sales over February, and this year was no exception.  A similar but smaller trend is seen in the United States, with February-to-March sales typically jumping 20-25 percent.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

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Reported plug-in sales volumes represented 0.14 percent of the Canadian market in March, their third-best showing behind May and September 2012, both of which featured 200+ Chevy Volt sales -- showing the Volt's potential (if you'll excuse the pun) if the company were to pursue sales aggressively.

While this represented a healthy year-over-year improvement from March 2012 (0.09 percent), Canadians still face a long road ahead to catch up to their American cousins in electric vehicle adoption. 

Plug-in electric cars from reporting automakers represented about 0.25 percent of the American market in March 2013.  Add plausible Tesla sales of 2,000 vehicles, and plug-in market share in the United States approaches 0.40 percent -- almost triple the Canadian level.

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


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