Sales of plug-in electric cars in the U.S. continued their rise in July, as Nissan delivered more than 3,000 Leaf battery electric cars and Chevy more than 2,000 Volt range-extended electrics.

It's was only the second time that the two cars together have sold more than 5,000 units in a single month; the first was last August, when 5,771 were delivered.

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The first report this morning came in for the highest-selling electric car in the world, the Nissan Leaf. It logged 3,019 deliveries last month, bringing its year-to-date total to 15,755.

While this wasn't the Leaf's highest-ever single sales month--that would be this past May, at 3,117--it's fully 62 percent higher than the 1,864 sold in July a year ago.

Nissan attributed the sales growth to its No Charge To Charge promotion, which is now in 10 markets across the country.

“Leaf sales in the northeastern U.S. are also picking up," said Brendan Jones, Nissan’s director of LEAF Sales and Infrastructure, "with new tax incentives for Massachusetts and Maryland residents.”

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The Chevrolet Volt too had its best sales month since last December, with 2,020 sold. That brings its seven-month total to10,635--just 36 units shy of the plug-in Prius.

The Volt is now in danger of being overtaken by the Leaf for total sales since both cars went on sale the same month, way back in December 2010.

As always, we don't know how many Tesla Model S luxury electric cars were sold in the U.S. because Tesla refuses to report monthly sales--or even break out its global three-month sales by month or by country.

So, as always, we'll assume that about 1,200 Model S cars were delivered in the U.S. for July.

2014 Ford Fusion Energi

2014 Ford Fusion Energi

Plug-in hybrids

The next best-selling group of plug-in vehicles are the plug-in hybrids from Toyota and Ford.

In July, 1,371 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrids were delivered--the lowest monthly number since February--bringing the seven-month total to 10,671. That still leaves the plug-in Prius in third place, both for sales this year and total cars on the road.

Sales of the Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids fell, with 1,226 sedans (against 1,939 in June) and 831 compact hatchbacks (against 988). The June levels had been uncharacteristically high, however.

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Low-volume and compliance cars

Following the cars above are a whole host of lower-volume vehicles. Some are purely compliance cars built to meet California zero-emission vehicle sales rules, others simply sell at lower rates for a variety of reasons.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012

In its first month on the market, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive logged 41 sales.

Its German competitor the BMW i3, in both battery-electric and range-extended models, delivered 363 cars--right in line with the previous two months it's been on sale--bringing its yearly total to 1,057.

Sales of the Cadillac ELR range-extended luxury coupe were 188 last month, almost twice its best previous month. Five-figure incentives help move more of the pricey Cadillac, widely viewed as up to $25,000 too expensive for its size and performance.

The Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid logged sales of 41 units, bringing its seven-month total to 221. It was outsold by the 63 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrids delivered, for a total since January of 544.

Among battery-electric vehicles, the Smart Electric Drive surged to 298 deliveries, bringing its year-to-date sales to a remarkable 1,390.

Compare that to the unfortunate Mitsubishi i-MiEV, at just 17 last month--for a yearly total of 114. And the Ford Focus Electric delivered 198 units, precisely one more than in June, for a yearly total crossing into four figures, at 1,094.

Finally, the obvious compliance cars: The Chevrolet Spark EV was at 128 last month, bringing the number since January to 764. The Toyota RAV4 EV sold 68 in July, for a year-to-date run of 614. And the Honda Fit EV delivered 42 units, for a yearly total of 263.

The Fiat 500e also fits into that group, but Fiat refuses to break out sales numbers for the model.


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