Smart Electric Drive, University of British Columbia campus, Vancouver [pohto: Matthew Klippenstein]
During September, another 145 Chevrolet Volts were sold in Canada--continuing the slow but steady arrival of plug-in electric cars onto the nation's roads.
While this would ordinarily be enough to crown Chevy's range-extended electric car with another first-place sales finish for the month, the coronation will have to wait, for two reasons.
First, the Smart Electric Drive has surged on the back of generous incentives in recent months.
August sales crested at 133. Now, a promotion that takes C$3,000 off the price means the car can be purchased for as little as C$15,490 when coupled with provincial incentives of C$8,500.
That makes the Smart Electric Drive, with a sticker price of C$26,990, cheaper than the gasoline version, which starts at C$18,445!
The Smart's entry-level pricing (in Ontario and Quebec) may be the best news in a while for Canada's electric-vehicle community. In coming years, when those drivers move up-market–as they inevitably will–they'll almost certainly become repeat-electric-vehicle buyers.
Second, Tesla's Fremont plant is back online, and the company will be trying to whittle down the backlog that built up while the factory was down. The previous Canadian monthly best for the Tesla model S was 119 earlier this year–without any backlog.
Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, September 2014
The Nissan Leaf remained exactly steady from August to September, reprising its 113-unit sales figure. Even with the expected slowdown in November and December (traditionally slower sales months in Canada), the Leaf looks a lock to hit 1,000 sales this year.
In doing so, it would become the second plug-in to achieve this milestone--after the Volt, which did so for the second time earlier in 2014.
Among other plug-in vehicles, the Toyota Prius Plug-in sold 11 units in September, followed by the Mitsubishi i-MiEV with 7, and the Cadillac ELR with 3.
August vehicle registration roundup
As noted, the Smart Electric Drive sold 133 units in August--virtually half of all Smarts sold that month.
2014 Tesla Model S
On the other hand, only 25 new Tesla Model Ses were registered, though we can attribute this to the supply constraints brought about from the company's factory retooling.
That means we may be looking at a bumper month for Model S sales in September or October, depending on which markets Tesla resupplies first.
Canadian sales of the BMW i3 were steady in August, at 32. Oddly, almost half the i3s in Canada (44 percent) have been sold in British Columbia, despite the province's rebates having run down before its arrival.
While B.C.'s cancellation of incentives shrank the pool of buyers who could afford the up-front costs of electric cars, the i3 data suggests that at least the first few months of sales will mainly go to early adopters who aren't particularly price-sensitive.
(Remember how the iPhone got $200 cheaper just a few months after its introduction?)
Three Chevy Sparks and 5 Ford Focus Electrics also made their Canadian-road debuts in August.
2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid
As data on Ford C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi sales, the company has chosen not to discuss it..
"I have looked into this and unfortunately we are not inclined to provide this level of detail for Canada," explained a Ford spokesperson after many inquiries.
"The numbers are very small, as you might imagine."
Regrettably, Kia Motors Canada offered a similar response when it came to upcoming Soul EV sales. We will report on its vehicle registration figures, once those come in.
Canada's plug-in car proponents will be closing the month of October with the annual EV/VÉ (Electric Vehicle / Vehicule Électrique conference, as cumulative electric-car sales in the country push towards the 10,000-vehicle mark.
While that sales odometer looks likely to roll over in November, strong October sales would give the community a great Halloween treat.