Plug-In Electric Car Sales For Canada In 2014: Steady Growth


Tesla Model S P85D, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Tesla Model S P85D, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

While vehicle registration data won't arrive for another few weeks, we cautiously expect Tesla Model S to win December's Canadian plug-in sales sweepstakes.

Both the Chevrolet Volt (at 62 range-extended electric cars sold) and Nissan Leaf (64 battery-electric vehicles) closed the year with modest sales.

The December total comes despite the Tesla Model S's modest sales in October and November (37 and 26, respectively).

ALSO SEE: Tesla Model S Aluminum Body: Why Repair Costs Are Higher

But for seven of its eight full quarters in Canada, the best sales month for the Tesla Model S has been the last month of each quarter: March, June, September, or December.

Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, December 2014

Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, December 2014

Given the “off-the-charts" demand for the 85D/P85D, it seems a safe bet that in December, the Model S will surpass the Volt and Leaf–perhaps even both combined.

A plausible explanation might be that Tesla concentrates on producing overseas-bound vehicles at the beginning of each quarter, then focuses more on North American orders as the quarter ends.

December sales

As noted, Nissan sold 64 Leafs in December, down from 103 in November, and breaking its seven-month streak of triple-digit sales. The Leaf nevertheless ended the year with 1085 sales, more than double its prior-year level of 470 units.

DON'T MISS: U.S. Plug-In Electric Car Sales Continue Rise In 2014: 100,000-Plus Last Year

Sometime in January–perhaps in time for celebrations of the country's 10,000th plug-in vehicle--Nissan should be able to announce it has sold its 2000th Leaf in Canada.

GM sold 1,521 Volts in Canada in this past year--a bit more than 125 per month–so the Volt's 62 December sales, while steady with November's 58, were well below the monthly average.

2015 Chevrolet Volt

2015 Chevrolet Volt

Slower sales in Quebec seem to have contributed to the end-of-year fade-out, but the numbers don't say whether supply or demand factors played a bigger role. One Quebec dealership had difficulty keeping new Volts in stock, so we hope this was just a temporary supply constraint.

Among other reported sales, Mitsubishi sold 7 i-MiEV's in December, rounding the year out with 109 sales, its second consecutive year of sales declines. Mitsubishi's best hope to surpass its Canadian plug-in sales record of 196 units, from 2012, now rests on the upcoming Outlander Plug-In Hybrid SUV--whenever it arrives.

MORE: Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Canada In 2013: Up 50 Percent (Jan 2014)

The Toyota Prius Plug-in and Cadillac ELR both moved 3 units in December. Annual sales for each were under 100 units.

It usually takes a few extra days for BMW to provide i3 sales data, but the Bavarian Bimmer builder looks to have sold more than 200 i3s in its first seven months in Canada. The i3's monthly sales have been consistent, from 19 in November to 34 in July.

2014 BMW i3 in Vancouver, Canada [photo: Don Chandler]

2014 BMW i3 in Vancouver, Canada [photo: Don Chandler]

Based on registration data, BMW sold 8 more i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupes in November, matching its October figure.

While Ford was the best-selling automaker in Canada for the fifth year in a row, it continues to refuse to provide its C-Max and Fusion Energi sales.

To quote a U.S. Ford spokesperson, "I have looked into this and unfortunately we are not inclined to provide this level of detail for Canada [...] The numbers are very small, as you might imagine." 

We've marked our sales estimates for these vehicles in red, based on overall C-Max and Fusion sales, and past ratios of hybrid and Energi sales volumes.

2015 Ford C-Max Energi

2015 Ford C-Max Energi

November registration summary

Canadian drivers added 23 new Smart Electric Drives to their driveways in November, up from 9 in October, but well off the highs of summer months. Its 535 sales through November put the Smart solidly in fourth place for annual plug-in electric vehicle sales.

The electric Smart surpassed the i-MiEV minicar a few months ago to become Canada's fourth best-selling plug-in cumulatively as well.

Rounding out the tally, 8 Kia Soul EVs were sold in November, bringing its three-month total to 24. Three fleet operators added Chevy Sparks to their fleets, and a fifth Porsche 918 Spyder made its way onto Canadian roads as well.

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