After strong December and January sales, Tesla may "three-peat" atop Canadian rankings for plug-in electric car sales last month.
Lower-than-usual Volt and Leaf sales mirrored lower-than-usual temperatures across most of Canada in February, meaning the Tesla Model S stood a good chance of taking the top spot.
The Silicon Valley startup followed a phenomenal December (123 registrations) with a fine January (99)--marking the first time it topped the Canadian plug-in sales rankings in consecutive months.
British Columbia reinstates its incentives for plug-in electric car purchase, February 2015
But as it happened, contrary to the frigid temperatures and meters of piled snow across the rest of the country, February was an unusually mild month in the province of British Columbia.
Nowhere was there more warmth than in electric-vehicle advocates' hearts when the provincial government announced, shortly after Valentine's Day, that its forthcoming budget would restore some plug-in electric vehicle incentives.
DON'T MISS: When Electric Car Incentives Expire: A Case Study In Canada (Sep 2014)
When details are announced--perhaps later this month at the Vancouver International Auto Show?--we'll provide coverage.
It's worth noting that local electric-car clubs patiently but persistently advocated for their return.
Perhaps there's a lesson there.
Meanwhile, the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf both notched 38 sales in February. In the Volt's case, that was the lowest monthly total in three years.
While some buyers may be holding off for the upcoming debut of the second-generation Volt, we can't help but think the weather played a factor.
Canadian plug-in electric vehicle sales, February 2015
Quebec buyers might have held off because it was the coldest February in Montreal in more than a century, with Quebec City being even colder. (Quebec saw more than three-quarters of Canada's roughly 1,500 Chevy Volt sales last year.)
While Leaf sales rose from the 36 in January, they were lower year-over-year (64 were sold in February 2014).
On the upside, having provided Leafs to Yukon and the Northwest Territories last year, Nissan has a good chance of becoming the first carmaker to sell a plug-in electric vehicle in each of Canada's ten provinces and three Arctic territories. Nunavut, population 30,000, is all that stands in its way.
(From the registration figures, it appears residents have bought three hybrids in the past four years...)
We'd expect a healthy rebound for both vehicles to end the quarter, even if British Columbia buyers delay their purchases until those incentives come into effect; March sales typically run 1.5 times those of February.
2015 BMW i3
BMW's i3 continued its roughly one-a-day pace in February, with 31 deliveries, up from 24 in January. Half of its sales come from British Columbia, so i3 sales would have been largely unaffected by weather.
Cadillac sold 2 more ELRs, and a Mitsubishi representative graciously reported that the company hadn't sold any i-MiEVs.
Toyota wasn't able to say whether it had sold any Prius Plug-ins, and as usual, Ford and Mercedes-Benz refuse to report their (low) sales of the Fusion and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids and Smart Electric Drive minicars respectively.
We've done our best to estimate probable sales of those cars, based on historical trends.
January vehicle registration summary
Tesla aside, the BMW i8 had the best January among models for which we need to rely on vehicle registrations. It sold 13 units, its best month in Canada. It was followed by the Kia Soul EV, with 11 sales.
The Smart Electric Drive only managed four registrations in January. With about 90 percent of Smart EDs selling in Ontario and Quebec, February will likely be modest as well.
Ford sold a single Focus Electric, and one more Porsche 918 joined Canada's automotive fleet.
Reader Matt Stevens noted that there are also three McLaren P1s registered in Canada. Having peeked at that vehicle's price, the Tesla Model S P85D suddenly seems highly affordable.