For more than four years, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt have been the highest-volume plug-in electric cars sold in the U.S.

Last month, for the first time in roughly three years, the Nissan Leaf's total U.S. sales surpassed those of the Chevrolet Volt.

With March deliveries of 1,817 Leafs, compared to 639 Volts, the Leaf surged past the Volt to a total of 76,407 sold since December 2010--against 75,231 for the Volt.

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The current 2015 Volt is on a lengthy run-out before the all-new 2016 Volt goes on sale in the second half of this year.

That car, with its 50-mile range rating, is likely to see sales spike--depending, of course, on how Chevy chooses to price it.

Meanwhile, the battery electric Leaf has racked up four-figure sales every single month since February 2013, when U.S.-built Leafs started arriving at dealers from Nissan's assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.

2015 Chevrolet Volt

2015 Chevrolet Volt

"We celebrated two major milestones in March: We reached 75,000 Nissan LEAF sales in the U.S., and now we are America's top selling plug-in vehicle," said Brendan Jones, director, Nissan Electric Vehicle Sales and Infrastructure.

"Enthusiasm for electric cars continues to grow. LEAF owners like Rishabh Mehandru, the customer who purchased the 75,000th LEAF, are so passionate about driving electric that they persuade friends and family to also go electric. And in Rishabh's case, they become repeat LEAF buyers themselves."

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The Leaf, now in its fifth model year, will be replaced roughly one year after the Volt. It's expected to offer a range of battery packs, with the highest electric range somwhere between 140 and 200 miles.

The third highest monthly total reported thus far belongs to the BMW i3, which logged 922 sales last month--close to the 1,000 monthly level it's been hitting since last summer.

As always, Tesla Motors refuses to report sales data on its Model S electric car, and Green Car Reports chooses not to speculate on its sales level.

Tesla Model S in Albuquerque's 'snowstorm' during NY-to-California road trip [photo: David Noland]

Tesla Model S in Albuquerque's 'snowstorm' during NY-to-California road trip [photo: David Noland]

Plug-in hybrids

Sales of the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid continued at the low level they've logged since last summer, with 473 delivered in March.

That's up on the previous two months' numbers, but the plug-in Prius--which has the lowest electric range of any plug-in car sold in North America--hasn't cracked four figures since last July.

Sales of Ford's two Energi plug-in hybrid models, the Fusion mid-size sedan and C-Max compact hatchback, were 837 and 715, respectively.

That brings their three-month totals to 1,866 and 1,608, both of them slightly lower than the comparable three-month periods in 2013.

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Lower-volume entries

The most recent pair of German battery-electric vehicles recovered somewhat from February's low delivery numbers.

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive sold 145 in March, while the Volkswagen e-Golf was at 195.

BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf electric cars using Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charging

BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf electric cars using Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charging

The tiny Mitsubishi i-MiEV battery-electric minicar, meanwhile, saw March sales five times those of February. That is, 10 i-MiEVs found buyers in March versus two in February.

The $75,000 Cadillac ELR range-extended electric luxury coupe saw another 92 sales--bringing its total delivered since December 2013 to 1,627.

Among the compliance cars, one more Honda Fit EV found a buyer in March, its first sale since last December. And four more Toyota RAV4 EVs were delivered.

Both cars are at the end of their model run, with their makers having sold sufficient numbers to meet their California zero-emission vehicle requirements.

Chevy sold 151 Spark EVs as well, bringing the total since launch over 2,000, to 2,040.

Ford sold 140 Focus Electrics, bringing its total to 370--slightly down on the 406 sold during the same three months of 2013.

We will update this article throughout the day as more sales data comes in.


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