2013 Tesla Model S on Chilcotin Highway, Canada [photo: owner Vincent Argiro]
The Tesla Model S now owns the record for the most electric car sales in Canada in a single month
To borrow from the popular song, Canada's plug-in electric vehicle market in March was "all about that S".
Based on registration data, which lags by a month, Tesla sold a whopping 250 Model Ses in Canada during March – half the entire country's plug-in total – and handily beating the previous monthly sales record of 222 Chevrolet Volts sold in April 2014.
Most impressive of all, Tesla managed these sales without a tailwind from either the new 70D announcement or the reinstatement of renewed electric-car incentives in British Columbia, both of which happened last month--one month after the record.
Healthy registration numbers are also expected when April data is reported next month, thanks to all the British Columbians who postponed signing their paperwork until the Clean Energy Vehicle program's reinstatement in April.
Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, April 2015
As for the most popular electric car in the world, Nissan sold a Canadian-record 127 Leafs last month, almost doubling its month-ago (74 units) and year-ago (77 units) totals.
The Leaf was likely boosted by the return of incentives in British Columbia (the self-proclaimed Best Place on Earth per a one-time slogan, despite Vancouver suffering 161 rain days per year). The province represents about one-fifth of the Canadian market.
Chevy put in a consistent April, moving 69 Volts, versus 68 in March, but far below the 222 last April (perhaps partly due to the imminent change-over to the all-new 2016 Volt).
Since just one in 16 Volts in Canada are sold in British Columbia, incentives are unlikely to have provided much of a boost.
In contrast, almost half of Canadian BMW i3's are sold in the province. No surprise, then, that BMW dealers sold a fantastic 64 i3s in April.
Clean Across Canada Mitsubishi i-MiEV
That's twice the 29 sold in March, and easily its best-ever sales month.
Even Mitsubishi's i-MiEV managed 24 sales, barely missing its monthly sales record (26) set in 2012 and 2013, when it benefited from far more limited competition.
We can't say the same for the Toyota Prius Plug-in, Ford C-Max Energi and Ford Fusion Energi, since their makers refuse to provide sales data for these vehicles--and registrars don't distinguish them from their hybrid counterparts.
To quote a 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."
Canadian drivers also bought three more Porsche 918 Spyders and another Cadillac ELR in April.
March registration data
As for other German cars, BMW's i8 continued its steady sales pace in March, adding another 9 vehicles, in line with its six-month average.
Mercedes-Benz moved 8 Smarts – well off from last year's favourable-lease assisted levels (133 in August). And Volkswagen has said it won't sell the e-Golf in Canada.
Ford sold two more Focus Electrics, and another Canadian fleet added a Chevy Spark EV, which will soon be sold to retail buyers.
Electric cars on display at EV 10,000, celebrating Canada's 10,000th plug-in electric car delivered
Used electric-car imports
Reader Jacques de Campen asked whether Green Car Reports might be able to estimate used electric-car imports into Canada.
Because used imports appear in vehicle registration data, but not in manufacturer sales reports, comparing the two may give us a good idea of how many plug-ins Canadians import from the United States.
Bureaucratic delays could cause the numbers to be off in any given month, but should become negligible over longer periods.
Accordingly, it looks like Canadians imported about 200 used Volts and 120 used Leafs in 2013 and 2014--representing about 8 percent of each model's new-vehicle sales.
To be as consistent as possible in our data, we're categorized these known used-car imports separately from our new vehicle sales totals.
The latter will probably surpass 12,000 in April, once the Tesla numbers arrive.