Plug-In Electric Car Sales In August: Calm Before The Storm? (FINAL UPDATE)

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2015 Nissan Leaf

2015 Nissan Leaf

With the Labor Day holiday imminent--falling well into September this year--industry analysts have expected U.S. new-car sales for August to be less buoyant than they might otherwise be.

But in the lower-volume world of plug-in electric cars, model cycles remain the driving factor.

The first-generation Chevy Volt has been on a long sell-down, and next year's Nissan Leaf--widely expected to offer a longer-range battery--hasn't yet been released.

DON'T MISS: Will 2015 Plug-In Electric Car Sales Exceed Last Year's Total?

Last month, a total of 1,393 Nissan Leafs were delivered to buyers and lessees, bringing the yearly total to 12,383.

That's significantly lower than the 18,941 delivered in the same eight-month period last year--reflecting the combination of an aging model, anticipation of an imminent longer-range version, and perhaps low gasoline prices as well.

The Leaf remains the highest-volume plug-in car sold in the U.S., with a total of 84,705 delivered since it went on sale in December 2010.

2015 Chevrolet Volt

2015 Chevrolet Volt

As for the Chevy Volt, 1,380 were delivered in August, bringing the year's eight-month total to 8,315.

A total of 81,672 Volts have been delivered since December 2010.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Chevrolet Volt - full review

Both models are likely to make news this month, with details of the 2016 Leaf potentially released in the next 30 days--and the first of the all-new and longer-range Volt plug-in hybrid going on sale before the end of September.

While it will take both of those cars a while to make it to dealers, we expect to see an uptick by December, though plug-in sales are historically lower during the winter.

2015 BMW i3 REx - Driven, Portland OR, April 2015

2015 BMW i3 REx - Driven, Portland OR, April 2015

Meanwhile, August sales of the BMW i3 were 792, roughly where they've been holding this year--for an eight-month total of 6,183.

Almost 12,300 of BMW's innovative electric car--the most energy-efficient vehicle available in the U.S.--have been sold since its launch in May 2014.

PRIOR MONTH: Plug-In Electric Car Sales In July: Leaf Plummets, Volt Holds

Tesla Motors refuses to release standard monthly sales figures by market for its Model S electric luxury sedan, so we can't say how many of that vehicle were sold in August.

Plug-in hybrids: high-volume

As for the plug-in hybrids, the Toyota Prius numbers continue to wane.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012

The Prius Plug-In Hybrid production having ended earlier this year--and a new version not due until the end of 2016.

Just 344 plug-in Priuses were delivered in August, its lowest total since February 2012--the very first month it went on sale.

MORE: 2016 Toyota Prius: Full View Photos Finally Leaked

As for Ford's Energi plug-in hybrids, it sold 723 C-Max models and 949 Fusion versions, both modestly higher than the July figures.

Each of the eight-month totals, however--4,959 and 6,091--is down on the total for the same eight-month period last year, however.

Low-volume entries

Finally, there's the largest number of plug-in cars: those that are low-volume (for various reasons) and the California compliance cars sold solely to hit volume targets imposed by the state for zero-emission vehicles.


 
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