Sales of plug-in electric cars generally fall off a bit as the weather gets colder, and it's the same this year, with November sales slightly down on those of October.

The new 2016 Chevrolet Volt continued strong, even though it's on sale only in California and a few other states, but weakness in the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 was stronger.

As always, this report covers only manufacturers that report monthly sales of their plug-in electric vehicles; we do not estimate unreported sales.

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In its second full month on sale, the 2016 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid sold 1,980, bringing sales over for October and November to more than 2,000 a month.

Its year-to-date sales of 13,279 are still more than 4,000 units down on the November 2014 total, however. But 2016 could be a very good year for GM's first modern plug-in car.

Nissan Leaf sales for November were 1,054, bringing the 11-month total to 15,922.

2016 Nissan Leaf

2016 Nissan Leaf

That's 41 percent lower than the total last year at the same time, and the monthly figure is even worse: down 61 percent over November 2014.

While the 2016 Nissan Leaf offers a 107-mile range on all but the base model, reports indicate that the new Leafs have been slow to reach dealers.

The Volt is an all-new model for 2016, with an electric range that rose from 38 to 53 miles, while the Leaf is the same car with a range boosted from 84 to 107 miles.

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BMW i3 sales (including both battery-electric and REx range-extended versions) were 723, the lowest since June, for a total of 9,602 delivered over the 11 months of 2015.

That's even lower than the 816 delivered in November 2014, only its seventh month on sale.

The Volkswagen e-Golf registered another strong month, at 472 delivered in November, for a year-to-date total of 3,623.

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

While U.S. sales fell 25 percent overall for Volkswagen due to a stop-sale order on all its TDI diesel vehicles, perhaps some potential Golf TDI buyers switched over to the battery-electric e-Golf.

In any case, that 472 figure is the e-Golf's second-best month since it went on sale 13 months ago--exceeded only by October's all-time record of 596.

Sales of the similarly-sized but pricier Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive (to be renamed B250e for 2016) plummeted to just 41, its lowest since the first month it was on sale in July 2014, when it sold the same number.

The 11-month total for the electric B-Class is now 1,809, or precisely half that of the VW e-Golf.

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Remarkably, it was outsold more than four-to-one by its Smart Electric Drive stablemate, which had its best monthly sales of the entire year in November.

Smart delivered 178 ForTwo Electric Drive minicars, for an 11-month total of 1,208--though that's only about half the sales rate of 2014 at the same time.

Plug-in hybrids

Among plug-in hybrids, sales of Ford's pair of Energi models have been waning slowly over the course of the year.

2016 Ford Fusion Energi

2016 Ford Fusion Energi

It sold 639 C-Max Energi compact hatchbacks and 944 Fusion Energi mid-size sedans, for year-to-date totals of 7,012 and 8,692 respectively--both totals down on their 2014 counterparts.

And the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, discontinued last summer, continues to ebb. Just 44 were delivered in November, for an 11-month total of 4,169.

Attention will soon turn to the next-generation plug-in Prius, which is expected to be revealed sometime next spring or summer, with a vastly greater range than the minimal 11 miles of the outgoing model.

It's still worth noting, however, that the outgoing Prius Plug-In has so far sold 42,271 units in three and a half years--giving it the fourth highest volume of any vehicle with a plug sold in the U.S.

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

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

Low-volume vehicles

Among the laundry list of lower-volume plug-in vehicles, Porsche E-Hybrid deliveries chug along respectably against its overall sales.

It sold 33 Panamera plug-in sedans and 121 Cayenne plug-in sport utilities, bringing their year-to-date totals to 391 and 961 respectively.

2015 BMW i8, test drive in greater Los Angeles area, Apr 2014

2015 BMW i8, test drive in greater Los Angeles area, Apr 2014

The sexy gullwing BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupe sold another 118, bringing 2015 sales to 1,609.

But the Cadillac ELR range-extended electric coupe fell to 67 deliveries, for a year-to-date total of 889, perhaps indicating that the pricey Volt-based model may slowly wane away and vanish next year.

Compliance cars

Only two compliance-car makers remain that report sales: the Chevy Spark EV delivered 166 units but the Ford Focus Electric sold just 93, for 11-month totals of 2,477 and 1,486 respectively.

The Spark EV will stay on sale for most of next year, until it's replaced by the 200-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV.

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But it remains unclear what Ford plans to do with the aging and increasingly uncompetitive Focus Electric.

Its 76-mile range is now at the low end for battery-electric vehicles and it has had very few updates since its 2012 launch.

2016 Ford Focus Electric

2016 Ford Focus Electric

Add to that a dealer body that largely ignores the car, and it would seem as if Ford will have to step up to the plate in some way just to make its California compliance numbers.

The rest

Mopping up the rest of the numbers, Mitsubishi sold another 4 i-MiEV electric minicars, and Honda sold a stray single Accord Plug-In Hybrid.

Manufacturers who refuse to report conventional monthly sales for their plug-in cars include Tesla (for the Model S), Kia (for the Soul EV), and Fiat (for the 500e compliance car).

Although it had hoped to start sales of its A3 e-tron Sportback plug-in hybrids in November, Audi said the car is still in the certification process with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Finally, it's worth noting that sales of the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle began in October.

While the car doesn't have a plug, its only emission is water vapor, qualifying it as a zero-emission vehicle just like battery-electric cars.

Toyota delivered 34 Mirais in October, and 23 more in November. That total of 57 cars compares to roughly 20,000 cars with plugs sold during the same two months.


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