2016 Chevrolet Volt, first drive in California, July 2015
Like an exhausted Times Square reveler, the Canadian plug-in electric vehicle market tends to start the New Year slowly, and this past January was no exception.
Chevy sold 94 Volts, down more than half from December's 220 but well ahead of the 71 from a year ago.
Similarly, Nissan's 72 Leaf sales were a substantial drop from December's 122, while still being double the 36 units from the prior January.
BMW managed to keep its i-series sales steady, the 34 units sold in January being roughly on par with December's 37 (split between 26 i3 hatchbacks and nine i8 plugin hybrid sport coupes).
These figures too were an improvement over the prior January's total of 24 units for the two models.
Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, January 2016
Rounding out the reporting carmakers, Mitsubishi sold a further 7 i-MiEVs and Cadillac one lonely additional ELR.
GreenCarReports offers its monthly regrets that sales for the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, Ford C-Max Energi, and Ford Fusion Energi are no longer provided.
(Any plug-in Prius sales will have ended by now in any case, since the model went out of production last spring.)
To quote a Ford representative: "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."
2016 Ford Fusion Energi
Tesla and year-end registration round-up
With 224 sales in December, the Tesla Model S edged past the Chevy Volt to claim its eighth monthly sales title in 2015, and the 15th gold-medal month during its three years of availability north of the 49th parallel.
Those numbers were strong enough to push Tesla to 2,010 plug-in electric vehicle sales in Canada for the year, more than doubling its previous best of 847 units, set in 2014.
More impressively, the Model S outsold the conventional Toyota Prius hatchback, which totaled 1,622 registrations.
(To be fair to the Prius, the standard Prius Liftback model is handily outsold by the Prius C and Prius V in Canada. Those two versions combined for more than 5,500 registrations last year.)
The Liftback was also in the last year of its design cycle, so some buyers may have decided to hold off buying until the fourth-generation 2016 Prius arrived.)
2016 Tesla Model S
Thanks primarily to Tesla's expansion, the Canadian plug-in electric vehicle market grew by about one-third last year, rising from about 5,000 to almost 6,700 vehicles.
The balance of the gains came from new vehicles that expanded the number of plug-in product offerings.
With the Canadian auto market being flat year-over-year, this also meant a one-third increase in plug-in electric market share, which rose to a still quite modest 0.35 percent.
Comparing automakers' monthly sales reports with vehicle registration records, we can see that for every 100 new Chevy Volts sold in Canada last year, a further five were imported (presumably from the United States).
More surprisingly, there were about 16 used Nissan Leafs imported per 100 sold--up considerably from prior years.
2012 Nissan Leaf in the autumn outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada [photo: Ricardo Borba]
December registration round-up
Thanks to strong showings from the Model S and the Volt (200+ sales) and the Leaf (100+ sales), plug-in electric vehicles set a monthly market-share record in December of 0.57 percent in Canada.
Kia sold 38 Soul EVs, while Porsche moved 24 Cayenne S-E plug-in hyrids. Audi sold an impressive 24 A3 e-Tron plug-in hybrids in its first month of Canadian availability as well.
While rumors swirl around plans by Mercedes-Benz for its Smart brand (will it go the way of Scion?), the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive sold another 7 units in Canada in December.
It was accompanied by 5 Ford Focus Electrics and 2 Chevy Spark EVs.