The past week has brought a "hat trick" of good news for Canadian plug-in electric vehicle owners.
The Toronto Blue Jays made the major-league baseball playoffs, the Canadian government announced a national carbon price to come by 2018, and a spectacular September almost certainly shattered monthly electric-car sales records.
Chevrolet sold 446 Volts in Canada in September, surpassing the 421 in August. The plug-in hybrid hatchback's sales have increased every month this year.
This would ordinarily be enough to crown it the monthly plug-in electric sales winner ... except for the Tesla factor.
The relaunch of the low-end Model S60 and price cuts on floor models or loaner cars—whether officially unauthorized or unofficially authorized—may have been enough for Tesla to sell as many or more, Model S cars.
Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, September 2016
Nissan followed up its best-ever 170 Leaf sales in August with a further 146 in September, its sixth-consecutive triple-digit sales month.
At 1,085 sales for the year, the Leaf is already within striking distance of last year's record of 1,233, and it should surpass that by early November.
Mitsubishi sold nine more i-MiEVs in September, and as usual, Ford refuses to provide C-Max Energi and Ford Fusion Energi sales. As conveyed by 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."
Inquiries with Hyundai about Sonata plug-in hybrid sales have proven unsuccessful as well.
Registration round-up for August
Canadian plug-in vehicle monthly sales in the previous month of August totaled 1,090, narrowly missing June's record of 1,110.
August did set a new market-share record of 0.63 percent, up from July's 0.61 percent and June's 0.58 percent.
2012 Nissan Leaf in the autumn outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada [photo: Ricardo Borba]
And September should set records on both measures, given Tesla's trend of delivering more of its sales in quarter-ending months.
December tends to be a slow month for the Canadian auto sector, so the September figures may be the high-water mark for electric car sales for several months, by which point the Chevy Bolt EV will be available.
Early demand indicators for the Bolt EV are promising: as of late September, Quebec's electric car-friendly dealership Bourgeois Chevrolet had a remarkable 210 people on its wait list.
By comparison, a few months before the second-generation Chevy Volt arrived, Bougeois had roughly 60 people on the list.
Tesla sold 109 Model Ses and 107 Model Xes in August, roughly on par with July. It will be interesting to see whether the two cars' 1:1 ratio changes after orders from Model X early adopters have been filled.
As BMW Canada can attest, sales ratios in the first few months can be quite different from long-term ratios. BMW sold 20 i3s in August, bringing its annual total to 213, of which fully 84 percent (179 units) were the range-extended i3 REx version.
2017 BMW i3
In 2015, range-extended i3s accounted for 64 percent of sales, while in 2014 they were only 40 percent. This suggests that, given the electric range available the i3 provides, while early adopters might have had a slight preference for the battery-electric model, newer buyers have a strong preference for range-extended version.
BMW also sold 6 i8s, along with 27 X5 xDrive 40s in August, representing about 5 percent of X5 sales. Audi sold 17 A3 e-Trons (6 percent of total A3 sales) while Porsche sold 29 Cayenne S-E Hybrids and 6 Panamera S-E Hybrids, each about 20 percent of model volume.
Volvo sold 38 XC90 T8 plug-in hybrids in August, down from 55 in July. Kia set a record with 76 Soul EV sales, and in so doing passed the BMW i3 as Canada's fifth-most popular plug-in electric vehicle, by a margin of 816 sales to 779.
Ford sold 21 Focus Electrics in August, and Chevrolet moved 3 more Spark EV electric hatchbacks.