Plug-in electric car sales for Feb: Volt outsells Prius Prime, Bolt EV, Leaf (final update)

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2017 Chevrolet Volt

2017 Chevrolet Volt

Once again, it's the first day of the month following a weekday sales close, when the auto industry turns its eyes to the sales charts emerging from all automakers (except Tesla).

For plug-in electric cars, the question this month remains the same as last month: how many Chevrolet Bolt EVs did GM deliver?

As distribution of the first affordable battery-electric car with more than 200 miles of range continues to roll out into more states, Bolt EV volumes take on outsized importance.

In February, Chevy delivered 952 Bolt EVs, for a two-month total this year of 2,114. (Another 579 were sold in December.)

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The Nissan Leaf, the aging 107-mile battery electric car now in its seventh model year, actually outsold the Bolt EV with 1,036 sales in February.

That returned the Leaf to the pace of roughly 1,000 cars a month it maintained throughout most of last year.

That said, it's probably not reasonable to draw any conclusions about the sales pace of GM's 238-mile electric hatchback until at least the second half of the year.

 

2017 Toyota Prius Prime and 2017 Chevrolet Volt with Green Car Reports editor John Voelcker

2017 Toyota Prius Prime and 2017 Chevrolet Volt with Green Car Reports editor John Voelcker

Plug-in hybrids

Meanwhile, Chevrolet's Volt plug-in hybrid saw deliveries of 1,820, bringing the year-to-date number to 3,431.

That's a much greater disparity than in January, when the Volt total of 1,511 was only 350 units higher than the Bolt EV's 1,162.

The Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid logged sales of 1,362 units last month, for a year-to-date total of 2,728.

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That too lags the Volt, the strongest competitor among plug-in vehicles this year so far.

The Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid logged a strong 400 deliveries last month, its second-best monthly number since it went on sale in December 2015. Its year-to-date figure is 787.

It also represented more than 20 percent of all A3 models sold in February, an encouraging sign as Audi starts to prepare for next year's launch of its e-tron all-electric SUV model with more than 200 miles of range.

2016 Audi A3 e-Tron Sportback, San Francisco Bay Area, Oct 2015

2016 Audi A3 e-Tron Sportback, San Francisco Bay Area, Oct 2015

Sales of the Energi plug-in hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion mid-size sedan and the Ford C-Max compact tall hatchback at least returned to outweighing those of Toyota's Prius Prime when added together.

The plug-in Fusion logged 837 units and the plug-in C-Max 639 units, after a very low January of 606 and 473 units respectively—though last month's numbers remained far from the four-digit sales of the Fusion Energi in 10 of 12 months last year.

Battery-electric models

Two other battery-electric vehicles that sell in the hundreds had down months in February.

The Volkswagen e-Golf logged just 293 deliveries, its lowest since June 2016, and the BMW i3 was only slightly higher at 318 units.

That brings the two cars' 2017 totals thus far to 625 and 700 cars, both significantly down on their paces last year.

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There's an explanation, though: both vehicles have updated 2017 versions with higher ranges (114 miles for the 2017 BMW i3, 125 miles for the 2017 e-Golf) that haven't yet reached dealers.

Sales of the 124-mile 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric, if the Korean maker chooses to break them out, aren't likely to start until April or May.

As always, Tesla Motors refuses to break down its vehicle sales by country (or even by month) so there are no comparable figures to use in comparing its Model S and Model X deliveries to those of other plug-in electric vehicles.

2017 Tesla Model X

2017 Tesla Model X

Lower-volume plug-in models

Among the growing field of low-volume plug-in hybrids, most of them from luxury brands, Mercedes-Benz has the largest number of entries.

It delivered 59 GLE plug-in mid-size SUVs, and 51 each of its large S-Class sedan and smaller C-Class sedan in plug-in form.

That brings two-month totals for those models to 111, 106, and 261.

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, 2014 Paris Auto Show

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, 2014 Paris Auto Show

Porsche has two plug-in hybrids, but it sold only a single Panamera S E-Hybrid as that model is being replaced with an all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid version of the second-generation Panamera large sport luxury sedan.

Its Cayenne S E-Hybrid, on the other hand, continues to sell strongly, at 121 last month and a total of 298 for the year to date.

The gull-wing BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupe added 58 more sales for a total of 108 thus far this year—significantly down on its pace throughout 2016.

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BMW refused, however, to break out sales of its plug-in hybrid X5 SUV, or its 330e and 740e plug-in hybrid sedans.

Like those of its former parent Ford's plug-in hybrids, Volvo's sales of its XC90 T8 'Twin Engine' SUV were down sharply in both January and February, at 96 and 83 units respectively.

Volvo sold 110 to 226 T8s every month last year, so the numbers for 2017 are a definite downgrade for its luxury plug-in SUV.

And Sales of the Cadillac ELR finally appear to have ended, with none sold last month and only one in January.

2017 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine with Polestar Performance Optimization

2017 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine with Polestar Performance Optimization

The rest

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class electric car logged 56 units last month, about its pace over the last year, for a 2017 total of 109.

One more Mitsubushi i-MiEV was sold in February, bringing the electric minicar's 2017 sales thus far to ... one unit.

Chevrolet managed to 4 remaining Spark EVs, bringing this year's total to 8 units delivered.

And the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, which will be the sole Smart sold in the U.S. come this fall, racked up 22 sales.

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That's because stocks of the old version are selling down in preparation for the spring launch of the second-generation electric two-seater.

Sales numbers for the Ford Focus Electric, which gets a range boost for 2017, soared to 226 last month from January's mediocre 56.

That's the highest total for Ford's electric compliance car in two and a half years, indicating that buyers ignored the old 76-mile version and waited for the 115-mile update to arrive.

Fiat and Kia decline to break out sales of their electric models from those of the gasoline versions they're derived from .

This article will be updated further throughout today and tomorrow as more sales figures are reported.

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