2017 Chevrolet Volt in Vancouver, BC, Canada

2017 Chevrolet Volt in Vancouver, BC, Canada

A record 582 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids were sold in Canada last month, two months after Chevy delivered a then-record 483 Volts in September.

The achievement is even more impressive considering Canadian car sales dropped by 15 percent between the two months, as the industry enters its slow season.

The November Volt sales are more than the 536 plug-in electric vehicles sold in all of Canada during 2011, and fell just short of the combined November sales for Toyota’s Prius conventional hybrids (Liftback, Prius C, and Prius V had 592 sales).

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The Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car notched 350 sales, just short of its October record of 371. It still outsold the conventional Prius Liftback, which achieved 316 units.

On a population-adjusted basis, Bolt EV sales in Canada are roughly in line with U.S. figures, while in recent months, the Volt has been three times as popular north of the 49th parallel as it has in the U.S.

Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, November 2017

Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, November 2017

Volkswagen sold 128 e-Golfs in Canada in November, its best month to date, while Toyota sold 107 Prius Primes in Quebec.

As in the U.S., Nissan continued its drawdown of first-generation Nissan Leaf electric cars, selling only 5 units.

The migration of used Leafs into Canada continues, however, with an estimated 66 flocking north in October. (Roughly a half-dozen used Volts and Fiat 500e hatchbacks apiece are also estimated to have resettled in Canada in October.)

While efforts have been made to estimate sales for each of the following vehicles based on partial registration data, as usual Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi and Hyundai Sonata PHEV sales were not provided by their makers.

As a Ford representative said years ago: "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."

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However, the recent acquisition of Quebec rebate data by l’Association de Vehicules Electrique du Quebec and rebate information from British Columbia produced a significant upwards revision in estimated Ford C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi sales during recent months.

The increase is consistent with a well-documented increase in sales of the Ford Focus Electric.

As a result, plug-in electric vehicles are now estimated to have represented 1.25-percent share of Canada's new-car market in September.

2016 Tesla Model X on the street in Vancouver, BC, Canada [photo: Matthew Klippenstein]

2016 Tesla Model X on the street in Vancouver, BC, Canada [photo: Matthew Klippenstein]

October registration roundup

Despite not benefiting from an end-of-quarter “Tesla tailwind”, October’s plug-in electric vehicle market appears to have narrowly beaten September’s, coming in at 1.28 percent of all vehicle sales.

Though estimated sales declined month-over-month to 2,102 from September’s 2,336, they dropped by a lesser percentage than the overall market.

From October registration data, Tesla sold 90 Model Ses, down from 289 in September, though still higher than sales in the prior beginning-of-quarter months of July and April.

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The company also sold 111 Model Xes, down from 344 in September. The January-through-October sales of the Model S and X, at 1,325 and 1,378 respectively, are almost one to one.

Hyundai and Kia continued their successful foray into the Canadian plug-in market, with the Hyundai Ioniq Electric selling 190 units.

With Nissan awaits the next-generation Nissan Leaf, the Ioniq looks poised to become Canada’s fifth best-selling plug-in electric vehicle of 2017, below the two Chevy and two Tesla models, after only eight months on the market.

2017 Chevrolet Volt in Vancouver, BC, Canada

2017 Chevrolet Volt in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Kia sold 64 Soul EVs, and about a half-dozen Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima PHEVs were likely sold in October.

Chrysler sold 136 Pacifica Hybrid minivans in October, while Ford sold 102 Focus Electrics.

Among luxury brands, Audi sold 7 A3 e-trons, while Porsche sold 16 Cayenne S-E Hybrids. Daimler sold 39 Smart Electric Drives and 7 Mercedes S550e sedans.

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For its part BMW sold 45 i3 hatchbacks, 6 i8 coupes, 18 X5 xDrive40 SUVs, 4 330e and 12 530e plug-in hybrid sedans, as well as 11 Mini Countryman S E ALL4 plug-in hybrids.

Finally, Volvo sold 42 XC90 PHEV SUVs, and launched the XC60 plug-in hybrid in Canada to 20 sales.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car on Coquilhalla Highway, BC, Canada, May 2017 [Boyd/Hetherington]

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car on Coquilhalla Highway, BC, Canada, May 2017 [Boyd/Hetherington]

Milestone to come?

The apparent health of the plug-in segment has stoked the hopes of Canada’s electric-car advocates that sales of plug-in cars could reach 2 percent in coming months.

That's based on new introductions coming next year: the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the second-generation Nissan Leaf, eventual nationwide availability of the Toyota Prius Prime, and the arrival of the Tesla Model 3

The best bet for that milestone might be March 2018, as it should benefit from the typical end-of-quarter Tesla tailwind.


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