Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV vie for Canadian sales lead in August

2018 Nissan Leaf SL

2018 Nissan Leaf SL

Ahead of the final expiration of electric-car tax credits in Ontario, Canada, the Nissan Leaf posted its highest monthly sales total north of the border: 1,050 units.

The number was more than double what Nissan sold in June and July, and still significantly more than its previous record of 906 Leafs in May.

(The most electric cars sold in any month in Canada was the 2,329 Model 3s Tesla sold in June—a record that seems unlikely to be broken until Ford comes up with a plug-in hybrid version of the F-150 pickup. In Canada as in the United States, F-series trucks represent 5-6 percent of the overall passenger vehicle market.)

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Catalina Island, CA, Sep 2017 [photo: Sebastian Blanco]

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Catalina Island, CA, Sep 2017 [photo: Sebastian Blanco]

The record Leaf sales put the car in the lead for the top-selling plug-in vehicle in Canada for the year, with 3,876 sales, against the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid’s 3,848.

The Outlander Plug-In Hybrid sold 837 in August—Canada’s fourth-best single-month achievement, and builds on its prior record of 598 sales in July. The Outlander Plug-In Hybrid would also seem the odds-on favorite to win the sales race this year, given buyers’ preferences for SUVs. Since it qualified only for a smaller rebate in Ontario, its sales may not be affected as much as the Leaf’s by the rebates’ expiration.

READ MORE: When Electric-Car Incentives Return: British Columbia Case Study

A similar race may play out in the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid’s favor in British Columbia. The Clean Energy Vehicles for BC purchase incentive program may exhaust its funds within the month, and the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid didn’t benefit as much from those rebates as the Leaf.

Canadian electric-car sales, Aug. 2018 [MATTHEW KLIPPENSTEIN]

Canadian electric-car sales, Aug. 2018 [MATTHEW KLIPPENSTEIN]

On a positive note, the government of British Columbia has proposed to maintain incentives at current levels until Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) represent 5 percent of new vehicle sales. It is contemplating a ZEV mandate as well. On a negative note, an unprecedented forest fire season has reportedly blown a hole in the government’s budget to do so.

Among other reporting automakers, Toyota sold 373 Prius Primes, in line with recent months.

Chevrolet sold 317 Volts, in line with its three-month average of 330. The Volt has accumulated 3,320 sales year-to-date, good enough for third or fourth place, depending on how many Model 3s Tesla were delivered in August.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV found 119 new buyers in Canada in August, up slightly from the 99 in July, but down significantly from the more than 300 each in May and June.

Canadian electric-car sales records as of Aug. 2018 [MATTHEW KLIPPENSTEIN]

Canadian electric-car sales records as of Aug. 2018 [MATTHEW KLIPPENSTEIN]

Volkswagen sold 88 e-Golfs, the same number as Honda sold of the Clarity PHEV, while Kia sold 73 Soul EVs and 6 Optima PHEVs. Mercedes also sold 23 second-generation Smart Electric Drives.

Tesla doesn’t report monthly sales in Canada or the U.S., though all kinds of independent observers estimate them. The best estimates range from 200 to 500 units of the Model 3, along with about 50 sales each for the Model S and Model X.

July Market Share and Registration Round-up

Looking at registration data for July, which lags a month behind automaker sales reports, plug-ins cars represented just over 1.9 percent of Canadian passenger vehicle sales, down from 2.4 percent in May and 3.2 percent, each of which were bolstered by booming sales of the Tesla Model 3.

Total plug in sales for July came in just under 3,400 vehicles.

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