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2016-09-07

Plug-in electric car sales for August: Volt sells at twice Leaf rate



2017 Chevrolet Volt

While U.S. vehicle sales last month are expected to fall overall as data rolls in, August has traditionally been a very good month for sales of plug-in electric cars.
The Chevrolet Volt, for one, kept up its pace this year, with August sales of 2,081, for an eight-month total of 14,295 Volts delivered so far this year.
The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, continued at the markedly slower pace it's seen over the past two years, with 1,066 delivered last month for a year-to-date total of 7,922.
The third best-selling electric car in the U.S. has been the Tesla Model S. But Tesla Motors refuses to release sales data broken down by country or month, so we do not have access to comparable data for its two vehicles.
The fourth is a plug-in hybrid version of the Toyota Prius hybrid; the old one went out of production last year, but the new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime should show up in sales toward the end of this year.
After more than five and a half years of steadily increasing year-over-year sales that began in September 2010, the U.S. market overall has now experienced four declines over the past six months, indicating that its growth has plateaued.
But plug-in cars experienced their plateau last year, selling slightly fewer in 2015 than they did in 2014.
While this year's trend is upward, many electric-car buyers appear to be waiting for new, mass-priced 200-mile entries that will arrive over the next couple of years.
The first will be the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which is to go on sale in limited regions during the fourth quarter of this year.
It will likely be followed by a 200-mile version of the next Nissan Leaf sometime during 2017, and the Tesla Model 3 whenever that electric sedan goes into production.
Tesla Motors says the Model 3 will be rolling off the assembly lines before the end of next year, but the industry remains somewhat skeptical.
The other high-selling plug-in cars, which we presently define as more than 300 units a month, are the BMW i3, the Chevy Spark EV (the Bolt EV's predecessor), and the Volkswagen e-Golf on the battery-electric front.
As for plug-in hybrids, the high sellers include the Energi versions of the Ford C-Max compact hatchback and Fusion mid-size sedan, along with the Audi A3 e-tron Sportback.
Following those vehicles is a much longer list of lower-volume all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, most only on sale in limited areas of the U.S.
Battery-electric cars in that category include the Ford Focus Electric, the Mercedes-Benz B250e, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive.
A new crop of plug-in hybrid utility vehicles shows up too, among them the BMW X5 xDrive 40e, Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e, the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, the Volvo XC90 T8 'Twin Engine.'
Miscellaneous sedans, coupes, and sports cars include the BMW i3, the all-but-defunct Cadillac ELR, the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, the Mercedes-Benz S550e, and the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.