Plug-in electric car sales in Canada, Feb 2018: turning over new Leafs

2018 Nissan Leaf with EVgo fast charger at NJ Turnpike Molly Pitcher travel plaza, Feb 2018

2018 Nissan Leaf with EVgo fast charger at NJ Turnpike Molly Pitcher travel plaza, Feb 2018

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Cumulative Canadian plug-in electric vehicle sales surpassed 50,000 units in February, aided by the second-generation 2018 Nissan Leaf, which sold 179 units in its “rookie” month.

Unfortunately for the world’s best-selling plug-in electric vehicle (and third-best in Canada), its tally was beaten by both the Volkswagen e-Golf and the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which notched 180 units apiece.

The e-Golf enjoyed its best-ever monthly sales, more than doubling January’s 87 units, and far surpassing its prior best of 128, set last November.

DON’T MISS: U.S. plug-in electric car sales in Feb higher than Jan lows, still in winter doldrums

The battery-electric Chevy Bolt EV held steady from January’s 180 units. Meanwhile, the perennially market-leading Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid sold 305 units, up from 226 in January.

Its combined sales for January and February 2018 are running about even with those from the first two months of last year.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV enjoyed 230 sales in its second full month of availability in Canada, easily topping its 174 sales oin January.

As consumer awareness grows, could the Outlander PHEV become the Volt’s toughest competition?

It starts with a higher sticker price (about CAD $42,000 versus the Volt’s CAD $39,000), and provincial rebates favor the Volt more heavily.

On the other hand, the plug-in hybrid Outlander is a SUV, while the Volt hails from the steadily declining hatchback-and-sedan segment.

In its first month of national availability, 135 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid hatchbacks were sold, more than tripling its Quebec-only January tally of 36.

Fellow Japanese juggernaut Honda sold 93 Clarity Plug-In Hybrids, while Korean carmaker Kia sold 46 Soul EVs and 4 Optima PHEVs.

Meanwhile, Volvo reported 13 sales of its XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid crossovers, the smaller of its two plug-in luxury SUV models.

READ THIS: Driving a Chevy Bolt EV electric car across Canada, all the way

Efforts have been made to estimate sales for other vehicles in the market, based on partial registration data,

Regrettably, their makers have not seen fit to supply data on sales of the Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, and Hyundai Sonata PHEV sales are not provided.

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.”

Tesla Model S at Cypress Mountain, British Columbia, Canada

Tesla Model S at Cypress Mountain, British Columbia, Canada

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Countdown to 100,000

The strong showings by new entrants mean that February’s interim market share has crossed 1 percent, with vehicle registration data yet to come for about half of the plug-in electric vehicle models.

(Admittedly, those models generally sell in more modest numbers.)

If February’s trends continue in March and Tesla ends its quarter in typical fashion (in the past three quarter-ending months, it sold from 400 to 600 vehicles), then plug-in electric vehicles should make up 1.5 percent of the market in March

CHECK OUT: Canadian electric-car news: apartment charging, electric trucks, Electra Meccanica Solo

Hitting 2 percent remains a stretch, unless the Leaf, Outlander, Prius Prime, and/or e-Golf were supply-limited in February, but became available again for March.

While Tesla has brought the Model 3 to select showrooms across Canada, at the time of writing, it did not appear that Canadian reservation holders have been asked to configure their vehicles.

That is starting to suggest a March debut for the more affordable Tesla might be on the optimistic side.

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