Chevrolet Volt sales in U.S. – Through March 2016

Chevrolet Volt sales in U.S. – Through March 2016

Ever since the launch of EV sales in the United States in December of 2010 we have seen an incessant duel between two heavy weight players - the extended range Chevrolet Volt and the all-electric Nissan LEAF.

The two had good and bad times, exchanging the crown for all-time sales leader several times, but 2015 was especially weak for both strong players in the segment.

For the Chevrolet Volt, introducing the second generation car bumped sales almost immediately (even though strong, nationwide inventory roll-out just got underway in earnest mid-March).

Looking at the action in March and in early April we can already confirm that the Chevy Volt is back in the game with the 2017 edition launched this past February.

With 1,865 sales in March (192% up year-over-year), saw the Volt growing for sixth month in time a row - with a strong spike in the second half of the month.  One has to go back almost 3 years to see another 6 month growth spurt...from here the comparables are low, and we should start to see sales really jump as a result of the new car - meaning we could be in the midst of a multi-year streak for the Volt.

On the other hand, Nissan also improved the current year's LEAF, by increasing the range by about 25% (up to 107 miles of real-world range), but the car itself remained in first gen trim otherwise.

Despite the upgrade helping sales surge higher in almost every other region of the world, in the US the consumer is pelted daily with the news of upcoming longer range all-electric cars, and the result has been that LEAF sales in the U.S. have fallen for 15 months in a row.

In March only 1,246 LEAFs were sold - another 31% down.

The US has spoken, it just is not willing to buy "city EVs" (~100 mile) in volume any more.  The LEAF sales are likely in a holding pattern until 2017 with the anticipated arrival of the next generation LEAF in the first half.

Nissan LEAF sales in U.S. – Through March 2016

Nissan LEAF sales in U.S. – Through March 2016

Also of note: The Chevrolet Volt is now slightly ahead of Nissan LEAF in all-time sales rank (92,737 vs 92,522).

TOP 10 U.S. Plug-In Cars (cumulative sales) - December 2010 to March 2016

TOP 10 U.S. Plug-In Cars (cumulative sales) - December 2010 to March 2016