The Chevrolet Volt (foreground) found itself in the Bolt EV's shadow at the LA Auto Show this month (InsideEVs/Warren M)

The Chevrolet Volt (foreground) found itself in the Bolt EV's shadow at the LA Auto Show this month (InsideEVs/Warren M)

With 2,531 Chevrolet Volts sold in November, the 53 mile extended range car from GM once again ran away with the best selling plug-in hybrid crown for the month.

The result was not only a 27.8% improvement from the 1,980 sold a year ago, but a new 2016 high for the model (previous best was 2,406 sold in July).

The impressive result also means that the Volt has now won the "best selling PHEV" title 43 times out in the past 4 years (48 months).  Truly a dominant showing.

Not since early 2015 has the Volt not been the best selling PHEV in the US (it was bested by the Ford Fusion Energi at the time)

Not since early 2015 has the Volt not been the best selling PHEV in the US (it was bested by the Ford Fusion Energi at the time)

The Ford Fusion Energi was actually the last PHEV to wrestle the monthly title away from the Chevy (in March of 2015), but that was due to an odd circumstantial "blip" on the radar more than anything else.

The only real threat ever to the Volt's dominance in the past was the first generation of Prius plug-in (a plug-in hybrid that was vastly inferior to the Volt in most ways), that went out of production in the first half of 2015.

Looking back as an illustration of the rivalry, when the last gen Prius was still in volume production it outsold the Volt (9,300 - 8,615) for the first six months of 2014, and the 2,692 Toyota sold in May of 2014 is a level that GM has seen not since itself since August of 2013.

We mention this because of two reasons:

  1. the all new, 2017 Toyota Prius Prime arrived last month in the US in a big way, and,
  2. the original Toyota Prius PHV sucked*
And by sucked, we mean big time.  

Woof! The original 2012 Toyota Plug-In Prius

Woof! The original 2012 Toyota Plug-In Prius

 

The 2017 Prius Prime has more than double the range of the first model (or quadruple if you are a stickler for EPA figures) at 25 miles, and has a starting price of just $27,100 (+$850 DST).

The new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is better in every way to the 1st gen...or even the traditional hybrid (other than that token 5th seat thing)

The new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is better in every way to the 1st gen...or even the traditional hybrid (other than that token 5th seat thing)

And thanks to the Toyota's new 8.8 kWh battery, the federal incentive moves from $2,500 in the original plug-in Prius to $4,500 in the Prime....giving the Prime an effective MSRP of $22,600 (+DST), or over $1,000 less than the base hybrid model Prius.

Basically, the new plug-in Prius doesn't suck anymore.  

In fact, it is superior in almost every way (including price) to the standard Prius.

As an illustration of how strong a seller the new Toyota Prius Prime might be, despite only arriving mid-month in limited quantities, 781 were sold...the largest volume "debut month" for any plug-in vehicle.  Ever.

With those factors in mind, can the 2nd generation Volt that has struggled itself with regaining past sales glory, hold off the Toyota?  Perhaps adding to the Volt's challenge is the arrival of the all-electric, 238 mile Bolt EV at dealerships beside it starting this month.

Will the arrives of the Chevrolet Bolt EV (seen here with Motor Trend CoTY hardware) help or hinder Chevrolet Volt sales going forward? (InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

Will the arrives of the Chevrolet Bolt EV (seen here with Motor Trend CoTY hardware) help or hinder Chevrolet Volt sales going forward? (InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

Also of interest with GM and plug-ins this month:

The Cadillac ELR gives way to the CT6 PHV in 2017

The Cadillac ELR gives way to the CT6 PHV in 2017

*- The Cadillac ELR, which has been out of production ~10 months now, managed to sell 5 copies

*- Replacing the ELR this Spring, is the "imported from China" Cadillac CT6 Pluig-In Hybrid, with 30 miles of range and a pricetag starting at $76,090 (details)

*- The Chevrolet Bolt EV managed to pick up two "Car of the Year" awards from the LA Auto Show in November (CoTY from Motor Trend and "Green" CoTY from the Green Car Journal), and also a "Top 10" Best Car nod from Car & Driver

*- GM also confirmed what every already knew on the roll-out of the Bolt EV:  that much like with the 2nd generation Volt, the first all-electric offerings will head to California (and Oregon) first, with the nationwide release sometime thereafter

*- Product evaluation magazine Consumer Reports also sat down and had a ~24 minute chat about the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, comparing it to its peers