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Plug-in Sales Update: Tesla on Throne, Volt Plays Prince Ahead of Prius Prime

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2016 Chevrolet Volt

Ah, it has been a bit since I did one of these. Since my last EV sales update, things have changed somewhat in the plug-in car market. Most significantly, Chevrolet has come out with its Bolt EV and Toyota with its Prius Prime, both of which were released with high hopes and glittering expectations. Only one really has met those in the last month.

However, before we talk about that, let’s talk about the top sellers for March.

Heading up the list, as per usual, are the Tesla Model S and Model X, both bouncing back from low-delivery months in January and February—both more or less doubled their February output for March to about 3,450 for the Model S and 2,750 for the Model X.

Following those two, though, is the Chevy Volt (that’s with a “V,” so it’s the plug-in hybrid), which has had its best March since 2012 with 2,132 sales, following up record-breaking months in January and February.

After the Volt comes the Prius Prime, which has seen strong sales since its introduction late last year, especially when compared to the dismal numbers of its predecessor, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid. For March, the Prius Prime sold 1,618 units, and that is with supplies of the plug-in hybrid being severely limited by Toyota. The Prius Prime is actually setting itself up very well to steal the Volt’s sales-leading crown, with a price tag several thousand dollars lower and an electric range of 25 miles.

Bringing up the back end of the Top Five, though, surprisingly is the Nissan LEAF. The current LEAF is almost desperately in need of an update, with a new generation slated to begin this fall, but Nissan has still managed to coax the LEAF into sales gains for the past 7 months, until it reached 1,478 sales in March. Apparently, this is due to two things: an improved entry-level model at a lower price with a larger battery, and Nissan stacking up incentives of up $6,000 on the hood.

Disappointingly, edged out of the Top Five (it actually comes in as 7th overall) is the Chevy Bolt, which had posted an impressive January, but fell in February and only slightly improved for March to 978 sales. This is possibly due to low inventory, with dealer lots only having a 14-day supply on hand in March. However, a new inventory surge is in the works, so hopefully April will see happier numbers.

And speaking of, Ford has lost its place among the highest rollers, as improved competitor sales have pushed its Fusion Energi to 6th with 1,002 sales.

News Sources: Inside EVs, Green Car Reports