April plug-in sales: LEAF leads, Prius pushes ahead, smart strengthens

Model S Leaf Volt

Monthly plug-in sales dropped a bit in April after the March surge, a typical pattern for this time of year. 8,605 car buyers saw the light last month.

The LEAF easily held onto its lead with 2,088 units, a little less than its March sales but an incremental increase over last April. Nissan has already begun producing 2015 LEAFs at its Tennessee factory. According to InsideEVs, the latest LEAF has an improved battery that should better handle hot weather, but no other significant changes.

The car to watch this month was the Toyota Prius Plug-In, which powered into second place with 1,741 sales, its third-best month ever. The PPI is on a roll, with steadily increasing sales for the last three months. A rush for California’s coveted “green sticker,” which is now sold out for the year, may be part of the story.

The Chevy Volt posted a slight gain over March, with 1,548 units sold in April. The popular PHEV seems to be recovering from its winter sales slump, but still has a long way to go to improve its annual figure in 2014. The good news in April: GM confirmed its commitment to the next-generation Volt, making a major new investment in the D-Ham production line. The 2016 model will go on sale in the second half of 2015.

Tesla’s Model S slipped into fourth place for April, with an estimated 1,100 units sold in the US (actually, this doesn’t mean much, as Tesla shifts production between US- and Europe-bound units, and doesn’t report monthly sales). A clearer picture of Big T’s recent sales will emerge when it reports first-quarter results after the stock-market close on May 7th.

Ford’s plug-ins slipped a little this month, but the Fusion Energi (743), C-MAX Energi (525) posted large gains over April 2013, and the Focus Electric stayed in the game with 116 sales. The 2015 Focus Electric made its debut in New York this month – Ford has made no clear statement of any changes, but our colleagues at InsideEVs believe that the steering and suspension have been re-tuned.

The smart ED posted a minor gain in April, selling 203 units and continuing an upward trend. The tiny city car may aspire only to lead the B league here in the US, but it’s sales are better in Europe – 4,013 units were sold worldwide in 2013, only 923 of them here in big-car country.

The eagerly awaited BMW i3 is supposed to be showing up at dealerships right about now, but posted no official sales for April.

 

Source: InsideEVs, GreenCarReports