Chevy Volt Sales Sizzling Once More, Nissan LEAF Stays Steady

By · January 03, 2013

Volt LEAF

Sales of the Chevy Volt checked in at a healthy 2,633 units in December 2012. If you recall, sales dropped off dramatically in November 2012, with General Motors reporting it sold only 1,519 units. That's roughly half the 2,961 units GM sold in October 2012—and more than 1,300 units shy of the 2,851 Volts sold in September 2012.

Volt sales have been relatively strong throughout most of 2012 with GM selling 2,831 units in August; 1,849 units in July; and 1,760 units in June. The trend was not sustained in November, but December was definitely a rebound month. If we look back at December 2011, we discover that sales of the Volt were 1,529 units.

Nissan reported that sales of its electric LEAF were relatively strong in December, with 1,489 units driving off the lots. Recapping recent LEAF sales shows us that Nissan moved a solid 1,539 units in November, nearly identical to October's 1,579 sales. In December 2011, LEAF sales totaled 954 units.

In terms of 2012 year-to-date numbers, the tally for the Nissan LEAF is 9,819 units. That's incredibly close (+ 1.5 percent) to 2011's results, when sales of the LEAF totaled 9,674 units. Meanwhile, the 2012 YTD results for the Chevy Volt ring in at a remarkable 23,461 units. In comparison, General Motors' Volt sales for all of 2011 tallied only 7,671 units. That's a year-to-date (2012 versus 2011) increase of 205.8 percent.

Just in case you were wondering, the Chevy Volt is now officially the U.S.'s top-selling plug-in vehicle for 2012. In the number two spot is not the Nissan LEAF, but rather the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid with 12,750 sold.

Comments

· · 1 year ago

Triple the sales of 2012 Volts versus 2011.. Most happy owners of any car ever.

GM would be wise not to tamper with a Successful Product by screwing with it too much. The first clue of too much unneeded fiddling will be mid January with the new Caddy PHEV ELR.

I remember the first time they put in a very ill advised touch screen one year in the Buick Riviera: Sales fell by HALF next year. So its not as though GM historically never screws up a good thing.

If they wanted to come out with cross over versions, that many on this blog have been clamoring for, that would be a natural extension of the VOLTEC line and would put more plugins in more people's garages. Silly changes like bigger engines, totally redesigned synergy drives (when huge expenditures have already been made on a perfected product) won't do anything to increase GM's market share, nor make the company ultimately more profitable.

· Mike Horsley (not verified) · 1 year ago

Wow,
Nothing like comparing apples to oranges. The Nissan Leaf is a FULLY electric vehicle, not a plug-in hybrid like the Prius Hybrid Plug-in, or the Volt Hybrid Plug-In. Compare the Leaf to the Mitsubishi iMiEV (28,000 sales world wide) or the Honda Fit EV (1100 leased by 2015), or the Toyota iQEV (90 leased in 2013). Fully electric cars will be urban cars for the foreseeable future. And 2nd or 3rd cars at that.

· · 1 year ago

...and urban cars will be seen as primary cars one fine day. Our Urban bound Leaf will do about 7500 miles in it's first year while the seemingly primary Prius will do about 5500. The urban mindless slog is what most of us drive primarily so having a car dedicated to uber efficient urban travel just makes sense. You just don't need two long distance cars in a two car family in most cases. Our Leaf is our primary car as the mileage shows.

· Iletric (not verified) · 1 year ago

Urban and suburban.

Our Leaf is shared by all in the household to a tune of 20,000 miles per year. While the SUV rests. Whoever goes farther has to Leaf it, as long as there is enough miles on it. It's charged constatnly between drives and 100% at night.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

BTW 12,750 of the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid were sold.

· · 1 year ago

Urban car? Our LEAF works out nicely for zipping back and forth in the small towns of the San Bernardino Mountains between 4500' and 7200' altitude. It also goes down the mountain to the Valley at 1200' altitude and back up, though that requires driving more slowly to conserve charge.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

Love my Volt, Already having 9985 miles in only 6 months, it is the best decision about a car that I have ever made.

I hope GM only improves it over time...

· SPIKE (not verified) · 1 year ago

The Volt has some serious Plug-in Hybrid competition for 2013. The Ford C-Max Energi, the Ford Fusion Energi, the Honda Accord Plug-in or the Prius PHEV could outsell the Volt.

· Love My Volt! (not verified) · 1 year ago

I love my Volt, too! And I would love it even more if it had a heated steering wheel to keep my hands warm while the heated seats keep the rest of me toasty -- without having to use the heater. I would also like to see the door lock/unlock button back on the doors instead of on the console in the middle of the car. One cannot just open the door and press the button without having to crawl all the way in to reach it.

That said, plus adding more all-electric miles to the battery, would make the Volt the perfect car!

· Kristjan (not verified) · 1 year ago

Volt is a really nice drive, but the space in the back! I would own it instead of Leaf, but at my height even the kid does not fit anymore behind my back. With three kids and a wife 4 seater does'nt really serve as a family car. Rearrange the battery that you get some space on the back seat for three and GM has my money. I even do not care about the boot space, but would really like to fit at least a kid as fifth passanger.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

Volt is still the KING of the EV range with anything that has a gas engine...

Those are price to pay. So far, most of the other PHEVs are just there to game the EPA numbers (<11 miles test cycles).

The only way to make the Volt battery packs fit without sacrificing space is to use a brand new platform. That would significantly increase the price tag of the Volt.

But with the upcoming redesign of the Cruze/Volt in 2014/2015 model year, I hope GM engineers keep that in mind and accomendate the battery with a larger frame that can hide the battery underneath the seats.

Of course, a smaller, cheaper and denser battery pack would help with that problem as well.

· Tinapolis (not verified) · 1 year ago

"The Nissan Leaf is a FULLY electric vehicle, not a plug-in hybrid like the Prius Hybrid Plug-in, or the Volt Hybrid Plug-I"

Not so fast there, kidd-o. The Volt is fully electric, just like the Leaf. Electric motors make the car move, just like the Leaf. When the Leaf runs out of electricity it must pull over to a charging station, while the Volt has a charging station on board that supplies electricity to the depleted battery to keep the car going another 375 miles. That does not make it less of an electric car, it makes it a more capable electric car. One that can travel cross country like any other car, except a Leaf can't do that.

· · 1 year ago

It's all good news. Dependency on foreign crude from countries that support terrorists is going down mainly due to people who drive cars such as the Leaf, Prius and Volt. My Leaf fits my lifestyle very nicely. I looked at both the Volt and Prius, but decided I didn’t need another ice. The Leaf requires almost no maintenance. I use a Sienna for long trips.

· · 1 year ago

Apples to Apples is close -- Volt is a EREV : a ~40 mile BEV and ~360 PHEV.
It stays electric even on hard acceleration or up to it's top speed of 101.
All the other plug-in the ICE comes on in the above two conditions (typically 62 MPH or less per real owner reports).

· · 1 year ago

@Tinapolis (not verified) - well put.

I love my Volt. It replaced my Leaf which did not work so well for our family. I love it so much that I am pretty sure that my next car will be a Volt again but I do hope that there will be some improvements to justify replacing it. I agree that I do not want a bigger engine. That part of the car is great and it continuously does better than the stated EPA mileage on the rare occasions that I need to use my on board charging station.

I do miss the heated stearing wheel from the Leaf as well as it's superior backup camera. Maybe another 10 or 20 miles electrical range and if possible a 5th seat would sign me up for the 2016 Volt.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

I have seen plenty of Volt ads on TV, and heard them on the radio, not a peep about the Leaf. Could this be a factor?

· · 1 year ago

"So far, most of the other PHEVs are just there to game the EPA numbers (<11 miles test cycles)."

So far, we have just a smidge under 1000 miles on our Ford C-Max Energi. 690 of them are 100%electric.
That is not exactly just "gaming EPA numbers".

I paid less money than a similarly equipped Volt, got a car that I like significantly better, and I am able to use it 100% electric most of my day.

Would I like potentially double the EV range? Sure. However I didn't like the Volt, I didn't like it's style, build quality, or seating arrangements. So I wouldn't call the Volt "KING" of the PHEV world just yet, even with it's up-to-40-mile range.

I am generally a GM guy, and this is my first Ford in 20 years, but I sadly just didn't like the Volt even though I really wanted to...

Now if GM would make a VOLTEC S-10 or Silverado... That would be AWESOME.

· · 1 year ago

"All the other plug-in the ICE comes on in the above two conditions (typically 62 MPH or less per real owner reports)."

Our Energi goes over 80mph in pure EV. I have cruised at 75 in EVNow mode. I don't have much opportunity to as I live in an urban environment, but I have tested it out...

My only frustration is that the ICE will run for certain climate control conditions, and it seems there is no way to lock out the ICE under those conditions.

· · 1 year ago

The Volt gasoline engine does drive the wheels, under certain conditions. GM has said so, the video of how it works has been passed around ad infinitum. It is not a 100% pure EV, it simply has a very complex gearing/clutching/transmission mechanism which allows the computer more flexibility in determining which power source drives the wheels, and which power source can generate electricity.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/11/shocker-chevy-says-volts-gas-engine-c...

· William Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

The problem with the Confusion about the volt after 3 years now is that GM LIED about it (even to dealers, and their head mechanics unbelievably) for at least a year. GM finaly came clean when states like New York basically told them You're not fooling anyone, its a plug in hybrid and does not qualify for total electric discounts.

I would Hope GM doesn't LIE to us regarding the Caddy ELR to be showcased 10 days from now.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

@valkraider,

"the Volt gasoline engine does drive the wheels, under certain conditions"

ONLY in the "extended range mode" as in EREV.

Volt is the ONLY car that has a gas engine that can go 40 miles in EV mode.

Your climate issue wouldn't been a problem in the Volt.

Also, Volt is the ONLY one that is mainly electric motor power. Electric motor is FAR MORE powerful in the Volt than the ICE. NO OTHER PHEV is even close in its EV power.

Don't get me wrong, C-Max Energi is a great car and I would love to drive it. But even in EVnow mode, with "heavy load" and "uphill", the engine will come up to assist the electric motor where the Volt will NEVER do so.

Plus, Volt is the best performing EV under $50k. No other car can match it in performance electrically. Okay, the upcoming Spark EV will beat it and that is it.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

@William,

"plug in hybrid and does not qualify for total electric discounts."

Well, it all depends on how you look at it. Volt is the ONLY plugin car that has ICE operates exactly the same as any other "battery EV" in its EV mode.

No other PHEV is even close. Volt is just very short in its EV mode, only 38 miles. Leaf is 73 miles. But both are EV. Both main drives are electric motor.

When Volt runs out of battery juices, it runs on gas.
When Leaf runs out of battery juices, it runs on gas/diesel while being towed...

EV is a term that is "loosely" being defined as Battery EV.

Battery is a devices that stores electricity in chemical form and convert it back.
Do we call Fuel Cell cars EV? Why don't we? It converts a "chemical bond" energy into electricity as well.

If we are willing to call a BEV a "solar/coal/nuke/hydro" car, then we should allow series hybrid or fuel cell car to be called EVs as well.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

"so far, we have just a smidge under 1000 miles on our Ford C-Max Energi. 690 of them are 100%electric. That is not exactly just "gaming EPA numbers".

That has NOTHING to do with the EPA 11 miles test cycle MPGe numbers.

From everything I can see that Ford has "gamed" its MPG numbers in the extended mode. Most owners aren't getting their so called 47mpg in hybrid (or the 43 in energi) .

Also, your 69% electric rate is great. I am happy it worked out for you. If you had more EV range, would that ratio be higher? Do you need all that space and weight to carry around? Feel free to love the C-Max over the Volt. Different products are designed for different needs. C-Max Energi is a great car. If Volt didn't exist, I would have bought the C-Max Energi anyway (over a PIP anyday). I bought the Volt b/c it is has the longest EV range, best EV performance (less than $50k) and 99.995% of the time I drive with less than 4 people. I don't buy a car for just that 0.0005% of the time. In fact, most people commute by themselves and HOV lanes are wide open for a reason.

· · 1 year ago

@Modern Marvel Fan:
Also, Volt is the ONLY one that is mainly electric motor power. Electric motor is FAR MORE powerful in the Volt than the ICE. NO OTHER PHEV is even close in its EV power.

The Fisker Karma is even more powerful than the Volt (and has no way for the ICE to turn the wheels directly at all).

Both the Volt and the Karma could probably use a higher all-electric range, which the Karma could get if it were lighter, and the Volt could get if it had Tesla's battery packaging. But really I just wish them all lots of success so that we get PHEVs and EREVs and fully-E-Vs to be widespread and commonplace and ordinary.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

"The Fisker Karma is even more powerful than the Volt (and has no way for the ICE to turn the wheels directly at all)."

More powerful than the Volt b/c it has 2 Electric motors. Each one is less powerful than the ICE on board. Why two motors? B/c it is as heavy as a "pig"...

"Both the Volt and the Karma could probably use a higher all-electric range, which the Karma could get if it were lighter, and the Volt could get if it had Tesla's battery packaging"

Dreaming! Tesla already weighs over 4,000 lbs. With additional engine, generator and transmission, it would exceed the 5,000lb barrier. Not to mention the price.

"But really I just wish them all lots of success so that we get PHEVs and EREVs and fully-E-Vs to be widespread and commonplace and ordinary."

So, why wish it by listing some of the "Worst" examples inpractical approach? Those two examples are over $100k in price. Fisker Karma won't make it past 2014 and I hope Tesla survives.

You want them to go popular? make a larger Volt and cost less than $30k.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

Oh, I don't consider Fisker Karma as a "legitimate" offering just as I don't consider Miev as a real "option". Neither model will survive the next 2 years...

· · 1 year ago

@Modern Marvel Fan

Well I didn't have a beef with the Volt, after all I bought one of the first ones in 2011.

Karma would have been nice, but after test driving the car twice, I found it just wasn't worth the money. Besides being an unfinished design.

I'm probably the biggest critic of the Volt, but it does have several characteristics that are very appealing.

The software is so complicated and convoluted that supposedly there is 25 % more code than in a Boeing Dreamliner. (I can confirm its at least 25% bug-ier too!!). But even being the most complicated car ever made, so far, IT DOES WORK. Supposedly the ford cmax doesn't have the smoothness of the volt when accelerating. IN any event all Volt owners overall love there car more than any other ever.

NY State's problem was that its not totally 'alternative fueled' as they originally claimed. I wonder what the marketing people are thinking at GM. Seemed very childish to me at the time. GM is no longer of the size where they can easily buy politicians anymore. Honesty is the best Policy per Mr. Franklin.

· · 1 year ago

>>[the Volt gasoline engine does drive the wheels, under certain conditions]"ONLY in the "extended range mode" as in EREV."

So then you agree? The Volt gasoline engine does drive the wheels under certain conditions.

>>"Your climate issue wouldn't been a problem in the Volt."

It's not a "problem" in the C-Max either. Just an oddity.

>> "That has NOTHING to do with the EPA 11 miles test cycle MPGe numbers."

But that's not the point. The point is that the 21mile EV range is perfectly functional in the real world - and as such was not simply made to game the EPA numbers. If I can drive almost 70% of my miles on EV alone, then that is a pretty good real world use - for something that was supposedly just gaming EPA test cycles...

>>"From everything I can see that Ford has "gamed" its MPG numbers in the extended mode. Most owners aren't getting their so called 47mpg in hybrid (or the 43 in energi)""

So you are selectively "seeing" the complaints but not the people doing better than the EPA numbers. Also, I guarantee you have not spoken to "most" C-Max owners. There are over 10,000 C-Maxes in the wild now, and unless you have been very busy I doubt you have any information from 99% of them. Outside of that there are about 10 or 15 people complaining in forums, despite ignoring everything which has been explained (such as weather and driving style). Meanwhile, many of those same forums have people talking about how they exceed the fuel economy ratings.

It's all anecdotal. The plural of anecdote is not "fact".

>>"If you had more EV range, would that ratio be higher?"

Not much. I have the opportunity to charge at most of my destinations so I can go most days burning very little gasoline. Most of my non-EV miles are highway road trip miles which the Volt would not have made on electric either. I am in a strange commute pattern right now, once that gets simplified in the coming month or so I will need even fewer miles.

>>"Do you need all that space and weight to carry around?"

I am not sure what this question is referring to.

>>"I bought the Volt b/c it is has the longest EV range, best EV
performance (less than $50k)"

Wait, the Leaf is less than $50k and it has more than double the Volt EV range. Or did you mean that the Volt is the longest EV range *of the plug in hybrids*?

A Volt equipped the same as my C-Max was $10,000 more, after considering the tax credits the Volt was still $6000 more expensive.

>>"99.995% of the time I drive with less than 4 people."

Maybe too (3 people). But I can't afford to buy another car when I need to carry my kid's friends to school or when my family visits.

>>"I don't buy a car for just that 0.0005% of the time. In fact, most people commute by themselves and HOV lanes are wide open for a reason."

So why are you driving something bigger than a scooter? You should have bought a single seater for when you only have yourself, and a two seater for when you have a friend. And a 3 seater for when there are three of you, etc etc etc.

Meanwhile, in the real world - I can't afford to buy too many cars, so I pick the one which is most versatile. I have always felt that Chevy made a big error with leaving out that 5th seat - as it really excludes a lot of families.

Competition is a good thing. Just don't act like the Volt is the only car of it's kind, because that is no longer true. Back in 2011 it was exciting and maybe worth it. In 2013 it is over priced. The Volt does not have a $40,000 car fit&finish. The Volt does not have a $40,000 car style. All it has is 40 miles of EV range. That extra 20 miles was not worth $6000 to me, considering I would give up my 5th seat.

The Volt is perfectly OK. I just am tired of Volt nuts acting like it is the greatest car ever invented. It is really just a car, nothing special anymore. It's a $40,000 Cruze where the 5th seat is replaced with some batteries.

I researched for years, and drove Volts and Leafs, and when the Energi finally came out and I drove it I was completely sold.

Now if Ford would just get MyFordTouch to not suck.

But like I have said before: The VOLTEC *platform* has great potential. If they put it in some more vehicles it would be outstanding. A small truck or SUV based on VOLTEC would be awesome. Or even a slightly larger family car or wagon... All would be awesome.

For 2014 Volt better have some tricks up it's sleeve as competition heats up.

· · 1 year ago

@volkraider - I like your comment: "It's all anecdotal. The plural of anecdote is not "fact"."

So true.

If we could get 10% of the form/function choices in PHEV/EVs for only 10-20% more in price, wow, we'd have an explosion in plug-in sales. But at the moment there are few choices and they are roughly 50% more in price as compared to gas cars. So, current buyers are principled people willing to make some sacrifice to drive an EV ... maybe getting only 4 seats instead of 5 or keeping a 2nd (or 3rd) gas car for longer trips. If we get higher gasoline prices to reflect their true costs (or at least remove the larger subsidies fossil fuels have over renewables), that will naturally level the playing field. All it takes is for reason and critical thinking to triumph over team loyalty and wealth. That's all.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

@valkraider,

I guess you would like to mix your statement up.

Early you commented that C-Max had sold over 10,000. Yet C-Max Energi hasn't sold anywhere close to that. C-Max Energi has only 20 miles range and it doesn't cost $10k less than the Volt. It is about $8k less MSRP and $3,800 less after tax incentives. Sure, it is less. But that is what additional 20 EV miles cost. Isn't your battery air cooled too? No Capacity warranty? Those are the reason why it is cheaper. Also, your EV performance is NO where close to Volt's performance. But I do admit that you can carry the 5th person (although required to be skinny).

"The Volt does not have a $40,000 car fit&finish. The Volt does not have a $40,000 car style."
Well, that is questionable. Your C-Max's finish aren't exactly $34k either. It is based on a Ford Focus so don't flatter yourself.

As far as real world MPG goes, NOT a single auto review has even done close to what the EPA rating is. Those are facts. NOT EVEN one.

· Callajero (not verified) · 1 year ago

I have only gotten 237 MPG on my Volt, but this Volt owner has gotten 1000 MPG!
Lets see who can beat that!
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/01/08/1-year-of-chevy-volt-ownership-refle...

· · 1 year ago

>> "Early you commented that C-Max had sold over 10,000. Yet C-Max Energi hasn't sold anywhere close to that."

The mileage concerns affect all the versions of the C-Max, and are what is being reported on in the press. There are about 13,000 C-Max sold to date. About 2200 of those are Energi models.

· · 1 year ago

Interesting to see the recurring fun of Volt vs. Leaf vs. C-Max, etc. I have to say based on reviews and forums I've been following, though, it sure sounds as if EPA tests are not matching up well with real world results when it comes to MPG in hybrid mode for the PHEVs, e.g., under-estimating Volt, over-estimating the Fusion and C-Max - yet another article in Consumer Reports this month about this Ford problem. I'm not saying Ford deliberately gamed this (though as we know a lot of the recent spate of reported 40 MPG HWY numbers from Asian manufacturers have been highly suspect), but it sure sounds like the EPA test cycle is pretty friendly to their tech, whatever the reason.

As long as you can live with the space limitations, the Volt seems a fine choice. The C-Max Energi has a bit more utility with a bit less EV range at a bit lower price, and I'm sure that's going to be an attractive tradeoff for a good chunk of buyers. If you want maximum EV range for the buck, a BEV's still the best bet, assuming you have a place in your household fleet for a vehicle with those charging/range constraints.

· · 1 year ago

So where is the CMAX Energi and Fusion Energi forums on this site?

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