Chevy Volt Sales Soar to Record High in August 2012, Nissan LEAF Still Struggling

By · September 04, 2012


Sales of the Chevy Volt increased in August, with General Motors reporting it sold a record 2,831 units in August 2012, compared to 1,849 units in July 2012; 1,760 units in June 2012; 1,680 units in May; 1,462 units in April and its previous record-setting amount of 2,289 units in March 2012. If we flip the calendar back to August 2011, we discover that General Motors sold only 302 Chevy Volts that month.

Nissan reported that sales of its electric LEAF checked in at a decent 685 units, compared to only 395 in July; 535 in June; 510 in May; 370 in April and 579 units in March. That's still roughly half the 1,362 LEAFs sold in August 2011. Nissan's low volume of LEAF sales throughout most of 2012 will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Nissan to reach its target of 20,000 units sold in Fiscal Year 2012 (March 2012 through March 2013).

In terms of 2012 year-to-date numbers, the tally for the Nissan LEAF now checks in at 4,228 units. Meanwhile, the 2012 YTD results for the Chevy Volt ring in at 13,497 units. Last year at this exact time, General Motors' year-to-date Volt sales stood at 3,172 units and Nissan's mark for the LEAF was 6,168 units.


· Max Reid (not verified) · 5 years ago

Great, i believe the high gas prices could have contributed.
Honda starts Fit-EV with sales of 9 units, hope it should increase in coming months since this car has more range. Tesla has sold more than 100 units of Model S.

Meanwhile 12,700 + EV charging stations are there in USA.

· · 5 years ago

The market seems to have spoken. I still think Nissan made the right design decision in opting for an all-electric vehicle that does not tote around hundreds (thousands?) of pounds of range-extending gas-powered ICE hardware for the 90+ percent of the time most people don’t need it. But clearly customers are uncomfortable about that 10 percent of the time they might.

Enter a range-extending towable trailer – complete with full spare tire carrying capability (assuming the LEAF really is interstate-capable). Just having a Nissan-supported plug-in port and a range extender might ease most customers’ minds, with the assurance that long-distance capability is there if they ever need it. For those who do on a regular basis the Volt is probably a better fit.

I do know from hard experience that towing a small trailer is not a snap for those who have never done it before. There was an article posted here a while ago about a range-extender for, I believe, the Rav4 designed to make steering as easy as possible for those not used to trailer towing. Maybe that design or some improvement on it will calm mass-market range anxieties.

· · 5 years ago

2,831 Volts sold is really impressive! Kudos to GM!!!

2,831 is a really big number! Most of the luxury cars sell less than that!
Even some none-luxury models sell less than that:
Ford Flex: 2,635, Honda Crosstour: 2,020, Honda Ridgeline: 919
So it means that at this volume of sales Volt should be profitable for GM.

I think now we can officially say that Volt is a success!!!

· · 5 years ago

@ world2steven - The Volt when filled holds 10 gallons of gas (~63lbs). I drive my Volt around with around 2 gallons of gas (~13 lbs), so the weight of the gas isn't that big of a deal. If you look at the weight of the Leaf and Volt the Volt is only 300 pounds more and has active heating/cooling of it's pack.

Adding a range extending trailer would definitely weigh more than 300 pounds.

· LLTGM (not verified) · 5 years ago

The debate about success and failure is circular. The Volt is far better than the Leaf in sales because it has an ICE and is a real car that people feel will not strand them. But the real winner is the plain old Prius that has no plug. It is the clear winner and will continue to be the best technology. By 2016 there will be over 5 million hybrids ala the Prius and perhaps 10 million microhybrids while all the cars with plugs will tally a few hundred thousand. Since Nissan is on the hook for $1.5 billion in US DOE loan gurantees, the CEO of Nissan talks junk and prays that Romney will not win the election and call in the loan.

· · 5 years ago

Worldwide LEAF is still ahead of Volt : 35,000 vs 26,000

· · 5 years ago

@theflew (or any Volt owner out there) - interesting. Can you operate - or program - a Volt so the ICE never comes on unless you need to recharge? Any idea what the weight difference of the respective battery packs is? Have there been any reports of overly rapid Volt battery deterioration in hot climates?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

The battery degradation problems have been reported on the Leaf not the Volt. The Volt has a battery thermal management system, the Leaf does not. It seems to me the market has already chose. I personally will never buy vehicle without a back up like an ICE. I own a 2013 Volt and I like the hold mode where ou can choose when to use battery or the ICE depending on the conditions. A battery only auto could never be your primary vehicle. The Volt is really reasonably priced when you consider it has two propulsion systems. Also when the Leaf battery goes bad your only choice is to replace it. On the volt you could choose to just drive with the ICE and get 35 to 40 mpg.


· (not verified) · 5 years ago

A battery only car is my primary vehicle. It is Peugeot iOn - rebadged Mitsubishi i - and I absolutely love it. It has no gas engine - I think it is COOL factor. My daily driving range is never more than 100km. So I even don't bother of remaining range, air conditioning, heater - I don't care ;) I just use them.
For longer trips (very rare, holidays, some business trips) - I have diesel ICE car. Simple. So I would love to buy VOLT because I like how it looks and drives. And If I could choose between VOLT with ICE engine like it is now, and VOLT like LEAF (without ICE) - I would choose second option. Shame GM didn't provided two versions. I assume car without ICE should be cheaper...

· · 5 years ago

Why don't you just keep driving your old ICE vehicle until the price of gasoline is so high you can't afford to drive any more? After that, you can go back to riding a horse while the rest of us zip by in our solar-fueled EVs.
Please, just don't bore me by whining about the price of gasoline when its price goes up.

· Al blunt (not verified) · 5 years ago

No surprise here the leaf may have reached its core consumer,and is in a downward spiral. I have one and I'm getting used to it. The public doesn't want to inconvenience themselves with a vehicle with such a short range. Let alone most don't even realize that the range is even shorter considering hills, climate control or vehicle speed. I just picked up a 2012 Chevy Volt and wow!!! What a car, I wished that I was aware of the leafs shot comings. I've gotta tell you that volt is incredible. The range holds true even with the air conditioner on and the ride is very nice, maybe because instead of having to compromise my driving to suite the variable range of the leaf, I'm able to relax and concentrate on getting to my destinations. Boy that volt I can't thank my new Chevy dealer enough and I'll never stray again for a beta vehicle that's soon to be on life support, and I'm willing to bet that if that battery range isn't boosted to 150 true miles the leaf won't even be in production for 2015. I know some of you die-hards think that I'm bashing the leaf but I'm not,as I still have mine its just that I realize and can face the writing on the wall to know when I've been lied too by Nissan corporate. And to be positive my leaf runs fine and has never left me stranded as I charge up when I can. I just can see the writing on the wall.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

@ world2steven - a range-extending towable trailer?
Cheaper to buy a really long extension cord!
Range anxiety is best treated with ICE - just ask the buyers!

· · 5 years ago

"Range anxiety is best treated with ICE"
But what do we do to treat gasoline addiction, high gas prices, and the high price of carrying around 2 power plants?
The majority of the buyers are still buying old fashioned ICE gas guzzlers but that doesn't mean that's the right answer.

· · 5 years ago

Plug-in sales totaled 4,715 in August 2012! A big number! and a record!

Prius PI: 1,047
Plug-in market share: 0.37%

· · 5 years ago

I find it surprising that people still hold to the believe that an electric car can't be your primary vehicle. Almost every family that I know has 2 vehicles and spends most of the week driving within the confines of the city in which they live or using public transport. At the weekend they may drive out of the city but then they only need one car. Having an electric car with a range of 70 miles and an ICE car or something like the volt is ideal. In the majority of situations most 2 car families don't drive over 70 miles each on any given day.

The problem is that most people find it very difficult to think for themselves and are directed by what they read and hear in the media. We are told that an electric car is not suitable for our driving needs and we believe what we are told regardless of the reality.

If people want to argue the case against electric cars purely on a cost basis then in some countries they have a point but to say that the current vehicles cannot work in with the majority of the populations driving requirements is absurd.

· caminito (not verified) · 5 years ago

theflew writes

""@ world2steven - The Volt when filled holds 10 gallons of gas (~63lbs). I drive my Volt around with around 2 gallons of gas (~13 lbs), so the weight of the gas isn't that big of a deal. If you look at the weight of the Leaf and Volt the Volt is only 300 pounds more and has active heating/cooling of it's pack.

Adding a range extending trailer would definitely weigh more than 300 pounds""

This is a reasonable way to use the VOLT. The advantages of the gasmotor complement are two-fold
No1: to eliminate the risk of beeing stranded, to be able to reach if necssary suburbs or satelite cities, which is achievable with the captioned 2 gallons
No.2: To be able to make long trips without being forced to use another car..
which can be achieved by taking additional gas at any pump

The LEAF concept (and other similar EV as Mitsubishi) is a misconcept due to a very reduced market, both by psychological and longer distance requirements

That NISSAN has delivered , with great difficulty, more vehicles as the VOLT, is partially due to latter the alleged battery problems, but more so by the fact tha the former is sold in addition as first market in Japan, and also elsewhere, contrary to the VOLT.

The IDEA OF THE TRAILER SEEM A RIDICULE BAND-AIDFOR A FLAWED PROJECT. Possibly a donkey could b a better solution??

· AnonymouseVolt (not verified) · 5 years ago

Did not see this addressed:
" Can you operate - or program - a Volt so the ICE never comes on unless you need to recharge?"

From the beginning the Volt has had this ability. No ICE until the battery is discharged to it's programmed lower limit, regardless of the power requirement or speed. I get up to 40 miles of gas-free driving every day and have gone 9100 miles so far using only 10 gallons of gasoline. The first 13 months (7800 miles) used only 2 gallons, but the car is programmed to force year old gas to be used. My dealer had filled the tank when it was in for a tire rotation so it's original tank (it's actually 9.3 gallons, not 10) plus 2 gallons is it's lifetime consumption. That 2 gallons added gave me an added month over the one year stale gas rule. I drove the car on a few long trips to use the gas and got over 40 MPG on those trips. I finally ran it almost completely dry before spending $12 for 3 gallons of premium. (Premium fuel degrades slower than regular, that's why the Volt requires it.) I anticipate that the 3 gallons in the tank will get me through another year, probably have 1600 miles on 'er by then.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

The focus for all-electric vehicles in the future will be twofold; first the installation of additional level 3 quick chargers in strategic locations to allow extending the reasonable range of travel without significant delay. Second, the improvement of battery technology to accomplish greater range and faster recharge speeds. This has already been demonstrated as Honda, Ford and even Nissan have claimed that their new vehicles have tested better in both areas than the original Leaf. Solid state battery technology under development promises lighter, more energy dense, less expensive batteries in the future. In the short term, the limits of an all electric vehicle pose problems only for extended driving beyond normal daily commuting and errand running. Adjusting driving habits to the idiosyncracies of the Leaf can create additional range and be fun too. For the occasional "road trip" options are many. For two car families it makes sense to have one ICE vehicle. The standard Prius would be a good complement to an all electric vehicle. If two cars are not in the picture, the car sharing companies or rentals can make longer excursions possible.
I have been driving the Leaf for 16 months, logging over 13,000 miles and have never run out of fuel. Simple planning allows this to be a worry free experience.
Despite all the carping about the use of dirty coal to generate electricity, the all-electric vehicle is still cleaner and quieter than any ICE vehicle and operates on fuel that is 100% domestic in origin.
It has not been mentioned in other blogs but the battery capacity of the Volt and therefor its electric range was intentionally reduced because on its on board generator feature. That means it is far less likely that you can make an all electric trip in a Volt. As someone suggested earlier, the MPG rating of a Toyota Prius beats the Volt at a much lower vehicle cost.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

The trailer is a great idea. Its been done before and is a bandaid. Also pulling a trailer has its own problems if it is not attached, or the pin breaks or tears off of the frame and goes north when you go west. It may be a neccesity in the future. It would not need to contain batteries, but maybe super capacitors or some such that fills up and powers up in a few seconds with brake regen, the trailer might have a KES system (kinetic energy system) that can boost its power up to 100 KWh in a few seconds using brake regen or build up slowly using solar cells covering the pulled wagon. If your going long distance there would be a lot of technologies.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Not a wonder the Volt outsells the Leaf. I decided to go kicking some electric tires today, and I got to check out the Volt at my local dealership no problem...but when I went to the Nissan dealership, I found they never had any and don't know if or when they will get any.

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