2013 Leaf Sales Now Edging Out Volt YTD, Yet Trailing Tesla

While the Chevy Volt’s total volume since launch lets it remain the top-selling plug-in car in the U.S., the longstanding rivalry between it and Nissan’s Leaf saw a trading places for this calendar year with the Leaf yet believed to be trailing Tesla’s Model S year to date (YTD).

Officially, YTD sales for the Leaf are now at 7,614 units sold versus the Volt’s 7,157. Unofficially Tesla Model S YTD sales may be somewhere around 8,850 based on April estimates of 6,850 sold and assuming 2,000 sold for May.

To the annoyance of some commentators, Tesla has not officially divulged month by month numbers since its July 2012 conservatively begun launch, but assuming 6,850 sold though April, it would only have needed to deliver 765 units in May to top Nissan’s 7,614.

There is a fudge factor built into Tesla estimates given its adamant policy of selectively releasing info that most flatters it, but denial of some info that would allow a more granular analysis of its maverick new business model, but we are reasonably certain our sales estimates are not off by hundreds of units.

Previous reports have said Tesla’s Fremont, Calif. factory is filling all orders on a customer waiting list as fast as it can, which is around the 2,100 unit per month mark, so Tesla is enjoying an exceptional success story for a car costing easily double the Chevrolet or Nissan respectively.

Without a doubt Tesla is riding an ideal surfing wave for which it hopes it can sustain momentum, and is doing all it can to alleviate perceived concerns in order to keep its pipeline filled with patiently waiting buyers.

The hood and lighted rear charge port are popped on this Model S Signature Performance at the King of Prussia, Pa. Tesla store just opened last month. Customers are encouraged to fiddle with the semi-exotic cars on display.

The hood and lighted rear charge port are popped on this Model S Signature Performance at the King of Prussia, Pa. Tesla store just opened last month. Customers are encouraged to fiddle with the semi-exotic cars on display.

Tesla’s upsets to the usual way of doing automotive business include guaranteeing its Model S resale value for a 36-39 month term, offering free Supercharger access for life to a quickly expanding network, and being otherwise soft sell in many respects all in its efforts to augment its growing popularity, and reduce buyer concerns. This is combined with the fact the Model S is generally reviewed as a stellar car, capable of 200-300 miles range depending on configuration and usage patterns, and it has won many top awards.

As for Nissan, this is a story just as newsworthy in its own right, and its upsurge this year represents a significant turnaround that should make the wiser among naysayers less outspoken in panning its insufficiency or predicting its failure.

The Leaf’s sales were lagging the Volt’s by less than half by the end of 2012, but that’s now apparently fading like into memory in light of a mid-cycle 2013 Leaf upgrade, U.S. manufacture of the car, and significant price decreases.

Renault-Nissan has invested billions in its push for this and other Renault, Nissan, and sooner-or-later expected Infiniti electric cars, and has remained determined to sink or swim.

Compared to the Volt, the latest news for the Leaf is especially poignant, as it has scored a trifecta of record sales months for March, April and now May one after the other with complete consistency since U.S. assembly began in March.

In contrast, recent months have seen the Volt set back compared to previous record highs in the 2,000-unit to nearly 3,000-unit mark, although it did make a decent gain this month.

For now, the big picture shows the Volt is still ahead of them all, however.

The Volt is an enjoyable mid-distance electric car with gas-powered extended range. It has had its better sales moments, but yet leads the pack albeit with competitors looking to change that.

The Volt is an enjoyable mid-distance electric car with gas-powred extended range. It has had its better sales moments, but yet leads the pack albeit with competitors looking to change that.

Since its December 2010 launch, the Volt’s total U.S. sales exceed Nissan’s estimate since its launch the same month, although the Leaf’s global sales far outnumber the Volt’s and European Ampera variant with somewhere over 62,000 Leaf units sold as of April.

If you want a clearer perspective into year by year U.S. results, a perusal of the HybridCars.com December Dashboards for successive years since the era for modern mainstream-maker electrified cars virtually began could prove instructive.

In 2010, the Volt sold 326 versus the Leaf’s 19. In 2011, The Volt lagged the Leaf with 7,671 units versus the Leaf’s 9,674. In 2012, the Volt stomped on the Leaf with 23,461 versus the Leaf’s 9,819.

Volt sales since launch are therefore 38,615 versus the Leaf’s 27,126. To strip the Volt of its overall lead, Nissan will have to continue to do even better than it has month-by-month for the remaining seven months this year.