Nissan April Leaf Sales Its Second-Best; Volt Trailing Behind

In the month by month sales performance chronicle of the two electrified cars both launched December 2010, April’s results saw Nissan selling 1,937 Leafs and Chevrolet delivered 1,306 Volts.

The cars are only similar; the Leaf is all-electric and the Volt is “extended-range electric,” but we’re keeping the informal progress report going, even though GM has said it is not in a sales “race” against the Leaf.

Nissan is now assembling its Leafs in Tennessee and slashed its prices for this year, enabling the value proposition to look far better to alternative energy car consumers.

As such, April was its second-best month to date and this follows its best-yet sales performance that it achieved the month prior in March.

The Volt’s also-ran performance did not match its March sales of 1,478 units and fell short of numbers achieved last year which have seen double or nearly double its latest numbers.

2013 Chevrolet Volt.

2013 Chevrolet Volt.


The Volt has crested to as high as just-under 3,000 units in one month, and between the two loosely competitive cars, it’s been a case of trading places as to which one is shining.

Presently it appears the spotlight is on Nissan.

Year to date, Nissan noted Leaf sales are up 160.4 percent compared to the same period in 2012.

That said, the Volt still is edging out the Leaf with 5,550 units sold January through April, compared to the Leaf’s 5,476. But the Leaf struggled in January with only 650 units sold compared to the Chevy’s 1,140. In February also, Nissan delivered just 653 units compared to the Volt’s 1,626.

So the Volt did better earlier this year, but Nissan had said the pipeline was constrained due to the switchover in production from Japan to the U.S.

It would appear Nissan’s assertion is correct, and it may well be taking away limited market share from the Volt due to lower-cost leases, and a lower selling price as well.

As a reminder, the Volt is only a part-time EV with an EPA-rated electric range of 38 miles, after which it has a decided advantage over the Leaf of relying on its second powertrain and running its generator indefinitely with fill ups from the gas station.

The Leaf’s 2013 EPA numbers are not out yet, but its electric range can exceed 80 miles which studies show is more than enough for the average American’s daily driving needs, but it’s incapable of long-range driving without charging stations accessible, and extended layover time.

Nissan has aggressively established itself to eventually meet sales goals set by Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn for U.S. and global electric vehicles. GM also says it intends to be competitive, but this month its just-over 1,300 sales for the Volt are a hiccup in the big picture for the company now celebrating its best U.S. April sales in five years of 237,646 total vehicles.

It could also be Volt sales are tapering off, as buyers await release of the 2014 model year in a couple months.

The dark horse – Tesla Model S.

The dark horse – Tesla Model S.

Meanwhile, we await to see what that also-aspirational electric car maker Tesla did, and we expect it will have topped both of these ostensibly mass-market cars for number of units sold from January to present.

As of March, Tesla sold 4,750 Model S units this year, and if it sells around 2,000 more or less in April, that will let it keep its place as plug-in volume leader.

Tesla has been coming on strong and our story anticipating its ascendancy in March and a subsequent recognition noting this phenomenon early this month eventually was picked up and repackaged into a new story by major media in recent days noting the Model S was outselling the Volt and Leaf.

Helping matters for the more-expensive but compelling Tesla Model S is a back-log of customer orders meaning it can deliver as many cars as it can produce at this juncture.

We’ll have more for you along with our monthly Dashboard as soon as possible.