Out of the Gate The Chevrolet Volt is 2017’s Best-Selling Plug-in Car

For a car that’s been alternately admired and castigated by critics including the politically motivated, the uninformed, and other random detractors, the Chevy Volt’s sales are off to a decent start so far this year.

It’s little secret the plug-in segment is a submarket, and it is yet early in the year for Volt fans to celebrate overly much, but the Bowtie branded extended range EV’s 3,431 sales also exceed all but four regular hybrids.

That’s saying something as the hybrid market has a 10-year head start, and the unsubsidized non-plug-in cars cost less.

The only hybrids that have outsold the Volt this year are the Toyota Prius Liftback, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, and the Honda Accord Hybrid which squeaked out just 147 sales more than the Volt.

The Model S may yet rise above as it’s been the world’s best seller for two years straight.

Notable also is U.S. sales for the Volt through February are 500 units ahead of last year’s best-selling plug-in, the Tesla Model S.

Part of that may be accounted to the fact Tesla pushed hard in December 2016 with an estimated 5,300 Model S sales to 3,691 Volt sales. Tesla also finished the year with 29,156 U.S. Model S sales to the Volt’s 24,739.

So, for what it is worth, the Chevrolet Volt is the best-selling plug-in car in America, although unknown is how things will go as the U.S. enters a political climate that’s cooling off toward vehicles promising lower greenhouse emissions.

Whether new sales record will be established are anyone’s guess, but other cars the Volt exceeds are the still-relatively-new Toyota Prime which had 2,728 sales through February.

Below that, another Chevy product you may have heard of, the 238-mile range Bolt EV, is warming up relatively well with 2,114. Not surprisingly, the Bolt EV – which is not for sale in all 50 states yet – topped the former best-selling Nissan Leaf’s 1,809 sales through February.

The Leaf narrowly edged an estimated 1,800 Model X sales, and meanwhile Nissan is expected to remedy that this year with introduction of a new Leaf.

For its part, the Volt has been on the market since the same month as the Leaf – Dec. 2010 – and benefits from a complete redesign.

Bolt EV.

Its 53 miles EPA rated range in EV mode is available at all operating speeds making it in a different class from other blended plug-in hybrids like those from Hyundai/Kia, Toyota, and Ford.

With 42 mpg gas back-up, the Volt is like a full-on EV for all intents and purposes as long as there’s juice in the battery, albeit with no worries about running out of juice as gas stations are plentiful.

After six years on the market there is nothing quite like the Volt. Detractors have picked on it for various reasons, but sales are a bottom line indicator of what the market thinks.

SEE ALSO: 2017 Chevy Volt Review – Video

With it and the Bolt doing relatively well – GM’s total plug-in sales at this point top those of Tesla – the Detroit automaker is also careening toward using up its federal tax credit allotment.

SEE ALSO: How Long Does GM Have Before Federal Credits Begin Fading Away?

It won’t likely be this year, but with 200,000 per manufacturer, it could be by 2018 if not 2019.

As that winds down, the threat of loss of the tax credit may be a sort of reverse stimulus to further sales, as it’s also unclear whether the up to $7,500 federal credit will be extended.

Eyes will be on how things go the rest of this year, and whether new highs will be reached.

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