Electric Vehicle Sales in Canada: 2015 Final Numbers

 In EV Industry

*May 2016 Update:  We just put out our 2016 Q1 update. You can see the Canadian EV Sales March 2016 update here!

Here are the final plug-in electric vehicle sales numbers for Canada in 2015.

With US sales being down 5%, there was a lot of interest in how Canada performed. In 2014, there were 5,235 plug-in vehicle sales.  For 2015, the number was…

*drum-roll*

6,933.

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So plug-in sales were up 32% year-over-year.  Given the combination of both the Osborne effect on the Volt and low oil prices (although I am skeptical oil prices are highly correlated with EV sales), posting such strong sales growth is a pretty impressive feat.  While impressive, it is lower than the back-to-back 67% growth in the past two calendar years.

Electric Vehicle Sales in Canada Year-to-Year Comparison 2015

The real story in the numbers was the Tesla Model S.  Sales of the Model S were up 137% year-over-year. LEAF sales rose by 23% for the year, while Volt sales were down 8%.

As mentioned in the mid-year update, the Volt was a victim of its own future.  The Gen2 Volt was debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in January, promising major improvements over the Gen1 design.  The result was strong cooling effect on Volt sales until the new MY2016 design started hitting dealerships in October (with all the Volts delivered in 2015 having been sold long before they ever hit a dealer lot). While MY2016 will be a limited run model, the MY2017 production has already started and will be widely available in early Q2 of 2016.

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Total Canadian EV Fleet Size

What is the total number of EVs in Canada?  There are 18,451 plug-in vehicles in Canada.  10,034 (54%) of those are BEVs while the balance of 8,417 (46%) are PHEVs.  The interesting thing to note is that while historically the Canadian market has been a near perfect split 50/50 between BEVs and PHEVs, the battery-only variant is now taking the lead.  Nunavut remains the only province or territory that has yet to register a plug-in vehicle.

Electric Vehicle Sales in Canada - Total Canadian EV Fleet 2015

Looking at the model breakdown, the Volt continues to be the #1 plug-in in Canada representing 1/3rd of all plug-ins.  The Nissan LEAF kept its place as the second most popular plug-in in Canada, followed by the Model S, who is now closing in on the LEAF with its strong sales in 2015.  72% of all plug-ins in Canada are one of these three models.

2015 Electric Vehicle Sales in Canada By Model

Provincial Highlights

Quebec continues to lead the pack with nearly 8,500 plug-ins or 46% of the entire Canadian EV market. Quebec also registered the highest sales of all provinces in 11 out of the 12 months of 2015. While sales were similar for Quebec, Ontario, and BC in Q2 of 2015, Quebec has taken a strong lead in sales volume in the second half of 2015.

 

2015 Canada Total Plug-in Vehicles by Province

BC in particular is worth noting. Since re-introducing their rebate, BC has led the country in sales if you look on a per capita or %-of-all-sales basis.  The trailing 3-month %-of-passenger-vehicle-sales is shown below (please note: Statistics Canada hasn’t released it’s December 2015 total sales numbers, so 2014 numbers were used temporarily – this will be updated once numbers are available).  The impact of re-introducing the rebate in BC has been dramatic.

2015 Canada Percentage of Passenger Vehicle Sales by Province

 

 

Summary

Overall the highlights of the Canadian EV market for 2015 are:

  • Sales were up by 32%, after back-to-back years of 67% growth
  • The sales in 2015 were driven by the Tesla Model S, which was the top selling plug-in in Canada 9 out of the 12 months of 2015
  • Quebec continues to expand its lead in total plug-ins, while
  • British Columbia was the leader in 2015 on a per-capita basis after seeing a significant bump once the rebate was re-introduced.

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Sources

As always, the data is sourced from R.L. Polk & Company registration data, industry executive interviews, and rounded out by Matthew Klippenstein’s Canadian EV Sales Summaries.

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  • Arthur Yip

    I was anticipating a drum roll in the video!

  • Jean-François Morissette

    Are you numbers really final?

    Doesn’t correlate with those : tinyurl.com/CanadaEVSales

  • Jean-François, thanks for flagging. There was a mistake in the source file – now corrected. Thanks again!

    • Jean-François Morissette

      Thanks. Another question: I don’t get why there are no Audi A3 e-tron showing in those numbers, there should be some…

      • I see 24 Audi A3 “hybrids” in the data. I’m working on confirming if these are indeed the PHEVs. As far as I can tell there isn’t a non-PHEV hybrid A3. But want to confirm it isn’t some start/stop mild hybrid classification. If I can confirm they are indeed PHEVs I will add them to the breakdown. Thanks!

      • I have confirmed that you are right, the 24 A3 “hybrid” units are indeed the PHEVs. We’ll correct that in the next sales update – given that the 24 units won’t tangibly change the results and that I got a dirty look when I suggested we redo the video again, we’ll keep the numbers above the same for now.

  • Bruno Marcoux

    Is it possible to know what is the percentage of ev sales for Québec for the whole year of 2015 ?

    Is the percentage still at 2% in January 2016 ?

  • Volfgang

    Hey Megan, if you are seeing the same numbers I’m seeing, no wonder you have an ironic smile in the video, the absolutely pathetic overall sales numbers of EVs in Canada compared to the total cars sold in 2015 would make anyone die from laughter.
    The 6933 EV vs 1,898,000+ total gas cars is sad, really sad.
    And the roughly 50million that’s given in EV rebates pales in comparison, compared to about 34billion (when all added up) including tax breaks, write offs, subsidies, grants, development programs etc, etc, etc, stated by the IMF last year.
    I wonder what progress we could make as Canadians for the EV market here if we got even a third of that 34billion towards EVs, probably quite significant.

    I hope EVs grow exponentially, the sooner the better.

  • Karun Vij

    Amazing information. Where do you get the provincial sales data from?

  • Bob Lyman

    Just shows what happens when taxpayers are forced to give subsidies of up to $8,500 per vehicle. Next year, you can report gleefully the effects of Ontario raising the taxpayer subsidy to $14,000. If EV’s are so great, let them compete without all the subsidies.