Electric Vehicle Sales in Canada: June 2015 Update

 In Electric Vehicle News, EV Industry

Update (Feb 9, 2016): We’ve just published the final numbers for EV Sales in Canada in 2015!

It has been a while since our previous posts on plug-in sales in Canada. Now that the data is in for the first half of 2015, it’s a good time to update the numbers.

How are Canadian EV sales?  The title of this update could be:  Model S, Quebec, and Supercars in the Prairies. The video below gives you the quick run down.

As of the end of June 2015, there were 14,297 plug-in vehicles registered in Canada.  Of those, 52% are battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), while 48% of those are plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs).

In total, there are 22 different plug-in models on the road in Canada, made by 12 different manufacturers.  More than you thought? Fair enough, over 10,000 of the 14,000+ vehicles are from 3 models: Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S.

And contrary to many comments I’ve read recently, plug-in vehicles sales are UP for the first half of 2015 compared to 2014.  In the first six months of 2014 there were 2,411 new plug-ins registered – the number for 2015 is 2,779.  So plug-in sales are up 15% year-over-year.  This is notable given gas prices and the end-of-model of the Volt that we’ll discuss below.

Comparison of 2015 and 2014 Sales


Quebec continues to be the dominant province for plug-ins, with 45% of all plug-ins in Canada residing in La Belle Province.  19 out of every 20 plug-ins in Canada are in either Quebec, Ontario, or British Columbia.  Plug-ins have now been registered in every province or territory with the exception of Nunavut.  Nunavut has a few hybrids, so we expect some vehicle with a plug to land there shortly.

Plug-In Electric Vehicles by Province as of June 30 2015

Plug-In Electric Vehicles by Province

It is interesting to note the major difference between Quebec and BC in terms of BEVs vs. PHEVs.  Quebec is showing a strong preference for plug-in hybrids with nearly 60% of sales having a gas backup.  By contrast, BC has less than 30% of its plug-ins having a gas backup.  Visit Montreal and Vancouver in February and you will understand why.

Looking at the monthly sales by province (not shown) Quebec has continued its dominance.  Of the last 18 months there have been only two months when Quebec didn’t take top spot.  The exceptions were December 2014 and March 2015 were Ontario outsold Quebec by a couple units.

The Volt

Below is the summary of all plug-ins in Canada by model.  The Chevrolet Volt is the dominant model with over 5,000 units sold.  The first Volts hit Canadian roads in 2011 (my Volt being one of those).  In January, GM unveiled the all-new 2016 model in Detroit.  Highlights: 40% more EV range, notably faster, more efficient in hybrid mode.  Pricing was later announced: the 2016 will be about $1,000 cheaper than the 2015 model in the US.  In Canada the price is effectively the same (ok, fine, the 2016 is $105 less).  Punchline: big improvements, same price.

Breakdown of Electric Vehicle Models in Canada

Canadian EVs by Model

Knowing this was coming inventory at dealerships was throttle down.  As a result the sales in 2015 are roughly half those of the previous year.  2016s will starting landing in showrooms this fall.  While there is a lot of buzz around the new model it will be interesting to see supply levels and initial sales interest.

The Model S

While Volt sales have been slow given the 2016 announcement, the Model S has taken the opportunity to ramp its sales in Canada.  Below is the month-to-month sales of the LEAF, Model S, and the Volt.  For every month of 2015, the Model S has taken top spot in Canada.  And looking over the last 18 months you can see a strong and continuous rise in Tesla sales – you can also see the characteristic Tesla 3-month sales peak pattern.

Monthly Sales of Volt, LEAF, and Model S

Monthly Sales of Volt, LEAF, and Model S

Supercars in the Prairies

What might surprise some is that plug-ins are becoming a key part of the supercar segment.  The reason is simple; if you want to build a really, really fast car you need the instant torque of an electric motor.

While they have limited EV range, at the top of the pack are the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder.  In Canada there are currently 8 McLaren P1s and 18 Porsche 918 Spyders registered.  With base price tags of US$1,350,000 and US$847,000 these are not for the price conscious.  We are fairly sure Dragons Den’s Wekerle’s Spyder is in that list even though it died a fiery death (because gasoline poured onto the exhaust – nothing to do with the electric/battery side).

In the last few months we’ve seen the first Spyders registered in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  I wonder if any of these will share a shed with a John Deere.

While not a plug-in, the first 10 Ferrari Laferrari hybrids have hit Canada in the past few months.  Ferrari’s CEO is adamant that hybrid is as far as they will go and bringing a plug-in into the portfolio is out of the question.  We’ll see if that holds…


Plug-in sales in Canada continue to be on the rise, topping 500 per month for the past few months.  The Volts numbers are down, as expected given the 2016 model announcement.  It will be interesting to track the Volt numbers as the new model hits showrooms this Fall.  The Model S has been the sales darling of 2015 so far.  And while the numbers are small, plug-in Supercars have started hitting the Canadian market.

Quebec continues to be the dominant EV province in Canada.  BC has seen a notable bump since the announcement of the re-introduction of the incentive.

Overall sales are up 15% year-over-year for the first six months of 2015.

If you have any questions/comments, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout or leave a comment.  And if you want to be notified as soon as new updates are published simply enter your name and email in the subscription box down below.


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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