March 2017: The green-sales-are-still-charged-up edition

Volt, Bolt, Prius Plug-in, and e-Golf all boost sales

US sales of hybrids and plug-ins continued to hum along last month. They were substantially ahead of last year's figures as more people got comfortable plugging in with models including the Chevrolet Bolt EV, BMW i3, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, and even the Volkswagen e-Golf.

Americans bought about 41,000 electrified cars in March, up 20 percent from a year earlier. More tellingly, plug-in vehicle sales surged about 58 percent to about 14,000 units.

Once again, the positive story – at least for green car advocates – is largely an American one. Notably, Ford's green car sales jumped 61 percent from a year earlier to 9,212 units. Fusion Hybrid sales almost tripled to 5,865 units, while Focus Electric sales almost quadrupled to 407 units.

General Motors' green car sales grew even faster at a 67 percent increase from a year earlier. Chevrolet Bolt sales hit 978 units, which was up slightly from the 952 sold in February, though short of the monthly record 1,162 sold in January. Chevy Volt extended-range plug-in sales rose 14 percent from a year earlier to 2,132 units.

Additionally, Honda and BMW each showed green car gains last month. Honda's sales jumped fivefold to 2,040 units, almost completely on higher demand for the revamped Accord Hybrid. Sales of BMW's i-branded plug-in vehicles rose 79 percent to 752 units, with i3 EV sales doubling from a year earlier to 703 units.

Finally, Nissan Leaf EV sales rose 19 percent from a year earlier to 1,478 units. And VW's green car sales more than doubled to 351 units, as e-Golf demand almost quadrupled from a year earlier.

Such gains more than offset an 8.4 percent drop in Toyota's electrified car sales to 19,434 units. While Prius Plug-in Hybrid sales, which were about nonexistent a year ago, reached 1,618 units, all other Prius variants' sales fell at least 28 percent from a year earlier, while Lexus hybrid sales fell 24 percent to 2,283 vehicles.

Through the first quarter of the year, US green car sales rose 23 percent to 109,292 vehicles. Plug-in vehicle sales have jumped 65 percent to more than 37,500 units.

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