US auto sales: Leaf outselling Chevy Volt image

In the race to sell electric vehicles to the American public, Nissan so far appears to be outpacing Chevrolet.

This is the third consecutive month where Nissan has beaten Chevrolet in the battle of the big name electric vehicles and with the expansive gap in sales this month, Nissan now leads the overall race in 2011 sales by a margin of 3,875 to 2,745.

Nissan sold 3,875 of its Leaf vehicles in the US between January and June 2011, more than 1,000 units clear of the Chevrolet Volt on 2,745.

Although the Volt appears to be lagging behind the Leaf, Chevrolet Volt spokesman Rob Peterson said the disparity is only temporary. The plant that assembles the Volt has been offline for the past five weeks while it is upgraded for more capacity.

Leaf is substantially cheaper – about $9000 less than the $41000 Volt. But Chevy it’s also far less capable. The Volt is a plug-in that has a gasoline motor that acts as a backup generator when the batteries are drained – after 25 to 50 miles of driving.

On the same time, the Leaf is a pure electric car, rated at about 75 miles of driving between charges.
Nissan said it expects to sell as many as 12,000 Leafs in the U.S. this year.

The Yokohama-based company, Japan’s second- largest automaker, has said it may sell 200,000 Leafs annually in the U.S., while not disclosing a timetable.