The plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt compact from General Motors was the second top selling electric vehicle (EV) in the United States for the third quarter of 2019 selling 156,684 units. Amazing as GM quietly discontinued production of this EV in February 2019 due to falling sales.

Auto industry analysts concur that Tesla Inc. helped kill the Volt, which was billed as an “extended-range electric vehicle” during its introduction in 2010. Volt was also advertised as the EV motorists could use for their typical daily commute. But not even the extended range or the savings from electrification could save the Volt from the more popular Teslas.

"The vehicle died because it wasn’t selling well, obviously,” said George Peterson, head of consulting firm AutoPacific. “The number of people willing to spend extra money” for a vehicle like the Volt “just isn’t that huge anymore.”

The Volt, however, did well enough in selling out what remaining inventory it had in Q3. Those sales  had the heft to land it in second spot among the top selling EVs in Q3, according to data from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI).

Ahead of it in number one was the Tesla Model 3 electric four door sedan that sold 253,196 units in Q3. Behind the Volt in third place was the Tesla Model S all-electric five-door liftback sedan introduced in 2012. EEI said 154,242 Model S liftbacks were sold.

Taking fourth was the Nissan Leaf compact five-door hatchback, which sold 138,653 units. The Leaf was the world's best-selling plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) in 2013, 2014 and 2016. 

The fifth top selling EV was the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in mid-size hybrid unveiled in March 2016 in New York. It sold 109,003 units. The sixth top seller was the Tesla Model S that sold 79,577 units.

Eighth to tenth spots were taken by the Ford Fusion Energi gasoline-electric hybrid powered version of the mid-sized Ford Fusion sedan (66,679 units sold); the Chevrolet Bolt five-door all-electric subcompact hatchback (55,006 units) and the BMW i3 high-roof hatchback with an optional range-extending gasoline engine (40,497 units).

2016-Chevrolet-Volt-010 The 2016 Chevrolet Volt. Photo: General Motors

The top five selling EVs accounted for nearly 60 percent of all EV sales in the U.S. in Q3 2019. Other key EV sales sata from EEI:

  • More than 1.3 million EVs are now on U.S. roads
  • EV share of new car sales jumped by 2.6% in September 2019, a high for the year
  • More than 87,000 EVs were sold in Q3
  • EVs averaged 2% of new car sales through Q3
  • Five automakers have sold more than 100,000 EVs -- Tesla, General Motors, Nissan, Ford and Toyota
  • Global EV sales amounted to 1.1 million for the first half of 2019, an increase of 46% year-on-year
  • U.S. EV sales accounted for 13% of global EV sales during the first half of 2019