Green

Hybrid and electric car sales soar during the first quarter of 2012

We already know that April was a great month for Toyota Prius hybrid sales, but it turns out that the first quarter of the year produced stellar sales numbers for hybrids in general, as well as plug-in electric cars.

More than 100,000 hybrids and plug-in cars — 113,457 — were sold in January, February, and March combined, against roughly 79,000 in the same period of 2011.

The vast bulk of those sales — 106,207 — were hybrids, of course.

The hybrid sales included not only much higher sales of the Toyota Prius, now a lineup of three models plus a plug-in, but also Buicks and Chevrolets fitted with the General Motors eAssist mild-hybrid system.

All varieties of plug-in cars accounted for 7,250, according to data compiled by industry trade journal Automotive News.

Plug-in sales totaled about 17,000 units for all of 2011, the bulk of them either the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle or the Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car.

For 2012, the strong new plug-in entrant is the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, whose April sales beat those of both the Volt and the Leaf.

Analysts expect perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 plug-in cars to be sold in the U.S. during calendar 2012, against perhaps 400,000-plus conventional hybrids.

As always, the bulk of the hybrid sales will come from Toyota.

This article originally appeared on Green Car Reports, one of VentureBeat’s editorial partners. Image via Green Car Reports.

This story originally appeared on www.greencarreports.com.

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