The Chevrolet Volt was the best-selling rechargeable car in the US in the first half of 2012, well ahead of Toyota's new plug-in Prius and Nissan’s all-electric Leaf.

According to Bloomberg News, GM said Volt deliveries more than tripled to 1,760 in June from 561 a year earlier and rose 221% in the first half to 8,817, GM said.

Toyota sold 695 units of the rechargeable Prius last month and 4,347 since its March introduction. Leaf sales fell 69% in June to 535 and 19% this year to 3,148, as Nissan switches to direct dealer sales of the car.

“On 1 March we went to a more a traditional dealer model. In doing that we miscalculated the marketing that had to go behind it,” Al Castignetti, vice president of Nissan’s North American sales, told Bloomberg. The company last year delivered Leafs to customers on a waiting list rather than directly from dealer forecourts.

Demand for Volts has risen in California, the main market for rechargeable cars, after GM modified the car’s warranty and emissions to qualify it for state rebates and lone drivers to use carpool lanes. The improvement came after GM briefly halted Volt assembly this year when sales slowed on news of battery-pack fires following crash tests.

Bloomberg, citing GM's website, noted the 2013 Volt travels 38 miles (61km) on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack, and has a US EPA efficiency rating of 98 miles per gallon-equivalent. The Leaf averages 73 miles per charge and the plug-in Prius can go 15 miles on battery power before running as a 50mpg hybrid.

The Volt starts at US$39,145, and qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit. The base model plug-in Prius costs $32,000, before a $2,500 tax credit. Nissan’s Leaf starts at $35,200, according to a company website, before a $7,500 credit.