I love seeing the tremendous growth of electric vehicle sales in Europe, which is likely to achieve more than 10% of new car sales being plugin vehicle sales this year, but there is something bittersweet about it. The bitter part is that Europe’s quick EV adoption makes the story in the United States quite a bit depressing.
It’s wonderful that we have Tesla — no doubt. It’s great to see Teslas all over the place in the area of Florida where I live and I’m sure in many other places in the United States. Tesla is indeed a wonderful American business and sustainability story, and it’s simply stunning that this still-young automotive company has broken into the big time and is producing and selling nearly a million vehicles a year, many of those in the U.S. However, those sales don’t approach 10% market share, and neither do all EV sales combined. When I create our quarterly U.S. electric vehicle (EV) sales reports, there’s a truly inspiring side and a side that is not so uplifting. We need more models at or near the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y level in order to make significant progress.
That said, even though Tesla still dominates the U.S. market (through the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y), and even though no other models are close to Tesla’s in terms of sales, it seems that we are seeing signs of life from a few others. If you can look beyond the two Tesla mountains in the sales charts, you can see that there are a few brands that are increasing their EV sales significantly on the backs of a few nearly high-volume models.
Notably, two of those models — the Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E — were the two contenders for 2021 CleanTechnica Car of the Year that got the most votes from readers, and the third model (the one with the most sales aside from Tesla’s top models) was the 2017 CleanTechnica Car of the Year. It seems that our writers and readers might know what they’re talking about when they highlight top electric models.
It should also be said that we don’t have data for some electric models — the Hyundai Kona EV and Kia Niro EV, most notably. All indications imply that they are not achieving many sales in the U.S., but we can’t really evaluate that like we can with the other models because Hyundai and Kia didn’t build them on dedicated electric platforms and don’t break out their sales from the sales of their gas-powered twins in their monthly sales reports.
Getting more specific with regards to the models that we do have data for, you can see that the Chevy Bolt EV + Chevy Bolt EUV combined for more than 11,000 sales in the quarter (which is sort of like combining the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y as Tesla does in its sales reports). The Bolt EV/EUV led the market outside of Tesla’s top sellers. The Ford Mustang Mach-E (6,356 sales) and Volkswagen ID.4 (5,756 sales) were significantly below the Bolt, but these are young faces. I do expect more from them in the future as production ramps up and word gets around that they are on the market and they are great vehicles.
The old-timer Nissan LEAF is also still doing its part, getting 4,804 sales in the 2nd quarter. This vehicle likely gets its sales from low prices at dealerships around the country that notably undercut the prices of other popular electric models. Also, the vehicle has been on the market for so many years that there may still be repeat buyers upgrading their LEAFs rather than jumping to a Tesla (as many early LEAF buyers have done), Chevy Bolt, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4, or other new electric car.
That’s the story of the U.S. electric vehicle market for now. The trend lines are up for several models, and they have plenty of room to rise this year if their makers are willing to push them much faster now.
What are your predictions for these models for the rest of the year? Are any of these non-Tesla electric models going to one day get to 100,000+ vehicle sales in a year? Or, starting at a lower step, which models will surpass 50,000 sales a year in the U.S.?