Electric Vehicle Update

At the end of the first half of 2014, the sales figures for PHEVs and EVs are available, and they aren’t particularly good.

The sale of PHEVs for the first 6 months of 2014, versus the same period for 2013, increased from 18,355 to 29,122 vehicles, a 59% increase.

The sale of EVs increased from 22,712 to 25,844 vehicles, a 14% increase.

2014 6-Month Sales

  PHEVs (Includes Extended Range Vehicles)

Battery Powered EVs

Monthly Totals

January

2,934

2,971

5,905

February 

3,721

3,324

7,045

March 

4,594

4,578

9,172

April 

4,718

4,187

8,905

May

6,651

5,802

12,453

June

6,511

4,982

11,493

TOTAL

29,129

25,844

54,973

Total sales of PHEVs and EVs in the first half, were only 54,973 in 2014 versus 41,047 in 2013.

At this pace, PHEV and EV sales will never reach Obama’s 2011 target of one million by 2015.

Volt and Leaf
Volt and Leaf

What may be the most interesting conclusion from this data, comes from comparing PHEV and EV sales:

Total PHEV sales, 2011 through the first half of 2014, were 124,392 vehicles.

Total EV sales, for the same period, were 97,153.

The fact that EV sales approach those of PHEVs, when PHEVs were to be the most customer friendly, i.e., lower price and no range anxiety, seems remarkable.

What conclusions can be drawn from this observation?

I suspect that this sales data reflects the market segment of people who are intent on buying electric vehicles.

This group includes:

  • First adopters
  • Radical environmentalists, especially those who believe that CO2 causes global warming
  • Status seekers

These types would be sufficiently affluent, or environmentally motivated, to buy the more expensive EV rather than the PHEV.

The apparent fact that ordinary people aren’t attracted to PHEVs could indicate that the total market for PHEVs and EVs is rather small, and limited to the market segment identified above.

If this is true, it bodes poorly for the future of electric vehicles, in general.

Further reinforcing this possible conclusion, is that the sale of Hybrid vehicles, that have the cachet of being environmentally friendly, with a price tag that most people can afford, and a reasonable pay-back period from gasoline savings, are doing very well.

Annual sales of Hybrids are approaching 500,000 vehicles per year.

The billions being spent by governments on tax-payer funded rebates, may also be affecting buying decisions, so that without them, sales of PHEVs and EVs would be even lower.

There was movie a few years ago, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

It may turn out it wasn’t GM, but the market place that killed the electric car … and will kill it again if government stops supporting it.

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0 Replies to “Electric Vehicle Update”

  1. Yes. I don’t have their data for 2014, it’s hard to come by. Tesla accounted for approximately 18,000 of the 47,694 BEV sales in 2013, which was impressive as they were ramping up.
    Some reported that Tesla sales have cooled off during 2014, but I have no way of verifying that.

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