Let’s Look At Cumulative Plug-In Electric Car Sales In California

AUG 24 2018 BY MARK KANE 16

Around 430,000 plug-in electric cars were sold to date in California

In the past quarter, sales of plug-in cars in California amounted to 35,466, which represents 6.9% of the total volume and growth of 58% year-over-year, according to the California Center for Jobs and the Economy.

Currently, the biggest gains come from all-electric models, as 19,358 were sold during Q2 at 3.7% market share and growth of 68%.

The strong results put California on track to reach its long-term goal of 5,000,000 plug-ins by 2030 (1.5 million by 2025).

Currently, cumulative sales stand at roughly 430,000, which is 8.6% of the target (4.4% of that falls on BEVs), but we don’t know how many of those cars were destroyed in accidents or sold to other states or countries – it’s estimated that real on-the-road number could be 7.9% or 395,000.

Interesting is that hybrid cars are on the downward trend both in terms of volume (-15%) and market share (4.0% compared to 4.7% year ago).

“The growth in PEV sales share in this quarter is the result of two key factors:

  • Most PEV sales continue to come as consumers otherwise open to an alternative fuel vehicle shift to plug-ins rather than buying a standard hybrid. As shown in the chart below, total market share for all alternative powertrains (BEV, PHEV, HEV) has deviated little from the long term average of 9.1%. The only significant differences: (1) 2017:Q4 saw a 10.2% share but was likely driven by consumers’ expectations—driven in turn by dealers’ advertising—of a possible subsidy cut in the federal tax reform bill, a likelihood that is illustrated by a dip in the following quarter; and (2) 2018:Q2 which was affected heavily by the next factor below.
  • Tesla finally began significant shipments of Model 3 from prior orders. Tesla’s sales in California were up 9,815 from 2017:Q2, of which 8,951 were Model 3 shipments for orders posted in the prior year. These sales may indicate that a break from the 9.1% long term market share may finally be taking place, but more than one quarter of data and sales generated by current rather than prior-year consumer decisions will be needed to show a change in this trend. Counter to previous expectations that Model 3 would finally represent a break-through in BEV prices that would open up electric vehicles to a wider market, current deliveries are at a price point that keeps this model in the near luxury category, limiting its future ability to appeal to a wider segment of the market.
  • The future direction for PEV sales is also uncertain as a result of a looming shift in the subsidies available to buyers of these vehicles. As indicated by prior experiences in Denmark, the Netherlands, and—within the US—Georgia, PEV sales are highly sensitive to changes in these subsidies. California has already made substantial cuts to the availability of its rebates by imposing income limits for eligibility. Tesla appears to have breached the total sales threshold for its models to be eligible for federal rebates, and GM appears to be few quarters away, with Nissan at 60% and Ford at 55% of the cap[1]. Once the cap is reached, federal subsidies are phased out over the following two quarters.
    While these more public subsidy sources are declining, ZEV producers also have available subsidy revenues as the result of selling regulatory credits, both for compliance with the ZEV rules in California and the other adopting states and under the federal fleet fuel efficiency standards. While shifting the subsidy cost incidence from government budgets to those consumers buying traditional fuel vehicles, the associated scale was also likely set to increase under rules made final in the last few days of the Obama Administration. While these regulatory credits will still retain considerable value as a subsidy source even under the recently proposed rule revisions, there is likely to be a period of uncertainty until the rules are finalized and the announced litigation is eventually resolved.
    Consequently, the current quarter sales results are too premature to determine whether a longer term shift in consumer acceptance is taking place that would broaden the market share for these vehicles. This outcome will not likely become known until additional quarters’ worth of data becomes available from sales as ZEV producers set pricing closer to the costs of production as both the state and federal subsidies subside.”

Source: California Center for Jobs and the Economy via Green Car Congress

Categories: Sales

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16 Comments on "Let’s Look At Cumulative Plug-In Electric Car Sales In California"

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Looks like hybrids have been the main casualty as electrics have sold more. It would be interesting to see if / when there starts to be a transition from standard non-hybrid gasoline-powered cars to electric.

You will be able to see the start of that when certain manufacturers of standard non-hybrid gasoline-powered cars claim that this will not be the case for a long time, but nevertheless write letters to the government lobbying for lower emission standards, while others seize to make cars by definition.

Hybrids are overly complicated and now are virtually obsolete. BEV in CA is almost 4%. I am willing to bet it’ll double within 2 years.

Hybrids had their place but they really are just slightly more efficient ICE cars since all energy really still comes from gas – regen is just getting some of that back. Once you’ve gone to the trouble of adding the electric motor, it makes so much more sense to throw a slightly bigger battery in and allow at least minimal all electric range. With the first 3 versions of the Prius, they still used old battery tech so this wasn’t so trivial. But now with newer battery tech, no reason not to throw a 10kwh battery in.

i know 3000 reasons, pardon i meant dollars.

Basically, BEVs and PHEVs have drastically cut into hybrid sales, but electrification as a whole is seeing only a small uptick in the total new car sales. Basically most people with hybrids are trading for something with a plug on it. However there are a few people like myself that never owned a hybrid of any type that went out and bought their first BEV in this time frame. I’m part of the roughly 2% of the 11% that bought something with a plug fro the first time!! Yea!

I suspect the Model 3 will skew these numbers quite a bit by the end of next year as long as the Tesla factory keeps on keeping on and there is no economic down turn.

I agree. I think this is actually amazing considering the Model 3 is selling for an average price above $50k right now. To me that’s not “near luxury” pricing, it is luxury pricing. Just my opinion. And how many Model 3s will Tesla sell next year once they open configurations to the SR model with no options starting at $35k? Very few will be sold with no options IMO but offering the car is important in terms of getting people to consider the purchase. That of course assumes Tesla can be profitable selling the SR model. Like you, I am a recent convert to the plug. 5 years ago we were a 2 car household, and had never owned anything other than standard ICE cars and trucks. Today we are a 4 car household because of 2 teenagers who are now driving. We bought a Leaf for our daughter 4 years ago, which was totaled in an accident earlier this year. My daughter, who is now in college, wanted to replace it with something longer range but she refused to get a standard ICE. We ended up with a hybrid that gets 40 mpg for her, which is near double… Read more »
(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

CA needs to cease all issuing of HOV stickers to PHEV and only issue to 100% EV’s only.

Probably the most discouraging graph I’ve seen regarding EVs. This shows approximately 9.1% of the new car California public buys their car with better environment being a major factor in their decision. Does that mean BEV sales will plateau at this level? Looks like the other 90% won’t buy a BEV until it costs less than an equivalent ICE.

for me the long term costs are deciding. but i dont wannacity BEV. i need a long range BEV that cost around equal (max +4k) to my ICE. also due to family reasons i need a big trunk (think leaf+30%). until now there is no chance in hell that i can make the switch due to bad availability.

Model S and X would be big enough, but cost roughly 50.000€ more than i want to pay. So at the moment i can choose between 12 different good ICE cars (price and trunk good) and 0 different BEV cars and 0 PHEV.

i still hope for a good PHEV soon.

The very first year when retail gasoline sales is shown to go down YOY primarily due to impact of EVs will doom the Petroleum company’s stock price in US.

The good news is that both BEV and PHEV are up lately, hybrids are irrelevant!

Pathetic numbers.

Heck in 2025 Tesla will probably be producing 1 million vehicles a year in CA, and a lot of those will remain there.

I wonder what the share of smaller form factor cars is?
It’s gotta be over 30% Manufacturerss haven’t even tried the CUV, truck and SUV market yet.

Thank you for this very informative set of CA stats. I was looking for precisely this information.