Electric vehicle sales are soaring, mushrooming, blasting off like a top-fuel dragster. Choose whatever colorful verb you like, but the trend is clear, at least in the short term.
According to a report from Automotive News, in the first four months of 2021, new EV registrations in the US rose by 95 percent (compared to the same four-month period in 2020). Naturally, all new vehicle sales rose as pandemic-related restrictions eased, but the growth in EV sales far outstripped the growth of the overall auto market, which was 36 percent.
The reasons for the sudden sales spurt aren’t clear. The growing number of available EV models doubtless played a role, as did the steady stream of announcements of future ICE bans from countries and cities around the world. Students of human nature have often observed that a crisis tends to accelerate changes that were already in the wind, and the crisis we all went through has definitely done that. It may be that it occurred to a lot of people that the human race needs to do a better job of dealing with climate change than we did addressing the pandemic, and that buying an EV is one of the biggest ways that an individual can make a difference.
California continues to be the country’s EV trendsetter—in the first quarter of 2021, plug-in vehicles represented 10.8% of the total auto market. However, its lead is shrinking—the Golden State represented 38% of new EV registrations in Q1, compared to 45% for the same period last year. Florida took second place with 7.2%, and Texas came in third at 5.9%.
It’s not just the US that’s seeing a sales surge—on the contrary, Europe has pulled far ahead to become the world’s EV hotspot. In Norway, plug-in vehicles took 85% of the overall auto market in June, and Switzerland, long considered something of an EV laggard in Europe, surprised with a report that plug-ins reached over 18% of the market in the first half of 2021 (and hybrids took another 21%).
Tesla continues to dominate the EV market, but its lead is eroding. For the entire year of 2020, Tesla had a 79% share of new EVs registered in the US. For the first four months of 2021, that market share fell to 71%. Part of that drop is doubtless due to the new generation of EVs that legacy automakers are gradually introducing, but Electrek’s Fred Lambert points out that delays in bringing the new versions of Models S and X to market may also be a factor.
Tesla still rules the top 10 list of EVs sold in the US. For the January-April period, Model Y took the gold with 53,102 sales, Model 3 silvered with 35,468, and the Chevy Bolt got on the podium with 13,611. Moving down the list, we find the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Nissan Leaf, Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan, and Hyundai Kona, and Tesla’s Model X and Model S rounded out the top 10.