Prediction: U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales To Exceed 514,000 In 2023

SEP 30 2014 BY MARK KANE 32

Chevrolet Volt Sales Improve Over November 2012's Result

Chevrolet Volt

Last year, electric car sales in the US almost reached 100,000 and this year sales exceed 76,000 in the first eight months, crossing 250,000 cumulative sales since December 2010.

According to Navigant Research, the United States will remain the largest market for electric cars for the next 10 years.

In 2023, sales are expected to exceed 514,000, which would be some 43,000 a month (more than 30,000 above today’s levels).

In the geographic outlook, Navigant Research threw in some insights on cities:

“The top cities for LD PEV sales among all of the regions examined in this report are expected to be Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo. Cities with higher densities will likely see greater interest in incentivizing PEV purchases, optimizing PEV charging, and developing publicly available EV supply equipment (EVSE) infrastructure. The overall growth of LD PEV sales will be considerable throughout the world over the next decade. Navigant Research forecasts that the global LD PEV market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.6% while the global market for LD vehicles will grow at a CAGR of only 2.6%. How and where PEVs are bought will affect grid distribution systems and utility business models since Navigant Research estimates PEVs increase residential customer load by 33% to 37%.”

Electric Vehicle Geographic Forecasts – Navigant Research

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32 Comments on "Prediction: U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales To Exceed 514,000 In 2023"

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I’m curious with how they come up with such an odd number (514K – why not 515 or 510?). But it seems plausible – if major automakers average about 50K/yr in sales, and Tesla picks up the balance (250K units – the rest of their 500K/yr production goes overseas).

When predictions are a little “too precise”, I’m a little skeptical … it’s as if the organization forecasting doesn’t have proper respect for the unknown. No one really knows… half a million? Seems plausible. More? I hope so.

86.52% of all statistics are made up.


You stole my line 🙂

i thought it was 73.6?

At current simple exponential growth rates, we’re on pace for over 2.1 million plug-in passenger cars to be sold in 2023. Roughly equivalent to just under 1/4 of non-commercial vehicles sold this year in the USA.

I’m glad people do these forecasts, because it makes people think about the issue.

That said: the spread of electric vehicles depends on far too many parameters to predict with any type of certainty.

In my opinion, the chief driver of electrification will be the oil markets. Despite recent relative stability and improvement in oil prices, I expect oil markets to become roiled. Too many things can go wrong… difficult Saudi succession, another prolonged Iraqi war, ISIS ideology challenging other established Sunni areas such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Shia fanatics torpedoing the Strait of Hormuz, etc.

If they do, the resultant rise in oil/gas prices will push us towards electrification faster than many people think possible.

If, on the other hand, the Middle East can muddle through, AND if American/Canadian oil increases can be continued, we would have relatively stable/improved oil/gas prices which would slow electrification down.

Obviously there are other factors (cost of batteries, etc) but Oil markets will be the biggest driver or impediment IMO.

I agree with this. But there are even more factors. The current tight oil boom could turn bust if they run out of sweet spots or if decline rates from previously drilled wells start causing production to drop. The Russia/Ukraine thing could cause huge problems . . . Russia is the biggest exporter of oil. Sanctions could reduce their production. Yemen could become a failed state that has spill-over effects in neighboring Saudi Arabia. Nigeria could have its production slashed by some militant group like Boko Haram. An Ebola outbreak in Nigeria could cause western oil workers to flee the country thus reducing production.

Even though I doubt it will happen because we are too stupid & greedy . . . but the world could decide we really need to do something about climate change and that could massively increase EV sales. EVs powered solar PV, wind turbines, CSP, hydropower, tidal power, geothermal power, biomass power and even natural gas power emit far less CO2 than gas cars.

“But there are even more factors.”

I agree. I was doing something rare for me, and being brief!

There are literally countless shocks that can lead to oil insecurity, especially since oil is still mostly found in the most volatile of areas.

That said: there are a very few scenarios where that could lead to enough oil supply to push oil prices down. The biggest one: a major world recession/depression. This would reduce demand significantly across the world. It would also make it less likely that world citizens would be able to pay the upfront premium on an EV and PHEV.

I wonder if they took into account the end of subsidies?

Nice to see credible agencies keep revising their numbers upward. A few things they may want to consider in the next revision.
1. Auto makers can charge more for electric cars than ICE only so they are likely to embrace the new technology.

2. The next-generation of batteries will be more energy dense than this generation bringing the cost per kilowatt of storage down

3. With the new batteries and few moving parts the cost of ownership of an EV should be well below that of an ICE.

“plug in vehicles” is too general a term. If BEVs have not started to sweep hybrids into the trash can of history by 2023, then something is wrong.

Things change slowly. I don’t think it is even remotely possible to have BEVs “sweep hybrids into the trash can of history by 2023”.

from 1995 to 2000 there was only BEVs.
The best 3 had a range of 125 miles. Then came bush, and the car-oil cartel proposed hybrids .
Hybrids are only to delay the massive adoption of BEVs.

Changes happens very quickly when the industrial will is there.

5% of all the fuel used in the U.S. is either ethanol or biodiesel. As more celulostic ethanol plants are built that number should grow. If the final goal is to eliminate all carbon emissions a mix of BEVs and PHEVs ( with an all electric range similar to the Volt) can get us there.

Nope, the goal is to ditch all fossil fuels and ICE the fastest we can, because we are messing very badly with our only atmosphere.
BEVs are our only chance.

Biofuels do not come from fossils.

as of hybrids, biofuels were rapidly forced into place to maintain the use of Internal combustion engines, and greenwash our brains to believe they are a step forward for the environment.

Does that include big engines like the kind in over the road trucks, or do you have a practical way for batteries to work in those.

Volume manufacturing and letting the capitolist system work have solved virtually every such issue. For example, the gas car did not used to be cheap, nor was its fuel supply particularly cheap. Demand and volume fixed it.

In fact, name an issue that demand and volume has not fixed. Gold? Fairly plentiful. Diamonds? Artificially held up by a cartel. Heath care? We take care of more people than ever before to higher levels of health. Housing? We build as much as the demand will bear, the true limit being real estate prices (ground).


In 2023 Tesla sales should alone be around 1000k ± 500k cars in United States. Higher end in this estimate depends on if they are going to introduce cheaper “Model C” by then.

In general, people should put always error bars into these predictions. For example with this Navigant Research crystalballing, proper error analysis would yield error bars that are something like ±3 million.

If Tesla has reached 500k sales globally by 2023 it would be impressive.

To even consider that they would sell 500k to 1,5 million in the US per year by then is just way way way off.

A production that is 14 times higher than in 2014 by 2023 is no easy thing to do, no matter how brilliant and ambitious that a company like Tesla is.

I heard Tesla will raise production to 100K by the end of next year. As Adam said to Eve “you better stand back I don’t know how big this thing is going to get”

True… So in the full year of 2016 they might produce close to 100k. Most likely 80-90k.

Then to multiply that 5-6 times will take 4-5 years minimum or probably 6-7 years, assuming everything goes smoothly.

So… 500k in 2023. They might be able to do it a year or two faster if they have perfect wind in the sails, but even the best sailors don’t get perfect wind all the time.

I don’t doubt that Tesla are going to be really big. But there are still limitations on how fast they can get there.

Making a few hundred thousand cars per year is no walk in the park.

Tesla has now two lines of production and predicted 100 k cars for 2015, model X and model S.

ANd the gigafactory will be fully operational for 2020 and provide batteries for 500 000 cars. Mr. Musk surprise us once again, as he usualy does…

I don’t know if they would have enough customers to support 100K cars. At least not until they get the Model 3 out there.

For the last 2 months. Tesla has not even come close to meeting US demand for the Model S. With the demand for the Model S growing in Europe, China and Japan 100K probably won’t be enough.

Any “research” that thinks that the US PEV market will be the largest for another 10 years is very hard to take seriously.

These predictions are always interesting. But in reality, no one really knows. It is very heavily dependent on the price of batteries then, the price of oil then, climate change regulations then, roof-top solar PV (which tends to embolden PV owners people to buy EVs) penetration, infrastructure support, etc.

No one has good grasps on those fundamental facts and thus no on has a good grasp on where EV sales will be. If Tesla does well with the gigafactory, if the shale boom turns bust, if the world determines to act on climate change . . . this are all things that can have a HUGE affect on EV sales.

I am really sick of these lame predictions from Navigant Research. These guys wouldn’t know an EV if it jumped up and bit them on the nose. Yet, they seem to make a new bizarre prediction every month.

My prediction is Tesla alone will be selling over 500k EVs long before 2023. Total EV sales could be close to a million per year in the U.S. by then.