EVs Made Up Just 14% of Green Car Sales In the U.S. in 2015
First the good news for EV fans. As a percentage of green vehicle sales, EVs are edging up compared to hybrids. However, they have a very long way to go. This according to NADA’s most recent report titled, “Alternative Powertrains: Analysis of Recent Market Trends and Value Retention.”
The report looked at how vehicles powered by conventional gasoline engines (and a tiny number of diesels) have fared compared to vehicles with alternative powertrains, meaning hybrids, electric vehicles and plug-ins. Looking at the past three years, a whopping 47.7 million new conventionally-powered vehicles were sold in the U.S. As a percentage of sales these conventionally-powered vehicles made up 96.6% of new car sales. The report concludes that “Although hybrids, electrics and other “green cars” have been widely available for years, these vehicles have carved out a mere fraction of the market.” Over the past three years, green car sales have declined each year as a percentage of overall new vehicle sales.
The declines have mostly been due to lower hybrid sales. Total hybrid sales have dipped to below 400,000 units in 2015, after having been near 500,000 in 2013. Total conventional gasoline vehicle sales are at a rate of about 17 million units annually. EVs are growing in sales, but only relative to themselves. With sales at about 48,000 units in 2013, EVs have climbed to about 70,000 units in 2015, but due really to just one model, the Tesla Model S. The remaining EV models have all peaked and declined sharply in sales in recent quarters. Even with hybrid sales trending downward, the Toyota Prius hybrid outsells all EV models combined. The new 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which entered the market in 2016, and is not accounted for in this study, sells at a lower rate than Prius, but still outsells all EV models (individually). Lexus and Toyota earned 70% of the hybrid market in the U.S. and 55% of all alternative vehicle sales in 2015 according to the report.
What will happen in the coming year? The report says that the EPA predicts gasoline prices to remain static through January 2017. Thus the report says, “With average regular-grade gas prices expected to remain well under $2.50 per gallon in the United States over the short term, there is little reason to believe that buyers who are sensitive to high gasoline expenses will be inclined to choose an alternative powertrain vehicle.”