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Peak EV Month 2: EV Sales Decline For Second Straight Month in China and U.S.

Electric vehicle sales have dropped for the second consecutive month in the American and Chinese markets.

Electric vehicle sales have peaked and have begun to decline. The decline is not localized but is being manifested in both the Chinese and also the American vehicle markets. July was the first month of the decline. Bloomberg, crediting Sanford C. Bernstein, in reporting that in July global EV sales by 14% to approximately 128,000 units. This is unusual in that it is the first-ever reported monthly decline in sales for EVs.

Chinese Market EV Sales Decline In July and August
Multiple outlets have reported that China's electric vehicles, called NEVs in that market, declined in both July and August. The August decline was larger. The decline is not a technicality based on selling days or some other anomaly. Rather, the Chinese market EV sales declined by double-digits. Many analysts are linking China's EV subsidies to the declines. However, the Chinese market for vehicles, in general, is sluggish and may have reached a temporary plateau. EVs are heavily incentivized by China and there are presently proposals being considered to increase mandates for EVs in China. China is likely to employ both the carrot and the stick to meet its goals for EVs.

American EV Market
The American EV market has a single successful model, the premium/performance Tesla Model 3. However, the Model 3 has declined by about 40% compared to its late 2018 run rate in the U.S. Tesla says that its allocation of Model 3 cars for overseas markets is the cause of this decline. However, Tesla continues to add new sales promotion incentives to spur buyers to action. Generally, Tesla's biggest months are the third of the quarter. So September will be a very interesting month of reporting for Tesla watchers. As Tesla fans know, the company holds its sales results until forced to release the data in SEC filings. In September of 2018, Tesla delivered 22,250 Model 3 cars.

Overall, Tesla's sales have slumped meaningfully. Both the Model S and Model X are also well off their prior monthly sales rate in the U.S.

EV Fans Focus On Other Topics
EV advocacy publications and the fans on forums have been focusing on other topics. One is the new Porsche Taycan EV. This vehicle, like every Porsche, will be an extremely low-volume vehicle. Sales may approach a few hundred per month. Unicorns like this earn top-billing on EV-focused websites as fans debate how poorly the new Porsche will fare against other brands' offerings, generally Teslas. Click-bait sites roll out the tired "Tesla-killer" headlines. And nobody talks about the abject failure of affordable battery-electric vehicles in America now nearly ten years since the Nissan Leaf debuted. Not a single affordable BEV is maintaining a 1,000 per month sales rate in the U.S. anymore.

For more details and background on the recent sales and deliveries of electric vehicles, please see our story, U.S. Electric Vehicle Sales Decline In July - Affordable EVs Down Across The Board.

Related Story: Peak Battery - The Real Reason Affordable Electric Vehicles Are Failing In America

In addition to covering green vehicle topics, John Goreham covers safety, technology, and new vehicle news at Torque News. You can follow John on Twitter at @johngoreham.


Matt (not verified)    September 11, 2019 - 5:53PM

Maybe everybody is waiting for 2020 or 2021. I think there should be more options then, than now. Personally, I am ok holding out a couple of years. I do see a lot more used Volts on the road than I used to. Maybe the used EV market is warming up.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    September 13, 2019 - 2:54PM

As mentioned in the article the China EV auto sales are down now because of the Tariff war with the U.S. and also because they have had strong subsidies for "New Energy" (BEV and PHEV) cars which are ending, but this slowdown was expected because the EV subsidies were tapering off. But even though the Chinese government had planned to phase the incentives out, they have decided to extend them now. So we should see a bump in EV sales coming up again. For the U.S. the gas companies are playing the long game by keeping gas prices down, and hoping that the current administration will continue to back peddle on earlier goals for improving gas mileage and reducing smog. Many automakers have been going along with the move to promote bigger, less fuel efficient cars, and several American automakers have stopped selling their economy cars and plug-in hybrids completely with the promise of BEVs, but they are NOT yet building the replacement EVs, so there is little competition or variety of EV choices, and since the U.S. government also is cutting the subsidies for EV pioneers Tesla and GM, there is a hit in sales there as well. In California, the state is pushing for stronger efficiency and cleaner cars despite federal push back, and that has helped fuel an increase in EV sales of 63.7% for the first quarter in California, mostly because of the Tesla Model 3's success.