Two New EVs From Mazda and Volvo May Give a Kick To A Stagnant Electric Vehicle Market - Or May Not
The electric vehicle markets in the United States and China both topped out in June and declined in July and August. In America, we have only a single EV model that can maintain a volume of more than 1,500 units per month. There is no affordable battery-electric vehicle maintaining sales of greater than 1,000 units per month. To say the market is stagnant would be an understatement.
Yet, the automotive news is filled with hopeful stories about new EV models. And one after another they appear, sell poorly then decline in sales. BMW i3, Hyundai Kona Electric, Bolt. It doesn't matter. Only the Tesla Model 3 has maintained anything resembling mainstream vehicle volumes and its U.S. sales have declined from a peak of 25,000 units in December of 2018 to half that rate in the past couple of months.
Volvo XC40 Electric
Into this shrinking market, both Mazda and Volvo plan to launch new electric vehicles. The Volvo XC40 is selling slowly even by premium crossover standards (1,500 in August) and the latest news is that the company plans an all-electric version. Guess what Volvo says will differentiate its new BEV XC40? Did you guess safety? “Regardless of what drives a car forward, be it an electric machine or combustion engine, a Volvo must be safe,” says Malin Ekholm, head of safety at Volvo Cars. “The fully electric XC40 will be one of the safest cars we have ever built.” Is safety what is preventing folks from adopting EVs? If so, it's the first we heard of that excuse for poor sales. Volvo launches its XC40 next month.
Details are thin on the Mazda EV. Mazda says, "A completely new model, the EV will be the third installment in the automaker’s new-generation lineup. Developed in accordance with Mazda’s human-centric philosophy and making full use of the benefits of electric drive technology, it offers performance drivers can enjoy effortlessly and wholeheartedly."
Mazda has shown an extended range EV subcompact crossover off to the public recently, but there is no word yet if this is the new EV platform. If so, be prepared for slow sales. Crossovers smaller than the CX-5/CR-V/RAV4 sell in relatively limited volumes. Mazda sold 2,000 CX-3s in August.
2020 marks the tenth year of the modern age of EVs in America. Will two new battery-electric vehicles from one of our favorite mainstream automakers and one of our favorite luxury automakers help an EV market in desperate need for a volume model that sells successfully? We hope so. If you see these two having a big impact on the EV market please tell us your sales projections in the comments below.
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.