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Could Future Electric Vehicle Range News Be Hurting Current EV Sales?

With month over month sales declines from Tesla S and Nissan Leaf cars, are we seeing a slowdown because of the declining gas price or is there something else that is causing sales declines?


My feeling is that it isn’t just the declining gas price. The momentum of the past 5 years growth rates has been increasing significantly and during that time the gas price, as usual, fluctuates.

I believe there are a couple of issues facing electric vehicle sales in the USA. First of all, tax subsidies for electric cars ended in Georgia on June 30th. That was a $5000 tax credit and will obviously be felt in the month following the sunset of the tax credit.

Additionally, we are seeing declines in the USA’s electric car powerhouse Tesla that also posted sales declines over last month. According to that tracks electric vehicle sales, noted that Tesla S sales have declined from 2800 cars June to 1600 in July. That’s a 1200 unit car loss without much of a predictable reason from the number one electric car manufacturer.

One other looming reason for declining electric car sales is the future range speculation going on right now for the 2017 model year. With both the Tesla III and the Nissan Leaf all leaking news about their range expectations, this can be impacting current EV sales. For example, if you were considering buying or leasing an EV because your gas car is getting past its prime, you might want to just hold onto that vehicle now and wait for the 2017 extended range Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model III. With the gas price declining that only helps to make that old gas car, at the very least, less expensive to operate. That makes it more palatable to keep driving the old car in anticipation of the longer range EV cars.

While there are other reasons to postpone car purchase decisions, it is likely that all of the above reasons are contributing factors into the overall EV sales slip that happened in July. It is also interesting to note that last year in July there was also a sales slip in EV sales. So there is some seasonality to the sales cycle here as well that needs to be mentioned. Lets see how the year progresses.


Devin Serpa (not verified)    August 7, 2015 - 2:12AM

Why get a first gen LEAF when second gen gets more range. Why get second gen LEAF if you can hold out for Bolt? Why get a Bolt if your Tesla Model 3 is waiting for you? I know mine is.

Mir (not verified)    August 7, 2015 - 6:15PM

You do not know enough about electric cars to be writing an article. Tesla does not report monthly car sales because ignorant people like you write articles and try to extract information from month to month variation that are not there!! Please find something to write about in which you have some knowledge. Or find another profession.

Aaron Turpen    August 9, 2015 - 1:27AM

Tesla's drop in sales are for obvious reasons. It's very easy to find out what happened. They shipped more Model S vehicles overseas and slowed production as they retooled the line to begin building the Model X.

As for the rest.. EV sales are down for a lot of reasons, one of them being that USED electrics are now entering the market and many new buyers are opting for those instead - and those don't get counted on manufacturer's sales charts. Also, lower gas prices have always meant lower EV and hybrid sales. The electric car is still a very specific sub-market and that market is now likely at saturation until further improvements can attract more buyers by broadening that market.