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 InsideEVs.com 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.