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September 2015 Electric Vehicle Sales – Market is Healthy

Since 2010 when there weren’t any Electric cars on the road to now in 2015, the number of Plug-in cars has increased significantly since they were introduced. 2015 will like be the first year that sales may decline from the previous year.

Some have jumped to the conclusion that the US market has truly rejected electric cars and that there is some kind of consensus to this fact because of the lower than average USA sales rates this year. This could hardly be anywhere near the truth.
There are a number of explanations for sales decline however I would like to address the issue of “market consensus”. Using sales rates alone as the judge, in this case, to define “consensus” would be like saying that in 2008-2009 that Americans didn’t want to buy cars anymore and would likely be going back to riding horses. There is no way that Americans have lost interest in EVs. Just because of this current sales year, I would never count out the Electric Car market at all. Just take a look at how many new entrants there have been into the EV space over the last two years. Even at today’s rate of 82,404 electric cars sold in 2015 is only 21,264 cars off of last year’s very successful year. Although small compared to the USA total car market, 82,404 vehicles is not a small market.

Now to the reasons why this market is experiencing softness.

Gas Prices are low and will continue to be for some time since Iranian oil is back on the market, price increases are much less likely to rise in the short term.

Used Car Market for EVs – Since so many of the initial EV sales from 2010-2014 were vehicle leases, many of those cars are back on the market now. As with any new category, if you can get a few year old car for so much less now because of increase product availability that pulls consumers away from the new car market. Initially, the only way to get an EV was to buy or lease a new one, however, now you can find used ones on the market. Those sales are not tracked with the new car sales so it is impossible to see the impact of the used EV market on the new car market.

Anticipated New Market Entrants – The Tesla X launch was this past week so this one has been expected for over two years. The Nissan Leaf 2017 has been hyped for a 300+ mile expected EV range, the 2016 Nissan Leaf has a 30% increase in battery pack size and corresponding range, the 2016 Chevy Volt also has been given increased EV range as well as the new Chevy Bolt with 200 Miles of expected EV range. So anyone that is enjoying the last few years of life in their old 2000 era car why not milk it for one more year and get an extended range EV or if your car is definitely on its last legs, buy one of the off lease Nissan Leafs.

Bottom line here is that the EV market is healthy and more and more people are getting into Electric Cars.


Aaron Turpen    October 8, 2015 - 3:52PM

In reply to by Charlotte Omoto (not verified)

He gives a very long list of reasons why EVs are not selling, many of those reasons being fairly long-term (even by his own assessment), then says that EVs are going to make a comeback.