Trendspotting: EV plug-in sales double during first half of 2021

The charge is on.

New BEVs (battery electric vehicles) from Tesla (notably the Model Y), Ford (Mustang Mach-E), Porsche (Taycan) and VW (ID.4) among others appear to be increasingly attractive buys for consumers looking for a new car.

According to a story from the WSJ, “Electric-Vehicle Sales Growth Outpaces Broader Auto Industry” (paywall, but Apple News subscribers can view on iPhones/iPads/Macs), during the first half of 2021 sales of plug-in EVs “more than doubled.”

By comparison the total vehicle market increased at only 29% — still impressive, and likely fueled by the (almost) post-pandemic rush to get back to normal and prepare for the return of the commute.

Electric and plug-in hybrid sales as a share of total U.S. light-vehicle sales
Electric and plug-in hybrid sales as a share of total U.S. light-vehicle sales. Source: Wards Intelligence.

Per the report Tesla continues to dominate, at least here in the U.S. Sales rose through 1H2021 by a whopping 78%.

Perhaps indicative of that demand — in addition to the global chip shortage and inflation — is the trend of continuing price increases so far this year. Tesla most recently increased the base price of the Model Y Long Range by $1,000 USD. Electrek notes that marks the seventh (!) price increase this year. The Y now starts at $53,990.

AlixPartners LLP says auto companies are spending $330 billion over the next five years on increasing the number of BEVs available to consumers.

Tesla Model Y in San Francisco Tesla Model 3 and Y sales report - strong through1H2021

Combine that investment with increasing state and national goals for leaving the combustion engine in the past with targeted dates for a shift to electric and you can see this trend is likely to continue.

Still, there are headwinds per WSJ. And it’s worth pointing out that while growth is outpacing the overall industry, the size of the EV market is relatively small at this point:

“I’m optimistic because the interest is growing, but to be blunt, it’s also still very small,” said Mike Sullivan, owner of car dealerships in Southern California. “If there are 100 steps to this, we’re really on step two or three.”

Baby steps. Baby steps.