If plug-in electrified vehicle fans need a good reason to throw a party, how about the fact that the one-millionth PEV worldwide is expected to be sold by mid next month?
This is based on 910,000 cumulative sales through June 2015 of plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars since these vehicles first came on the scene. Global sales are now cooking along at a rate of 40,000 per month and climbing, but it’s been a long time coming.
What began with dinky little cars purchased only in the hundreds annually by forward-thinking adopters two decades ago up-shifted to greater volumes last decade when Tesla and others came along, then took off starting in 2010.
A global sales spike of 729 percent in 2011 over a handful in 2010 saw annual sales volume rise to around 50,000, then in 2012 over 110,000 or 150 percent more were sold. In 2013 a 70-percent increase witnessed around 200,000 annual units, and 2014 saw over 300,000 or 53 percent growth.
At the present rate 2015 could have over 400,000 sales, and positive pressures outweighing negative continue, as does now innovation and increasing serious efforts by numerous automakers.
U.S. Still A Leader
For the first half of this year, just about 200,000 PEVs were bought in the 20 top countries, with the lion’s share being by less half that many nations.
The U.S. remains the largest consumer of plug-in vehicles but its lead is slipping, as is Japan’s. Meanwhile Europe for the first time as a whole topped the U.S. market.
In December the U.S. held down 41 percent of the world’s total PEV sales but by June 2015 it had declined to 38 percent. With 53,944 PEVs sold in the first half of the year, its cumulative total grew to 345,276 and this has actually now crossed 350,000 in July. This means the U.S. is responsible for more than one-third of the global total.
On a percentage basis however, the U.S. is not as impressive as other nations. Annually, the U.S. buys 16.5 million passenger cars and trucks and its PEV market share fell from 0.71 percent in the first half of 2014 to 0.64 percent in 2015.
Battery electric vehicles increased U.S. market share while plug-in hybrids declined significantly from 0.36 percent to 0.22 percent.
Analysts have offered several reasons among a mish-mash of variables trying to account for what is going on in U.S. sales. The headline news is gas prices dropped, and so consumers making long-term vehicle purchases changed back to more SUVs and trucks based on short-term news of cheap fuel.
If gas prices spike back up, it’s predicted the reactive public may shift back to fuel misers of one form or another.
Beyond this, the market is still new, and models like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf have done relatively well but not been a home run success to break out of a limited sales volume range. And now new models pending including 200-mile range EVs replacing 80-some mile EVs for the same price may also have a chilling effect for some.
Incentives and positive news mixed with dire reports that electrified cars are not as green as claimed by certain publications have also seeded the public with conflicting messages. Surveys show mainstream buyers may entertain misconceptions and have only fuzzy comprehension of the actual value proposition and benefits afforded by a PEV, and contradicting stories have thus had a stalling effect among some.
The strongest push for the U.S. and all global markets is generally agreed to be mpg and emission regulations. These are forcing automakers to develop and market new vehicles, and respective government agencies are also actively promoting them.
This, say advocates, is not without reason with concerns over energy security, and climate change, but meanwhile other countries are accepting plug-in vehicles on a higher percentage basis.
According to global sales tracker Mario R. Duran, who compiled data used in this report, five nations now have over one-percent market share.
These are: Norway (22.8 percent ), the Netherlands (5.90 percent), Sweden (2.01 percent ), UK (1.03 percent ), and France (1.00 percent).
Further, five nations had sales growth over 50 percent. These are the UK (247.2 percent), China (185.8 percent), France (86.7 percent ), Germany (67.3 percent ) and Norway (66.4 percent).
Europe and China are growing fast this year, observes Duran, and the U.S. and Japan have continued “in the red” relative to previous performance.
Not counted, but worth a mention are heavy duty PEVs being pushed in China.
“China is the absolute king in heavy-duty PEV sales, with over 22,000 during the first half of 2015, and 53.7K cumulative sales,” observed Duran of mainly all-electric buses.
And, the big picture worldwide is PEVs are on the rise, and the real growth has been this decade.
So, if you want to have a Million PEV Party, sometime in the first or second week of September ought to be a safe guess to schedule it.