You possibly can neglect the GM EV1 and the Toyota RAV4 EV. The automobile that actually tried to carry electrical automobiles into the mainstream was the 2011 Nissan Leaf.
It didn’t. U.S. Leaf gross sales, by no means reaching any nice heights, plunged after its fourth full mannequin yr, falling by greater than half between 2014 and 2016.
There’s a completely up to date second-gen Nissan Leaf on its approach, destined to hit U.S. sellers early in 2018. However throughout the first-gen Leaf’s tenure, the Nissan was joined by a broad array of electrical automobiles, from a handful of Teslas to the Chevrolet Bolt, Volkswagen e-Golf, Kia Soul EV, BMW i3, and Hyundai Ioniq, and all of those automobiles collectively have mixed to quintuple U.S. electrical automobile market share during the last half-decade.
Solely zero.1 % of the brand new automobiles bought in America in 2012 had been pure EVs. That determine has risen, very slowly, to zero.5 % via the primary eight months of 2017 whereas the variety of accessible nameplates has greater than doubled.
Perspective? Ford grew its F-Sequence’ share of the general U.S. new automobile market from four.5 % to five.1 % throughout the identical interval.
It’s not that EV gross sales aren’t rising. Clearly, to extend their share of the market — propelled alongside by authorities tax credit that may possible expire for a lot of automakers in 2018 — from zero.1 % in 2012 to zero.5 % in 2017 requires a significant improve in precise gross sales. In any case, the market at massive has grown, as properly.
In line with HybridCars.com, a significant supply for this put up’s EV gross sales information, fewer than 14,000 pure battery-powered automobiles had been bought in 2012: Nissan Leafs, Tesla Mannequin Ss, Sensible Fortwo EDs, Ford Focus Electrics, Honda Match EVs, Mitsubishi i-MiEVs, and Toyota RAv4 EVs.However after rising by leaps and bounds in 2013, development powered largely by the Leaf and Mannequin S, the speed of development has markedly slowed. EV gross sales greater than tripled in 2013, as did EV market share. However the year-over-year improve in 2014 was right down to 33 % regardless of 4 further nameplates. In 2015, EV gross sales had been solely 5 % stronger than in 2014. Then 2016’s EV gross sales rose 18 %, although the fleet didn’t add to its variety of nameplates. The speed of development in 2017, with 16 completely different nameplates accumulating U.S. gross sales within the first two-thirds of the yr, stands at an identical 21 %.
Granted, that’s development in a market that’s experiencing decline. However the whole numbers are so small, they are often in contrast with particular person nameplates such because the Honda Odyssey, Lexus RX, Honda HR-V, Subaru Crosstrek, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Dodge Charger. Certainly, automobiles that wouldn’t be broadly thought-about market hits — the Dodge Journey and Kia Forte — generate considerably extra quantity than America’s complete EV sector.The incoming EV tide is altering the form of the shoreline, however the motion of the sand is so restricted and so gradual that it’s troublesome to identify with the bare eye.
Amidst information that Volvo will “electrify” its complete lineup by 2020, that BMW will provide a bevy of EVs by 2025, that Nissan will promote twice as many new Leafs as previous Leafs, that the Chevrolet Bolt simply outsold the Chevrolet Volt, reside these chilly, exhausting info. Even with EV gross sales doubling between 2013 and 2017, only one out of each 200 U.S. new automobile acquisitions includes an electrical automobile. Plug-in hybrids are comparably in style, hybrids generate 4 instances extra quantity, and diesel-powered automobiles — excluding full-size pickups — obtain EV-like quantity regardless of their Volkswagen extermination, as properly.
Shopping for habits will change. However they are going to change very slowly.
[Images: General Motors, Nissan, Tesla; Chart: © The Truth About Cars]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Reality About Vehicles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.internet. Observe on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.