SNAPCHART – Slowing Growth in Electric Car Sales

This week’s SnapChart plots the monthly sales of Electric Vehicles (EVs).  Worldwide new EV sales stumbled in July, falling to the same level as last year.

While the year-to-date sales are still above last year and one month does not make a trend, the rate of growth has noticeably slowed this year.  Data on the two biggest markets, the United States and China, helps explain the weakening trend.

China sales data has been published for July and August. Both of these months have registered lower sales than the same time last year.   The most likely cause is that the government slashed the EV subsidies in half at the end of June.  For some models the rebates are gone all together.  Another factor is the slowing Chinese economy. When an economy falters, all vehicle sales tend to fall.

While year-on-year sales are still growing in the United States, one model is driving the growth.  The Tesla Model 3 is half of all sales so far this year. In the absence of the Model 3, the number of year-over-year electric cars sold is lower.  However, even with the success of the Model 3, the US market share of EVs in the total fleet is declining as a result of growing numbers of combustion engine powered cars and trucks. EV market share peaked at 3 percent at the end of 2018 and is near 2 percent now.

Americans continue to like their gas guzzlers too.  Our second SnapChart shows that larger trucks, SUVs, and vans make up over 70% of all new US auto sales.  This is a trend that is not helpful for fleet fuel economy or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.   

For a more detailed discussion on electric car sales, and the related topic of reducing GHG emissions, tune into our podcast “Climate Week, Greta Thunberg, Consumption, AND EVs.”