Electric Vehicle Update

At the end of the first half of 2014, the sales figures for PHEVs and EVs are available, and they aren’t particularly good.

The sale of PHEVs for the first 6 months of 2014, versus the same period for 2013, increased from 18,355 to 29,122 vehicles, a 59% increase.

The sale of EVs increased from 22,712 to 25,844 vehicles, a 14% increase.

2014 6-Month Sales

  PHEVs (Includes Extended Range Vehicles)

Battery Powered EVs

Monthly Totals





























Total sales of PHEVs and EVs in the first half, were only 54,973 in 2014 versus 41,047 in 2013.

At this pace, PHEV and EV sales will never reach Obama’s 2011 target of one million by 2015.

Volt and Leaf
Volt and Leaf

What may be the most interesting conclusion from this data, comes from comparing PHEV and EV sales:

Total PHEV sales, 2011 through the first half of 2014, were 124,392 vehicles.

Total EV sales, for the same period, were 97,153.

The fact that EV sales approach those of PHEVs, when PHEVs were to be the most customer friendly, i.e., lower price and no range anxiety, seems remarkable.

What conclusions can be drawn from this observation?

I suspect that this sales data reflects the market segment of people who are intent on buying electric vehicles.

This group includes:

  • First adopters
  • Radical environmentalists, especially those who believe that CO2 causes global warming
  • Status seekers

These types would be sufficiently affluent, or environmentally motivated, to buy the more expensive EV rather than the PHEV.

The apparent fact that ordinary people aren’t attracted to PHEVs could indicate that the total market for PHEVs and EVs is rather small, and limited to the market segment identified above.

If this is true, it bodes poorly for the future of electric vehicles, in general.

Further reinforcing this possible conclusion, is that the sale of Hybrid vehicles, that have the cachet of being environmentally friendly, with a price tag that most people can afford, and a reasonable pay-back period from gasoline savings, are doing very well.

Annual sales of Hybrids are approaching 500,000 vehicles per year.

The billions being spent by governments on tax-payer funded rebates, may also be affecting buying decisions, so that without them, sales of PHEVs and EVs would be even lower.

There was movie a few years ago, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

It may turn out it wasn’t GM, but the market place that killed the electric car … and will kill it again if government stops supporting it.

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