After years of low-level simmering, the electric car’s presence in the automotive industry is set to boil over. Both traditional and electric car manufacturers are rapidly expanding their EV model lines, widening consumers’ electric car choices while powering an ever-rising market share for EVs. All this activity, even in the face of rising inflation, supply chain challenges, and volatile lithium prices, confirms the electric car is here to stay.
Let’s take a look at how electric vehicles are selling compared to traditional gasoline models by examining EV market share over the past 2 years.
|Electric Vehicle Market Share Growth in 2021-2022, as a Percentage of Total Market|
|Year-over Year Growth||1.9%||2.5%||2.5%||2.2%|
Rapidly Growing Electric Car Companies and The Best-Selling EV ModelsThe other big element powering the growth of electric car sales is the increase in traditional and startup EV companies. Tesla has long been a leader in this area, but several new EV brands, including Fisker, Lucid, Polestar, and Rivian, have entered the market in recent years. Other tech companies, like Amazon and Sony, are close to launching their own models. These companies have been joined by several traditional carmakers launching one or more new EV models in the last year.
Here’s a list of the top 10 electric car brands growing the fastest at the end of 2022, along with their average increase in EV sales for each quarter of 2021 and 2022.
|Electric Car Brands with the Highest Growth in Electric Vehicle Sales|
|Rank||Automaker||2022 Q4 Year Over Year Growth||Average Increase in Electric Vehicle Sales Per Quarter, 2021-2022|
It’s interesting to note that two General Motors divisions, Chevrolet and GMC, lead the growth rate, though Chevrolet’s massive growth rate reflects halting Bolt sales in late 2021 to address a serious recall. It’s also worth noting that two long standing electric vehicle companies, Nissan and Tesla, can’t show as much recent growth simply because they’ve already established a relatively high volume in EV sales, making it tougher to grow at the above rates.
For instance, Tesla, the overall market leader in total EV volume, only grew 30 percent in the last quarter of 2022. But that was on 140,000 sales, far higher than the second-place volume brand, Ford, at 23,000 sales. Nissan, a past leader in EV sales with its once-popular (but now rapidly-aging) Leaf, only had 3,328 sales in Q4 of 2022, a drop of 20 percent from a year earlier.
Best Selling Electric VehiclesWhich electric models are selling the best? As with traditional combustion engine vehicles, electric SUVs and crossovers are the most popular EVs across the car industry. While some brands are trying to carve out their place in the EV world with high-performance sports cars, highly-flexible EV pickup trucks, and even electric delivery vans, the most popular electric models with U.S. consumers, overall, remain SUVs. Here’s a list of the electric vehicles with the highest growth rate in Q4 of 2022, along with their Q4 sales volume.
|Electric Vehicles Growing the Fastest in Sales in Q4 of 2022|
|Rank||Electric Vehicle||2022 Q4 Year Over Year Growth||Total Sales in Q4 of 2022|
|3||Audi Q4 e-tron||3670%||2,413|
|5||Hyundai Ioniq 5||2835%||4,490|
|7||Tesla Model X||880%||9,800|
|8||Hyundai Kona Electric||700%||1,950|
Most of these fastest-growing electric models sell in the thousands, but the GMC Hummer gets position number 2 with a mere 72 units sold in Q4 of 2022 – which is still far more than the single GMC Hummer sold in Q4 of 2021. Other brand new EV models, like the Lucid Air, sold nearly 1,000 units in the final quarter of 2022…but with no Lucid Air sales in 2021 we didn’t have a comparison figure to calculate growth. The Chevrolet Bolt benefits from its aforementioned halt in sales in late 2021. And Elon Musk can rest easy knowing his most expensive vehicle, the Tesla Model X, remains a hot seller, with 880 percent growth in sales at the end of 2022 – even as its autonomous driving tech remains MIA…
Several Brands Still Lag on Becoming Electric Car CompaniesWhich car companies still haven’t established strong EV sales or growth rates, even in the face of widespread electrification across the industry? High-volume domestic brands like Jeep and Ram didn’t make either of these lists, though Jeep has both hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains available in its current model line.
But this isn’t just a Michigan problem, with major Japanese brands like Honda and Toyota also making minimal noise in the electric car world, despite both offering a fuel cell car and plenty of hybrids. Even domestic brands like Chevrolet, which sells plenty of Bolt EVs, needs to catch up in the area of electric truck development. Everyone knows the Ford Motor Company runs on F-150 sales, and it already has an electric version in showrooms. Chevrolet’s electric Silverado is due this year, along with an electric Ram due in 2024. Neither can arrive too soon.
International Electric Car Companies Are Coming…While the rapid growth for these U.S. and European electric car companies is encouraging, they need to fully establish their customer base ahead of the inevitable Chinese wave of EVs certain to arrive on U.S. shores soon. Some would say they’re already here, with both Polestar and Volvo under Chinese ownership. China’s government continues to encourage EV production through aggressive incentives, with brands like Nio growing faster than Tesla, and new manufacturers like Li Auto showing a lot of promise. With so much change happening so quickly in the electric car market, next year's numbers could look very different.
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