Americans don’t buy electric vehicles, they buy Teslas.
That has been a fairly accurate statement for US consumers over the past few years, with Tesla This accounts for the majority of electric vehicles sold, according to IHS Markit, including 79% in 2020. But that is starting to change as the so-called traditional Car manufacturers and start-ups are investing billions in a number of new electric vehicles to compete against Tesla.
The influx of electric vehicles – from a few dozen today to estimates of hundreds of new models by 2025 – is expected to detract from Tesla’s market share in the years to come. The new electric vehicles are planned as larger automakers, such as General Motors and Volkswagen, Transition to building almost entirely electric vehicles in the next decade or so.
The logo marks the showroom and service center of the US automobile and energy company Tesla in Amsterdam on October 23, 2019.
John Thys | AFP | Getty Images
“It’s no surprise that Tesla still dominates electric vehicle sales because they are the only ones with truly viable products in full swing,” said Michael Fiske, IHS Markit deputy director. “In a growth market, it is extremely difficult to maintain the majority market share, regardless of the industry. … As we move towards a larger and really significant number of manufacturers to play in this space, Tesla has to lose market share. “
Tesla’s market share of all-electric vehicles is expected to drop to 56% in 2021 as early as this year as new vehicles such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4 are introduced, IHS Markit said.
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The research and forecasting firm expects Tesla’s US market share of all-electric vehicles to be 20% in 2025.
Tesla’s current dominance affects a relatively insignificant market. Despite the attention and hype surrounding electric vehicles, sales of all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles – which include both electric motors and an internal combustion engine – remain tiny. Electric vehicle sales, including plug-in hybrids, are expected to account for less than 4% of US sales this year, according to industry forecasts. According to LMC, fully electric models – such as Teslas – only account for 2.6% of the market or around 394,000 vehicles.
“Going on, it doesn’t take long to get into pretty big volume and share the growth,” said Jeff Schuster, LMC president for America. “This is a massive linchpin for the auto industry.”
LMC expects electric vehicles to account for 34.2% of new car sales in the U.S. by 2030, with all-electric 30.1% and plug-in hybrids accounting for 4.1%. Some of AutoForecast Solutions’ most pessimistic estimates predict that electric vehicles will account for about 23% of the market by 2030, with all-electric cars and trucks accounting for 18.6% of US sales. IHS Markit predicts that electric vehicles will make up about 40% of the US industry by 2030.
While analysts and forecasters differ on how many electric vehicles will be sold this decade, they agree that the rollout will be quick, but likely not President Joe Biden’s order for half of the new vehicles sold be electric vehicles in the country.
“It is very optimistic to reach 50% by then,” said Tony Salerno, managing director for automotive analytics and advisory at JD Power, citing challenges such as consumer education, charging infrastructure and support from the US power grid. “I think it will get there at some point from a utility standpoint, but it’s early days and there are many pieces of the puzzle that we need to figure out to get there.”
When Biden announced the deal earlier this year, dubbed more of a “friendly target,” automakers weren’t fully on board. Many, including the Detroit automakers, said they aim to “achieve 40-50 percent of the annual US volume of electric vehicles” by 2030.
“It’s not going to happen. Mainly because it’s an unexplored market. Nobody really knows how much there is,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global forecasting for AutoForecast Solutions. “Nobody really knows how deep the market is right now. If you take Tesla out of the picture, the market is less than 1% of all electric vehicles.”