Tesla maintains dominant US electric vehicle sales in 2019

by Eva Fox November 30, 2019

Tesla maintains dominant US electric vehicle sales in 2019

Tesla remains the undisputed leader in electric vehicle sales (EV) in the US in 2019, delivering an expected nine-percent sales growth over the previous year, even though the inability of competing automakers to keep up has meant a fall in the overall market.

The latest data on sales to date, and estimates for November and December, published by EV Volumes shows that total EV sales in 2019 – both plug ins and full electric – will be around 337,000, down more than four per cent from 359,000 in 2018.

“2018 had exceptional growth and nearly all of it was created by just one new entry, the Tesla Model-3. Achieving the 2017-18 growth for another year is hardly possible,” said the authors of the report and the overall market.

Source: EV volumes

The chart compares the quarterly USA plug-in sales of 2019 compared to last year. Q4 of 2019 are estimates by EV volumes . Tesla sales are down for the 2nd half of 2019 as they compare to the 2018 period when all Model-3 deliveries covered the demand and back-log in North America. Tesla volumes for the year will still be approximately 9 % higher than in 2018. The YTD sales of OEM other than Tesla with last year's reveal a bleaker picture: a combined decrease of 16 %.

Hyundai-Kia (new Kona EV), Volkswagen (e-Golf, new Audi e-tron quattro), Daimler (Merc. GLC) and Jaguar i-Pace gained, all others posted heavy losses. Nissan Leaf sales remain weak, the new 62 kWh version is overpriced and still without state-of-the-art battery cooling. GM dropped the Volt and reached the 200 000 unit limit in Q2, receiving only half of the $7500 federal EV tax credit in Q4. Ford dropped the slow selling Focus EV and C-Max PHEV and is left with the ageing Fusion PHEV. Toyota offers nothing but the 3 year old Prius PHEV, the Honda Clarity PHEV is in pre-mature decline. BMW still lacks the replacements for 330e and X5 PHEVs in the US.

 Source: EV volumes

General Motors, Ford and FCA according to EV-Volumes saw losses.

Japanese carmakers Nissan, Toyota and Honda have also failed to respond to the market, with sales of Nissan’s new 62kWh Leaf still lacking liquid-cooled batter technology, Toyota offering only the ageing Prius PHEV and Honda’s Clarity PHEV sales declining early.

GM’s Volt, of which it ended production two weeks ahead of schedule in February, finally reached the 200,000 unit limit imposing a halving of the $US7,500 ($A11,033) federal tax credit, while Ford only has the Fusion PHEV on the market after dropping the Focus EV and C-Max PHEV.

Tesla sales are 9 % up year-to-date and stand for 55 % of the plug-in volume in the US. Counting BEVs only, the Tesla share is 76 %.

Source: EV volumes

The USA plug-in sales history had a temporary decline before and, like for 2019, it was supply related: Toyota phased out the 1st generation Prius PHEV without having the successor ready and GM lost volume during the change-over to the 2nd generation Volt.
2018 had exceptional growth and nearly all of it was created by just one new entry, the Tesla Model-3. Achieving the 2017-18 growth for another year is hardly possible. Tesla delivered 140 000 Model-3 in USA last year and exports were to Canada only. This year, Model-3 deliveries in the US will increase by another 15-20 000 units.

Judging by the OEM announcements, 2020 promises to be the year with the highest number of new EV introductions ever, over 20 new entries, 9 of them BEVs.

Most significant is be the arrival of more affordable plug-ins for SUV-Crossovers. More than 6 million ICE units were sold in the C/D-SUV category last year, 1,5 million more than in the C/D-car segments. We can look forward to a healthy boost in EV adoption for 2020 and 2021. The introduction timing of the new and upgraded PHEVs from Europe is still uncertain; demand for them is very strong in Europe, following months of hiatus. Sector growth in 2020 will largely depend on the ramp-up of Model-Y and Mustang Mach-E.


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