EV Trends

Despite the Bad Press, EV Sales Soared to a New High in 2023

If you believe some of the latest press reports, EV sales are rolling downhill fast. For example, a recent headline in the UK’s GB News read, “Electric car sales could plummet as only 18 percent of drivers want an EV and Tesla slashes workforce.”

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The truth? EV sales soared to a new high in 2023, as the Union of Concerned Scientists’ David Reichmuth points out. And even after one of CNBC’s recent headlines read, “EV euphoria is dead. Automakers are scaling back or delaying their electric vehicle plans,” its writer, Michael Wayland, had to concede that the EV industry is growing — in record numbers. About halfway through the article, Wayland admitted, “US EV sales were a record 1.2 million units last year…”

Growth might be slower than the industry once expected, but make no mistake about it—the EV market has a rosy future. Here’s why.

As EVs’ range and convenience increase, sales are more likely to increase even more rather than plummet. In addition, as prices drop and more people realize the advantages of an all-electric vehicle, the EV adoption rate should start to rocket.

Gen Zers’ Financial Roadblocks to EV Purchases Begin to Disappear

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A recent survey discovered that more than half of Gen Z car buyers would consider purchasing an EV. Another study — this one by Zebra — pegged that number at 69%, including hybrid purchases. However, the high cost of an EV’s initial purchase still holds many back from leaping into EV ownership.

According to a January 2024 McKinsey post by Liz Hilton Segel and Homayoun Hatami, that cost looks to decrease over the next few years. With prices falling in the car market overall and lean manufacturing policies, EV prices should fall during the next few years, Segel and Hatami said.

In addition, once people discover the long-term fuel savings they can realize by choosing an EV, they will likely be more willing to consider going electric. The number of passionate EV owners who don’t hesitate to spread the word will surely grow, and it’s only a matter of time before more hesitant drivers encounter one of them when out on the road.

Range Anxiety Now Nearly a Thing of the Past

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One of the top objections many people raise when considering an EV purchase is their concern about the cars’ range, as Nerdwallet’s Philip Reed points out. But with longer-range EVs now on the market — including the 450-mile Chevy Silverado and the 500-mile Lucid Air — range anxiety will soon not be a factor in EV purchases.

While the 400-plus-miles models still carry a hefty price, several affordable EVs get well over 200 miles of range. Few drivers can (or should) drive nonstop for over 200 miles. As top insurer Nationwide advises, drivers should stop every 100 miles on long trips to stretch their legs on long drives. With DC fast charging, most drivers can charge their EVs in the time it takes to grab a drink and a snack and take a short walk.

More Charging Stations Become Available as Tesla Charger Goes Mainstream

The lack of charging facilities is another objection many people raise when a salesperson shows them their latest EVs, Reed says. However, with Tesla making its vast network of chargers available to non-Tesla EV drivers, that objection should also disappear.

Additionally, with the US government willing to shoulder up to 80% of the cost of building EV charging stations through its NEVI Program, the number of EV chargers should rise considerably, especially along freeways and other well-traveled highways.

Even better, many top gas station retailers have realized the benefits of providing fuel for EV customers, too. It simply makes sense to grab a larger share of the driving market in the long term by making a short-term investment in charging infrastructure.

Knowledge About EV Options Grows as Ads Spread the Word

As Reed observed, many car buyers aren’t aware of the many options they can choose from now. If they haven’t considered buying an EV since electric vehicles first entered the US market, they’re in for a surprise.

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EVs now come in a variety of styles—including pickup trucks and SUVs—that were hard to find in the early days of EV adoption. With more EV ads peppering the airwaves, people will become more aware of the advantages of owning an EV.

Long-Term Sales Should Rise Despite Bumps in the Road

Although EV sales hit record highs in 2023, naysayers look at the rate of EV adoption as opposed to growing sales and see it as a roadblock. However, as Reichmuth contends, “It’s important to look beyond short-term ups and downs in EV sales and keep focus on the big picture.”

Reichmuth points out that factors contributing to those “bumps along the way” can include issues not related to the value inherent in EV ownership itself. Misjudging the market size—manufacturing more cars than there were buyers—certainly impacted the slowdown in the adoption rate last year. Other factors that might come into play include global pandemics, the state of the economy, and trade relations with other countries.

As more people become aware of the need to reduce air pollution and realize the benefits of an electric vehicle, the EV adoption rate should soar. With V2G and V2X technology enabling EV owners to power their homes, business facilities, appliances, and even the grid itself, the advantages of EV ownership should well outweigh those of owning an internal combustion-powered vehicle.

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