EVs Gain Ground but Charging Slows Adoption

Sales rose 88% year over year, but they still only account for about 3.2% of the total U.S. car market.

January 11, 2022

EV Mustang

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—There will soon be plenty of electric vehicles for consumers to choose from, but it’s convincing those consumers to buy them that is the next hurdle, reports the Wall Street Journal.

General Motors recently announced its all-electric Silverado as an answer to Ford’s electric F-150 Lightening. A week ago, Ford announced it’s doubling the production of the F-150 after it received a higher-than-expected number of reservations. The truck goes on sale in limited numbers this spring.

Stellantis, which owns Jeep, Ram and other auto brands, said this past week its Chrysler brand would go exclusively electric by 2028. Sony revealed it is entering the electric vehicle (EV) market by creating and selling its own EVs. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the EQXX, a new electric concept car that the automaker says will be able to travel 620 miles on a single charge, based on computer modeling.

EV sales are gaining some ground. Sales rose 88% year-over-year in 2021, but they still only account for about 3.2% of the total U.S. car market, according to research firm Motor Intelligence.

However, Tesla still has a solid lead over other car companies when it comes to EVs. Its global deliveries rose 87% last year to about 986,000. In the U.S. alone, Tesla sold about 352,500 vehicles in 2021, or about 72% of all battery-electric vehicles purchased, Motor Intelligence estimates. In comparison, Ford sold around 27,000 electric vehicles in 2021 and GM sold about 25,000 last year. For both companies, that accounted for less than 2% of their total U.S. sales.

“Tesla’s ability to conjure up critical components has a greater significance than one year’s car sales. It suggests that the company, and possibly other young electric car businesses, could threaten the dominance of giants like Volkswagen and G.M. sooner and more forcefully than most industry executives and policymakers realize,” writes the New York Times.

The Times points out that G.M. and Ford closed factories last year due to a shortage of computer chips, but when Tesla wasn’t able to get the chips it needed to produce, it took the chips that it had and rewrote the software that operated them to make it work.

Although EV sales may be rising, consumers are still leery over the U.S.’s premature charging infrastructure, as it continues to be a roadblock in EV adoption in the United States. Shortly after election, President Biden unveiled an electric car plan that said half of all new cars sold in the United States will be electric by 2030. But in order for that plan to become a reality, energy and auto experts say the U.S. needs at least five to 10 times its current amount of EV chargers to bring the plan to fruition.

Last year, the Biden Administration released details of its plan to build out an electric vehicle charging infrastructure, reports The Hill. The plan calls for the creation of a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation between the Energy and Transportation departments, which will be tasked with implementing the charging network and other electrification provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure law.

A recent Convenience Matters podcast episode discusses how EVs are the future, and another episode explains how convenience retailers can attract and retain EV customers. A free NACS webinar helps retailers understand how EVs and environmentally conscious consumers will affect your business.

At this year’s NACS Show, we held three education sessions that focused on the opportunity that EVs bring to retailers. Receive six-month access to this primer on electric vehicles for $49.

Read more about electricity demand charges and what they mean for retailers’ ability to turn a profit from EV charging in the September issue of NACS Magazine.