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Data Point

Strong Finish: EV Sales Mark New Record in Fourth Quarter Of 2021


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New-vehicles sales in 2021 increased less than 4% compared to 2020, but sales of electrified vehicles continue to surge. In all, nearly 1.5 million electrified vehicles – the combined total of EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids – were sold in the U.S. last year. In the fourth quarter, sales of pure battery-electric vehicles jumped 72% to a record 147,799 – the best quarter ever for EVs, according to a new analysis from the Kelley Blue Book team. The choice of pure EVs continues to improve as well: The team at Kelley Blue Book counted 25 different EVs with at least one sale in Q4. It was GMC that reported exactly one Hummer EV sale last quarter, with higher expectations for Q1 2022.

Q4 Electrified Vehicle Sales Growth

Sales of electrified vehicles might have increased even more last year, if not for inventory and supply issues. Battery and production troubles all but eliminated Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV sales in the second half of the year. And Toyota, the hybrid leader, struggled with inventory in much of the fourth quarter.

Still, electrified vehicles accounted for 9.7% of all sales last year; in the fourth quarter, 11.8% of sales were electrified. On the EV side, Tesla is still the dominant player, with 72% share of the EV market. That is down from near 80% in 2020, but Tesla still delivered significant 71% year-over-year growth in a tough year. Tesla didn’t only dominate the EV market, Tesla dominated the overall luxury market, outselling Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. market. In Q4, EVs accounted for 4.5% of total sales, a record.

Sales of hybrid vehicles jumped 84% year over year in 2021, with Toyota leading the way. More than half of the nearly 1 million hybrids sold in the U.S. last year wore either a Toyota or Lexus badge. Toyota sales are now 25% electrified, all hybrids. And the company will be adding EVs starting this year. Honda and Ford are the other significant hybrid players.

2021 Electrified Vehicle Sales Growth

This is the electrified decade, and Cox Automotive is forecasting further growth of electrified vehicles in the years ahead, although the growth rate will likely cool from the heated pace in 2021. Hybrids are now mainstream products, and more than a dozen new EVs are launching in 2022, including the potentially high-volume Ford F-150 Lightning. Consumers continue to indicate that EVs are too expensive, and concerns about range and charging availability remain. Still, consideration of EVs has never been higher. Nearly half a million buyers bought into an EV in 2021, despite the obstacles. As EV availability expands and capability improves, even more consumers will make the choice in 2022.

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