Will American Consumers get a Charge out of Electric Vehicles?
Electric vehicle (EV) sales have continued to grow in the last decade, and recently proposed legislation for green energy initiatives could result in greater demand for EVs. While Americans have yet to embrace the EV market fully, a growing number of charging stations available to the public and technological innovations could drive greater demand in the future.
U.S. sales of plug-in light-duty electric vehicles in 2020 totaled 296,000 units, according to a report by S&P Global Platts. However, this total is down from the 331,000 vehicles sold in 2019, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The provider of energy and commodities information further predicts that while domestic sales have been erratic over the last few years, they should break the 1 million mark by 2025. Here are several companies that are moving forward into the EV market.
Tesla, Inc. (Tii:TSLA)
When it comes to electric vehicles, Tesla is the market leader (for now). A manufacturer of electric cars, batteries, and energy storage solutions, Tesla’s EV offerings include the Model X, Model 3, Roadster, and the Model Y. In 2020, the automaker sold 499,550 vehicles with an additional 184,800 in the first quarter of 2021. After several years of operating in the red, Tesla posted its first profitable year in 2020, posting $721 million in earnings on about $31.5 billion in sales. That compares with an $862 million loss and sales of $24.6 billion in 2019. The automaker is set to announce financial results for the first quarter of 2021 after market close on April 26, 2021. In a move that aligns the company with the cryptocurrency community, Tesla recently bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin and announced that it would begin accepting it as a payment method for its products.
Volkswagen AG (Tii:VWAGY)
Volkswagen has made an impressive push into the electric vehicle market. Not only is Volkswagen the parent company of Porsche – which offers the high-performance Taycan Turbo S EV that boasts a 0-60 time of 2.6 seconds and a top track speed of up to 161 MPH – the automaker also offers the Volkswagen ID.4, an EV SUV with an estimated range of 250 miles. The automaker has a pipeline of additional EVs for future rollouts. In 2020, the manufacturer sold 231,600 battery-electric vehicles – more than triple the 73,600 Volkswagen delivered in 2019.
Ford Motor Company (Tii:F)
Ford has been taking more tentative steps into the electric vehicle market. The automaker has rolled out its first all-electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E, which has earned several auto industry accolades. They include the Green Car Journal’s 2021 Green Car of the Year, the 2021 North American Utility of the Year, the Edmunds Top Rated Luxury EV of 2021, the Best Car to Buy in 2021 by The Car Connection and Green Car Reports, as well as the Best Electric Car to Buy in 2021 and the Best Crossover to Buy in 2021. Driven largely by the fully electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid, Ford’s electrified vehicle sales increased 74.1 percent to a new record sales start, with 25,980 vehicles sold. The company recently announced it is expanding its EV manufacturing and dedicated direct sales network to reach 90 percent of China’s electrified vehicle market this year.
General Motors Company (Tii:GM)
GM has been focused on redesigning its flagship electric vehicle model, the Chevrolet Bolt, which delivered its best first-quarter sales ever, increasing 60 percent in the U.S. to 20,754 vehicles in 2020 and 9,025 for the first three months of 2021. The automaker, which plans to be carbon neutral by 2040 in its global products and operations, also introduced the 2024 Hummer EV SUV and announced plans for a Chevrolet Silverado Electric Pickup. The automaker’s flagship Cadillac brand will also debut its first all-electric model, the LYRIQ, which is scheduled to go into production in the first quarter of 2022.
Hyundai Motor Company (Tii:HYMTF)
Hyundai’s Kia automotive line is fairly steeped in the EV market. Its Niro EV, a crossover with specs that include an EPA-estimated 239-mile range and a fast charging option (80% charge in about 1 hour), should position it as a solid electric option for motorists. The South Korean automaker also branched out to introduce its Kona Electric SUV and Ioniq all-electric hatchback. As an incentive, Hyundai is providing 250 kilowatt-hours of complimentary charging on Electrify America’s ultra-fast charging network for owners of 2021 Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric models.
With the transportation sector cited as the most significant source of planet-warming emissions in the U.S. – mainly from cars and light-duty trucks – automakers are under increased pressure to reduce or eliminate their environmental impact. If the recharging infrastructure continues to grow and consumers embrace these eco-friendlier options, perhaps electric vehicles will become the norm.