How did US electric vehicle sales go in 2020? We’ve published reports for Europe and China, but US electric vehicle sales have been left nearly untouched. The problems are: 1) there is no unified reporting agency for the country that reports out vehicle registrations, 2) there aren’t even state reports on this that we could collect and add up, and 3) many automakers do not break out sales of EV models in their monthly or quarterly sales reports (e.g., we do not get data on the Fiat 500e, Honda Clarity EV, Hyundai Ioniq EV, Hyundai Kona EV, Kia Niro EV, Jaguar I-PACE, and some others). Therefore, there is no definitive EV sales report for the United States.
However, we do have numbers for several major electric models, as well as quite informed estimates for the top sellers, the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y. So, let’s look at those figures.
First, just looking at the 2020 numbers, here’s the breakdown:
Comparing 2020 figures to 2019 figures, you can see the dramatic arrival of the Tesla Model Y, a large cutback in sales of the Model 3 to make way for that and probably due to that model’s high demand, sharp drops in BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf sales, and then modest changes in the other models:
One of the hardest parts of this report is estimating the sales split between the Model 3 and Model Y. One solution is to do what Tesla does and just combine those two models. Here’s an updated version of the comparison chart above with the 3 and Y combined:
We also have an estimate from EV Volumes that US plugin vehicle sales totaled about 328,000 in 2020, a 4% increase over 2019 while the overall light-duty auto market was down 15%. Plugin vehicle market share sits somewhere between 2% and 3% of the overall auto market.
See previous US EV sales reports for more historical context on this matter.