I wrote a piece last week on US electric vehicle sales in the 2nd quarter of 2021. The unfortunate thing for those of us who would like to see Europe-level EV sales as quickly as possible is that non-Tesla EV sales in the US are quite pitiful. Of course, some pure-Tesla fans are happy about that, but I think that such glee goes firmly against the mission of Tesla.
Despite being a bit sour about the Q2 sales results, and a bit harsh on every automaker not named Tesla, there was actually a little bit more to celebrate than I realized. A little bit.
One helpful reader (“Eh Canadian”) went through the work of identifying what share of 5 automakers’ sales were electric. While Nissan’s and Ford’s figures were clearly still disappointing, and Audi’s and Chevrolet’s weren’t much better, Volkswagen hit a half-decent percentage and Porsche achieved a truly admirable EV-vs.-FFV (fossil fuel vehicle) split. Okay, we’re not considering what Norway has been achieving, but Porsche’s results for the inarguably lame US EV market are second to none among legacy automakers.
You can see the chart above, but here are the results in bullet-list format:
- Porsche 17.7% (3,359 Taycan sales out of 18,958 overall Porsche sales)
- Volkswagen 4.8% (5,756 ID.4 sales out of 120,520 overall Volkswagen sales)
- Audi 3.8% (2,560 e-tron + e-tron Sportback sales out of 66,995 overall Audi sales)
- Chevrolet 2.6% (11,263 Bolt EV/EUV sales out of 433,155 overall Chevrolet sales)
- Nissan 1.7% (4,804 LEAF sales out of 280,282 overall Nissan sales)
- Ford 1.4% (6,356 Mustang Mach-E sales out of 451,813 overall Ford sales)
- BMW 0.5% (511 i3 sales out of 96,561 overall BMW sales)
Naturally, if we just looked at California or some other hot EV markets, those figures would look much better, but we’re not looking at one or a few leading states — I want to see progress across the United States, and considering the US population is somewhat similar to Europe’s population, I think that’s fair and reasonable. That said, thank goodness for California. …
Notably, the three best brands are all underneath the Volkswagen Group umbrella. As much as many people were irritated by years of Volkswagen press releases and concept cars before the German automaker actually started selling EVs designed electric from the ground up, there’s no arguing that it’s the most effective and inspiring legacy auto company at the moment. I don’t see that changing either. It sells a much higher number of vehicles (electric and otherwise) in Europe, and Volkswagen is doing relatively well in that large market as well — and European regulations aren’t getting any weaker. In the US, Volkswagen Group brands have a tiny share of the market, but they could see a lot of conquest sales and inspiring growth if they can be seen as leaders in the new era or automobiles, the electric era. Perhaps Volkswagen won’t grow to the size of a Ford or Toyota or even Hyundai in the US, but it could achieve a lot of growth on the back of continued EV leadership. We shall see.
Any other thoughts on these or related numbers?