Are Electric Vehicles Unpopular? 1.2 Million Sold in 2023 Indicates Otherwise.

Electric vehicles are unpopular. Consumers aren’t happy with them. The market cannot sustain the number of new models arriving. These comments and others have fueled talk in recent months that automakers have overplayed their hand in ditching the internal combustion engine in favor of EVs.

While it is true that some manufacturers have scaled back, at least with certain models – the Ford F-150 Lighting comes to mind – others are pressing ahead. We can see this in reports shared directly by manufacturers (e.g., Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Subaru, to name a few). But also through this year’s CES (Consumers Electronic Show) in Las Vegas, where models such as the Honda 0 Series, VinFast Wild, and the Kia PBV line have received much attention.

Surging EV Demand

But if it is true that consumers act as the final arbiter of demand, then EV demand isn’t dropping. In 2023 we witnessed strong growth – 7.6 percent according to Kelly Blue Book – for the fastest growing segment. KBB tallied 1,189,051 units sold in 2023 of pure electric vehicles with many additional electrified models, including conventional hybrids and plug-in hybrids, also sold.

Here’s another fact noted by KBB — In the last quarter, electric vehicles (EVs) set new highs in terms of both sales numbers and their share of the market. From October through December, a total of 317,168 electric cars were purchased in the U.S., accounting for 8.1 percent of the total new car sales. This represents a 52 percent increase in EV sales compared to the same period in 2022.

Tesla still dominates the market, selling more EVs in the United States than all comers combined. Its share of the pie, though, continues to fall as other manufacturers jump in. Just under two years ago, Tesla held 70 percent of the market, but its share finished at approximately 55 percent at year end. Two models – the Model Y SUV and Model 3 Sedan – account for the lion’s share of Tesla sales.

Old and New EVs

It’s important to highlight that a previously prominent EV, the Nissan Leaf, has fallen out of the “Top 10” best-sellers. Widely recognized for pioneering mainstream electric vehicle adoption beginning in 2011, the Leaf has seen only one major update since. However, its sales have been significantly overshadowed by newer models from rival brands. In 2023, Nissan’s sales of the Leaf dropped to 12,026 units, marking a 15.5 percent decrease from the previous year.

Conversely, the market has welcomed fresh models like the Ford F-150 Lightning, Cadillac Lyriq, and Fisker’s Ocean. Additionally, Nissan introduced a new electric vehicle, offering the Ariya SUV.

The Best-Selling EVs

With dozens of EVs for the choosing, which ones excelled? KBB compiled a list of Top 10 sellers as offered here:

Top 10 electric vehicles by Sales 2023

While it’s common to concentrate on Tesla and overlook others, the increasing attraction towards electric vehicles suggests a steady upward trend in their growth. Currently, certain EVs are eligible for the entire $7,500 federal tax credit, though some qualify for a reduced amount or none at all. Moreover, Tesla has contributed to making EVs more accessible by consistently reducing prices.

Looking ahead, we’ll see the following new models arrive: Acura ZDX, Cadillac Celestiq, Ford Explorer EV, Honda Prologue, GMC Sierra EV, Jeep Recon, and the Toyota Tacoma EV, to name a few. Manufacturers continue to invest, the charging infrastructure is strengthening, and consumer confidence in EVs remains promising.

That’s a recipe for success, one that should keep EV interest strong in 2024 and beyond.


References

Tucker, S. (2024, January 9). Americans Bought Nearly 1.2 Million EVs Last Year. Kelley Blue Book.

Federal Tax Credits for Plug-in Electric and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Purchased in 2023 or After. FuelEconomy.gov.

Miller, C. (2023, December 1). Future Electric Vehicles: The EVs You’ll Soon Be Able to Buy. Car and Driver.


Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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