Electric vehicle sales in the US grew by just 1.3% in the final months of 2023, the latest sign that many American drivers remain cautious about leaping over battery-powered cars.
A total of 317,168 EVs sold in the fourth quarter, up from 313,086 in the prior three months, researcher Cox Automotive said in a post on its website, citing data from Kelley Blue Book. The growth marked a deceleration from sequential gains of about 5% in the third quarter and 15% in the April-through-June period.
Sales still hit a record both for the last quarter and full year, helped by price cuts from market leader Tesla Inc. and a greater variety of EV models available. However, slowing growth has contributed to Tesla and competitors Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. deciding to throttle the pace of investment in factories that will make all-electric vehicles.
“While records were set, the oft-reported slowdown is real,” Cox said in its analysis. “The EV market in the US is still growing, but not growing as fast.”
EVs made up 7.6% of the US market in 2023, up from 5.9% in 2022, Cox said.
The biggest problem remains price. Even though Tesla slashed prices for its cars starting in January of 2023, only two models start below $40,000: Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf and GM’s Chevrolet Bolt. The Chevy model went out of production in December.
The average new EV sold for $50,789, which is about $2,000 more than the average gasoline-powered vehicle.
While fully electric vehicles will continue to find a following among American buyers, Cox predicts the trendline is likely to be bumpy.
“EV growth will continue to slow, and in the year ahead, we may even report the first quarter-over-quarter sales decline in more than three years,” it said.
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