The Fuse

Infographic: State of the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Market, October 2015

by Leslie Hayward | October 06, 2015

2015 plug-in electric vehicle sales continue to lag. In our latest update to the State of the Electric Vehicle Market Infographic, we look at various facets of the U.S. market: Monthly sales, cumulative sales, market share broken down by model, the status of infrastructure, and fuel prices compared to gasoline vehicles.

Our first chart, showing month-to-month sales, tells the story that 2015 has broken the market trends witnessed from 2011 through 2014. For the first four years that electric vehicles were commercially available, monthly sales volumes marched upwards—sales of the Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt, Plug-in Prius, and Tesla Model S were notable contributors to sales momentum, but the addition of a wider range of models, particularly players like the BMW i3 and Ford’s C-MAX and Fusion Energi also spurred this trend.

2015 is the first year that this trend has reversed: Sales are actually down compared to 2014 (see the fourth panel for a clearer visualization of the year-over-year trend) and no significant new models have been released. The market has also seen a decline in sales of the Plug-In Prius as Toyota has shifted its focus towards hydrogen vehicles, and sales of the LEAF and Volt have tapered off as automakers are focused on developing second-generation versions of these vehicles. Of course, impacting every industry player is the fact that gasoline prices have fallen so dramatically since summer 2014, when electric vehicles sales were highest.

While 2015’s EV sales might not be booming, drivers who do switch to an electric vehicle are benefitting from an increasingly robust public charging network nationwide.

However, while sales have lagged, availability of charging infrastructure has continued to grow. National charging infrastructure has grown by over 4,000 public charging stations over the past year—a nearly 40 percent increase—and many of these chargers are added in states outside of stereotypical electric vehicle markets. The biggest increases in chargers were seen in Texas, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Utah, Oregon, Missouri, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. So, while 2015’s EV sales might not be booming, drivers who do switch to an electric vehicle are benefitting from an increasingly robust public charging network nationwide.