Electric vehicles seem poised for a big year in 2017. New data out show that EVs hit a sales record last year, with nearly 160,000 electric vehicles sold. According to Inside EVs, which tracks monthly sales of EVs, sales strengthened over the year, culminating with nearly 25,000 EVs sold in December alone, a record for a single month. With new models coming to market, better battery ranges and more extensive charging infrastructure in development, 2017 could be breakthrough year for EVs.
Of course, at only about 1% of the automotive market, EVs have a long way to go to transform how America drives. But with the introduction of several new and long-range options, more people may find an EV that’s right for them.
The big new arrival last year was the Chevy Bolt, which offers 238 miles of range in the mid-$30,000 range (before federal and state incentives are considered). The first plug-in hybrid minivan is also new this year, the Chrysler Pacifica. And Hyundai is offering an all-new vehicle, the Ioniq, available in three electrified option- all-electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid. Along with several new offerings from BMW, Ford, Tesla, and other major automakers, consumers will have many options to choose from this year.
And the sales numbers reflect survey findings that more and more consumers are interested in an EV. A joint Consumers Union and Union of Concerned Scientists survey conducted last year in California and several Northeastern states found growing demand for EVs – more than half of CA residents saying they would consider an EV in their next vehicle purchase; more than a third of NE residents agreed. And of course record EV sales, even as gas prices remain at near record lows, show that consumers are making the leap to cleaner vehicles.
But if EVs are really going to take off, we have some work to do. First, too few Americans know very much about the EV options that are already accessible to them or about the significant federal, state and local incentives that could take as much as $10,000 off the cost of a new EV. Automakers should do more to advertise EVs and dealers should have more EVs on the lot, especially as the CU-UCS survey found that 9 in 10 consumers wouldn’t consider a vehicle without test-driving it.
Join the movement and be a part of the clean car future. Be sure to consider an EV as your next vehicle (learn more here) – you might be surprised to learn how an electric vehicle can fit in your lifestyle and save you thousands of dollars on fuel. And if you have an EV, or plug-in hybrid, tell us why you love your car and why clean vehicles matter to you. Be sure to share your support for EVs on social media using the hashtag #cleanercars.