U.S. automakers, following in the footsteps of Tesla, are moving quickly to introduce new EV models ahead of international competitors. Ford now makes an electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup, the Lightning, and Cadillac recently launched the Lyriq midsize crossover. Tesla plans to launch its own pickup, the Cybertruck, later this year.
Asian automakers, which disrupted the U.S. gasoline-car market starting in the 1970s, have minimal EV sales. The exception is Nissan and Hyundai Motor Group, which imports its EVs from Korea but has plans to make them in the U.S.
European brands, which once dominated the luxury market, along with Japan’s Lexus, have lost the U.S. luxury crown to Tesla.
While Tesla’s EV market share fell to 64 percent in the 11-month period from 70 percent in 2021, its overall U.S. new-vehicle registrations increased to 431,740 from 303,129 as the EV market rapidly expanded last year.
Tesla does not disclose its U.S. sales results, so experts must estimate the company’s domestic deliveries. Registration data, which lags sales reports by more than a month, offers a more exact look at Tesla’s results.
The overall EV share of total U.S. vehicle registrations rose to 5.4 percent through November, from 3 percent a year earlier, the Experian data shows.
Ford was in second place in the EV race with 7.4 percent of registrations in the January to November period, Chevrolet was third with 4.7 percent, Kia had 4 percent and Hyundai, 3.7 percent, Experian said. Volkswagen was sixth with 2.4 percent, Audi followed with 2.2 percent and Rivian was eighth with 1.9 percent.
While Ford’s EV registrations more than doubled compared with the January to November period in 2021, GM had a more modest 26 percent increase. Sales of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and slightly larger Bolt EUV were halted for six months last year due to a recall. The low-volume GMC Hummer had just 841 registrations through November and the Lyriq had 120.
To be sure, international automakers were already laying the groundwork for U.S. production of EVs and batteries before the Inflation Reduction Act passed. Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz started delivering U.S.-made EVs late last year, although their numbers were too small to have an impact on the 11-month registration data. That will change this year.
U.S. automakers are also leveraging their Mexican operations for EVs. Ford’s Mexico-made Mustang Mach-E accounted for 5.2 percent of new U.S. EV registrations in the 11-month period. GM is now retooling a crossover plant in northern Mexico for EV production. And Tesla has been talking with officials in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.
But the U.S. remains the center of activity.
Tesla opened its massive Gigafactory Texas in Austin last year and is already seeking regulatory approval for an expansion. Ford began producing the F-150 Lightning in Michigan last year. Rivian opened its first plant in Illinois in 2021, about the same time EV startup Lucid Motors began vehicle manufacturing in Arizona.
Those assembly plants — and others coming from Hyundai, GM, Ford, Stellantis, BMW, Volvo and Polestar — will be fed by local battery plants the automakers are planning with key battery partners.
“This increased domestic EV production, inspired by the IRA, will build the supply chain quicker than anyone previously thought possible,” Fiorani said. “As long as the IRA remains open-ended — without time or volume limitations — the battery and component infrastructure will grow in North America until the market becomes saturated sometime after 2035.”
Among the top 10 EVs sold in the U.S. last year, Tesla’s Model Y led registrations in the 11-month period covered by the Experian data, with 200,592 vehicles. It was followed by another Tesla, the Model 3, with 175,661. The Ford Mustang Mach-E was third with 34,643, followed by the Tesla Model X at 30,125 and the Model S at 25,362.
Chevrolet’s Bolt EUV was sixth, with 22,421 registrations, the Hyundai Ioniq posted 21,086 and the Kia EV6 delivered 19,163. VW’s ID4 notched 16,345 registrations in the period and Rivian’s R1T pickup generated 11,637.
In the coveted U.S. luxury market, Tesla expanded its lead over German and Asian rivals, regardless of vehicle fuel type.
For the 11-month period, Tesla’s 431,740 registrations marked a 42 percent increase over the period a year earlier. BMW was in second place with 296,669 new-vehicle registrations, for a 6.4 percent decline. Mercedes-Benz posted 247,932 new registrations, for a 0.6 percent drop, while Lexus generated 242,611, for a 17 percent decrease.