California surpassed 1 million electric vehicles sold through the 4th quarter of 2021, according to the California Energy Commission, making it the first U.S. state to achieve this milestone. California also set a new yearly record with 250,279 electric vehicles sold, representing 12.4% of total California auto sales in 2021.
California’s EV adoption rate exceeds the global trends according to the International Energy Agency showing that the global EV market share jumped from 4.11% in 2020 to 8.57% in 2021. But, the same report finds that California is still falling behind Europe where EV sales exceeded 20%. In comparison, EVs delivered as a percent of total U.S. sales in 2021 totaled just 4%. In the U.S. overall, over 652,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids were sold in 2021.
“This is a massive achievement,” said Josh D. Boone, executive director of Veloz, which has tracked EV sales data in California for the last 10 years, observing market trends and infrastructure buildout. “That said, there is a lot of work to be done. Accessibility, more charging infrastructure and education are obstacles that still need to be overcome. That’s why we’re partnering with regulators, automakers, utilities, consumer groups and others to reach our goal of making EVs available for all Californians.”
Californians need to purchase 4 million more EVs in the next 9 years to reach the state’s goal of 5 million EVs sold by 2030, according to Veloz research. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has set a goal of 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035. The total number of light-duty vehicles sold cumulatively in California exceeded 1 million at the end of 2021. The California Air Resources Board is expected to adopt the next round of statewide EV sales targets before the end of the year as part of the state’s Advanced Clean Cars program.
“In the next two years, we’ll have another 85 new EV models to choose from. Trucks and crossover SUVs are what a majority of Americans show interest in and automakers are starting to deliver EV options to meet that interest,” continued Boone, referencing U.S. new truck sales hitting 11.6 million in 2021. “The electric truck race is on and very soon electrified trucks will become a meaningful portion of overall truck sales.”
While Tesla continues its pole position on the EV sales leaderboard, delivering more than 308,000 vehicles in the last quarter of 2021 and almost 1 million vehicles globally for the full year of 2021, Veloz analysts conclude that Tesla has benefited from California’s ZEV regulations, first mover advantage and the decision to couple EVs with an ‘in house’ charging network. Impressively, Tesla increased sales despite supply chain interruptions and chip shortages with vertical integration, delaying new models and reducing chips for some steering tech in vehicles produced and delivered in China.
“EV sales are increasing and that trend will continue as automakers build the vehicles that consumers want to buy, while also increasing their advertising buys. This year’s Super Bowl ads were a perfect example of what we need to see more of,” said Boone, referencing that six of the seven car brands that ran ads during the Super Bowl featured an EV. “These cars are affordable and fun to drive and it’s time to debunk the myths about EVs for good.”