In a surprising move for the U.S. electric car industry, the Electric Drive Transportation Association has released figures which show that U.S. electric cars outsold their hybrid counterparts in the first half of 2013 by 22,712 to 18,335. This is a resounding result for the electric car industry although the momentum which led to this switchover will need to be maintained in the longer term as the industry sets its sights on the mass market.
There may be a number of one-offs which have assisted this switch in momentum but the fact remains that electric vehicles are now more popular in the U.S. than they ever have been.
Is Tesla pulling the strings?
The release of the Tesla Model S, seen by many as the best electric car ever, will certainly have had an impact upon electric car sales during the first half of 2013. The vehicle has won just about every car award known to man but there is no doubt that other electric car manufacturers are now sampling success.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Last week I setup an appointment for a test drive with the new Model S. I've seen the car, sat in it, and messed around with the display previously in the show room, and have been waiting for them to get a test drive vehicle locally so I can give it a spin."
It is interesting to learn that while Tesla was very vocal in the press, via their CEO Elon Musk, in the first of 2013, he has backed away from controversy. Indeed it seems as though the introduction of Elon Musk earlier in the year lit the blue touch paper for the industry and a fightback has been underway ever since. However, it is certainly worth noting that the introduction of various Tesla vehicles and its new focus upon electric charging points has certainly helped the industry's reputation.
Can this momentum continue?
The fact is that while the Tesla Model S is selling very well, there are a whole range of other electric vehicles coming to the market in the short to medium term. Hybrids have in the recent past been a very useful tool to encourage the jump from gasoline/diesel vehicles to hybrids and then onto electric vehicles. Hybrids will still continue to be a major element of this supply chain but there are early signs that momentum in the electric vehicle market is building nicely.
Perhaps the worst thing that could happen at this moment in time is for the U.S. government to reduce financial incentives to both manufacturers and those who drive electric vehicles. We are now moving towards a critical point when industry will make a serious play for the mass market although this could still be a few years away.
Steady as she goes
Time and time again the electric vehicle industry has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. This is an industry which has a reputation for shooting itself in the foot and causing its own problems, so hopefully we can avoid any major catastrophes and bad news in the short to medium term. The reality is that the industry does not necessarily receive any more bad news than the traditional gasoline/diesel sector but for some reason any problems in the EV industry receive greatest exposure.