Supporters of electric cars say government assistance is crucial to their rollout, but new data out of the US reveals Tesla and GM led the category in 2020 without tax incentives for most of the year.
While Australia debates how much – or how little – taxpayer money should go towards supporting the rollout of electric cars, data out of North America has revealed Tesla and General Motors were the top-two sellers of battery-powered cars – even without $US7500 federal tax credits for most of the year.
In the US, a $7500 tax credit for every electric car sold expires after an automotive brand eclipses 200,000 sales.
Tesla passed that milestone at the end of 2019 while General Motors hit the 200,000 mark by the end of March 2020.
It means every Tesla sold in the US in 2020 was not eligible for the federal government’s $US7500 tax credit and every General Motors electric car sold from April 2020 onwards was not eligible for the federal government’s $7500 tax credit.
Despite this, Tesla and General Motors topped the electric-car sales charts in the US in 2020.
Conversely, electric cars still eligible for the US federal government’s $US7500 tax credit ranked in the bottom half of the Top 10.
Data compiled by Automotive News US and analysts Experian showed there was an 11 per cent increase in electric car sales in North America last year (up from 227,161 in 2019 to 252,548 in 2020), in an overall market that had slumped by 15 per cent (down from 16,755,597 in 2019 to 14,240,036 in 2020).
Within that surge, Tesla sales were up by 16 per cent (to 172,438 reported as sold in the US in 2020). Indeed, Tesla represented four of the top five electric cars sold in the US last year (see table at the bottom of this story).
The third-placed Chevrolet Bolt (up 20 per cent versus the prior year) was the biggest-selling non-Tesla in the electric-car category. Other models such as the Nissan Leaf, Audi E-Tron, Porsche Taycan, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Niro rounded out the Top 10.
Although electric cars only accounted for 1.8 per cent of new vehicle sales in North America in 2020 (versus 1.4 per cent in 2019), the industry is bracing for an influx of new models, driven largely by strict emissions regulations being introduced in Europe.
A car retail expert, Glenn Mercer, told Automotive News US there will soon be a “deluge” of electric cars.
“We’re upping our electric vehicle sales penetration forecast for 2025 and beyond, mostly because of expanding supply, not because of surging demand,” Mercer told Automotive News US.
|Electric car||US sales in 2020|
|Tesla Model 3||95,135|
|Tesla Model Y||71,344|
|Chevrolet Bolt EV||19,664|
|Tesla Model X||19,652|
|Tesla Model S||14,430|
Source: Automotive News US, Experian
Proof electric cars don’t need taxpayer support: Tesla and GM sales up despite running out of $7500 tax credits.