Simanaitis Says

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GLOBAL EV SALES are trending upward by significant percentages. Not that the overall numbers are large, mind. What’s more, the U.S. situation is at best unsettled. It’s a good time to perform an EV update based on a variety of sources.

For example, according to EV, “worldwide plug-in vehicle sales in 2016 were 773,600 units, 42 percent higher than for 2015.” These EVs include BEVs (battery electric vehicles) and their PHEV (plug-in hybrid) siblings, but not HEVs (hybrids of the traditional Toyota Prius sort).

It’s not that the world’s EVs are challenging conventional internal combustion any time soon: The global light vehicle market totaled around 90 million in 2016, with EVs taking less than 1 percent of this (around 0.86 percent, actually).

In the U.S., data from Inside show EVs (again, BEVs and PHEVs, not HEVs) totaling 159,139 in 2016, up a significant 37 percent over 2015 sales.


U.S. EV Sales, 2016. Source: Inside

Again, though, it’s a mere electric power plant belch, around 0.91 percent, compared with the U.S. total of around 17.4 million light vehicle sales reported, for example, by Reuters.

Also, some 59 percent of these total U.S. sales were specifically not cars, but light trucks (a category with no representatives in the list of 31 BEVs and PHEVs available to U.S. buyers in 2016).

Both in the U.S. and worldwide, Tesla is the big EV sales leader. Inside lists the Tesla Model S and X BEVs split only by the Chevrolet Volt PHEV in the top three places.

Clean identifies the Tesla Model S BEV as the world’s most popular EV, beating even the significantly less expensive Nissan Leaf BEV overall (50,935 to 49,818).


World EV Sales by Model. Source: Clean

These aren’t particularly impressive numbers with respect to overall world totals. However, Automotive News, January 9, 2017, identifies a “fast-rising demand predicted by automakers such as VW Group, Daimler, BMW Group, General Motors and Ford Motor Co.… VW is leading the charge, saying it expects to sell between 2 million and 3 million EVs annually by 2025.”

Current U.S. federal regulations set 54.5 mpg as each automaker’s target for 2025. Automakers consider alternative power of all sorts, HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs and FCEVs (fuel-cell EVs) as crucial in finessing their products’ mpgs (and customers’ aspirations) to meet the regulation.

However, such regulations typically contain “offramps,” periodic opportunities for regulators to reexamine the progress toward—and efficacy of—the regulation’s implementation.


Scott Pruitt, the prospective new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is not exactly a Green. The Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2017, expressed the editorial view that “Pruitt has led or been part of 14 lawsuits (most of them in concert with industry) challenging rules that limit them or otherwise protect the nation’s air and water…. It’s hardly news that some public officials are shills or apologists for power polluting industries. But to select someone with a record like Pruitt’s to lead the EPA is mind-boggling, offensive and deeply worrisome.”

Pruitt got approved by the appropriate Senate committee through a deft suspension of its own rules. The next step is full Senate consideration.

It’s anyone’s guess whether any 54.5-mpg offramp might confound (or aid) automakers and affect their EV planning. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017


  1. Ed kopacz
    March 23, 2017

    Interesting info , but the biggest detriment to EVs in the US I feel is the lack of chargers. I live aout 40 miles north of Atlantic City, on the Jersey shore, and though I’ m only a mile from the Garden State Parkway( which has no chargers) , I’m 40.miles from the closest charger, to the South, West and North ( other than some at high end restaurants or hotels/casinos which only can be used by guests there. Until someone( government, state, oil companies -and government is doubtful, given the current administration- which may not believe in electricity) sets out to create a charging infrastructure, EVs will never amount to any significant number of vehicle sales. Do you have any insight on a charger network plan, for other than certain areas of the country?

    • simanaitissays
      March 23, 2017

      Ed, an excellent point. I have no special insight into how soon a widespread charger network will evolve. There’s also the matter of recharge time (longer than conventional fuels, or even hydrogen). Like fuel-cell cars and hydrogen, it’s something of a chicken-or-egg proposition. Of course, EVs are helped immensely by our already having home electricity (though, alas, not always up to EV code).
      On a related note, some specialists (Larry Burns, Chris Borroni-Bird, Bill Mitchell, among them) see a multi-mode future: EVs for city use. Fuel cells for long- or heavy hauls. And hybrids in between.

      • Edward J.Kopacz
        March 24, 2017

        Well I guess I’m ready, I have a Lexus 300h, that gets 41 on a interstate road trip and 33 in and around. Hoping for an electric in my lifetime, if there are chargers, though doesn’t look promising. Those Tesla “S’s sure look good and can move too!

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This entry was posted on February 6, 2017 by in Driving it Today and tagged , .
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