Electric cars sales are poised to hit their highest level on record in 2021, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds data shows that EV sales made up 1.9% of retail sales in the United States in 2020; Edmunds analysts expect this number to grow to 2.5% this year.
“After years of speculation and empty promises, 2021 is actually shaping up to be a pivotal year for growth in the EV sector,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “We’re not only about to see a massive leap in the number of EVs available in the market; we’re also going to see a more diverse lineup of electric vehicles that better reflect current consumer preferences.”
Edmunds analysts anticipate that 30 EVs from 21 brands will become available for sale this year, compared to 17 vehicles from 12 brands in 2020. Notably, this will be the first year that these offerings represent all three major vehicle categories: Consumers will have the choice among 11 cars, 13 SUVs and six trucks in 2021, whereas only 10 cars and seven SUVs were available last year.
This diverse spread of EV offerings should help encourage stronger loyalty among EV owners, which has dwindled over the years as shoppers have gravitated toward larger vehicles. According to Edmunds data, 71% of EV owners who didn’t buy another EV traded in their vehicle for a truck or SUV in 2020, compared to 60% in 2019 and 34% in 2015.
“Americans have a love affair with trucks and SUVs, to the detriment of EVs, which have until recently been mostly passenger cars,” said Caldwell. “Automakers should have a much better shot of recapturing some of the EV buyers who they’ve lost now that they can offer larger, more utilitarian electric vehicles.”
Edmunds analysts note that this infusion of fresh new products comes at a time where the market is also seeing a positive shift in consumer interest in EVs. According to Google Trends data, consumer searches for electric trucks and SUVs have recently hit a high point after trending upward for years.
“Besides affordability, one of the biggest barriers to increased EV sales has simply been tepid consumer reception — it’s been tough for companies that aren’t Tesla to crack the code of how to get shoppers hyped up for these vehicles,” said Caldwell. “But in the past year we’ve seen automakers throw huge advertising dollars behind their EV launches in an attempt to drum up some buzz, and it’s promising that consumers seem to at least be more aware of the options out there.”
As more consumers look to EVs as a possibility for their next car purchase, Edmunds experts emphasize that shoppers should take extra time to consider their alternatives and do their research.
“Buying an EV is an entirely different beast than a traditional car purchase, so extra research and diligence are key,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ senior manager of insights. “Range and weather conditions play a huge factor in determining whether certain EVs make sense for your everyday needs, and whether you own a home with a garage or rent an apartment could affect your charging situation. Federal and state tax incentives are at play with these purchases. And with a number of manufacturers following Tesla’s direct sale model, there might not be opportunities to take a test drive, or even to trade in your current vehicle, like you would at a traditional dealership.”
To help consumers, the Edmunds experts have put together a comprehensive analysis of the true cost of powering an EV, and they also
maintain an authoritative EV rankings page that highlights the best electric vehicles currently in production.
Electric Vehicles Expected to be Available for Sale in 2021:
- 2021 Atlis XT – Vehicle Category: large truck;
- 2021 Audi e-tron – luxury midsize SUV;
- 2021 Audi e-tron Sportback – luxury midsize SUV;
- 2021 BMW i3 – luxury subcompact car;
- 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV – subcompact car;
- 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E – midsize SUV;
- 2021 Hercules Alpha – large truck;
- 2021 Honda Clarity – midsize car;
- 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric – compact car;
- 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric – subcompact SUV;
- 2021 Kia Niro EV – subcompact SUV;
- 2021 Lordstown Motors Endurance – large truck;
- 2021 Lucid Air – luxury large car;
- 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQC – luxury compact SUV;
- 2021 Mini Hardtop 2 Door sports car;
- 2021 Nissan Leaf compact car;
- 2021 Polestar 2 luxury midsize car;
- 2021 Porsche Taycan luxury large car;
- 2021 Rivian R1S luxury large SUV;
- 2021 Rivian R1T midsize truck;
- 2021 Tesla Cybertruck large truck;
- 2021 Tesla Model 3 luxury compact car;
- 2021 Tesla Model S luxury large car;
- 2021 Tesla Model X luxury large SUV;
- 2021 Tesla Model Y luxury compact SUV;
- 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge luxury subcompact SUV;
- 2021 VW ID.4 compact SUV;
- 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV compact SUV;
- 2022 GMC Hummer EV SUV large truck;
- 2022 Nissan Ariya compact SUV.