Navigating the EV Sales Slowdown: The Realities and Charting the Road Ahead
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MYTHBUSTING

Navigating the EV Sales Slowdown: The Realities and Charting the Road Ahead

  • Recent reports have come out about a slowdown in EV sales, but various factors are at play that impact sales numbers.
  • The EV sales slowdown is attributed to factors like EV charging infrastructure and cold temperatures affecting battery range.
  • Despite the slowdown, significant growth is observed in EV sales, with Kia, Ford, and BMW reporting notable increases, driven by the introduction of new models and technological advancements.

It’s no secret that EV sales have slowed, but is the slowdown a serious problem? If the anti-EV groups have any say, then yes. In the real world, slowed sales aren’t a problem at all. 


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According to Tim Piechowski from ACR Alpine Capital Research, the slowdown in sales is due to EV charging and cold temperatures affecting battery range. “The reality is that the adoption curve will be slower and there will be pushback to regulators about fuel economy. It’ll just be a longer ramp than perhaps was initially anticipated.”

General Motors CFO Paul Jacobson said about EV sales, “We know the EV market is not going to grow linearly. We are prepared to flex between ICE and EV production.”


The New J3400 Charging System Is on the Horizon

Image care of EVgo

I have another hypothesis contributing to the current slowdown in EV sales: NACS charging. In June, automakers began announcing they were switching their charging structure to work with Tesla Superchargers. By the end of November, nearly all major OEMs in the United States were committed to switching their EVs from CCS to NACS. To make the switch more efficient, the Society of Automotive Engineers developed the innovative SAE J3400 charging system standard that all OEMs could use to access Tesla Superchargers and the existing CCS chargers from companies like Electrify America, EVgo, and Chargepoint.

The new J3400 ports will be installed in nearly all new 2025 EVs and some late 2024 models. Knowing that a new, user-friendly charging system with double the stations will be available in the next model year, it’s easy to see why EV sales are slowing. All OEMs will sell adaptors for EVs that were built with the old CCS charging system — but for people who don’t need to buy an EV right now, waiting a few more months makes sense.


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Exciting New Electric Vehicles

EV sales may have experienced a slowdown because more exciting models are on the horizon. In the next few months, the Honda Prologue will hit dealership lots. So will the exciting Dodge Charger EV with mind-blowing specs like a battery pack with over 100 kWh. A few days ago, Rivian announced two smaller SUVs, and the Illinois company already has 68,000 reservations for the new R2 model.


Growth Amid the Slowdown

Kia EV9 driving on treed road, front 3/4 view
Image care of Kia

Despite the upcoming new models and charging systems, automakers are actually still seeing increases in their EV sales.

Kia announced its February 2024 sales numbers, and the automaker saw a 65% increase in EV sales compared to February 2023. The sales jump is thanks to the new EV9 — the automaker’s new three-row fully electric SUV.

Ford also announced an increase in EV sales in February 2024. The Mustang Mach-E saw sales up 64.3% over the 2023 February numbers. According to Fox Business, “EV sales at Ford are up 25.9% year-to-date compared to a year ago, while sales were up 80.8% from last February with 6,368 EVs sold in the month versus 3,523 last year.”

Ford’s growth was thanks to the F-105 Lightning, which saw a 93% increase compared to February 2023.

Drivers aren’t shying away from luxury EVs either, as BMW reports solid EV sales in 2023. The German automaker sold over 376,000 EVs in 2023. In the fourth quarter alone, BMW sold more than 129,000 EVs, outperforming expectations.


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The Anti-EV Narrative of EV Sales Slowing

Photo of customers looking at Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck features at Electrify Expo San Francisco
Image care of Electrify Expo

Bad news sells, especially regarding a polarizing topic like EVs. While EV sales continue to quietly tick up, the news media often focuses on the negative, continuing to drive the anti-EV narrative. When Hertz decided to sell off its inventory of EVs, the broader media went crazy. This sell-off happened at the same time that sales had leveled off to 9% at the beginning of the year.

NPR reported the rosier picture for EV sales, reporting that GM and Ford haven’t dropped their EV plans, just adjusted their timelines. Tesla isn’t adding ICE vehicles to its production lines, and Hertz just got in too early on the EV market. The auto industry sold a record number of EVs in 2023, and the numbers are expected to grow in 2024. Many media outlets won’t get attention reporting the reality when doomsday gets more clicks instead.

The early adopters are okay with inconveniences like charging time, but the mainstream shopper wants a better system — and it’s on the way. We’ve seen similar reluctance with hybrid vehicles. When the Toyota Prius arrived on the scene, people were skeptical. Now, the people have embraced hybrid technology, even in full-size pickups like the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.

All too often, the voices against new technology and innovation are afraid of change. The automotive industry needs to change, especially as the climate continues to do so — right before our eyes.


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FEATURE IMAGE: STELLANTIS

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AUTHOR: 

KRISTEN BENTLEY

One Response

  1. Did you know it took nearly 50 years to fully change from horses to ICE transportation. Sometimes it just takes time. Con you imagine all the horse shit they had to remove from city streets. The earth first folks will do anything including making bold face lies. So hang in there it shouldn’t take more than 30 years for change to happen, I’m nearly 75 and probably won’t see it happen in my life time and I’m ok with that.

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