There is no doubt electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) are now a regular part of the current conversation about cars. EVs are vehicles with electric motors, versus the traditional combustion engine powered by gasoline or diesel. There are hybrid-electric models too, which run on a combination of gasoline and at least one electric motor. While the EV seems like a fairly recent concept, it actually dates back to the 1830s, and demand for the electric vehicle has experienced an intense ebb and flow ever since.
The EV conversation has become louder recently thanks in part to the increased number of automakers producing either an EV or HEV model. Even the hybrid market is expanding, with plug-in options and mild and full hybrid categories available to choose from. While Tesla dominates the U.S. market for electric vehicle sales, other manufacturers like Chevrolet, Hyundai, Audi and Porsche have all introduced their own versions of EVs. President Joe Biden has also issued an executive order to be signed that targets electric vehicles representing half of all new vehicles sold by 2030. A closer look at the current electric vehicle market shows a wide variety of models are now available, but other challenges and misconceptions remain that are impacting sales.
Key market data and facts
- The current White House administration has issued an executive order setting a target for EVs to represent half of all vehicle sales by 2030 (The White House)
- 64,344 HEVs (21,177 cars and 43,167 LTs) were sold in the U.S. in January 2022, up 37.4% from the sales in January 2021. (Argonne National Laboratory)
- 29% of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were a result of transportation, mainly from gasoline and diesel. The electricity sector was the second largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 25 percent of the U.S. total. Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity have decreased by about 12 percent since 1990 due to a shift in generation to lower- and non-emitting sources of electricity generation and an increase in end-use energy efficiency. (Environmental Protection Agency)
- EV sales have experienced record growth for the last five years, with March 2021 showing the highest recorded growth in one month. (Bureau of Transportation Statistics)
- Electric vehicle statistics show 761,000 EVs and HEVs total were sold in 2020, with over 454,000 being HEVs. (Bureau of Transportation Statistics)
- Plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles combined accounted for a small percentage of all cars sold in the US in 2019 — exactly 2.1% of the overall light vehicle market. (Bureau of Transportation Statistics)
- California easily leads the nation with over 13,000 alternative fueling stations available. New York has the second highest number of stations with over 2,700. (U.S. Department of Energy)
- Tesla is now considered the dominant manufacturer in both the electric vehicle market and luxury category. (Cox Automotive)
- Over a dozen brand new electric vehicle models are expected to launch in 2022. (Cox Automotive)
- California residents bought over 145,000 EVs in 2019, the most of any state. The state with the lowest sales was North Dakota, with 114 sold in one year. (EVAdoption)
- Electric vehicle battery costs have dropped from $1,200 per kWh in 2010 to an average of $132 per kWh in 2021, which impacts the overall price of an EV. (Statista)
How many EVs have been sold in the U.S. year over year?
As mentioned, the last several years have shown significant growth in EV and HEV sales.
Take a look at the following statistics from the Argonne National Laboratory, which tracks the U.S. electric vehicle market, including hybrid car statistics.
- Of the 59,664 hybrid vehicles sold in February 2022 (up 10.2% from February, 2021), 15,763 were cars and 43,801 were light trucks.
- Toyota accounted for a 63.7% share of total hybrid sales in February. Prius (Prius and Prius C in total) accounted for 3.9% of hybrid vehicle sales.
- 59,554 plug-in vehicles (both hybrid and electric) were sold in February 2022, up 68.9% from February 2021.
- Over 112,000 plug-in electric vehicles (both hybrid and battery) have been sold in 2022.
- Over 2.4 million plug-in electric vehicles (both hybrid and battery) have been sold since 2010.
Is car insurance coverage the same for electric or hybrid vehicles?
Car insurance coverage for electric and hybrid vehicles is largely the same versus conventional non-electric models, but there are some differences to be aware of. For starters, the cost for insuring EVs and HEVs is typically more expensive, because the cost of replacement parts and repair costs in general are more expensive.
You will find policies available from many of the larger insurance providers, including State Farm, USAA, Allstate, Geico and numerous others. The same coverage options you would expect to find with a conventional policy are also available for electric vehicles, including comprehensive and collision.
Tesla started offering its own insurance coverage for Tesla owners in California and Texas, with an eye toward expansion over the next few years. Its policies are available for all Tesla models and are tailored to the unique needs of electric vehicle owners.
Leading car company EV sales by market share
Kelley Blue Book offers insights into the most popular electric vehicles by model from 2020.
|Model||Units sold in 2020|
|Tesla Model 3 and Model Y||442,511 (combined)|
|Tesla Model S and X||57,039 (combined)|
|Chevrolet Bolt EV||20,754|
What regions or states have the most electric vehicles sold?
Here is a snapshot of electric vehicles sales statistics for the highest volume states, plus the states with the smallest volume of sales, according to EVAdoption. California leads the pack by a wide margin (though that gap may be closing as more recent data becomes available).
|States with highest electric vehicle sales in 2019||Annual sales|
|States with lowest electric vehicle sales in 2019||Annual sales|
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in the U.S.
In total there are over 46,000 electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S. This number is expected to increase with the passing of the recent infrastructure bill. The bill pledges over $5 billion to be invested in additional electric vehicle charging stations while increasing accessibility to drivers throughout the U.S.
|State||Number of electric vehicle charging stations (U.S. Dept. of Energy)|
States with the most charging stations
California, New York, Florida, Texas and Massachusetts have the highest number of electric vehicle charging stations. Notice this does not necessarily align with the electric vehicle statistics surrounding sales by state, although California, New York and Florida were also in the top five for EV sales as of 2019.
|States with highest number of electric vehicle charging stations||Number|
States with the fewest charging stations
Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana represent the states with the fewest number of charging stations. This mostly reflects the same pattern found with electric car stats in these states.
|States with lowest number of electric vehicle charging stations||Number|
Common myths, misconceptions and concerns
While electric vehicle statistics show growth, overall the number of EV sales still represents a small portion of vehicle sales. This could be in part because of the common myths and concerns surrounding the various electric vehicles.
Many of the more common misconceptions are simply based on false information. These myths include:
- Myth #1: Electric vehicles do more damage to the environment than conventional vehicles. This myth likely started because of battery production and the amount of energy it takes to produce a battery for an EV. While work needs to be done to improve batteries, many studies support the idea that an EV still produces less greenhouse emissions than producing a battery, especially if a battery has been recycled.
- Myth #2: The range of EVs is limited. Most EV models can last around 200 miles per day on a charge, whereas the average driver travels about 100 miles per day. This means an EV is equipped to handle the driving of most people on a daily basis. And hybrid models can travel 550 to 700 miles compared to the average internal combustion (ICE) car’s range of 350 to 450 miles.
- Myth #3: Electric vehicles are not as safe as conventional vehicles. EVs must undergo the same testing and regulation associated with all other sedans and light trucks. Additionally, the batteries must pass and conform to a separate set of industry standards.
- Myth #4: There are not enough charging stations. Most EVs can plug into a standard outlet, which means you can charge the vehicle simply by plugging it in at home. When traveling, you can find over 46,000 charging stations located at various locations, including gas and retail outlets.
- Myth #5: Electric vehicles are only available in sedans. You can find both electric and hybrid-electric vehicles in other vehicle categories, including light trucks and the luxury market. As growth continues, more manufacturers will likely open up options in other categories.
It is understandable how the growth in electric vehicles could raise concerns at the same time. Most of the common concerns about EVs center around cost, safety and the evolving technology.
- Cost: Cost is definitely a major factor for most drivers. A recent analysis conducted by Atlas Public Policy (and reported on by the Miami Herald) shows that it is, on whole, cheaper to purchase and maintain an EV than a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle. This includes the overall purchase cost, as well as maintenance costs and the price per kilowatt breakdown. Since most drivers are not accustomed to thinking in kilowatts versus gallons of gasoline, it can make cost more confusing to understand. A cost comparison calculator can help with this concern.
- Reliability: Many drivers are concerned about the length of time a full charge will last, especially if there is an emergency situation. Most days the 200-mile range for an EV is more than adequate for normal commuting conditions. And hybrid vehicles can travel 550 to 700 miles, which far exceeds the traditional car’s average range of 350 to 450 miles on one tank of gas.
- Technology: While electric vehicles are certainly making improvements in technology, there have been concerns about their performance when compared to a traditional ICE vehicle. This report from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy examines some of the recent advances in EV technology, such as improved regenerative braking and the different types of charging modes available.
The electric vehicle market dates back well over 100 years, although EV and hybrid popularity has climbed over recent years. Growth is seen both in hybrid and electric vehicles, with hybrid leading the preference in sales due to its increased driving range and flexibility. There are multiple manufacturers now offering options for electric vehicles, which means consumers now have more choices than ever before. As these choices continue to open up and legislation pushes car makers to produce more EVs, buyers should see more options and competitive pricing than ever before in the EV and hybrid markets.