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January 4, 2021
2021 Poised to Be Breakout Year for EVs in United States
Year over year sales for electric passenger cars and light-duty vehicles in the United States
Source: Atlas EV Hub
Nearly everyone is happy to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. Indeed, the reasons to be optimistic about 2021 go beyond the distribution of a vaccine for COVID-19. Passenger electric vehicles are poised to have a breakout year in the United States following a stellar year in Europe. While auto sales continued to dip into the fall on a year-over-year basis (see chart above), EV sales jumped and experienced their best October sales on record. Looking ahead, automakers will be rolling out a slew of new models, many of which are among the most anticipated of the year, across new market segments like pickup trucks.

From an electric Hummer to an electric Mustang, the auto industry has recognized that consumers are willing to pay a premium for electric drive and long range in a pretty package. The first two brands of the EV era, Chevrolet and Nissan both plan to launch new vehicle models in 2021 that will compete in the popular crossover segment. One of the two world’s largest automakers, Volkswagen should begin U.S. deliveries of their ID.4 crossover some time in the first quarter. Startups Rivian and Lucid also expect to make their first deliveries this year as the EV market continues to attract new investments. All told, we tallied over 30 models that could be delivered this year and $125 billion in announced electric transportation investments during the global pandemic, providing further evidence that automakers see electric as the future of their industry.

Tesla, the elephant in the room, delivered nearly 500,000 EVs in 2020, including more than two-thirds of the EVs sold in the United States through October, and their stock price entered Earth’s orbit faster than a SpaceX rocket. The company became the world’s most valuable automaker in June and it has more than doubled in value since then, reaching $660 billion today. We won’t speculate on the accuracy of this valuation but make no mistake, the market signals all point to an electric future. And if the company delivers its Cybertruck as planned in 2021 and continues to ramp up production worldwide, they’ll demonstrate to the entire industry what massive scale of electric vehicle production looks like.

EVs in the United States should hit the two million sales mark around June of this year, reaching that milestone in about a third of the time it took to reach one million sales. Analysts expect auto sales this year to recover from losses in 2020 assuming the effects of the pandemic subside. We think EVs could take a major step across the chasm to mainstream adoption so long as the automotive industry meets their goals on vehicle production, makes these vehicles readily available for sale, and gets the word out on how these upcoming vehicles are a game changer. In the next edition of the EV Hub spotlight, we’ll offer some thoughts on the EV policy landscape in 2021.
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Catch up on EV Hub Live

Catch up on EV Hub Live. In our last episode in late December, Nick Nigro sat down with Michael Berube, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation at the U.S. Department of Energy and Joe Britton, the Executive Director of the newly formed Zero Emission Transportation Alliance. They discussed the vehicle and charging technology progress we can expect in the near term and the importance of U.S. leadership in electric transportation. 

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EV Hub News

Three States and DC Move to Implement TCI Program

On December 21, 2020, members of the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. announced plans to be the first jurisdictions to begin administering the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) that could bring $300 million of annual investment in clean transportation projects to communities throughout the region. Investment will come from the TCI program which collects “allowance” payments from major oil and gas suppliers in the region to invest in transportation electrification and other emissions-saving technologies. Emissions reductions in these four jurisdictions are expected to reach 26 percent by 2032. Read More Here

California to Ban Sale of New Gas Vehicles by 2035

California, the nation’s largest vehicle market, has announced that the sale of new gasoline passenger cars and trucks will be banned after 2035. The ban comes as a result of an Executive Order from Governor Gavin Newsom and directly addresses the state’s long-term climate goals amid an ongoing season of particularly extreme wildfires. The next steps will be for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to establish binding requirements setting this new rule in motion. Read More Here

15 States Commit to 100% ZEV Truck and Bus Sales By 2050

Organized by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), 15 states and Washington DC have come together in support of rapid electrification of the medium-and heavy-duty vehicle sector. The MOU signed by participating states calls for all new truck and bus sales to be zero emission by 2050. States partnering on the MOU include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Read More Here

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