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February 10, 2020
A Mixed Bag for EVs in the Final Quarter of 2019
Source: EV Hub
After finishing the year strong with the third-highest quarterly sales ever, the U.S. EV market faces an uncertain path in 2020. Automakers seemed to diverge on approaches to emissions regulations and many fear a divided landscape where automakers must comply with different standards in various states. Despite uncertainty, new advertising efforts spearheaded during this year’s Super Bowl indicate that automakers are willing to invest in their EVs and convince consumers that bigger, bolder EVs are more than capable of meeting their transportation needs.

The U.S. EV market faced an uphill climb heading into the final quarter of 2019. EV sales in the second half of 2018 smashed previous thresholds, increasing to a record 126,562 vehicles sold in the final three months of the year. Compared to this market peak, sales for the fourth quarter of 2019 came in 26 percent lower. This rounded out an overall EV market decline of 9 percent compared to 2018. Tough regulatory battles with the federal government and the refusal to extend the federal tax credit for market leaders have led some automakers to turn their focus to international markets. Despite almost flat sales in the United States through most of the year, Tesla set a record for global deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2019 and has seen stock prices surge in 2020.

Although sales were down, the fourth quarter also brought renewed and clarified commitments to EV investment from major automakers. Volkswagen has committed the most to EV investment with more than $90 billion pledged and laid out more detailed plans for $31.8 billion of this investment in November. New companies also cashed in on major investment in 2019 with Rivian ending a banner year on a high note, raising an additional $1.3 billion to top off a total of almost $3 billion for the year.

​Electric utilities are doing their part to encourage customers to buy EVs and continue to invest heavily in charging infrastructure. Investment worth more than $86 million was approved in the fourth quarter of 2019, which was down from the $148 million approved in the third quarter of 2019. More than half of the approved investment came from several utilities in California and could support more than 35 DC fast charging and 900 Level 2 charging stations in schools and parks around the state.

Public agencies throughout the country continue to draw on funding available through the VW Settlement to invest in new technologies. Electric school buses saw a boom in investment in the final quarter of 2019 with a 29 percent increase in funding through the settlement compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. While states like Colorado have chosen to invest remaining funds exclusively in EVs, only half of all settlement awards made so far are going to transportation electrification. Out of the $18 million in awards announced in the fourth quarter, only $7 million will go towards EVs and charging infrastructure.

While some states are not taking the opportunity to invest in EVs, new research published in the final months of 2019 shows an increasingly attractive business case for several technologies. A report from the ICF shows that electric trucks are the most promising technology from both a cost and environmental perspective for California to meet their greenhouse gas emissions reduction and climate goals. At Atlas, our own research shows increasing government and electric utility support for the medium- and heavy-duty EV industry. The media is picking up on this as well, and bus and truck fleet electrification led the news cycle in the fourth quarter​ as investment announcements, research, and funding awards continued to fuel the growth of this sector.

There are many more developments from the final quarter of 2019 to digest, so be sure to join us for our quarterly review webinar on Thursday, February 13th at 2 p.m. EST as we cover our key takeaways from a busy fourth quarter.
See The Quarterly Review Slides
See Our Paper on Public Charging Investment

This brief provides an overview of the historical and current state of government, private sector, and electric utility investment in publicly available charging infrastructure in the United States. With increasing funding available from both the electric utility and government sectors, charging service providers and related stakeholders have a significant, near-term opportunity to grow the public EV charging network in the United States and reduce the dependency on government subsidization over time.

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EV Hub News

2020 Federal Low or No Emission Program Funding Available

On January 17, 2020, the Federal Transit Adminsitration (FTA) announced the opening of the 2020 Low or No Emission (Low-No) Program. Under this cycle. approximately $130 million will be available for transit agencies in all states to go towards the purchase or lease of low or no emission vehicles as well as related equipment or facilities.

The main purpose of the Low-No Program is to support the transition of the nation’s transit fleet to the lowest polluting and most energy efficient transit vehicles. The Low-No Program provides funding to State and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities. Since 2015, the Low-No Program has awarded almost $350 million for ZEV transit buses and supporting equipment. This year’s allocation will be the largest amount of yearly funding to date. Proposals are due by March 17, 2020. Read More Here

DOE Announces $133 Million to Accelerate Advanced Vehicle Technologies Research

The U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $133 million in new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research.  This funding supports research that will lead to more affordable, efficient, and secure transportation energy. Funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this funding opportunity supports projects in advanced batteries and electrification in support of the recently announced DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge.

This FY 2020 funding opportunity also supports priorities in advanced engine and fuel technologies including technologies for off-road applications, lightweight materials, new mobility technologies (energy efficient mobility systems), and alternative fuels technology demonstrations. Read More Here

New Jersey Legislature Passes New Bill Mandating Accelerated EV and Charging Deployment

On January 13, 2020, the New Jersey State Assembly and Senate passed S2252 establishing sweeping transportation electrification targets statewide. If signed by Governor Murphy, the bipartisan bill would establish a statewide public charging network to support an estimated 330,000 light-duty EVs by 2025.  

To support this acceleration, the bill proposes the deployment of at least 400 DC fast charging stations. To help expand the impact of this legislation, the bill also proposes the establishment of a statewide rebate program managed by the Board of Public Utilities. Funded at $30 million annually, the rebate program would offer incentives worth up to $5,000 to go towards the purchase of an EV with a sticker price below $55,000. Read More Here

Catch Up On EV Hub News Alerts
Job Openings
Below are current job openings in transportation electrification: If you have a job posting you would like to share with EV Hub users, please send them to us in an email at
Upcoming Events

Every quarter, join us for a webinar to review what we’ve learned about transportation electrification in the United States. These webinars are free to all and we encourage you to share this meeting information with your network. All content from the webinar are based on information available on EV Hub.

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For Q4 in 2019, our main takeaways are EV sales fall well below record Q4 in 2018, regulatory battles continue, and utility investment decreases. Read More Here.

February 12th @ 2pm EST

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