Newly launched EVs for 2022 were expected to create greater competition in the market, but they got off to a slow start. Ford’s Lightning pickup had 12,804 registrations for the year, BMW’s iX crossover had 5,245, the Audi Q4 E-tron had 2,758, Toyota’s bZ4X had 1,067 and the Cadillac Lyriq had 157.
Since EV demand generally outstripped supply last year, automakers are often competing to see who can build the most vehicles for customers on waiting lists, analysts said.
Tesla has both its original factory in Fremont, Calif., and a new plant still ramping up in Austin, Texas, that started Model Y production last year. Tesla’s Cybertruck pickup is expected to launch out of Austin this year. All told, Tesla’s EV factory capacity in the U.S. is now about 900,000 vehicles, the company said, mostly for domestic sales.
“Tesla is out front in terms of EV manufacturing capacity and they have been able to use that to their advantage,” Stropp said.
Just over a year ago, Edmunds predicted that Tesla’s EV market share would fall to 46 percent in 2022 “as new players enter the segment.” But Tesla’s demand stayed strong and production increased sharply.
Edmunds told Automotive News this week that it had expected higher production levels of new EV models from Tesla’s rivals. Rather, it appears those automakers are going slow and playing it safe.
Edmunds, using its own calculation, now estimates Tesla’s 2022 EV share at 58 percent.
“Auto companies selling EVs are amassing a large number of new — and affluent — customers to their brands, so they want to make sure they get it right from the jump and avoid the road of recalls, customer service complaints, etc.,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights.
Just this week, Ford temporarily halted production of the F-150 Lightning over a potential battery issue. Last year, Ford recalled 50,000 units of its electric Mustang Mach-E. Toyota recalled the bZ4X last year over a manufacturing issue that could cause the wheels to fall off. And Chevrolet has replaced faulty battery packs in its Bolt EVs.
Tesla’s strongest competition last year came from a handful of EV models introduced in recent years that have benefited from increasing production levels.
Among the 10 most popular EVs last year, according to Experian, were the Mustang Mach-E, with a 50 percent jump in new-vehicle registrations to 38,469, and the Bolt, with a 41 percent increase to 36,245. Volkswagen’s ID4 crossover had a 20 percent increase to 19,665 registrations. And Rivian’s R1T pickup had 13,148.
Newer models with growing share include the Kia EV6 with 20,072 registrations and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 with 22,560. Also notable are the Mercedes EQS sedan with 9,628 and the BMW i4 with 8,705.
Only a few EVs saw sales fall last year, including the Porsche Taycan, with a 28 percent decrease to 6,803, and the Nissan Leaf, with an 18 percent drop to 12,115 registrations, Experian said.
With Tesla’s competition posting such relatively low registration numbers, it’s unlikely that the sales leader will be challenged for the top spot in the short term, analysts said.
“AutoPacific’s forecast shows Tesla to continue being the dominant EV brand for at least the next few years,” Kim said, “with sales set to continue growing significantly over our five-year forecast period.”