Lower fuel prices in the US are believed to have kept a lid on EV sales-growth for 2015, with figures more-or-less static compared to the same time last year.
Also, some of the best sellers in the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt have been on the market for several years and are now approaching the tail-end of their respective lifespans - with a corresponding drop in desirability.
Continual updates and the overall popularity of anything Tesla will likely keep the Model S at the top of US EV sales charts, while an all-new Volt from General Motors could result in a sales spike for the range-extended small car in the second half of 2015.
Figures from the rest of the world tell a different story, with EV sales up moderately over 2014 as more markets gain access to all-electric and range-extender models.
Government interest a key driver
A report compiled by Inside EVs says US buyers still purchased around 39,000 EVs in May of this year, but America’s share of the global EV pie - standing at 160,000 sales in May - is shrinking.
Government incentives are largely responsible for relatively strong EV sales in Norway and The Netherlands, while the segment is growing in the UK, France and Germany.
The latter three averaged between 3000 and 10,000 EV sales each in the first quarter of 2015.
Japan is also warming to the idea of EVs, with more than 7500 sales in the first quarter of this year.
The Model S may be the EV king in the US, but it’s Nissan’s Leaf that leads the global EV sales chart.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance recently celebrated its 250,000th EV sale, with the Leaf contributing 180,000 to that tally in its 4.5-year life (to date).
Australia’s EV market remains a ‘watch-and-see’ affair thanks to the absence of government support or incentives for electric vehicles.
Tesla’s Model S got another technology update to both existing and new examples just last week. The carmaker is pushing ahead with its Supercharger stations along the east coast, and will shortly begin its ‘Next Billion Tour’ to spread the word to potential new customers.
The new Model X SUV will eventually be offered to Australian customers.
Leaf sales are down 6.3 percent in Australia for the first six months of 2015 compared to the same time last year, with new homes found for 74 units so far.
Nissan maintains that its local EV sales are unlikely to improve without government incentives and more charging infrastructure.
The arrival of GM’s new Volt leaves Holden without a range-extended EV in its ranks, for now, as the new model will only be built in left-hand-drive.
GM’s new Bolt EV, however, may yet make it to Australia if it is available in right-hand-drive.
Plug-in hybrid models are available locally in the form of Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV, Audi’s A3 Sportback e-tron and others, while newcomers will include Volvo’s XC90 and a range of PHEVs from Mercedes-Benz over the coming months.
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