Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have had an exceptional year, defying various challenges and recording impressive sales figures. In the fourth quarter of the year, Americans purchased 317,168 BEVs, marking a significant 40% increase from the previous year’s 225,865. The third quarter also saw robust sales, with a total of 313,086 units sold.

During the fourth quarter, BEVs accounted for approximately 8% of all new car sales, contributing to a cumulative share of between 7% and 8% for the entirety of 2023. Comparing yearly figures, their presence in the market increased by approximately two percentage points compared to 2022.

The overall sales numbers for 2023 are striking, surpassing the 1 million mark for the first time in a calendar year. A total of 1,189,051 units were sold nationwide, representing a significant 46% growth compared to the previous year. However, this growth rate is lower than the extraordinary 66% increase experienced in 2022 over 2021.

Tesla remains the frontrunner in the BEV market, selling an impressive 161,385 vehicles during the fourth quarter, which indicates a ~23% year-on-year increase. With these numbers, Tesla holds approximately 51% of the BEV market share, slightly up by about 1 percentage point from the previous quarter.

Nevertheless, competition poses a real challenge for Elon Musk’s company. Tesla’s market dominance decreased slightly from 59% in the fourth quarter of 2022 to the current 51%. Additionally, eight BEV models from five different companies, excluding Tesla, achieved sales figures surpassing 5,000 vehicles in the last quarter. This represents an increase from five models by four manufacturers in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Among these competitors, Hyundai Motor stood out with a staggering 190% year-on-year growth, selling 16,265 units. BMW also experienced significant sales growth, with 14,374 units sold, representing a 103% increase. Rivian Automotive’s sales reached 13,553 units, marking a notable 68% growth. Lastly, Ford Motor recorded sales of 25,937 units, a substantial 28% increase.

Overall, the year 2023 proved to be a remarkable one for the BEV market, showcasing exponential growth and increased competition among various manufacturers. As battery-electric vehicles continue to gain popularity and evolve technologically, the industry’s landscape is set for further transformations in the coming years.

General Motors Continues to See Solid Growth in Electric Vehicle Sales

General Motors (GM) experienced a growth rate of around 20% in the fourth quarter, solidifying its position as the second largest electric vehicle (EV) seller with approximately 76,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) sold throughout the year.

Luxury models accounted for nearly 67% of all BEV sales, maintaining a similar percentage to that of the previous quarter. In fact, luxury vehicles made up about 33% of all BEV sales outside of Tesla, a noticeable increase from about 28% the previous year.

On the other hand, sales of non-luxury BEVs constituted only around 4% of total non-luxury car sales in the U.S. This indicates that there is room for improvement in terms of affordability. At present, most EVs are still being purchased by higher-end buyers.

Tesla, a prominent luxury brand, has contributed to making EVs more accessible by reducing prices in 2023. In fact, the average price of a new Tesla globally is about $45,000, lower than the average price of a car in the U.S., which stands at $48,000.

However, Tesla will need to introduce a lower-priced model in order to further expand its market reach and effectively defend its market share in the years to come. While the company has plans to produce such a model, its release date remains uncertain.

As for the rest of the auto industry, increasing the sale of EVs and effectively managing losses will be crucial. Ford’s EV division reported an operating loss of approximately $3.1 billion in the first nine months of 2023.

In early trading on Wednesday, Tesla stock experienced a slight decline of 0.4%. On the other hand, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite saw gains of around 0.3%.

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