It’s hardly shocking news for anyone following the automotive industry, and the government dictates to which it must abide: electrified vehicle sales reached a record high in the third quarter of 2022.
According to Cox Automotive‘s Kelley Blue Book, EVs are now one of the hottest categories in the U.S. automotive market. More than 200,000 electrified vehicles were sold in the third quarter of 2022, as the category’s sales volumes and share growth exceeded other industry segments.
The growth comes even as the high price of electric vehicles isn’t discouraging consumers people from them. While the cost of electric vehicles fell 1.8% in September compared to the prior month, they rose 9.7% year over year. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average new EV cost last month was $65,291, significantly higher than the industry average and more in line with luxury vehicles, which averaged $65,775 in September, than mainstream ones, which averaged $48,094.
“Electrified vehicles continue to be the darling of the industry, with the growing marketplace and consumer interest now reflected in record sales numbers,” said Brian Moody, executive editor for Kelley Blue Book. “While EV prices currently align more closely with luxury versus mainstream, the market continues to grow and evolve with more choices hitting the scene all the time. It’s no longer just ‘which Tesla is available,’ but rather an industry-wide boom with more EVs on the horizon from Ford, GM, Hyundai, and other manufacturers.”
Which EVs are selling
While Tesla is still the leading EV brand, its 64% market share, while still significant, is trending lower as new entries grab consumers’ attention and wallets. Nevertheless, Tesla remains tops in the EV segment, selling 131,024 vehicles in the third quarter, clearly outpacing second-place Ford at 18,257 units. General Motors ranks third at 15,156 units, followed by Volkswagen/Audi at 10,568, and Hyundai/Genesis at 6,517.
Among models, the Tesla Model Y was the most popular EV at 60,271 units, followed by the Tesla Model 3 at 55,030 units. From there, volume drops off significantly, with third place going to the affordable Chevy Bolt EV and EUV at 14,709 units, the Ford Mustang Mach-E at 10,414 units, and the aging Tesla Model S rounding out the top five at 9,171 units.
The five lowest volume EVs in the third quarter were the Cadillac Lyric at 36 units, low if only because it was just starting to reach showrooms. It was followed by the Jaguar I-Pace at 22 units, clearly the victim of bad marketing by Jaguar. Next was the Volvo XC40 Recharge at 12 units, the Mazda MX-30 at 8 units and the Hyundai Ioniq at 7 units. Note that Hyundai’s newest EV, the Ioniq 5, sold 4,800 units during the same period. But it’s afar newer, and better realized EV.
For those betting on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, sales declined from already meager levels, with Toyota Mirai sales down 88% to 79 units, Hyundai Nexo up 19% to 74 units, and Honda Clarity down 49% to 19 units. Certainly, this is one powertrain that’s quickly becoming irrelevant in the light-duty vehicle market, even as heavy-duty truckers continue to consider it.
Overall, 205,854 EVs were sold in the third quarter, up 67% from the 123,514 units sold during the same period in 2021. Year-to-date, 578,402 EVs were sold in the third quarter, up 69% from the 342,318 units sold during the same period in 2021.
What about hybrids?
When it comes to hybrids, it’s little surprise that Toyota retains the top spot in the segment among hybrid manufacturers, although its share also declined in the third quarter mostly due to tight inventory.
But the company still managed to move 111,634 Toyota and Lexus vehicles, or 54.2% of the 206,072 hybrids sold in the United States in the third quarter. Sixteen other manufacturers sold the rest. Ford/Lincoln placed second at 24,664 units, followed by Honda/Acura at 19,714 units, Hyundai/Genesis at 17,431 units and Stellantis at 15,574 units.
The most popular hybrid went to the Toyota RAV4/RAV4 Prime at 41,319 units, outdistancing all other hybrids by a longshot. Second place went to the Toyota Sienna at 15,239 units, followed by the Jeep Wrangler 4xe at 13,478 units, Toyota Camry at 12,636 units and the Honda CR-V at 9,427 units.
Bringing up the rear, the Lexus LS was among the five least popular hybrids in third quarter of 2022, selling 29 units, followed by the BMW 7 Series at 10 units, Hyundai Ioniq at 7 units, the Lexus LC at 4, followed by the least-popular hybrid, the Toyota Sequoia, which managed to sell a single unit.
Year-over-year, hybrid sales totaled 206,072 units for the quarter, down 16% from the 245,450 units in the third quarter of 2021. Year-to-date, automakers sold 686,271 hybrids, down 5.8% from the 728,507 hybrids sold in the first nine months of 2021.
Overall, hybrids outsold EVs by 7.2% in the first three quarters of 2022, a far slimmer margin than in 2021, when hybrids outsold EVs by 53 percent. The age of the electric vehicle has arrived.