New EV Registrations Up Fourfold Since 2016, Tesla Keeps Climbing

In the first quarter of this year, electric vehicles (EV) accounted for 2.22% of all new vehicle registrations in the United States. Of those, new EVs from Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) accounted for 1.7% of all new registrations, roughly 70% of all new EV registrations for the quarter.

Last year, for the first time, new registrations of Tesla EVs surpassed both Buick- and Audi-badged vehicles. In the first quarter of 2021, new Tesla registrations topped Dodge-badged vehicles as well. Tesla’s 1.7% share is hot on the trail of Lexus (1.9% share of new first-quarter registrations) with Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW (2.0% each) within the near-term range.

Tesla’s overall share of the EV market is declining, however, as competition from other automakers begins in earnest. In 2020, Tesla’s share of the EV market was 78.3%, according to data from Experian released recently. Chevrolet’s share also has declined, while Ford’s has jumped.

All told, EVs make up just 0.4% of the entire U.S. fleet of 280.6 million light vehicles currently in operation. Some 14.9 million new registrations in 2020 more than offset the 13.5 million vehicles that were taken out of service over the 12-month period.

Light trucks accounted for 57% of new first-quarter registrations, while 50.7% of new vehicles were domestic. Full-size pickups account for 16.2% of all light vehicles in the U.S. fleet, followed by compact SUVs that account for 10.6% of the fleet. According to Experian data, 2.42% of the fleet consists of EVs and hybrid/electric vehicles.

The average age of a U.S.-registered vehicle is 10.72 years, using a rolling 25-year model. That age increases to 11.88 years if all vehicles registered since 1967 and that are still on the road are counted. The 25-year rolling model accounts for 94.5% of all light vehicles on U.S. roads.

New first-quarter registrations were up 20% year over year in the January through March 2021 period. Used vehicle registrations rose 25.6 year over year.

Experian’s state-by-state data indicates that more than 41% of all EVs ever sold are registered in California. Florida (5.96%), Texas (5.22%), Washington (4.84%) and New York (3.33%) round out the top five. North Dakota (0.02%), Wyoming (0.03%), South Dakota (0.04%), West Virginia (0.06%) and Mississippi (0.08%) have the fewest EV registrations.

Among owners of luxury-brand EVs who sold their vehicles last year, nearly 72% bought a new EV. Among owners of non-luxury brands, nearly 64% purchased a new EV. In California, nearly 70% of EV owners who sold their vehicles last year turned around and bought a new one.

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