While 2021 Car Sales Fell, EV Sales Skyrocketed

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【Summary】2021 was a tough year for automotive sales in the U.S., but the fourth quarter of 2021 saw a dramatic increase in the number of electric vehicles sold.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 08, 2022 7:45 AM PT
While 2021 Car Sales Fell, EV Sales Skyrocketed

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the chip shortage, automakers had a lackluster year for car sales. According to Kelley Blue Book, American's bought 21.3 percent fewer vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2021 than they did in the fort quarter of 2020. That's a large decrease that certainly hurt automakers. While most of the news is bad, there's one piece of good news that should excite some automakers. In the fourth quarter of 2021, American shoppers bought 72 percent more electric vehicles.

EVs Becoming More Popular

In the U.S., electric vehicles account for a tiny portion of all vehicles on the road. Currently, electric cars make up roughly 3 percent of all cars on the road. And on the sales front, electric vehicles account for just 4.5 percent of total sales in the last quarter of 2021. But things are starting to look up for electric vehicles, which finally gained some traction.

As Kelley Blue Book's data revealed, the Tesla Model Y proved to be the most popular option on sale, as Tesla sold 63,386 units of the SUV in the fourth quarter. In fact, Tesla dominated the electric car scene. The American automaker accounted for 72 percent of all the electric cars sold in the fourth quarter of 2021. Tesla even outsold traditional luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Audi in America.

Another major highlight that occurred in 2021 was the introduction of electric pickup trucks. The Rivian R1T was the first pickup to be delivered, while the GMC Hummer EV followed shortly after.

Hybrids Are The Most Popular Choice

While EVs had a good fourth quarter, hybrids are still the preferred electrified vehicle for American shoppers. In 2021, Kelly Blue Book claims that hybrid sales increased 84 percent year over year. Toyota's hybrids proved to be the most popular, as Toyota and Lexus' vehicles accounted for more than half o the roughly 1 million hybrids sold in the U.S. The RAV4 Hybrid was the most popular hybrid, as Toyota sold more than 46,000 units of the SUV in the fourth quarter.

Despite the drawbacks to electric vehicles — a relatively high starting price compared to gas-powered cars, a small amount of range, and the lack of chargers — it's clear that EVs continue to grow in popularity. It will be interesting to see how the chip shortage affects car sales in the U.S. in 2022, but we expect electric cars to account for more sales this year.

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