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2023 Electric Vehicle Sales

Good news & bad news

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released monthly electric vehicle (EV) and total light-duty vehicle sales through December 2023. As always, we turn the data into energy business insights.

  • Annual battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales were 1.1 million, up 48% versus 2022.

  • This marks the first year BEV sales surpassed the 1 million annual mark.

  • Total BEV, Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) were 2.6 million in 2023, up 52% year-over-year.

  • BEV sales growth remains strong, but has decelerated

  • Internal combustion engine (ICE) sales grew by 817,000 vehicles, nearly offsetting the growth in BEV.

  • ICE sales grew for the first time since 2016.

Battery electric vehicle sales increased by 360,00 in 2023, continuing the strong growth of the last three years.

BEV sales growth decelerated despite significant investment across the industry, backed by government subsidies. It is too early to tell if the slowdown relates to consumer preference and saturation for EV buyers or simply the law of larger numbers together with typical ebbs and flows as the industry ramps production.

PHEV sales remain insignificant at approximately 300,000 per year.

HEV sales were strong, modestly outpacing BEV sales, while growing at 53.5%.

Total EV sales exceeded the 2.5 million annual threshold. For context, 12.9 million ICE vehicles were sold last year.

Total EV sales market share was 16.7% in 2023 versus 12.3% in 2022. That market share has more than tripled since 2020. BEV sales are 7.2% of the U.S. light-duty vehicle market, up from under 1% in 2017.

On the negative side of the climate leger, ICE sales increased in 2023 for the first time since 2016.

More than 800,000 more ICE vehicles were purchased in the U.S. during 2023 compared to the prior year. A strong economy and difficult-to-sway consumer preferences are the likely culprits for the increase.

There are a number of concerns floating around related to EV growth rates. Performance in cold weather, range and cost, among others. Tesla just warned of slowing growth this year. With 2023 behind us, EV growth rates will be hotly watched in 2024 and beyond.

We will soon put out some work related to EV market share gains and the impact on gasoline and diesel demand. This is a long game, this data and our future work will show as much.