United States: Sales of electric cars increased in January 2023

IRA boosted domestic BEV models while imported ones suffered the most.

Tesla Model 3

The electrification of cars in the United States accelerated significantly in early 2023, according to the latest reports for the month of January.

According to the registration data from Experian (via Car news), out of 1.24 million new light vehicles registered in January, about 87,708 or 7.1 percent were fully electric. That’s a 74 percent increase year-on-year and a noticeable change, compared to a 4.3 percent share in January 2022. The 7.1 percent share is also a step change from 5.6 percent in the 12 months of 2022.

Clearly, the battery electric vehicle (BEV) segment is booming, partly through organic growth and partly through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), which brought back the $7,500 federal tax credit for Tesla and General Motors.

However, imported models that are no longer eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit were significantly affected and are not selling as well as in 2022 (especially the mainstream models like Hyundai and Kia because the premium imported BEVs exceed the price cap for the incentive anyway ).

Another reason why the market rose is price reductions introduced by some of the manufacturers (Tesla was one of them).

BEV registrations in January 2023:

  • Tesla (57% BEV): 49,917 (up 34% from 37,128)
  • Non-Tesla (43% BEVs): 37,791 (up 186% from 13,210)
  • Total: 87,708 (up 74% from 50,338) and 7.1% share (up from 4.3%)

Tesla remains the biggest player in the BEV segment in the US with nearly 50,000 units in January and a 57 percent share, although the 34 percent growth rate is much lower than the segment average. Let’s keep in mind that a year ago, in January 2022, Tesla had a 74 percent share, so this is a noticeable shift.

The next two most popular brands were: Chevrolet (8.5 percent share) and Ford (7.7 percent share). Volkswagen gained a lot of traction (4.6 percent share) thanks to local production of the ID.4 (eligible for the federal tax credit), while Hyundai and Kia suffered, according to the report. We have collected most of the data below.

BEV registrations (selected brands) – January 2023:

  • Tesla – 49,917 (up 34% from 37,128) and 57% share (down from 74% a year ago)
  • Chevrolet – 8.5% share
  • Ford – 7.7% share
  • Volkswagen – 4.6% share
  • Hyundai – 3% share
  • BMW – 2,558 and 2.9% share
  • Rvian – 2.6% share
  • Mercedes-Benz – 2,142 and 2.4% share

Two Tesla cars (Model Y and Model 3) are at the top and far exceed the sales of other electric cars. Automotive News also noted that eight out of the ten best-selling BEVs are now locally produced.

US BEV Registrations (Select Models) – January 2023:

  • Tesla Model Y – 28,833 (up 56%)
  • Tesla Model 3 – 17,526 (up 29%)
  • Chevrolet Bolt EUV – 4,928
  • Volkswagen ID.4 – 4,049 (up 251% from 1,153)
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E – 3,286 (up 19%)
  • Ford F-150 Lightning – 2,918
  • Tesla Model S or Model X – N/A
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV – 2,526
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 – N/A
  • BMW i4 – 1,650 (up from 53 a year ago)
  • Outside the top 10:
    Rivian R1T – 1,536
    Rivian R1S – 717

In the premium/luxury car segment, Tesla has far surpassed other brands and it looks like there is no going back.

However, Car news noted that Tesla announced a next-generation entry-level mass vehicle, which opens the question of whether the auto industry will still consider Tesla a premium/luxury brand then.

Premium Brand Registrations in the US – January 2023:

  • Tesla – 49,917 (up 34.0% from 37,128)
  • BMW: 31,070 (up 2.5%)
  • Mercedes-Benz: 23,345 (up 7.3%)
  • Lexus: 23,082 (down 6.6%)
  • Audi: 19,113 (up 38.0%)

Just for reference, here are the numbers for the 12 months of 2022. In 2022, more than 750,000 new all-electric cars were registered in the US, which was 57 percent more than in 2021 and 5.6 percent of the total market.

Meanwhile, the total market fell 11 percent year-on-year to 13.6 million units, according to Experian (via Car news).

BEV registrations in January-December 2022:

  • Tesla (64% BEVs): 484,351 (up 41% from about 343,000)
  • Non-Tesla (36% BEVs): 272,183 (up 96% from about 139,000)
  • Total: 756,534 (up 57% from approx. 482,000) and 5.6% share (up from 3.1%)

Tesla was the top brand with 484,351 registrations (almost two-thirds of all) and four models in the top five BEVs (Ford Mustang Mach-E was #3).

The next two brands in the BEV segment were Ford (56,464) and Chevrolet (36,245).

US BEV Registrations by Make – January-December 2022:

  • Tesla – 484,351 (up 41%) and 64% share (down from 71% share)
    Model Y – 228,312 (up 35%)
  • Ford – 56,464 (more than doubled) and 7.5% share
    Mustang Mach-E – 38,469 (up 50%) and 5.1% share
    Ford F-150 Lightning – 12,804
  • Chevrolet – 36,245 (up 41%) and 4.8% share
    Bolt EV/Bolt EUV – 36,245 (up 41%)
  • Kia – 28,506 (more than tripled) and 3.8% share
    EV6 – 20,072
  • Hyundai – 26,826 (up 142%) and 3.5% share
    Ioniq 5 – 22,560
  • Volkswagen – 19,665
    ID.4 – 19,665 (up 20%)
  • Audi – N/A and 2.1% share
    Audi Q4 e-tron – 2,758
  • Rivian – N/A
    Rivian R1T – 13,148

Some individual model results: Mercedes-Benz EQS (9,628), BMW i4 (8,705), BMW iX (5,245), Toyota bZ4X (1,067) and Cadillac Lyriq (157).

Among the models that recorded a drop in sales were the Porsche Taycan (6,803 – down 28%) and the Nissan Leaf (12,115 – down 18%).

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