Electric Car Sales Soared During Supply Chain Crisis: Report

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
January 28, 2022 Updated: January 31, 2022

IRVINE, Calif.—Sales of electric cars surged to a record level in the fourth quarter of 2021, defying industry-wide inventory constraints and overall slow sales of new cars, according to a report released on Jan. 28 by Irvine-based Kelley Blue Book.

According to the report, almost 148,000 electric vehicles sales occurred in 2021’s fourth quarter, a 72 percent jump over the fourth quarter of the previous year. The strong finish to the year gave electric vehicles an overall market share of 4.5 percent for the quarter, also a record.

“The automotive marketplace continues to evolve and diversify more with each passing year,” Matt Degen, Kelley Blue Book editor, said in a statement. “Hybrids are now mainstream products, and more than a dozen new [electric vehicles] are slated to launch in 2022—including the much-anticipated and potentially high-volume Ford F-150 Lightning.”

Though surveys show people consider electric cars too expensive and have concerns about battery driving range and charging availability, consumer interest in electric cars “has never been higher,” Degen said. “As [electric vehicle] availability expands and capability improves, even more new-car buyers likely will make the choice to buy electrified in 2022.”

According to the report, nearly half a million people in the United States bought an electric vehicle in 2021. A total of 1.5 million electrified cars—including electric vehicles, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids—were sold last year, accounting for nearly 10 percent of all auto sales. Meanwhile, sales of hybrid vehicles increased by 84 percent last year compared to 2020, the report found.

“If inventory and supply issues had not been as problematic,” sales might have been even higher, the report states.

The report’s authors also noted that battery and production issues virtually eliminated Chevrolet Bolt sales in the second half of the year, and “hybrid-leader Toyota struggled with inventory throughout much of the fourth quarter.”

According to the report, Tesla was the top electric car company last year, with a 72 percent share of the market, down from nearly 80 percent the previous year.

Joyce Kuo contributed to this report.