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Industry report says electric vehicle sales could double this year

Edmunds points to a much greater variety of models in 2021

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Photo (c) Photography taken by Mario Gutiérrez - Getty Images
Even though sales of electric vehicles (EV) have been tepid so far, at least one industry source believes 2021 will be the year the technology goes mainstream.

Automotive publisher Edmunds predicts electric vehicle sales will reach their highest level on record this year after making up just 1.9 percent of retail sales last year. Edmunds experts predict that percentage could nearly double this year.

"After years of speculation and empty promises, 2021 is actually shaping up to be a pivotal year for growth in the EV sector," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights. "We're not only about to see a massive leap in the number of EVs available in the market; we're also going to see a more diverse lineup of electric vehicles that better reflect current consumer preferences.”

That’s because so far, most electric vehicles have been sedans. Americans, however, have a strong preference for trucks and SUVs. And it doesn’t hurt that governments are encouraging drivers to go electric.

Push from Washington

“Given that the new presidential administration has pledged its support for electrification, the U.S. is likely to see incentive programs targeted at fostering the growth of this technology further," Caldwell said.

Tesla gets most of the attention among EV carmakers, but Edmunds reports there are lots of other choices. It expects there to be 30 EV models from 21 brands on the market this year, compared to 17 vehicles from 12 brands in 2020. 

What may be more important, there will be a greater diversity of EV models. Car shoppers will be able to choose between 11 cars, 13 SUVs, and six trucks in 2021. Last year’s lineup included only 10 cars and seven SUVs.

Ford and General Motors are in the midst of a pivot to EVs. Last week, GM announced that it would phase out all of its gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. 

‘Like forked lightning’

Later this year, Ford will introduce an EV version of its iconic Mustang but in an SUV configuration. It says dealers are already taking orders.

“At the first-ever Detroit auto show, Henry Ford said he was working on something that would strike like forked lightning,” Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company said in December. “That was the Model T. Today, the Ford Motor Company is proud to unveil a car that strikes like forked lightning all over again. The all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E. It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s freedom. For a new generation of Mustang owners.”

Ford also is introducing an EV version of its F-150 pickup truck, one of America’s best-selling vehicles.

Cox Automotive recently reported research indicating that two in five pickup truck shoppers are considering buying an electric truck within the next two years. The study showed that younger truck buyers are more likely to be open to an electric pickup truck.

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