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In California electric cars close to outselling hybrids

In California during this year’s first half new pure battery electric cars (BEV) came to within just 7,000 units of equalling hybrid vehicle (HEV) registrations according to IHS Markit data published by California New Car Dealers Association. That’s 4.0 percent share of the Californian Light Vehicle market made up by hybrid cars such as Toyota’s Prius but does not include plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and 3.3 per cent share from pure electric cars, with 40,011 and 33,015 H1 units respectively.

Latest Q2 figures indicate this gap has fallen to just 0.2 percentage points share with hybrids remaining stable at 4.0 per cent share and BEVs rising to 3.8 per cent share of total new Light-Vehicles registrations.

It is easy to identify why. In Q2 the increased roll-out of Tesla’s Model 3 with 8,951 Californian registrations recording more than the ubiquitous hybrid car that started it all off, Toyota’s Prius with 8,515 units.

California electric car demand
California not dreamin' with over 10% AFV share of total Light Vehicle registrations


Over 50 per cent of US electric BEV vehicles registered during this year’s first half were registered in California, recording 33,015 registrations, far more than any European market during the same period. If California was a stand-alone market it would be the world’s third largest electric car market behind China and the US.


The rising BEV trend is likely to continue as Model 3 ramp-up continues, my own analysis from Tesla published infographics indicates that Tesla registered 13,000 Model 3 vehicles in the US in July alone. With half of Model 3 registrations staying in California during this year’s opening half of the year BEV electric cars are likely to sell more than HEV hybrids during the remainder of the year in California.

AFV share of market likely to rise once again

After little movement in California’s alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) mix which has risen just 0.7 percentage point since 2014, thanks to rising BEV and PHEV registrations off-set by a falling hybrid share, Q2 data suggest the hybrid market is stabilising at around 4 per cent and if this is the case the AFV share should start to slowly rise staying above 10 per cent share of the market.


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