the United States far behind China and Europe

China is electrifying, the United States is dropping out. Despite an increase in electric car sales between 2019 and 2023, from 1.6% to 11.2%, the United States remains far behind its main automobile competitors. According to a recent study by the analysis firm Jato Dynamics, China represents 50% of the global market for electric car sales, compared to 22% for Europe and… only 12% in the United States.

However, Uncle Sam's country has implemented significant measures to accelerate the electrification of its automobile fleet, the second largest after that of the Middle Kingdom. Thus, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Americans are entitled to a tax credit of 7,500 euros for the purchase of an electric car manufactured on the continent. Other aid to manufacturers for their installation in the country is added. Insufficient to stimulate demand.

Electric cars: have sales reached a ceiling in the United States?

Large cars still at the top of sales

It must be said that the United States has a culture deeply rooted in thermal technology. The price of oil is 70% lower than in France, which does not facilitate the transition to electricity. Especially since Americans favor large cars more. The firm estimated that 56% of car sales in the United States in 2023 were SUVs, a quarter of which are large, generally vehicles more than 5 meters long.

“Large and luxury SUVs accounted for 3.13 million units sold in the United States. For comparison, 10.3 million SUVs were sold in China, of which only 1.33 million were full-size and luxury models. In Europe, this figure drops considerably to reach only 352,000 units, which represents barely 5% of the segment total,” compares Jato Dynamics, in its press release.

The pick-up market is also very lucrative with 18% of sales. These heavier cars are also less efficient when they are electric and thus have ranges that are poorly suited to long American distances.

The price of electric cars in question

To overcome this problem, vehicles are equipped with large, more expensive batteries, which undeniably increases their selling price.

“Currently, many electric car models available in the United States cost more than $40,000. As the overall price of vehicles has tended to increase in recent years, the lack of affordable options may also have an impact on younger buyers, who may be more inclined to purchase an electric vehicle. confirms Michael Kasuba, international manager of Jato Dynamics.

Moreover, the only manufacturer that is doing well in the country remains Tesla. Elon Musk's company has in fact significantly lowered its prices all over the world and mainly in the United States. Result: Tesla represents 55% of electric car sales in its country of origin, compared to 18% in Europe and 12% in China.

Electric cars: Tesla cuts its prices again in China

Another difficulty across the Atlantic: electric charging. China currently has 760,000 fast charging points compared to 70,000 in Europe and only 28,000 in the United States. However, the United States has allocated $5 billion to states from 2022 to 2026 to help deploy charging infrastructure, but states do not seem determined to spend the envelope.

Boost sales by all means

To boost sales, and achieve the objective of 50% zero-emission cars (plug-in hybrids, electric and hydrogen) sold in the United States in 2030, the American government tightened the screws yesterday. Concretely, the administration gradually restricts the average annual emissions authorized for new vehicles from each manufacturer, de facto encouraging them to electrify their fleet. In 2032, the cars sold will have to emit half as many emissions as those in 2026. If electrification seems to be the simplest solution, several levers can be considered to achieve this objective, such as reducing the weight of vehicles or adopting a new particle filter.

Automobile: the United States (further) tightens pollution standards to support electric vehicles

In addition, this news sparked strong reactions in the country. The first comes fromAmerican Petroleum Institute (API), representing the oil sector, which threatened to take legal action against this regulation. Joe Biden's Republican opponents, meanwhile, have accused him of waging a crusade against gas-powered cars, forcing “ordinary Americans to conform their way of life” to the elites, tackled their leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell.

In a few months, it is possible that sales of electric cars will be impacted again, since Donald Trump, Joe Biden's opponent in the November presidential elections, has confirmed his reluctance towards electric cars, believing that they “ don't go far enough, cost too much and are all made in China “.