The tumultuous start to 2024 for the EV market has been a hot topic in recent news coverage. Following record highs in December 2023, the EV market has been off to a slow start through the first two months of 2024. January saw just over 119,000 light-duty EVs sold which was down 20 percent from the previous month. February saw sales slip another 10 percent to just over 107,000, representing the lowest total since February 2023. EV’s share of the light-duty vehicle market saw a similar decline from 11.6 percent in December to 10.5 percent in January to 8.7 percent in February.

Combined with recent troubles for market leader Tesla and the surprise news of the Australian EV charger manufacturer, Tritium, entering insolvency, it’s been a rocky start for the EV market. Nonetheless, month-to-month fluctuations are expected, EV sales fell 20 percent from September 2023 to November 2023 before reaching their all-time peak the next month. It’s too early to tell if this dip represents a momentary, start-of-the-year bump or if it is indicative of a larger downturn to come. We know that the EV transition is going to be a bumpy ride, and it looks like we are in the middle of one of those bumps.

Let’s pull back the curtain and look at some of the key developments from the past few months.

Tesla turmoil

Recent turmoil at Tesla, who accounted for 45 percent of 2023 EV sales, are an important part of the story.

After selling nearly 65,000 EVs in December 2023, Tesla sold just 48,727 and 36,657 vehicles in January and February respectively, the company’s lowest since August 2022. Tesla’s popular Model 3 appears to be the culprit, where February 2024 sales (4,423) dropped 75 percent from December and 73 percent from the previous year. Overall, the Tesla Model 3 singe-handedly accounted for one-third of the EV market’s decline from December’s all time high to February’s 12 month low.

As sales of other models slipped, Tesla’s Cybertruck sold just over 600 units through the first two months of 2024. To make matters worse, on April 19th, Tesla issued a recall of nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks.

Tesla announced new measures in response to these challenges ahead of its Q1 earnings report. First, Tesla announced plans lay off nearly 10 percent of its global workforce, citing efforts to “cut costs and increase productivity,” and then Tesla cut prices of some of its most popular models in the U.S., China, and Germany. All eyes will be on Tesla as the EV market leader navigates this bump in the road.

Ford and Mercedes-Benz recalibrate to evolving market

After strong growth in 2023 Ford is off to a slower start in 2024, with EV sales through February up just under 20 percent from the year prior. The automaker appears to be preparing for a potential slowdown. On April 4th, Ford announced plans to delay production of two of its new electric models, including a pickup truck and an SUV. Instead, the company will be pivoting towards a focus on hybrid production, reflecting a cautious approach amid market uncertainties.

Similarly, Mercedes-Benz announced that the company will be scaling back its EV production plans, delaying its electrification goal by five years. In 2021, the German automaker had set an ambitious target to reach 50 percent EV sales by 2025. In February 2024, the company revised this goal, now expecting EVs, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), to account for half of sales by 2030. Through the first two months of the year, Mercedes sold 6,956 EVs, up 100 percent from the year prior.  

Hyundai debuts new EVs

Finally, after a breakout year in 2023, Hyundai sales have held steady in 2024, reporting 11,400 sales in January followed by 10,766 sales in February. Hyundai’s EV momentum remains steadfast as the company’s US CEO claims they are “all in” on EVs while competitors pull back. The company continues to roll out new EV models, most recently the Kia EV9. The three-row SUV, which starts under $55,000, fills a much-needed gap in the EV market’s offerings. The EV9 debuted in December 2024 and has sold nearly 3,500 units through February 2024.

Looking forward, the company unveiled a suite of new and updated EV models at the 2024 New York International Show, including a concept full-size electric SUV called the Genesis Neolun.

Explore the rest of our sales data here.

About the author: Moe Khatib