Saffron Restaurants reservation EV sales in Colorado are softening

EV sales in Colorado are softening

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Sales of clean fuel vehicles in Colorado slowed in the first quarter of 2024 despite a growing number of lucrative rebates, according to the Colorado Auto Dealers Association, though some green economy enthusiasts said overall trends toward electric vehicles are strong.

Battery-only electric vehicles, the largest category of clean fuel combinations, fared a bit soft at a time when they should be on a steady growth arc that Colorado needs to have 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030, a long-predicted grow. goal. Increasing EV sales are critical to both the ozone reductions needed to get out of EPA sanctions and to meet the state’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Perhaps extra worryingly, the decline also came as a number of lucrative, stackable incentives for buying electric cars kicked in. Lower-income buyers who qualify can stack federal, state, Xcel and a special cash-for-clunkers deal to get as much as possible. like about $21,000 off a new EV.

Despite the incentives, the share of all-battery electric vehicles newly registered in Colorado fell from 16.3% in the last three months of 2023 to 13.8% in the first quarter of 2024. The raw number of BEV sales was approximately 6,600, down from approximately 8,900 at the end of 2023. That amounts to a total of approximately 48,000 new vehicle registrations.

The decline also deviated from overall car sales in Colorado, which rose 2.8%, slower than national sales growth averages but still welcome for dealers making up for sales lost during the pandemic shutdowns.

Combining the two categories of clean vehicles, battery-electric and plug-in electric hybrids, will bring Colorado’s share to 19% of total sales in 2024, up from 20.4% at the end of 2023.

The news follows signs of similarly weak EV markets in California, perennially the market and policy leader in auto sales, and across the rest of the country.

The Atlas EV Hub information center reported nationally that “after record highs in December 2023, the EV market started slowly in the first two months of 2024. Just over 119,000 light EVs were sold in January, a decline of 20%. % of the previous month. In February, sales fell another 10% to just over 107,000, the lowest total since February 2023.”

Colorado would have been worse off without all its EV incentives, which have kept sales relatively steady, said Matthew Groves, head of the Colorado Auto Dealers Association.

“We would also like to think this is because dealers are working with the state, not adversarially,” Groves said, including educating about incentives and having them leave at the checkout whenever possible to ease the purchasing process.

“Incredible progress” despite slow work to set up Colorado incentives

At least one green energy advocate in Colorado said the quarterly changes in electric vehicle sales should not be alarming compared to the overall growth of clean fuels.

“When I look at the data, I see incredible progress,” said Travis Madsen, transportation program director at the nonprofit Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. He noted that not all of the Colorado cash incentives were available until April, when the Public Utilities Commission and Xcel worked out how many different rebates could be “stacked” for one car.

“I’m not concerned about market shifts from quarter to quarter,” he said. “I see a fundamental transformation of vehicle technology underway, I think it’s unstoppable, and I think it will have enormous benefits for our economy, our health and our climate. There is still a lot of work to do to realize the full benefit, and the transition will likely happen in fits and starts.”

Madsen pointed to several numbers tracked on the state’s EV dashboard.

“There is no visible slowdown,” he said. The state dashboard says new EV registrations increased from 10.8% in the fourth quarter of 2023 to just under 11% in early 2024, Madsen said. Adding plug-in electric hybrids, which are considered clean energy vehicles under state rules, increases the share from 15.6% in the third quarter of 2023 to 17.1% last quarter.

Other databases may include cars purchased elsewhere and first registered in Colorado, not just new sales in Colorado, Madsen said.

Given the challenges associated with consistently meeting electric vehicle sales targets, CADA’s Groves said, the trade group is pleased that Colorado regulators did not follow the lead of other states in mandating 100% EV sales by 2035 Instead, Colorado set an 80% target for 2032 and failed to do so. then try to oblige the markets, Groves said.

“Those states considering a ban on internal combustion engines by 2035 view this as unfeasible and not serious given national trend lines in consumer confidence,” Groves said. “Colorado took a step back and set a more serious goal, and I think the industry has become more serious about pursuing it.”

A line of Tesla chargers at a Tesla Supercharger station in Thornton on Friday, December 4, 2020. (Andy Colwell, special to The Colorado Sun)

Potential EV sales hit the news again this week when President Joe Biden announced a 100% tariff on Chinese-made EVs, which has U.S. automakers deeply concerned. The small EVs get good reviews for their performance and cost just $12,000 in China.

The Colorado Energy Office, the center of the state’s clean energy and electrification policy, has reiterated the view that moderate fluctuations in new electric vehicle sales are expected. It takes time for incentives to fully materialize, with companies phasing out some models and consumers waiting for new ones, and higher interest rates on loans complicate decisions.

“We are pleased that Colorado ranks third in the nation in EV market share, up from sixth this time last year, and that sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles continue to rise, providing the largest PHEV market share of the country,” energy office said chief Will Toor. “We are also very pleased that year-on-year growth is significant, with total EV market share increasing 44% between Q1 2023 and Q1 2024, from 13.2% to 19%.”

The news of a “bumpy ride,” Madsen said, “is more applicable to the national story, and we are doing a better job in Colorado managing those bumps with a very comprehensive policy environment.”