Has California’s transition to electric cars hit some bumps in the road? Even though Californians are buying them in record numbers, several industry setbacks have been reported in recent months.
The rental car company Hertz is selling about a third of its global electric vehicle fleet, replacing them with gas-powered vehicles. Ford in January announced that it was reducing production of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck after scaling it up last year.
Tesla sales in California dropped 10% in the last three months of 2023, when compared to the same quarter a year earlier, according to data from the California New Car Dealers Association. And some automakers last year announced production cutbacks and delays in new electric models.
The California Energy Commission recently provided another piece of the puzzle: Sales of electric cars in California reached record levels last year, with 446,961 sold, up 29% from 2022, according to Veloz, a nonprofit that works with the commission to promote electric vehicle growth in California.
But while sales of electric cars are still growing, it’s a slower pace of growth than the previous year: 2022 sales increased 38% from 2021.
During the final three months of 2023, Californians purchased 103,127 electric cars, an 8% increase over the same period in 2022. Fourth quarter sales last year were down 14% from the third quarter. But sales typically slow in the fourth quarter, and higher interest rates may have played a role, the commission said.