Alternative fuel cars making good headway

COMMENTARY /// Going green


The California green vehicle market continues to experience growth throughout the state, especially with increasing electric vehicle sales, which now make up more than 3 percent of total new vehicle sales year to date, an increase from 2.4 percent over this time last year.

According to the California Green Vehicle Report, an independent research study, the overall California vehicle market remains dominated by gasolinepowered vehicles, making up 83 percent of new vehicles sold so far in 2018.

While the San Francisco Bay Area is experiencing the most growth in electric vehicle sales—up 7.7 percent year to date—other regions of the state are lagging. Los Angeles and Orange counties, along with San Diego County, are seeing nearly 50 percent fewer electric vehicle sales than the North, at 3.3 percent and 3.9 percent year to date. The difference is even more significant in the Central Valley, where only 1.8 percent of new vehicles sold are electric.

“The disparity of electric vehicle sales in various regions of the state is significant, especially in the Central Valley. While California residents in Northern California seem to be adopting the idea of electric vehicles more rapidly, we have a long way to go in other regions of the state. It’s clear that consumers still prefer gasoline-powered vehicles, while convenience, affordability, range and choice continue to be factors for consumers when selecting a new vehicle to purchase,” said Taz Harvey of Dublin Mazda. Harvey is the chair of the California New Car Dealers Association, which sponsored the report.

“While many manufacturers are getting on board with developing new electric vehicle options, they must continue to take all of these factors into consideration for consumer adoption to continue to increase,” Harvey said.

Brand share in the alternative powertrain market remains dominated by Toyota, making up nearly 27 percent of green vehicle sales year to date. Tesla comes in second, bumping Chevrolet to third, at 21 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively, year to date. Rounding out the top five selling brands in California for hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles are Ford and BMW.

The electric Tesla Model 3 is the top-selling alternativepowered vehicle in California. The Toyota Prius hybrid came in second.

The California Green Vehicle Report provides information on the state’s green vehicle market. The report features a segment watch, including top 20 best-selling alternative powertrain vehicles; best-sellers in market segments including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and fuel cell; market trends by powertrain type; and brand shares in the alternative powertrain market.

California Green Vehicle Report is produced for CNCDA by Auto Outlook Inc. Data for the report was provided by IHS Markit.