''Electric car sales are not charging the marketplace. A new study by online automotive research company Edmunds.com suggests the segment may have run out of gas.
Sales of electric drive vehicles are stuck at about 3.6% of all new car sales for 2014, Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said.
That's below the 3.7% market share for 2013, and it's not likely to grow any before the end of the year.
And that's during an otherwise robust sales season. Total figures for August were higher than any time in the last decade.
The whole automobile market has grown. We're not seeing electric vehicles as part of that growth.
Automakers sold about 1.6 million vehicles in the U.S. in August, an increase of about 3% from August 2013, according to initial industry estimates released Wednesday.
"The whole automobile market has grown," Caldwell said. "We’re not seeing electric vehicles as part of that growth."
The numbers are surprising, Caldwell said, to automobile forecasters. Five years ago, analysts thought that electric vehicle sales would continue to expand as more manufacturers put more electric vehicles on the road and as the vehicles' cost came down.
That hasn't happened. Electric vehicle sales have slowed while prices have come down and dealers have been offering increasingly better deals on financing and incentives.
"It isn't growing," Caldwell said. "It's stagnant and even slightly down."
Caldwell said stable gas prices have contributed to a slackening in interest in non-gasoline electric hybrid and plug-in vehicles. So have the increasingly good fuel efficiency levels of gas cars generally.
Buyers are looking at the higher average price of electric vehicles, Caldwell said, and deciding that "the math doesn't really work out."
Could strong sales in the fourth quarter reverse the trend?
Not likely, Caldwell said.
"The latter part of the year, as the weather gets colder, there tends to be more SUV and truck sales," Caldwell said. "So I don’t expect to see a run on electric vehicles."
Electric vehicle sales are running out of gas - LA Times