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Electric vehicle sales revved in 2021

Rivian's R1T all electric pickup truck
Rivian's R1T all electric pickup truck

Electric vehicle sales surpassed 2.6% of the U.S. market in 2021, an all-time record.

It's a sign that the U.S. is finally making progress on the electrification of passenger vehicles, according to Sam Abuelsamid.

He's a principal research analyst with consulting firm Guidehouse Insights.

"We've got a ways to go yet," he said of the need to swiftly boost electric vehicle sales in response to climate change. "But it's starting to happen."

Many U.S. automakers plan to sell only electric vehicles by the year 2035. Abuelsamid said he's pleased to see that some car manufacturers, like Kia and Hyundai, are beginning to offer EV versions of their most popular vehicles.

There's also a new automaker, Rivian, joining Tesla as an automaker that manufactures only electric vehicles. Rivian has launched an electric SUV, the R1S, and an electric pickup truck, the R1T.

Auto analyst Michelle Krebs of Autotrader says sales of all electrified vehicles, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure electrics, were especially strong in 2021.

While it was a down year for new vehicle sales overall, with a decline of about 13% from the year before, she said electrified vehicle sales rose about 60%.

"By the end of the third quarter, we had had hit more than one million electrified vehicles, for a 10% market share," Krebs said. "That was an all time high."

Meanwhile, it should become easier to make longer trips in pure electric and plug in electric vehicles in a few years. In 2021, Congress approved $7.5 billion to more than quadruple the number of EV charging stations in the U.S.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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