U.S. electric vehicle purchases climbed to 5.8% of all vehicles sold in 2022, up from 3.2% in 2021, according to Motor Intelligence.  -  IMAGE: Getty Images

U.S. electric vehicle purchases climbed to 5.8% of all vehicles sold in 2022, up from 3.2% in 2021, according to Motor Intelligence.

IMAGE: Getty Images

U.S. electric vehicle purchases climbed to 5.8% of all vehicles sold in 2022, up from 3.2% in 2021, while total vehicle sales fell 8%, according to newly released year-end figures from market-research firm Motor Intelligence.

Tesla is still the 300-pound gorilla in the EV space, accounting for 65% of total sales in 2022, according to Motor Intelligence estimates. However, the figure is down from 72% in 2021, as legacy car companies roll out more EV models.  

Ford Motor Co. now sits in the No. 2 position for EV sales, capturing 7.6% of the U.S. market for fully electric vehicles, Motor Intelligence noted. Combined sales for Hyundai and affiliate Kia Corp. put the companies in the third slot at 7.1%.

General Motors Co. EV sales slumped in 2022 after the automaker halted sales of the popular Chevrolet Bolt to fix a battery-cell defect that could cause vehicle fires. Still, GM sales have rebounded since the model returned to the market.

Motor Intelligence data also shows that Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co’s EV sales slipped in 2022.

The numbers highlight that those companies with new EV models are making waves in the EV market. Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup truck helped drive the company into the No. 2 slot for EV sales.

“All the brand preferences get thrown up in the air,” Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley said of the new market for EV trucks. “If we can be the first, it sets the tone.”

Ford’s new pickup competes with Rivian Automotive’s battery-powered pickup. Rivian’s R1T pickup, R1S sport-utility vehicle and its commercial van captured a 2.6% share of U.S. EV sales last year, with 20,332 delivered, Motor Intelligence data showed.

But as the EV market grew in 2022, so did the obstacles.

Soaring prices for lithium and other battery materials led automakers to raise EV prices, which could price some consumers out of the market. Consumers paid an average $66,000 for an EV   compared to $51,000 a year prior, reported J.D. Power in the summer of 2022.

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