Do you ever feel like you’re constantly hearing about electric vehicles? It turns out, there’s a good reason for that — people keep buying them. Every year, EVs make up a higher percentage of vehicles as a whole than ever before. Now, according to a new report from Bloomberg, the march of the EV is happening faster than ever.
In the report, Bloomberg looked into how many EVs have been selling — and, more importantly, how long it’s taken the market to clear different milestones. According to their research, it took ten years for EVs to sell a million units, but only two years from that point to sell a further million. The next mil? A single year. The rate of EV sales is increasing exponentially, and it doesn’t look likely to slow.
Of course, how Bloomberg calculated that “ten years” number for the first million sales is unclear. The data seems to stretch back to the beginning of 2011, but that’s not the first time an electric car hit the U.S. market. What about the Tesla Roadster, which started selling in 2008? Or the Rav4 EV, which was made available to the U.S. public in 2002? What about Contender Era EVs, dating back to the 1830s?
You could make the argument that it actually took somewhere around 190 years to sell the first million electric cars in the United States. With that, the jump to just two years for the next million is even more impressive — it’s a nearly 99 percent reduction in time. If that’s not exponential growth in EV sales, I don’t know what is.
But Bloomberg’s data doesn’t tell the whole story. The three-million-unit mark was hit early in 2023, and the data seems to cut off with the end of the second fiscal quarter. The back half of this year has already shown a dip in EV sales as the early adopter market begins to saturate — it seems electric vehicles are struggling to make the leap into the early majority market segment.
This leap is crucial in any emerging tech. It’s so meaningful, there’s even a term specifically for it: “Crossing the chasm.” Innovators will buy anything if it’s sufficiently shiny, and early adopters like to beat the crowds. Capturing the early majority, that massive chunk of buyers, is a lot harder.
With EVs, it’s almost fated to happen. Regulatory incentives, industry investment, and the fate of the planet are all pointing in the same direction — eventually, we’ll all be driving electric cars. But this inflection point, this chasm, is a very interesting time to watch. How long will it take us to truly embrace EVs?