Fact #975: May 1, 2017 Over Half of All-electric Vehicle Sales in 2016 Were Large Cars and Standard SUVs

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All-electric vehicles (EV) come in many different size classes, but the largest share of EV sales in calendar year 2016 were large cars (35%) and standard sport utility vehicles (SUV)(23%). Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales were mainly compact and midsize cars, with 42% and 40% of the market share, respectively. Of the nearly 347,000 hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) sold in 2016, close to three-quarters were midsize cars. There were 17.3 million light vehicles sold in the United States in 2016, more than half were SUVs, pickups, and vans.

Sales Shares by Vehicle Type and Size Class, Calendar Year 2016

Graphic showing sales shares by vehicle type (EV, PHEV, HEV, and ALL) and size class in 2016.


EV = Electric vehicle, also referred to as a battery electric vehicle (BEV), has only a battery for energy storage and must be recharged from an external source such as a wall outlet or charging station. Example: Nissan LEAF.

PHEV = Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle which draws some of its’ energy from the electrical grid by plugging in but also has an internal combustion engine to extend range once the battery is depleted. Example: Chevrolet Volt.

HEV = Hybrid electric vehicle which is only refueled using gasoline. Example: Toyota Prius.

ALL = All light vehicles sold in the United States.

Fact #975 Dataset

Supporting Information

Sales Shares by Vehicle Type and Size Class, Calendar Year 2016
Two-seater car 1% 0% 1% <1%
Minicompact car 4% 0% 0% <1%
Subcompact car 12% 3% 0% 4%
Compact car 5% 41% 10% 11%
Midsize car 17% 40% 63% 21%
Large car 35% 2% 3% 3%
Station Wagon 3% 0% 4% 2%
Small SUV 0% 0% 14% 29%
Standard SUV 23% 14% 5% 10%
Van 0% 0% 0% 5%
Special Purpose Vehicle 0% 0% 0% 1%
Pickup 0% 0% 0% 14%
Total Vehicles Sold 86,731 72,885 346,949 17.3 million

PHEV, EV, and HEV: Argonne National Laboratory, Light Duty Electric Drive Vehicles Monthly Sales Updates, accessed February 8, 2017.
ALL: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Transportation and Econometrics National Database (TREND), queried February 3, 2017.


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