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Farah Siddiqi, Producer
Friday, August 25, 2023
New car prices are dropping, with electric vehicle price tags leading the way. Will more drivers in Michigan decide to buy?
Supply chain issues and high prices combined for last year’s slowdown in car sales across the country. Economic factors like high gas prices and high interest rates mean more people are holding onto older vehicles longer.
A study by Consumer Reports finds electric vehicle sales are up 50% this year over last.
Chris Harto, senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports, said many factors come into play when people think of picking out their first EV.
“This market is really rapidly advancing; every new generation of vehicles is getting significantly better,” Harto explained. “There is some question about when is the time to take the plunge and purchase that first new electric vehicle. We are definitely seeing the concerns around charging infrastructure.”
Michigan ranks 25th among states for the number of public EV charging stations per capita. And EVs still account for less than 1% of market share in Michigan, according to ‘MICHAuto.org,’ a website tracking electric vehicle trends in the state.
Harto said 70% of EV sales this year have been from just nine models, all of which have a starting price under $45,000. Although many car lots have high electric vehicle inventories, companies exclusively selling EVs are showing inventories well below the industry average. Harto pointed out just as drivers are getting used to EVs, there is a learning curve for dealers.
“There hasn’t been a lot of time for dealers to develop the experience of how to effectively sell these vehicles once they’re on the lot,” Harto observed. “How effective those dealers get at selling electric vehicles is really going to determine how successful those models are at selling.”
He added Consumer Reports consistently finds EV owners are among the most satisfied in its annual customer satisfaction surveys. The State of Michigan is counting on it, since it predicts about half of new car sales in the state will be electric or hybrid by 2030.