New EV sales hit crossroads, while used EVs have open road for growth

Zachary Hansen, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Business News

No one said electrifying the auto industry was going to be a smooth ride.

Electric vehicle sales got off to a slow start in 2024, with some some automakers — namely EV pioneer Tesla — seeing their sales momentum reverse.

After the country eclipsed 1.2 million EV sales in 2023, new plug-in vehicle sales increased about 3% year-over-year during the first three months this year — a far cry from the 47% growth the sector saw during the same time last year. First quarter EV sales declined 15% compared to last year’s fourth quarter, according to data from Cox Automotive. The end of the year is typically a peak period for auto sales.

The soft first quarter comes amid renewed concern that not enough Americans are ready to switch to EVs despite billions of dollars of private and public investment.

“As we move into this mainstream adoption, it’s going to get hard,” said Stephanie Valdez-Streaty, director of operations management at Cox Automotive.

However, there’s one segment of the EV market that continues to accelerate, and Atlanta is among the cities giving it some juice.


Used EV sales in January increased nearly 70% compared to the same month last year, according to Cox Automotive, and data from online used car platform Carvana shows metro Atlanta outpaced the rest of the country when it comes to trading gas guzzlers for used EVs.

During the first three months of this year, Atlanta’s EV sales mix on Carvana was 15% higher than the national average. So far in 2024, more than 90% of Atlantans who bought an EV through Carvana traded in an internal combustion engine vehicle.

Christina Keiser, Carvana’s executive vice president of strategy, said EVs are poised to make up a significantly larger portion of used car sales in the coming years, even if new sales start to stagnate. She added that many of consumers’ hesitations with EVs, such as a lack of charging infrastructure and range anxiety, will decrease with time as more people get exposed to the technology.

“More EVs on the road begets more EVS on the road as people get comfortable with what ownership looks like,” Keiser said.


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