Even in the midst of the pandemic, interest in electric cars looks promising
Gloom and doom appears to be the mood in the hallowed halls of most auto companies right now. While the pandemic continues to ravage the health of our people (and our economy), there could be a silver lining in the clouds. Some countries and industries have been able to rebound (at least somewhat) from their low point — including the electric vehicle sector.
To be fair, electric vehicles are still undeniably a small niche within the larger auto industry. When compared to overall auto sales, even Tesla’s record-breaking numbers just don’t make a dent in the bigger picture. However, as our global economic recovery period moves at a painfully slow (or non-existent) rate, interest in EVs seems to moving ahead at a far faster rate than other sectors.
To be clear, global auto sales are likely to experience a drastic decline this year with some analysts forecasting that a 22% crash is within reason. Companies like Ford have managed to exceed expectations, yet the facts on the ground remain the same. Auto sales, overall, will take a major dip this year, with some sectors of the auto industry being impacted more than others.
There's a bright spot though. In the UK, LeaseFetcher took note of some interesting numbers. In April, new car registrations fell 97.3% year-over-year to just 4,321. Electric cars, however, only fell by 9.7% and made up 31.8% of all new car registrations for the month.
Using search term volume we can get a rough estimate of market stabilization. The LeaseFetcher team has created an easy to use database of important EV-related keywords to track.
An important finding is that search term demand for electric cars like the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf have returned, and in some cases, exceeded to their pre-COVID levels. In another good sign, Tesla's Model 3 and X have also rebounded. However, Tesla Model S and Audi e-tron continue to remain a bit lower than pre-COVID levels. Regardless, it certainly appears the sector could be trending in the right direction.
Obviously search trends don't necessarily correlate to actual sales numbers, which we have yet to see, but it implies people are still curious about the new technology — even in the midst of the pandemic's panic. Meanwhile, Tesla appears to be rebounding steadily (with its stock price surging on Wall Street, see below) and its future looks increasingly bright.
Video: CNBC; Charts: LeaseFetcher; Note: an earlier version of this article appeared on EVBite. EVBite is an electric vehicle specific news site dedicated to keeping consumers up-to-date on any developments in the ever-expanding EV landscape.