EVs: If you build them, will they sell?

More than 90 new EV models are expected to hit the U.S. market through 2026, according to AutoForecast Solutions. Many will struggle to reach profitable sales volumes, analysts said.

Dealers for established automakers such as General Motors, Ford, Hyundai and Toyota have more than 90 days’ worth of unsold EVs at their stores at current sales rates, according to a report from Cox Automotive. US dealers have more than 92,000 EVs in stock, more than three times the number on their lots a year ago, according to Cox data. Overall, new vehicle inventories are up 74% from a year ago, Cox said…

Ford built 46,238 Mach-Es during the first half of this year, and sold 14,040 of the electric SUVs, according to data posted on its investor site. Ford cut prices for Mach-E models in May.

Volkswagen dealers had 131 days’ worth of ID.4 electric SUVs in inventory, according to Cox data. In a statement, Volkswagen’s U.S. sales arm said “we have seen some softening in EV sales in the U.S. recently” as supply chain bottlenecks have eased, allowing for increased production…

“Price cuts do show that we’re in sort of an equilibrium of demand and supply and price so when sales aren’t there, they’re going to be dropping price,” said Mark Wakefield, co-head of consultancy AlixPartners’ automotive practice. “Tesla in particular has the room to do that.” Wakefield said it is too soon to declare that U.S. EV demand has hit a plateau. “We see it as choppy growth, but continued growth,” he said.



Here is a chart of US EV sales for Q1 2023 by manufacturer/model. Note the overwhelming dominance of Tesla.

To make conclusions about the US EV market without considering data from Tesla seems pretty silly to me. It would be like evaluating online retailing without data from Amazon or the health of the cell phone industry while ignoring the performances of Apple and Samsung.

As for Tesla inventory:

Tesla’s new car inventory in the US has plummeted to a new low not seen since the beginning of the discounts as the automaker appears to successfully liquidate its inventory for the end of the quarter.
Tesla's US inventory crashes in end-of-quarter push [Updated] | Electrek

What the data you posted is saying is that the traditional car OEMs are being seriously disrupted. OEMs are facing an existential crisis in the new electrified car world. Meanwhile, Tesla can profitably sell whatever it can build.


I wouldn’t still rely on that article, because the data it used were temporarily incorrect. They updated it to remove the data cites, but they kept the main thrust of the article without really explaining that it was based on bad data. A few days before that article, Tesla changed the API for its website in a way that caused most of the inventory data scrapers to pull inaccurate data for a few days. That showed up in an apparent, but phantom, massive drop in inventory levels. You can read about what happened in the comments to the article.

Once the scrapers adjusted for the API change, inventory was still a bit low towards the EOQ, but has since built back up to “high side of ordinary.”


This isn’t helpful of me, but this is where I am. I am ready for an EV but wife is not quite yet, though knows it will happen. (we are in the market to replace a minivan, and looking at 2-row hybrid SUVs). Neither of us want Tesla. My choices are Mach-E or the Lyric. Possibly an ID.4. But I am now a victim of the Osborne effect – I want my EV to have the NACS connector native, and I want the software kinks squared away before I buy. My concern about the adapter is almost entirely resale value impact that might have.


This will never happen. It’s literally impossible, because if any company (in any product segment) waited for software kinks to be squared away before shipping then they would never ship anything. That’s because all software has bugs/kinks.

Instead pick a manufacturer that does continuous improvement of their software and downloads new versions with fixes/improvements on a regular basis. One of my EVs, that I’ve owned for less than 2 years, has had many software updates over the months. I can recall at least 10 of them, but there were likely more than that.

[EDIT: just in the last 5 weeks, there were 3 software updates!]

This isn’t a problem anymore. By 2025, any EV that sells any reasonable quantity in the USA will have a NACS connector.

Resale value going down due to EV price cuts will dwarf any resale vale going down due to adapters. If you buy an EV for $50k, and then in 2 years they sell a similar new EV for $40k, then your resale value will definitely be less than $40k. If they ell a better EV for $40k, then your resale value will be much less than $40k. That’s how all tech items work - buy a fancy camcorder in 2000 for $1500, two years later they are selling better camcorders for $500, and your resale value is under $200 at that point.


So true. I have a fancy camcorder that cost over $3000 new (it was a gift) that is now “worth” $250, maybe. But I keep it because it has all the videos from our cross country RV trip - in a format I can’t play on anything else.

However, that’s small change compared to a car purchase, so I understand the reluctance. I’m kind of in the same boat: ready for an EV, being Osborned every time I open a newspaper. Toyota now promising 900 mi on a charge? I wonder if they’re doing this deliberately to get people to hold off?

I consider this to be irrelevant. For a few reasons:

  1. If they truly have the technology to do this, they would use it. But not for a 900 mi range, rather for a smaller/less expensive battery. That’s what improves profit. Make a 400-450 range car (that still beats the competition) but have a lower cost to make it.
  2. They’ve been touting this for a number of years. Nothing real on the streets yet. It’s like the mythical Tesla roadster, you believe it when you see it.
  3. Just because polling shows that there is range anxiety, doesn’t mean that people want 900 miles or that 900 miles will “cure” the range anxiety. It could easily be that it would cause a new kind of anxiety - “charging anxiety”, because when you come home with 150 miles remaining, using a typical 240V/32A home charger, it will take nearly 24 hours to recharge the battery to full!
  4. They tout “fast charging”, but there aren’t any 1.25Mw chargers out there, and if there were, it is quite possible that the cables would get so hot that they couldn’t maintain that level of charging for very long. So now there if also “charging anxiety” while on a road trip, not just at home.

Yes. But I want the early bugs worked out by others first. :slight_smile:

Sure. But this is a CAR. It’s not TECH. And those trying to say the car is just a rolling computer I think are entirely missing the point. This is a transportation device and it costs a LOT of money. I’m not interested in my car losing value even faster than historical just because “tech”.

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As MarkR points out, this recent “news” from Toyota is highly suspect, and disturbingly familiar…

I’m a big Toyota fan but… It seems Toyota has had a press release about some breakthrough in solid state battery technology every 2-3 years since 2017. Each time, the arrival date was always 2-3 years out and each time, that arrival came and went. I saw a review of a recent Toyota vehicle launch that included a removable BlueTooth audio player in the dash that used a solid-state battery, in part to combat the physical challenges of using some other battery technology in a position that would get so much sun and reach such extreme temperatures. That removable audio player seems to be the ONLY use of this new technology in a Toyota product to date, indicating they are still YEARS off from being able to make them at the scale required for an entire car drivetrain by the millions.



Cars used to be 100% “car”, then 95% “car” and 5% “tech”. Now? Maybe 75% “car” and 25% “tech”, and some models are probably even further along that trajectory. But that isn’t the issue really. The real issue is that the customers “see” the tech, they interface with the “tech”, and they use the “tech” to interact with most of their use of the “car”. So when the “tech” part advances, that’s what they see, and customers willingness to buy mostly depends on what they see.

It’s kind of like when power brakes and power steering came along. Power brakes/steering was “tech”, and many many many people ridiculed those features as “not really driving”, “pansy assed assist features”, “not a real man”, etc. But in a very short time, probably less than a decade, nobody wanted cars without power brakes/steering, and resale of “old tech” cars without it became more difficult.


Thanks for correction. Another way to look at Tesla demand is by estimating order backlogs from the wait time between order and delivery. Data as of May 2023 saw a 27 day backlog for the US market (breakdown by country is near the end of the article).

Perhaps the best site for current Tesla numbers is here. It is heaven for number nerds. https://www.patreon.com/posts/q2-2023-tesla-2-84619758

It notes:

“…Tesla has to maintain a high inventory even at the end of the quarter because of the number of cars in transit at all times. In other words, in order to have enough cars to deliver in July a lot of cars need to be on ships or in transit within Europe in June…”

Cars on ships are obviously not an issue for US inventory but at least some of US inventory will be cars bought but in transit. As US sales increase, that “transit inventory” will also increase. I am assuming a car is counted as inventory until it is delivered.

Regardless of whether one sees a car as tech or just transportation I don’t think I would buy an EV that wasn’t capable of over-the-air updates so that the TECH part of the equation stays up-to-date.ars

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Okay, so you need something now, or at least soonish.

Yeah, the problem with that is that you want a good vehicle, and Tesla is the only manufacturer that builds them. The others will all make you sorry.

So, really, your only choice is to buy a Tesla. I suggest a Model Y is probably closest to what you want.

Yeah. Even more, your only choice is to buy a Tesla. Do not buy FSD. If you get a referral (highly suggested) you get to try it free for a few months, but the early bugs are still there and don’t appear to be going away any time soon.

Of course, since software updates are easy and regular, it is possible that the car will improve significantly, which helps keep the resale value up. My Model Y is noticeably better now than when I bought it at the end of 2021. One thing I really like (that I don’t get on my Model S) is that when I signal, it now puts up a view of my (former) blind spot on a portion of the screen.

Inevitable, because “tech”, but also mitigated by software updates (i.e. “tech”). Non-Teslas have the problems, but not the mitigating factors. Teslas depreciate more slowly than any other brand last I checked.

I suggest you hold your nose (regarding Elon’s execrable behavior) and get a Tesla. You can tell yourself it’s just for a year or two until the competition is ready, but the reality is that Teslas are so much better that you can’t go back to anything else. And their superiority keeps increasing.

(I can provide my referral code upon request, but I suggest you use that of somebody who is a particular help to you, as it has benefits for the referrer too)


You are forgetting CR-V Hybrid, numerous Toyotas and Lexus. Mazda CX-90 PHEV. All which satisfy the needs of the other person in this equation, my wife, who as I mentioned is not EV-ready yet.

BTW, know multiple people with Mach E’s. They are all happy.


There’s some truth in that. But also a bit of glossing over stuff.

My newest car (a 2013 model, so it’s 10 years old) is full of tech that controls the engine and transmission. But I have almost zero interface with that tech. The main interface is lights on the dash that tell me something is wrong. When there’s something wrong, it doesn’t tell me what is wrong. It doesn’t tell me if the problem is urgent or minor. It doesn’t even give me a hint at what the problem might be. Just an orange/yellow light. So I’m supposed to take it to a mechanic to find out what is wrong. The tech is makes it hard for me to decide what to do. Do I stop driving and get the car towed? Is it OK to keep driving for a little while without causing more damage?

This is tech that is annoying. And yet it also describes almost every ICE car built in the last two decades or so. On the other hand, I like the tech as it gives me better fuel economy and reduced pollution coming out of the tailpipe. There’s plenty of room for improvement in this tech. Yet it hasn’t really improved at all.

Some other tech is not really an improvement at all. I’ve railed at it before, so I’ll keep it short. Tesla putting virtually all of the non-driving controls onto the center touch screen is terrible tech. Yes, it’s fancy and whiz-bang. But it’s also dangerous. It’s terribly distracting to the driver. You can’t find a control by touch while keeping your eyes on the road. You have to look AT the screen to find the spot to touch. And no, the steering wheel controls aren’t much of an improvement on that.

This is also bad tech. (Frankly, it’s bad enough that I will never buy any car that relies so much on touch screen controls, Tesla or other.)

Tech that I’d love to see, but haven’t yet actually seen in a car, is information that actually helps the driver make decisions. When that idiot light turns on, display a more detailed message of the problem on that center touch screen. Give me the ability to choose what information about the car to display. A tachometer seems to be standard these days, but there are plenty of times when I’d rather have a display of engine temperatures or oil pressure or some other operational monitoring. When I’m cruising down the highway, a tach isn’t interesting. But these other values could be important to monitor.

How about all of those trouble codes that are available, but to read them you need to buy a separate (and potentially expensive) tool. Why not make them readily available on a display screen? They wouldn’t need to be there all of the time - they shouldn’t be there all the time. But put them in a menu somewhere where a knowledgeable person - such as a car enthusiast or a mechanic - can find them. Make the tech useful.

I don’t need a touch screen to open or close or redirect the ventilation in the car. Just let me move the vent around as needed. And I can see at a glance where it’s pointed. I don’t need that displayed on a touch screen.

Tech I love? Easy. Memory seats that move to my preferred position. Even better when the mirrors are included in that memory. Extend that to the interior mirror, please! Radio pre-sets - and voice control. Very useful. Lane assist. Emergency automatic braking. ABS. Airbags. Doors that unlock as you approach with the key/transmitter - no button pressing. Security cameras. Backup cameras. Proximity warnings while parking. Temperature monitoring so I don’t have to fiddle with the HVAC all the time.

There’s an awful lot of tech in cars today that just seems to be there to show that it’s possible. But the tech itself is terrible.


PS - Don’t get me started on the latest transmission control - a tiny little stalk coming out from behind the steering wheel. What does UP do? What does DOWN do? I can’t seem to get from Park to Reverse without going through Drive. I’d rather go back to the 50s with a push button transmission. Modern electronics would make that work a whole lot better than it did back then.


Why only EV? At this point, I wouldn’t buy an ICE vehicle that can’t do OTA updates. ICE vehicles have nearly as much tech in them as EVs have. It is beyond annoying to have all sorts of bugs in the infotainment system (especially the deficient Honda system) and when I ask a dealer if they can fix them, the answer is:

  1. Pay us
  2. There are software updates every year or two that cost $$$.
  3. We can’t be sure if the sw update will fix your problems.

I have to give Musk and Tesla a lot of credit here.

If it was Ford or GM in the leadership there would be no worthwhile price cuts. The self serving managements are not competent just Ivy.

That is the flip side of having ultimate power for over 16 years. Yeah you can be crazy but you can also know your job. The mud for executives at F and GM do not get it, they just take it.

This is why I am against term limits. I do not want well polished people or crazy people with no experience making decisions just because the last know nothing in the job was incompetent.

We have to have a place for people who know what they are doing. In this case it is called Tesla. Regardless of the shots being taken other suck much worse.

Ford and GM adjust pricing to maintain sales, as does Tesla. What leads you to think otherwise?



Hybrids are a hopeless compromise whose value from here will fall faster than anything else. Mostly just a psychological crutch for people who are nervous about EVs. Your wife will figure this out if she looks into the trade-offs in some depth.

The whole “not ready” thing goes away fast once you have one. It turns out that all the problems are in the imaginations of the people doing the worrying rather than in the real world. Well, not all the problems. I still wouldn’t recommend an EV to somebody living in an apartment with no charging available and no superchargers around.

When I looked at the Mach-E a couple years back it was pretty useless compared to the Model Y I was considering. Now that it will get a NACS adapter so long distance travel becomes reasonable, it will be somewhat more useful.

If all you want is a commute car, maybe the Mach-E is a possibility. But it’s still an engineering nightmare, with so many more things to break or leak when compared to a Tesla. Check out a Munro teardown if you don’t believe me. Admittedly, this is their 2021 car, so no doubt it has improved.

Here’s the wrap-up video with their summary of their findings.

If you believe the “early bugs” of the Mach-E have been worked out, and it satisfies your needs, then maybe it could work for you. But it still looks more expensive to operate than an equivalent Tesla, and probably more expensive to buy in most cases.



Tesla mostly has that fixed. The messages generally tell you what to do.

Have you owned a Model 3 or Y and dealt with this? Or are you just theorizing? Most people find it to be no problem, and voice controls can be useful for most things.

Solved. No idiot lights.

Partly solved. There are many choices for what information should be displayed. Of course it may not be the information you happen to want. The latest addition (by software update) is information about tire wear.

Sure, that’s easy. Better, it does it custom for each driver (or for alternative settings for the same driver). Even better, you can put the customization in the cloud so that any Tesla you get into will know your settings. That goes for a variety of settings, not just seats and mirrors.

To me, your complaints seem a decade out date. I’ve had much of that stuff forever. It’s part of the reason it’s so hard to consider moving from a Tesla to something else.

Of course, it’s all useless if Tesla doesn’t have a vehicle that meets your needs.



So what? There are still lots of ICE cars out there that have this problem. Pretty much every one of them sold new today.

I drive one fairly regularly. My brother has a model 3, and we trade cars whenever he takes my wheelchair-using son on various and sundry outings. That generally happens a couple times a month. I hate the controls on his car.

Only in one brand of car. There is life outside of Tesla. Please pay attention to that.

Only in one brand of car. Not solved in general. Again, I’m mostly talking about ICE cars here.

Again, please try to keep up. This was in the list of tech things generally available that I like.

And they don’t. Not now, not in the foreseeable future.

To be clear, I’m not anti-EV. I like the idea of EVs. I think we need more of them. I would have one if it met my needs and budget. They aren’t perfect, and they don’t work in every situation. But they work in a lot of them.

My major problem with Tesla is their specific implementation of several things - most not related to the car part of being a car. At the moment, they’re kind of like the original Model T from a century ago. Those could be had in any color you want as long as you want black. Teslas come with all of the bells and whistles and features that Tesla thinks you should have. What you actually want or don’t want is irrelevant. The way you prefer to work with those features is irrelevant. With the exception of the touch screen, they don’t affect the car, they just affect comfort and amenities. And for me they make the car uncomfortable to use.