With Tesla out front, electric car sales have jumped in 2021, to more than twice that of the first half of last year. At the same time, Wards Intelligence data show total vehicle sales in the US up 29%, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Model Y crossover SUV, which debuted in 2020, is Telsa's biggest seller and is driving the increase; the automaker's US sales rose 78% in the first six months of this year. Ford's Mustang Mach-E SUV and Volkswagen's ID.4 —both new electric models—also sold well. Plug-in vehicles still represent a small slice of the US market but topped 3% of total sales the past two months—a record high. They sell better in other parts of the world, including China and Europe.
Sales in China more than doubled in the first half of the year, per CNBC, and Volkswagen hopes to sell close to 100,000 of its ID series there this year. And the European Union is working on plans to leave the fossil fuel economy behind. "The more the public opinion becomes sensitive to the global-warming issue and how to fix it, the more we can expect a very strong acceleration" of electric vehicles sales, said the chief executive of global auto maker Stellantis. The Biden administration's support for electric vehicles, including investment in charging stations and consumer incentives, will help, executives said. Mercedes-Benz announced this week that it is speeding up its shift to electric. Analysts said that as more options are available, consumers are growing more interested, per the Journal. (Read more electric cars stories.)