June 22, 2024

Electric vehicles on a train

Electric vehicles on a train
Photo: Hendrik Schmidt/picture alliance (Getty Images)

The Energy Information Administration says that electric vehicles are now using more energy than trains in the United States. The tidbit was included in the agency’s analysis of its monthly report on American electricity usage. The electric vehicle news outlet Electrek noticed it first.

The EIA said that it estimates plug-in hybrid vehicles and fully electric vehicles together consumed 7,596 GWh last year, up 44.6%.

“The model estimates monthly light-duty electric vehicle (EV)1 consumption of electricity for each state based on the number of EVs, average number of miles driven on electricity, and EV fuel economy,” the EIA mentions in the methodology section of its latest Electric Power Monthly report. “Adjustments are made based on data availability from various input sources, to bring lagged data up to the current reporting period, and to adjust national and regional data down to state-level estimates.”

Electricity consumed by the “transportation” sector, which is almost entirely train usage, came in with 6,804 GWh., up 3.1%.

Tesla, which still dominates the EV market, however, is facing issues with demand. The automaker led by Elon Musk produced 46,561 more vehicles than it delivered to customers during the first quarter of 2024. The unsold cars are instead sitting in parking lots at its factories, malls and airports.

Though EV sales headlines from companies like Tesla seem grim, the sector is still much bigger than it used to be and international carmakers are nipping at Tesla’s heals.

China’s Nio last week launched a direct challenge to Tesla’s best-selling Model Y SUV, with the first electric vehicles out of its new lower-priced brand Onvo. Meanwhile, the Biden administration imposed new tariffs on China’s exports, with particular focus on electric vehicles.

Tariffs on some EV imports will quadruple, the administration said, from 25% all the way to 100%.

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