A Record Number of Electric Car Models Are Hitting American Streets in 2021

The rise of the Mustang Mach-E trumpets Tesla’s impact on the automobile industry.

The rise of the Mustang Mach-E trumpets Tesla’s impact on the automobile industry. Courtesy of Ford

Tesla has dominated the United States’ electric vehicle market, with four out of every five cars in the category bearing the logo of Elon Musk’s groundbreaking fleet. This year, however, he’s going to be facing a whole lot of competition.

There are at least 14 different electric vehicles scheduled to hit the roads in the United States this year. Some of them, including the new electric Ford Mustang, are already off and running. While growing in clout and usage overseas, in countries like China, Norway and Germany, electric vehicles have a steep hill to climb in the U.S.—in 2020, they accounted for just two percent of the country’s market share and suffered a 10 percent decline during the pandemic-skewed year. But that also means there’s plenty of room for opportunity, which is what some of the nation’s largest automakers are betting on.

Both GM and Ford have electric vehicles coming out this year, kicking off what each company promises to be a revolution in its fleet. GM says it will strive to reach zero emissions by 2035. A big part of that push will involve its move to create electric vans, news of which first leaked last summer before the automaker formally announced it in January. It will have to find a way to move beyond its failed deal with Nikola, the startup that was making a pickup truck for GM but got caught in fraud allegations.

Ford, meanwhile, has promised to double its efforts to create electric vehicles.

Overseas automakers are also eager to crack the American market—Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai, and Mercedes Benz all have electric vehicles ready to roll on U.S. streets. Volkswagen in particular is hoping to turn itself around after a year and a half period that turned it from a potential buyer of Tesla into a flagging competitor, at least on the electric side. Its new SUV, meant to compete with Tesla’s Model Y, is due out next month. The company also has an electric vehicle coming from its Audi subsidiary.

And then there are the startups, some of which have become immensely valuable without actually selling much of anything yet. There will be new cars and SUVs debuting from Rivian, Lordstown, and Lucid Air, which will sport a wide range of price tags.

The industry will get an assist from the White House, as well. President Joe Biden has promised to replace the entire federal fleet of vehicles with electric vehicles, while the House of Representatives is aiming to extend a federal tax credit that would incentivize consumer purchases. A new international trade dispute may complicate matters, however, as the U.S. International Trade Commission banned a South Korean battery manufacturer, one of the world’s largest, from exporting to the United States. A Record Number of Electric Car Models Are Hitting American Streets in 2021