Tesla Model 3 sales are blowing away other plug-in EVs on the US market

  • Published on June 12th, 2018

The Tesla Model 3 continues to open up its lead over every other plug-in car on the US market*. For all the hype about a slower than projected Model 3 production ramp up, it seems there isn’t another plug-in vehicle that comes within two laps of touching it. It sits at about triple the sales of the #2 Toyota Prius Prime (a plug-in hybrid) and nearly 4 × the sales of all 7 of BMW Group’s plug-in models combined.


Why does the Tesla Model 3 get so much attention? Look at its sales! Furthermore, consider the fact that these are expected to double (or go even further).

Many people did wonder if the Model 3 would raise awareness about electric cars enough that it would also increase demand for other electric models on the market. This has always been a big question since the other models don’t benefit from the same overall package that the Model 3 offers, but a Model 3 isn’t for everyone and simply making more people aware that cool electric cars exist could lead to sales of other models.

BMW Group, mentioned above in a less positive light, is actually one of the companies doing the best on the plug-in vehicle scene. It saw a 27% increase of plug-in hybrid vehicle sales in May and 75% from January through May. BMW i3 sales were down 16% in May, but they were up 21% January through May. The Toyota Prius Prime is also scoring a lot more points. Its sales were up 53% in May and 49% in January through May, while the Chevy Bolt is in a similar place as the i3 — sales were down 28% in May but up 14% January through May.

Otherwise, non-Tesla plug-in vehicle sales were down across the board in May and January–May for the models we’re able to track*.

In any case, if you look at the May 2018 chart at the top, it’s clear that there’s now the Model 3 and everyone else. That also now reminds me of the stunning chart Tesla shared last week forecasting the battery capacity in electric vehicles expected to be shipped in Q3 2018 (globally):

The market is a changing. I still love a bunch of the electric cars that are available on the market, and could recommend many of them depending on a person’s circumstances, preferences, and needs. But Model 3 is king of the hill now, and it’s hard to see that changing until the Model Y comes along in a few years.

*There are several automakers that don’t break out sales of their electric models (for example, sales of the Kia Niro PHEV are hidden within overall sales of the Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq EV sales are hidden within overall sales of the Hyundai Ioniq). As such, we have little insight into how many of these cars are sold in the US. Rather than guess, we exclude them from these monthly reports.

However, Tesla makes various statements about sales from time to time and offers some quarterly numbers, and Tesla vehicles are a more significant part of the EV market, so I create estimates based on every Tesla statement I can find as well as Tesla registration data in Europe and China. But do note that Tesla doesn’t publicly break out monthly sales and doesn’t break out country-by-country sales, so these estimates are definitely not precise.

(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Cleantechnica.)

About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.