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Published on October 8th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan


#1, #2, #3 — Tesla Model 3, S, & X = USA’s Safest Cars & Top Selling Electric Cars

October 8th, 2018 by  

We got the news late last night that the Tesla Model 3 was by far the safest car ever tested by the NHTSA. That is, it has the lowest probability of injury of any car in history.

Many of us expected the Model 3 to perform a little bit worse than the previous #1, the Tesla Model S. However, as I pointed out when I first reviewed the Model 3, just based on my superficial experience driving and examining the car, it was clear that Tesla is continuously making improvements to its vehicles. I found the Model 3 to be significantly better than our 2015 Model S. It’s all about innovation, CEO Elon Musk might say.

But I had no clue the Model 3 was going to score significantly better than the already excellent Model S on the NHTSA tests.

That is insane.

Tesla should have an “insane mode” button on the Model 3 that just pulls up that chart.

Of course, behind the now #1 Model 3 and #2 Model S is the #3 Model X. #Winning

Incidentally, that’s also the exact same sales breakdown of the top 3 electric cars in the USA.

I noted recently that I’d stop doing monthly US electric car sales reports because Tesla only reports quarterly sales (and not even broken down by country), GM switched to only quarterly reports (as far as sales of individual models), and some automakers don’t provide any plug-in car sales data. However, I did decide I’d start doing quarterly reports to replace the monthly reports.

For quarter 3 (Q3), it should surprise not a single soul that the Model 3 ran away with the title. As the #4 highest selling car in the country and by far the highest selling luxury car, everyone knew the Model 3 must have dominated electric car sales. Of the models I track, the Model 3 accounted for 53% of sales.

The Model S and X, with 8% and 7%, followed the Model 3 onto the podium for the silver and bronze medals.

When nearly 70% of electric car sales are Tesla sales, I have to say that it gets a little boring looking at the other electric car sales data. Nonetheless, let’s have a quick look at the other models.

The Toyota Prius Prime took the #4 spot after seeings its Q3 sales increase 21% year over year and its year-to-date (YTD) sales increase 38%.

The Chevy Volt, with 5,429 sales, also saw decent growth (25%) in Q3 2018 versus Q3 2017, but it still has a downtrend in YTD sales, 13% down from the first three quarters of 2017.

The Chevy Volt’s Bolt EV sibling was down dramatically both in Q3 (-46.5%) and YTD (-21%). So much for that “Tesla killer,” and so much for the head start some pundits considered to be so important.

The Nissan LEAF, meanwhile, saw a rise in its sales — 58% in Q3 and 9% YTD. The extra range, new design, and ProPILOT suite appear to be helping. Also, while the Model 3 clearly dominates the electric car sales chart, it seems that it hasn’t pulled many sales away from the LEAF portion of the pie. (The pie just got a lot bigger.)

Similarly, BMW’s plug-in car sales were up year over year. The BMW i3 saw moderate growth, while BMW’s plug-in hybrid options scored 28.5% growth in Q3 and 50.6% growth YTD. In the end, the Model 3 had only 9× more sales than all of BMW’s electrified vehicles combined. That’s good, right?

The Honda Clarity PHEV, which wasn’t around last year, scored over 5,000 Q3 sales. That would look like a very strong quarter for a plug-in car if the Model 3 didn’t log approximately 10× more, 54,540, in the same period of time.

Ford’s plug-in cars, meanwhile, saw drops all across the board. Perhaps that’s related to the company’s overall move away from cars. If you can’t beat ’em, retreat.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the CEO of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he offers no investment advice and does not recommend investing in Tesla or any other company.

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