Tesla Sales = 4.6% of California Vehicle Sales in Q3

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Plug-in electric vehicles accounted for 7.1% of California car sales in the first three quarters of the year — fully electric car sales accounted for 4.1% and plug-in hybrids 3%. That’s a pretty big story, as the market share is well above the US average and also higher than the EV market share in almost every country on the planet.

However, the bigger story is that one brand now carries the bulk of those sales on its shoulders. That brand, of course, is Tesla.

2.95% of California light vehicle sales were Tesla sales in the first three quarters of the year, but as we all know, Tesla sales exploded late in that time period. In the 3rd quarter alone, Tesla sales accounted for 4.6% of California light vehicle sales. Put another way, that means approximately 1 out of every 22 sales was a Tesla.

Of course, Tesla sales really rose at the end of the 3rd quarter, so the Tesla market share for September must have been stunning, but as long as Tesla is only sharing quarterly figures, let’s stick to quarterly and annual summaries.

We’ve gotten to the 5th paragraph and haven’t yet mentioned the beast in the room, the Model 3. (Admittedly, we did include two pictures of the Model 3, and a picture is worth a thousand words, but let’s not get weird.) Tesla only sells three models. Its new star performer accounts for a very heavy portion of the brand’s score. That means it ranks highly in the model rankings (as if you didn’t know that already). Stay tuned, as more on model-specific stats are coming soon.

The stats reiterate something else that has been indicated in other ways — the Tesla Model 3 expands the “green car” pie rather than just taking sales from other greener-than-average cars. Even if you lump in conventional hybrids, the Model 3’s high-volume arrival seems to have grown the pie by a notable degree. Green car market share in California has historically been as follows:

  • 2014 — 9.5%
  • 2015 — 8.9%
  • 2016 — 8.3%
  • 2017 — 9.4%
  • 2018 (first 3 quarters) — 11.2%

Another interesting stat is that 27% of Tesla sales in the 3rd quarter of this year were in California. And it seems approximately one-third of Tesla’s US sales are in California.

I’ll end on one final fun stat: Tesla’s Q3 2018 California sales were up 399% compared to Q3 2017. That’s something.


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. 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], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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