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Tesla Model 3 = #1 Best Selling Electric Car in World, 7% of Global EV Market in 2018

We’ve published something like a bazillion Tesla sales charts and stats. (See “30 Nasty Charts,” for example.) But this is actually a new one. Jose Pontes of EV Volumes and CleanTechnica has his 2018 tally wrapped up and it puts the Tesla Model 3 in the #1 position globally among all plug-in vehicles.

Tesla Supercharger Thousand Oaks, CA

We’ve published something like a bazillion Tesla sales charts and stats. (See “30 Nasty Charts,” for example.) But this is actually a new one. Jose Pontes of EV Volumes and CleanTechnica has his 2018 tally wrapped up and it puts the Tesla Model 3 in the #1 position globally among all plug-in vehicles.

In fact, the Model 3 was approximately 55,000 sales above the #2 BAIC EC-Series, an extremely popular Chinese model. The Tesla Model 3 gobbled 7% of the plug-in vehicle market, while the #2 EC-Series and #3 Nissan LEAF each had 4%.

After those top three, as the chart shows, the Tesla Model S and Model X were #4 and #5, respectively. They were followed by three Chinese models and then the Toyota Prius Prime and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The Model 3 (and others) helped push the world plug-in vehicle share up to 2.1% in 2018. (Double that 4 times and we’re at about 30% market share.)

When I see a ranking like the one above and see the Model 3 sticking out so far ahead of others, I generally come back to a single question. “What’s so special about the Tesla Model 3?”

Side note: If you have a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X on the way (and the order was in before February 3), but you didn’t use a referral code for 6 months of free Supercharging (or 9 months if you didn’t test drive the car), then you can still use my referral code — tomasz7234 — or someone else’s if some other Tesla owner referred you.

Just send an email to (or if you’re in Europe) with the word “Referral” in the subject line. Then put your name, contact information, reservation number (starts with RN), and the referral code you’d like to use in the body of the email. (Thanks to Paul for discovering that.)

Tesla Model 3, Model S

Naturally, you and I know what’s so special about the car, but these benefits bear repeating.

Much in the consumer market comes down to money, or value for the money. The Model 3 is the safest car at or near its price, the quickest car at or near its price, the highest tech car at or near its price, and the most autonomous car at or near its price. It’s also beautiful, and cool.

Furthermore, due to its long range and superfast charging capability, it is “road trip ready” — few electric cars are.

Additionally, while many consumers don’t spend a lot of time crunching “total cost of ownership” numbers, those who do so have found the Model 3 to be more competitive with mass-market cars like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord than you might think at first glance.

When you combine the performance, tech, styling, brand factor, and total cost of ownership, you get a monster of a vehicle in the Model 3, a package no other plug-in vehicle on the market can currently match. That’s not to say there aren’t reasons to buy other EVs. Remember, 93% of plug-in vehicle sales in 2018 were not Model 3 sales. Nearly 2 million non–Model 3 electric cars, SUVs, and crossovers made it into consumers’ parking spots. Still, there’s clearly a new king of the hill, and its young Tesla’s 4th model.

Chart: Top 20 electric vehicles worldwide 2018

Source: Jose Pontes, EV Volumes

Aside from Tesla getting all three of its current offerings in the top 5, you also have to give props to BYD for getting 5 models in the top 20 and BAIC for getting 3 models in the top 20.

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Written By

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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