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Published on July 26th, 2019 | by Zachary Shahan


1st EV To Break Into Top 10 Global Auto Sales? Revisiting 2013 CleanTechnica Reader Predictions

July 26th, 2019 by  

Six years ago today, I published a poll on CleanTechnica asking readers what they thought would be the first electric car to break into the top 10 of global auto sales.

There was no “Tesla Model 3” back then, just a “more affordable Tesla model coming by 2017,” so I called the future Tesla option the “Tesla Model C.” The readers voting on the poll still gave the “Model C”/Model 3 decent weight despite being ~4 years out. It was neck and neck with the Nissan LEAF until the end of the poll. But the LEAF edged it out in the end. It’s sort of a funny reflection of how much the EV market has changed in the past 6 years.

So far, no electric car has broken into the top 10 of annual global auto sales, but the Model 3 is getting close. Though, I wasn’t actually specific in my 2013 question about the timeframe — I could have been referring to annual sales or monthly sales.

If referring to monthly sales, I would not be surprised to find out the Model 3 was in the top 10 in December 2018 or June 2019.

Considering annual sales, I assume the Model 3 will break into the top 10 at some point — perhaps in 2020. Then there’s also the Model Y, which should be a bigger seller.

The Nissan LEAF, unfortunately, has not picked up enough momentum to come close to the top 10, and still needs some work in the battery and charging realm to get competitive with the Model 3. Maybe its next upgrade will result in a surprising sales boost, but I don’t think many people are holding their breath for a top 10 appearance in the coming years. Maybe by 2025. 🙂

The Chevy Spark EV, Chevy Volt, and several other options on this list, of course, have 0% chance of making it into the top 10 (unless revived and dramatically improved). Some of the remaining models have perhaps 0.1% chance of making it into the top 10. Again, they’d need to be dramatically improved and automakers would need to ramp up production capacity. It’s not going to happen. 
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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, 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] — 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 does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.

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