Some recent Twitter chat got us thinking about the popularity of different Tesla models. Which models have the most allure? Which ones inspire the dreamers, the visionaries, the disrupters? Which ones appeal to the more practical and methodical EV drivers?
Tesla Model Popularity: And the Winner Is…
The map above is based on geotagged Twitter data in the last month, tracking the popularity of each Tesla model (over 25,000 tweets tracked).
As you can see from the map, the Tesla Model 3 barely edged out the Model S, with 25 states compared to 22. Why was that?
The Model 3 is a revolutionary vehicle that brings EVs into the mainstream market due to its combination of a more affordable price than its Tesla Model S and X predecessors and all the features of a Tesla. It offers Tesla’s premium-class tech, seats, sound system, and more and features and 240–310 mile estimated driving range. Yes, its long-delayed introduction caused a bit of ennui and drama, but its performance and brand recognition would suggest that it would be the 2019 hands-down talk-of-Twitter-town. No contest. So, what happened?
Prospective Tesla buyers without the cash to move into a new Model S might be weighing the choice between a new Model 3 ($50,200 and up) and a used Model S ($43,300 and up). In terms of power, space, elegance, and charging costs, the Model S has a significant advantage. Moreover, used Tesla Model S cars typically have low mileage on the odometer. Most used Model S sedans on Tesla’s site have roughly 30,000–35,000 miles on them at a price point below $60,000. Certified pre-owned models come with a 4-year, 50,000 mile limited warranty.
Also interesting is that the geotagged data points to a regional component, with the Model 3 winning both coasts and the Model S taking the middle of the country.
Dissonance between What’s a Tesla Hot Topic and What’s a Sales Trend
The July Twitter chatter differed from actual sales data over the first six months of 2019. More Tesla Model 3s were delivered to customers than all other EVs sold in the US combined. The Model 3 accounts for 63% of all 2019 full EV sales so far.
CleanTechnica’s editor-in-chief Zachary Shahan reported recently that, in the second quarter of 2019, the Tesla Model 3 was again the only premium-class car on the top 10 ranking of US car sales — data indicates that the Model 3 was the 9th best selling car in the country in the quarter. Zachary muses that the car could rank higher but not enough people are aware of the Model 3, and even far fewer people have experienced one. It’s little more than a matter of time for word of the Model 3 and experience driving or riding in it to spread. As new owners show their cars to family members, friends, and coworkers, he expects Tesla sales to continue rising and to compete better and better amidst the other cars in the top 10. That upward rise will be commensurate with the other automakers seeing their sales decrease.
Further, since the Tesla Model 3 is the most popular electric vehicle in the auto industry, Maye Musk, mother of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, wonders why there’s so much Tesla vitriol going around, which certainly depresses sales.
@cleantechnica Good question. Why does the US mainstream media hate the top-selling award-winning US-built EV? The rest of the world can’t understand it. #FossilFuel #Pravduh #CleanEnergyWillWin #Tesla 💚🌎 https://t.co/oqpB9hf1iS
— Maye Musk (@mayemusk) July 10, 2019
Conversely, sales of Tesla’s Model S and Model X were down a bit over the first 6 months of the year, compared to the same period in 2018. In early July, Tesla said that it had delivered a total of 95,200 vehicles in the 2nd quarter, which beat analyst expectations. 77,550 of those deliveries were Model 3 EVs, pointing to at least a temporary shift away from Model S and X sales. Tesla delivered 17,650 Model S and X vehicles in the second quarter.
Tesla tweeted in August 2019 that it will offer free unlimited Supercharging credits for new Model S and Model X buyers. In earlier years, the company had offered free unlimited Supercharging, but it eventually reduced that number to 400 kilowatt-hours of electricity credits each year for Model S and Model X orders. The return to free unlimited credits applies for orders placed starting August 3.
Hmm. Will that change in policy shift the geotagged Tesla Twitter model popularity conversations for August? We’ll have to wait and see.
BREAKING: All new Model S and Model X orders now come with ⚡ free ⚡ unlimited ⚡ Supercharging ⚡
— Tesla (@Tesla) August 3, 2019
Roadster Receives Little Attention — Right Now
The Model X was also able to pick up a few states (3), while the second-generation Roadster did not win any states.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company plans to sell the $250,000 Roadster sports car in 2020. It is expected to have up to 620 miles of range and hit 60 mph from a stop in 1.9 seconds. One of the more intriguing details surrounding the Roadster is a “SpaceX Package” that users can enjoy if they’re willing to pay for the upgrade. Detailing the package on the “Ride the Lightning” podcast recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the car was designed to outperform “Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and McLarens” across a range of performance metrics.
Guess much of the Twitter sphere missed that podcast, eh?
Wherefore Art Thou, Model Y?
The upcoming Model Y was also geotracked for July 2019 but did not win any states in the analysis. Our own Vijay Govindan here at CleanTechnica figures that, if you want to purchase a Tesla immediately, the 3 is the better choice due to immediate availability and US federal tax incentives. The Y will arrive in 18 to 24 months in the US, and will take longer before commencing international sales.
There are also space considerations when deciding between the Model X and Y. Vijay asks, “Are you okay with less space or do you crave a larger vehicle?” The Y will be larger, have an option to seat more people, and have a rear hatchback. He says the 3 compensates for its smaller size by having more range, higher top speed, and better acceleration from 0 mph to 60 mph.
Regardless of which Tesla model wins a Twitter popularity contest, the Tesla catalog demonstrates the true potential of EV technology and inspires the all-electric marketplace as to what is possible for sustainable transportation. Tesla continues to “extend its lead vs. a still-small group of true [electric vehicle] competitors,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a recent note to investors.
The Twitter conversations in July 2019 affirm Tesla’s well-documented place in the EV marketplace and suggest the all-electric car company is well positioned to maintain an EV leadership position in the North American market.
Note that the folks over at partcatalog.com were the ones who used trends software with direct access to geotagged twitter data to compile results.
Images retrieved from Tesla.com, August, 2019.
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