Where Would The EV Market Be Today If Tesla Didn’t Exist? 

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Where would the EV market be today if Tesla didn’t exist? This sounds like a silly question since many fans would say, “Duh, there wouldn’t be one.” Even as the market expands and new models arrive, I think that critics also know this. In the US, Tesla basically is the market, scoring more than half of EV sales.

In Europe, there’s much more diversity and a bigger EV market, but much is inspired by government incentives that force automakers to sell EVs and persuade consumers to go electric. Those incentives may not have existed, or may have been much weaker, if Tesla hadn’t proven consumer interest in EVs and the true range, efficiency, and performance capabilities of EVs. Even in China Tesla must have had influence on government incentives and consumer expectations.

So, my question is simple: where would the EV market be today if Tesla didn’t exist? Tesla is the force behind the push toward EVs. Sure, we had the Nissan LEAF back in 2010, which won the Green Car Vision Award and was 2011’s European Car of the Year. But there’s no doubt the market wouldn’t be anywhere close to where it is today without the Model S, the Model 3, and Elon Musk’s vision. The EV market push is a reflection of Elon Musk’s mindset.

Elon Musk has a way of taking on challenges in the manner of a dog with a bone. He won’t easily give up on a problem, even if it is extremely hard. This has shown in Tesla’s handling of its challenges and its multi-year life-or-death approach to ramping up production capacity and sales. This is also reflected in the market.

In February, BloombergNEF’s Colin McKerracher spoke about EVs moving into the mainstream. They are becoming more common quickly, due in large part to Tesla’s mass-market Model 3, which was by far the best selling EV in the world in 2019. Tesla was also the top EV producer in the world in 2019.

Keven Rooke writes that 2019 was the breakout year for Tesla. “It was the year that people all over the world began noticing Tesla vehicles covering their city streets, and the year Tesla proved Wall Street analyst wrong — again.” In his post, Rooke explored the growth of Tesla and other EVs in America. In 2012, Tesla sold 2,650 vehicles. In 2019, that number increased to 192,250, which was a 72× increase in sales. Sure, other EVs have seen growth as well, but in comparison to Tesla vehicles, the rate is almost non-existent. In 2012, there were 49,957 sales of non-Tesla EVs. In 2019, there were 137,016 sales of non-Tesla EVs in the US. You may think that this is great growth (it is in some regards), but overall it shows that Tesla is dominating the market and pulling it forward. Other EV makers are struggling to keep up, but would they have sold even 100,000 if Tesla hadn’t inspired their best models and brought awareness and incentives to the market?

Without Tesla to push and challenge it, the EV market wouldn’t be dead, but it would surely be too small to really make a difference. Fortunately, Tesla exists, and it is continuously pushing that market forward as fast as possible.


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Johnna Crider

Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok

Johnna Crider has 1996 posts and counting. See all posts by Johnna Crider