We recently reported on the Tesla Model 3 being the 3rd best selling vehicle in California in 2019 as well as the Tesla Model X ranking either #1 or #4 in its class, depending on which class you put it in. Some other electric cars did quite well in California as well, though.
In particular (in case you don’t read headlines and didn’t just see this above), the Chevy Bolt was the 2nd best selling subcompact car in California and the BMW i3 was the 3rd best selling “entry luxury car” there.
So, while the Tesla Model 3 deservedly grabs the bulk of the headlines about electric cars (and now the Model Y does too), other electric cars do continue to do well in their classes. The biggest problem is perhaps that there aren’t electric vehicles in most of the most popular classes.
There aren’t any electric “compact SUVs” or “midsize SUVs” or “compact/midsize pickup trucks” or “full size pickup trucks” or “luxury midsize SUVs” (except that the Model Y is now arriving).
Also, while the Model 3 dominates its “near luxury” class, and seems like it fits more appropriately in the “midsize car” class in California, there apparently aren’t any electric vehicles officially in the “compact” or “midsize” class that can run with the big boys there. Could an automaker get into the top 5 in these categories if they tried? It’s hard to say right now, and while I think we might be able to count on that happening in the next few years, my next thought it it’s more likely that people move from those classes in order to buy the Tesla Model 3 or Model Y. On the other hand, for all of those who can’t finance those models (most of us), a compelling sub-$30,000 electric car could probably sell in high numbers.
In other words, the biggest problem in the electric vehicle market continues to be lack of variety (options) and lack of supply. People often pick the exact class of vehicle they want (or 2 or 3 options) and then decide on a model. If you pick a vehicle class that doesn’t have any EV offerings, or any compelling options, you’re quite unlikely to buy an EV. Pure EV market share has risen to more than 5% of California’s auto market. How much higher could it go today if there was a good, widely available EV in every vehicle class?
This also brings up a topic that I think isn’t acknowledged enough by Tesla fans: Tesla ain’t doin’ it alone. I drive a Tesla Model 3. I know all about the benefits of a Tesla and am known (positively by some and negatively by others) for verbosely writing about those (and sometimes extremely non-verbosely), but as much as I have trouble understanding why some people don’t buy a Tesla, I am fully aware that humans like variety, have all kinds of different tastes (including with regards to vehicle design), have allegiances to different brands, and will buy good electric vehicles from other brands if presented to them in the right way and at the right time. Many won’t even step in a Tesla beforehand. So, we need more electric models ASAP. We need more electric models with adequate range and charging capabilities in every vehicle class. Every time an automaker — whether it’s Ford, Fiat, or Chevrolet — brings another electric model to market and is willing to produce it in volume, we should cheer wildly.
Want to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase: https://ts.la/zachary63404. Or not. It’s always best to use the code of the owner who most helped you decide on a Tesla, imho.
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