While different electric vehicles may be #1 in different markets (the Renault Zoe in France, the Audi e-tron in Norway, the VW e-Golf in Germany), globally, there is no question which electric vehicle is the most popular. According to recently compiled data from EV Volumes, the Tesla Model 3 had nearly as many sales in the first half of 2020 as the 2nd best selling, 3rd best selling, 4th best selling, 5th best selling, 6th best selling, and 7th best selling plugin vehicles combined.
The combination of the Tesla Model 3’s tech, price, performance, specs, practicality, charging capability, and consumer awareness of the car make it a compelling vehicle across the globe. For more insight into why the Model 3 is so popular, I recommend reading our Tesla Model 3 long-term review articles. We also have a budding long-term review of the #2 Renault Zoe and long-term review articles of the #3 Nissan LEAF that you may find interesting.
Notably, there are actually many markets where the Model 3 still isn’t sold and buyers are waiting for a Tesla store/delivery center to open up in order to buy one. So, sales of the Model 3 could be significantly higher in time.
The one somewhat hidden caveat here, though, is that the Tesla Model Y may already be outselling the Model 3, and that crossover/SUV version of the Model 3 already made it to #14 on the list. At the moment, one of Tesla’s challenges is ramping up production of both models, and in Tesla’s Fremont factory — the only place where the Model Y is currently being built and one of two places where the Model 3 is being built — the two models are sharing overall production capacity and some of the production lines. So, sales are more or less just based on what Tesla decides to prioritize.
In percentage terms, the Model 3 had 15% of plugin vehicle sales in the first half of 2020, followed by the Renault Zoe (almost exclusively sold in Europe) at 4%, the Nissan LEAF at 3%, and the Volkswagen e-Golf, BYD Qin Pro EV, BMW 530e/Le, Hyundai Kona EV, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Audi e-tron, Volkswagen Passat GTE, and GAC Aion S at 2% each.
One of the interesting things here is that the three models that follow the Model 3 to round out the top four are each a bit cheaper than the Model 3 and have moderate range, not nearly what the Model 3 offers. Imagine when models that are priced $25,000–30,000 have as much range as a Model 3!
There were a few model surprises for me on the list. As already noted, it was surprising to see the Model Y already climbing the ranks. I was also impressed by the sales of the NIO ES6, which came in at #19. I think the decent sales so far this year offer good potential for NIO’s vehicles as production capacity grows and as consumer awareness increases sales. I was surprised to see the Chevy Bolt make it onto the top 20 list.
One of the strengths of the plugin vehicle market right now is its diversity. Overall, 51% of sales came from models not on the top 20 list. That’s good. Diversity is beneficial to a market.
One final highlight was seeing how dominant fully electric vehicles are amongst the top 20. Only three plugin hybrid vehicles made it into the top 20.
What are the most interesting findings or highlights about this global top 20 ranking for you?
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