Tesla Model Y Passes Tesla Model 3 As Best Selling EV In History

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While collecting and inputting data for Tesla’s quarterly sales report, I noticed something that I don’t think has been reported anywhere else. Well, you have to use unofficial model sales estimates in order to come to this conclusion, as Tesla doesn’t split out individual model sales numbers, but based on the best estimates in town, the Tesla Model Y has passed up the Model 3 in cumulative sales — all historical sales for the model — in the 4th quarter.

The Model Y was actually on the verge of doing so at the end of the 3rd quarter, based on CleanTechnica estimates. And then in the 4th quarter, it steamed past the Model 3 to become the best selling electric car model in history. Let’s take another look at the two models’ cumulative sales charts.

The interactive versions of these are the best to look at, but you just have to make sure you’re using a large screen (a computer screen) to view and interact with them well:

As you can see when you examine the figures there, we have Model 3 cumulative sales rising from 2,165,187 units at the end of Q3 2023 to 2,295,187 units at the end of Q4 2023, while we have Model Y cumulative sales rising from 2,162,119 units at the end of Q3 2023 to 2,493,657 units at the end of Q4 2023. It was inevitable, being just around 3,000 units below the Model 3 at the end of Q3, that the Model Y would surpass the transformative electric car in Q4, but it's a matter that has gone unreported due to Tesla not releasing official model-by-model sales figures.

What seems clear is the Model Y is not looking back, and it will be a looooooong time before any other electric model passes up the Model Y in this regard. As we've also reported (and many more outlets have picked up on), the Model Y was the best selling car of any type (any powertrain) in the world in 2023. Being above every other car, SUV, or truck in the world, and being well above any other electric model, it's hard to imagine what model could even close the gap with the Model Y in cumulative EV sales, let alone topple it. The obvious choice would be the $25,000 or so Tesla model that is supposed to be coming soon-ish, but we have very little insight into that. Some think it will be the Cybertruck, but I can't imagine that being the case, and Elon Musk doesn't see the Cybertruck matching the Model Y or even Model 3 either, based on all the expectations I ever saw him make regarding sales expectations for the truck. We'll see, but I imagine the Model Y will hold onto this title at least through 2030, and potentially for much longer.


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Zachary Shahan

Zach 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], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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