What does Tesla’s surge mean for the EV market?
10.11.2018 - by Plug In America
What does Tesla’s surge mean for the EV market?

Tesla has, as of September 30, sold more than 78,000 Model 3s in the United States. If fourth quarter 2018 sales can match third quarter (and there is no reason to think they won’t), then Tesla Model 3 sales for 2018 would stand at 132,000. Oh, and for September, the Model 3 is the fifth best-selling car in the United States.

Tesla Model 3

Does this change things?

This is a serious question. For many years, EV enthusiasts and industry experts longed for an electric car that would change the EV market and push the electric car up the proverbial hockey stick adoption curve. Our last hope came in the form of the 238-mile Chevy Bolt, but the Bolt has only sold 11,800 units this year and only 35,600 total. Likewise, the second generation Nissan LEAF, with it’s 150-mile battery pack, has only garnered 21,900 units sold to date. Both of these long-range battery electrics certainly increased overall EV sales substantially, but neither proved to be game-changers in terms of expanding the EV market. In fact, Chevrolet has seen a dip in Volt sales since the introduction of the Bolt EV, indicating that the latter may be cannibalizing sales of the former.

Chevy Bolt EV

Likewise, the first few months of Model 3 sales weren’t encouraging. Amid production issues, Model 3 deliveries between January and June of this year seemed to put its total yearly sales on track to be comparable to the Model S, meaning the Model 3 would be yet another incremental increase in overall EV sales. Then July’s delivery numbers came back: over 14,000. August was even better: over 17,000. September blew both of those number out of the water with over 22,000 Model 3s in driveways. At the same time, Model S and Model X deliveries have maintained consistent numbers.

What the Model 3 really represents is proof of the mass-market viability of electric cars. A car company can build 100,000 electric cars per year and actually sell them—granted, the car is a good product that is well-publicized. GM already admits that current Bolt EV sales are limited primarily by supply, not demand, and in March announced plans to increase production of the car to at least 30,000 units per year. But let’s put that into perspective—Tesla will likely deliver that many cars this month.

Now that’s not to say that Teslas are the best EVs. Ultimately, Plug In America wants as many electric cars on the road as possible, because we know that all EVs are just better cars. They’re better for your wallet, for our air, and they’re just plain fun to drive. With the upcoming launch of the 258-mile Hyundai Kona Electric and the over 250-mile Kia Niro EV, both all-electric compact SUVs, there is again major potential for a massive increase in electric vehicle sales. Both of these vehicles are projected to cost between $30,000 and $40,000, and compact SUVs are the fastest growing auto segment of 2018. These two affordable long-range all-electric entrants look poised to be big hits with the American car-buying public; but until automakers are serious about selling these amazing vehicles, 20,000-30,000 units per month serious, the sales of EVs will continue to be stifled by availability.

Upcoming 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

If major automakers are still asking the question, “If we build them, will they come?” then the Model 3 conclusively answers, “Yes—and if you don’t build them, someone else will.”

10 comments on “What does Tesla’s surge mean for the EV market?”
  1. jim stack says:

    Tesla is showing ALL the other companies what they should be doing. Tesla is really the only TRUE electric vehicle company. The others are just making COMPLIANCE cars . They are getting better at making better cars but have a long long way to go.
    Dealers don’t really support and know about electrics. Their support is very weak.

    GM yearly sales of all their gas vehicles=Sales declined 11 percent year over year, with the impact of hurricanes sharply increasing industry and GM sales a year ago and depressing them somewhat this year. The third quarter light vehicle SAAR was 17.2 million units in 2017 and 16.9 million in 2018.

  2. Bill Kohl says:

    The Other great benefit of the Tesla Cars is that you get consistent software updates which keep your Tesla car up top date with the most recent features. If you by other EV’s you have to buy a new model each year to get the latest features, and that is very costly!! Tesla gives you their updates free for buying their cars, and that is a big plus. Also Tesla is the most advanced and innovative Company today and will. continue to be for a long time in the future. Tesla is the best value by far plus you still get the Federal rebates $7,500 until 12-31-18, and a lesser amount into 2019, and the CA rebate off $2500 still is on going. Other states also have their specific rebates. We love our new Model 3 it is the most amazing car we have ever owned.

  3. Charlie Wilde says:

    I’ve been a Tesla Model S owner for nearly five years, and I still love it. By far the best car I’ve owned in my 42 years of cars/truck ownership. I believe the Model 3 is much more popular than other EVs because Tesla is the only EV manufacturer that invested in building out an international charging network. You just can’t take other EVs on long trips without suffering through long wait times to recharge, and that will continue to hinder widespread adoption until car manufacturers partner with state and federal governments to build out car charger networks that any EV can use.

  4. Lance Thayer says:

    An EV with home solar is an unbeatable combination. Run your home and auto on Free sunshine! You almost beat capitalism death grip on your roof wallet and retirement savings.

  5. Robert Pike says:

    For Ed Hampton, What about the global warming denial hoax don’t you understand? Global warming is here, its real, just face it.

  6. Jeff Schneider says:

    I just bought a used Model S instead of waiting for the Hyundai & Kia compact SUV’s. I was going to wait until the lease on my 2016 Chevy Spark EV was up. However, the deadline for free unlimited supercharging pushed me into taking the plunge a little earlier. This is also a great time to pick up a used EV’s as not enough car value evaluators understand yet that EV’s require almost no maintenance. Toying around with the idea of purchasing the Spark EV at the end of the lease to use as my son’s first car, but he is only 11. and the least is up in Oct 2019.

  7. Ed Hampton says:

    I have test driven the Bolt, new Leaf, Focus electric and Tesla 3. I loved every one. But the Tesla is so far superior in every way. In fact if Tesla had more than one factory and could produce the base model in sufficient quantities it would be the near end of ICE vehicles. A freind of mine was going between a Tesla 3 and Challenger. He ultimately went with the Challenger because he didn’t want to wait.

    The major car manufacturers better get with the program and I think because of the overwhelming sales and delivery success of the Tesla 3, it will happen.

    I for one will only buy a Tesla 3 for my next car. It’s not because of the environment (global warming hoax) it is because it is the best, most efficient vehicle, along with the best drive I have ever experienced. In fact sitting in traffic would be for the first time a nice experience.

  8. Larry Trakalo says:

    100% AGREE – I’m Canadian with a 2018 Bolt EV (second Bolt had a 2017) two months ago thought I need a Tesla – 1772 adapter – and have used 4 times because the other chargers where being used !!!

  9. Patrick J Connors says:

    Being a Tesla model S owner for 6 years now, I firmly believe the EV is the future mode of transportation . So much so, I took delivery of a Model 3 in February and am enjoying the technical aspect as well as the pure enjoyment of driving. In 6 years I have had to spend 20.00 on wiper blades and an extra set of snow tires.. 0 maintenance AMAZING…

  10. abasile says:

    Quote: “Now that’s not to say that Teslas are the best EVs.”

    By most objective measures, they are. But they’re not cheap, and it’s indisputable that we need more EVs regardless of make.

    Interestingly, we may soon reach the point where Tesla charging connectors are more common in North America than J-1772. If I owned a non-Tesla BEV with enough range for trips (our old LEAF doesn’t count), I’m pretty sure I’d want to own a Tesla to J-1772 adapter for Level 2 charging!

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