Tesla Gobbled Up 78% Of US Electric Vehicle Sales In 2019*


Published on January 16th, 2020 | by Zachary Shahan

January 16th, 2020 by  

Yes, Tesla dominated electric vehicle sales in the United States again in 2019. Whereas the Tesla Model 3 was the 9th best selling car in the country and had more than 150,000 sales in the USA*, the next best selling non-Tesla on the market was the Chevy Bolt with 16,418 sales, followed by the Nissan LEAF with 12,365 sales.

In other words, for every 9½ Model 3 sales, there was 1 Bolt sale, and for every 12½ Model 3 sales, there was 1 LEAF sale — and the Bolt and LEAF, theoretically, would be the best selling electric vehicles in the country if not for Tesla. (Let’s just ignore that the Bolt probably wouldn’t exist if not for Tesla, and who knows what specs the LEAF would have?) Note that this report only covers fully electric vehicle sales, not plug-in hybrid sales.

Based on CleanTechnica estimates*, Tesla Model 3 sales accounted for 81% of US electric vehicle sales in December and 72% of 4th quarter EV sales. The Model 3 accounted for 65% of US electric vehicle sales in 2019 as a whole. In other words, 2 out of every 3 electric vehicle sales were Tesla Model 3 sales. The Model 3’s 150,000+ deliveries made it the 9th best selling car in the United States and the #1 best selling luxury vehicle (reports coming).

All together, Tesla accounted for 89% of US EV sales in December, 83% in the 4th quarter, and 78% in 2019, based on our estimates as well as official automaker data and some third party data.

As you can see, December and 4th quarter EV market share didn’t depart much from the full-year breakdown (there’s not much room for departure when one model dominates so profoundly), but Tesla was stronger at the end of the year than the beginning, and other brands are so low volume that their month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter changes are negligible across the market as a whole. Here are charts for December and the 4th quarter of 2019:

2020 should be a more interesting year for the US EV market. We probably have the Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID Crozz, and Ford Mustang Mach-E arriving — though, a bit late in the year based on current plans. We’ll see what happens. They could all arrive with a bang, or one or more of them could slog their way through production hell and not hit their stride until 2021 or later. (Of course, that is assuming all three of them will be a hit in the long run.)

Before closing out, I think it’s worth revisiting why exactly Tesla, and especially the Model 3, dominates US electric vehicle sales. Here’s my guess at the top 7 reasons:

  1. Teslas can drive far — father than any other electric vehicles — and it’s super easy, super fast, and convenient across the United States & Canada to charge them on a road trip.
  2. Nothing comes close to Tesla Autopilot/Full Self Driving, and it gets better practically every month.
  3. Teslas have the best acceleration in their class — across all fuel types and powertrains.
  4. YouTube. Netflix. Hulu.
  5. Top safety scores in US history, with the Model 3 at #1 for a variety of reasons.
  6. Rainbow Road. Beach Buggy. Caraoke. Santa Mode. Chess. Backgammon. Mars Mode. Spotify.
  7. Resale value expected to rock.

For previous sales reports, see our US EV sales archives or all of our Tesla sales or EV sales archives.

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*Some EV sales estimates are more informed than others. Tesla’s sales estimates are based on multiple sources. They are certainly not official, but we think they are close enough to reality to publish them. Tesla only reports global sales by quarter, so we have to estimate which portion of those are in the US and which portion are in December. GM/Chevrolet only reports quarterly sales, so monthly totals are estimates but quarterly totals are official. Several automakers, most notably Hyundai and Kia, do not share any detailed information on their electric vehicle sales.

If you’d like to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X and get some free Supercharging miles, feel free to use my special, magical, unicorn-blessed referral code: https://ts.la/zachary63404. You can also get a $100 discount on Tesla solar with that code. There is currently no use for a referral code when putting down a reservation for a Cybertruck or Model Y. 

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About the Author

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] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.