Against many predictions, and the ill-will of stock-market short sellers, Tesla is breaking through and redefining the car market in the US. These three graphs explain how and why.
The graphs, released by industry statistician EV Volumes, back up the news from Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk that the Model 3 is the 5th best selling car in terms of volume, and the biggest by value, helping to drive the company to a long-awaited profitable quarter with margins of over 20 per cent.
The graph at the top illustrates how the Model 3 has lifted overall sales or EVs and hybrids in the US, which have charged past the one million mark.
The 2018 total sales for plu0-in cars is expected to jump by 82 per cent in 2018, to take a total share of the new car market in the US of 2.1 per cent. Half of those sales, and three out of four full battery electric vehicles (BEV) will come from Tesla.
The next graph below shows that sales by volume of the Model 3 in the US – despite its high price of $US49,000, are catching up to popular family cars like Toyota’s Camry and Corolla, as well as Honda’s Civic and Accord models.
Musk and his team commented during last week’s earnings call that out of all the models customers are trading their cars in to buy a Model 3, almost half are non-premium models that sell new for under $35,000.
“For many people it is the most expensive car they’ve ever bought, so they are clearly demonstrating with their money that they’re willing to spend extra money to get a Tesla,” Musk said.
But the Model 3 does not only appeal to the mid-range market, as the following chart from EV Volumes also shows.
It is beating sales of cars in the mid-luxury segment hands down – over twice as many Model 3s were sold in Q3 than BMW’s 3 & 4 series combined, Audi’s A4 and A5 combined, Mercedes’ C-Class and the Acura TLX.
While the sales figures reflect Tesla’s concerted efforts to catch up on two years’ worth of reservations, Musk says that Tesla will continue to profit “for all quarters going forward”.
With his eye now firmly on expansion next year into Europe, Australia – and China, the world’s largest EV market and location of Tesla’s billion-dollar gigafactory – Musk is pushing for production of 7,000 Model 3s a week, bringing down production costs and delivering on his promise of a $US35,000 Model 3.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.