The Tesla Model 3 is continuing to blaze a path across Europe, now earning itself the title of best-selling car in Switzerland.
It is the first time a pure electric vehicle (BEV) has outsold all other vehicles on the auto market in Switzerland, and it has done so with a huge margin of 37% over the next best-selling model.
This is a vastly different picture to the auto market in Australia, where to date BEVs account for only 0.2% of the entire national fleet – a fact that has Australia labelled as a laggard in electric vehicle uptake compared to other developed countries.
But as a heated debate emerges around Labor’s 50% target for electric vehicles in the lead up to next month’s federal election, data compiled from Auto Schwiez (Switzerland’s car imports association), show that 1,094 Model 3s were sold in March.
This is 293 more than the long-standing best-seller Skoda Octavia (which sold 801 units) and almost twice as many as Europe’s most popular car, the VW Golf (which sold 594 units).
In total, 1371 units have been sold in Switzerland, having arrived only in late February as the Californian carmaker began an onslaught of Model 3 deliveries in Europe as it commenced its global expansion earlier this year.
While the Model S has up until now been the favoured electric vehicle (out of a 3 car lineup of the S, the X and a small number of the original Roadsters), the far more affordable Model 3 electric sedan is taking over – just check out this graph showing yearly sales of Model 3 since the Roadster’s introduction in 2012.
Indeed, looking at all electric vehicles sales in Switzerland since the Nissan Leaf was introduced in 2011, the Tesla Model 3 looks set to push EV sales far and beyond any previous figures – there have already been almost as many EVs sold as were in all of 2016 – and it’s only just past the first quarter.
This sudden jump in EV sales is not only thanks to the arrival of the Model 3 – a roadmap for the uptake of electric vehicles was also introduced at the start of 2019 (albeit with a relatively conservative target of 15% of new car sales to be electric by 2022).
While the increasing sales in EVs are certainly encouraging for the Swiss nation, they still fall far behind that of fellow European country Norway where half of all cars sold now are electric.
Last month in Norway – world’s leading electric car market by market share – the Model 3 beat the previous best-seller, the Nissan Leaf.
Its arrival in the Scandinavian country pushed EV sales to nearly 60%, with half of all car sales in Norway for the first quarter being electric.
The disparity between the two countries is largely in part due to starkly different electric vehicle strategies.
Norway, which has a target for 100% new vehicle sales to be electric by 2025, has had a range of financial and fiscal incentives designed to accelerate uptake of electric vehicles in place for years in order to abate carbon emissions and climate change.
The Model 3 is also selling well in other European countries including Germany where it became the best-selling electric car in March, in France where it almost outsold the very popular Renault Zoe and in the Netherlands where in March sold almost as many as all other EVs combined.
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.