New data from electric vehicle sales analysis firm EV-Volumes indicates that the sales of Tesla’s best-selling Model 3 is still the main driver of growth in the US auto market.
Just under 150,000 plug-in electric vehicles were delivered in the US in the first half of 2019, and according to EV-Volumes, 57% of these were Tesla vehicles when including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and 78% when considering battery electric vehicles (BEVs) only.
Based on these numbers, just over 68,000 Model 3s were delivered in the US in the first half of 2019, which is about 53% of Tesla’s total deliveries worldwide (Tesla reported 50,928 were delivered in Q1 and 77,634 were delivered in Q2), meaning Tesla also delivered approximately 60,000 Model 3s in overseas markets.
Overall, the US EV market increased by 23% compared to the first half of 2018, with 72% of all plug-in sales being pure battery electric.
While the Model 3 continues to be the best-selling electric vehicle worldwide, and accounting for four out of five EV sales in the US alone, it has not engendered a take up of other BEV models, says EV-Volumes.
“Its qualities are in a class of its own,” EV-Volume’s Roland Irle noted via the firm’s website.
While the premium-priced Model S and X certainly broke the mould for the auto industry as a whole, it would seem that the more affordable Model 3 is simply out of the league of other electric vehicle models in its class.
Its introduction to the US market by Tesla in July 2017, it has driven growth of the American EV market ever since, with 140,000 units sold in the USA in 2018.
However, while 2018 saw a distinct jump in EV sales in the US (from 1.2% market share and approximately 200,000 sold in 2017 to 2.1% market share and about 358,000 units sold in 2018), EV-Volumes predicts that 2019 will not see a similar increase.
While there are a number of new European and Asian imports due in late 2019, EV-Volumes believes that their late arrival in the calendar year will have minimal impact.
Tesla guidance of 360,000-400,000 sales for the 2019 calendar year, and factors such as ramping up of production from Tesla’s new Shanghai factory (planned to open in November/December, and which could potentially output some 5-10,000 units), also add to the uncertainty of a prediction for the US EV market in 2019 (see graph above).
On a global (and local) scale, it is not without some degree of curiosity that we note while Tesla Australia is set to commence deliveries of the Model 3 either late August or September, there is no significant jump in the predicted export numbers in the Tesla Global Quarterly Deliveries graph above.
Tesla does not give out local sales data, as it is known – the proof of Australian Model 3 sales figures may only come to hand once we start seeing customer vehicles on the ground.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.