Tesla’s electric vehicle sales are bouncing back, with double the number of Model 3s sold in May compared to April, according to global EV sales figures released today.
Auto sales worldwide plummeted during the height of the pandemic, and although electric vehicles, in general, fared better than their combustion engine competitors, April saw Tesla’s sales fall by 75 per cent.
The dramatic fall in sales due to factory closures, in particular Tesla’s Fremont factory where the Model 3 and Model Y are made, no doubt fed the urgency of actions – from threatening to take Tesla HQ out of California and filing a lawsuit (which was later dropped) against Alameda County – taken by CEO and co-founder Musk who was determined that Fremont should open again.
There has been some criticism of the reopening of the factory, but purely in terms of sales, it would appear that for Tesla’s bottom line, it will pay off.
With Tesla’s quarterly sales figures to be released in coming days, the new May global EV sales figures released by José Pontes of EV Sales on Wednesday give some background to the bounce-back amid the global pandemic.
Year-to-date registrations were still down compared to May 2019, with a 14 per cent drop according to EV Sales, but were much better than the plug-in hybrid segment which was down 30 per cent.
The upshot is, unsurprisingly, that Tesla continues to hold the lead in terms of EV sales by brand, and by model with its Model 3 electric sedan.
From just shy of 12,000 Model 3s sold in April, sales have almost doubled to nearly 21,000 units, triple that of the next best seller, the Chinese GAC Aion S.
Although this is still a far cry from March sales of nearly 50,000 Model 3s, it is an encouraging signal for the quarter, although it will still mean Tesla needs to have delivered around 40,000 units in June to achieve the 74,000 in sales predicted by analysts.
On the model leader board, there was not much movement for the top 20. The Hyundai Kona EV and Audi e-tron jostled for 8th and 9th place, and further down the board at numbers 14 and 15, Chinese car makers BAIC and SAIC swapped places for the EU-Series and MG ZS EV (shortly due to hit Australian roads).
Brand-wise, it is Tesla again that retains pole position but interestingly, BYD – which saw a dramatic drop in sales in February – is now holding firm at #2 within a range of 10,000-12,000 vehicles sold per month.
With its imminent release of the BYD Tang EV onto the Norwegian market and a subsequent expansion into the wider European market planned, it will be interesting to see if BYD manages to push further forward in terms of sales volume over coming months.
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.