Tesla sales in China are booming, with sales doubling from 2020 as the carmaker continues to lead the world’s largest EV market by volume.
The EV maker sold just shy of 70,000 electric cars in China in the first quarter of 2021 according to the Global Times, 37% of its sales globally in a quarter that is traditionally slow for the auto industry at large and doubly so in China due to its New Year shutdown.
With 226,000 “new energy vehicles”, as they are known in China, sold in March, this also means one in three was a Tesla.
And, half of these were sold in March. According to new figures from the China Passenger Car Association, Tesla sold 35,748 vehicles in March, almost double what it sold in February and more than 200% of what it sold in March 2020.
In its Q4 2020 reporting, Tesla said it had ramped up Model 3 production at its Shanghai gigafactory to more than 5,000 a week. The new sales figures show that it sold more than 25,000 Model 3s in March meaning that this may have exceeded 6,000 a week.
In addition to Model 3 sales, Tesla also sold a little more than 10,000 Model Ys, a 119% increase from February.
The strong sales results come off the back of a record quarter globally, with Tesla reporting in early April that it had delivered (and therefore recorded as a sale) 184,000 electric cars.
Most of these were its mass-market Model 3 and Model Y, as sales of its premium Model S and Model X slumped from around 20,000 to just a tenth of that ahead of model refreshes.
Following Tesla’s quarterly reporting, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said he expects Tesla’s annual sales to exceed 850,000 vehicles this year according to Reuters.
In part, Ives thinks Tesla’s potential output will be fuelled by the Biden administration’s policy of boosting the electric mobility transition, but China is also clearly a big part of the picture.
“We believe China and Europe were particularly robust this quarter,” Ives was quoted as saying.
With Shanghai’s Model Y gigafactory now online, Tesla says it has 450,000 current production capacity.
In Europe, where electric car sales are being driven by Germany, a similar trend is being reported: Tesla sales in Germany jumped by an incredible 80% in the first quarter of 2021.
Japan has also seen a massive jump in sales, with a price drop and boosted EV incentives bringing purchase costs for Tesla’s cheapest electric car under around $A40,000 converted. While actual sales numbers are still in the hundreds, sales have increased by a massive 1300% from 2020.
In Australia, Tesla sales doubled in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2020, with an estimated 2,200 vehicles shipped.
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.