Published on August 2nd, 2020 |
by Zachary Shahan

August 2nd, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 

While different electric vehicles may be #1 in different markets (the Renault Zoe in France, the Audi e-tron in Norway, the VW e-Golf in Germany), globally, there is no question which electric vehicle is the most popular. According to recently compiled data from EV Volumes, the Tesla Model 3 had nearly as many sales in the first half of 2020 as the 2nd best selling, 3rd best selling, 4th best selling, 5th best selling, 6th best selling, and 7th best selling plugin vehicles combined.

The combination of the Tesla Model 3’s tech, price, performance, specs, practicality, charging capability, and consumer awareness of the car make it a compelling vehicle across the globe. For more insight into why the Model 3 is so popular, I recommend reading our Tesla Model 3 long-term review articles. We also have a budding long-term review of the #2 Renault Zoe and long-term review articles of the #3 Nissan LEAF that you may find interesting.

Notably, there are actually many markets where the Model 3 still isn’t sold and buyers are waiting for a Tesla store/delivery center to open up in order to buy one. So, sales of the Model 3 could be significantly higher in time.

Tesla Model Y (blue) and Tesla Model 3 (white) at a Supercharger in Florida. Photo by Zach Shahan/CleanTechnica.

The one somewhat hidden caveat here, though, is that the Tesla Model Y may already be outselling the Model 3, and that crossover/SUV version of the Model 3 already made it to #14 on the list. At the moment, one of Tesla’s challenges is ramping up production of both models, and in Tesla’s Fremont factory — the only place where the Model Y is currently being built and one of two places where the Model 3 is being built — the two models are sharing overall production capacity and some of the production lines. So, sales are more or less just based on what Tesla decides to prioritize.

In percentage terms, the Model 3 had 15% of plugin vehicle sales in the first half of 2020, followed by the Renault Zoe (almost exclusively sold in Europe) at 4%, the Nissan LEAF at 3%, and the Volkswagen e-Golf, BYD Qin Pro EV, BMW 530e/Le, Hyundai Kona EV, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Audi e-tron, Volkswagen Passat GTE, and GAC Aion S at 2% each.

One of the interesting things here is that the three models that follow the Model 3 to round out the top four are each a bit cheaper than the Model 3 and have moderate range, not nearly what the Model 3 offers. Imagine when models that are priced $25,000–30,000 have as much range as a Model 3!

NIO ES6, by CleanTechnica.

There were a few model surprises for me on the list. As already noted, it was surprising to see the Model Y already climbing the ranks. I was also impressed by the sales of the NIO ES6, which came in at #19. I think the decent sales so far this year offer good potential for NIO’s vehicles as production capacity grows and as consumer awareness increases sales. I was surprised to see the Chevy Bolt make it onto the top 20 list.

One of the strengths of the plugin vehicle market right now is its diversity. Overall, 51% of sales came from models not on the top 20 list. That’s good. Diversity is beneficial to a market.

One final highlight was seeing how dominant fully electric vehicles are amongst the top 20. Only three plugin hybrid vehicles made it into the top 20.

What are the most interesting findings or highlights about this global top 20 ranking for you?

Want to buy a Tesla Model 3, Y, S, or X? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase:

You can also get a $100 discount on Tesla solar with that code.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Send us an email: [email protected]


Latest Cleantech Talk Episodes

Latest CleanTechnica.TV Episode

Tags: audi e-tron, BAIC, BAIC EU-Series, bmw 530e, BYD, BYD Qin Pro EV, Chevy Bolt, EV sales, GAC Aion 6, Hyundai Kona EV, Kia Niro EV, MG eZS EV, MG ZS EV, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, NIO ES6, Nissan Leaf, Peugeot e-208, renault zoe, SAIC, SAIC Baojun E-Series, SAIC MG eZS EV, Tesla, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model Y, volkswagen, Volkswagen e-Golf, Volkswagen Passat GTE

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao.

Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.