Why Tesla Dominates US Electric Car Sales

Rolling through another month of US electric car sales, I’m struck again by how much a few models dominate sales. Actually, I’m struck by how much Tesla’s two high-end (expensive) cars dominate US electric car sales.

Before I go further, I should note that Tesla’s sales numbers are not official — they are estimated based on Tesla’s quarterly sales statements, previous statements about how sales split out by region, Tesla sales figures from other regions, and varying assumptions regarding month-to-month shipments.

This is why you find considerable differences in the sales estimates of different EV sales aggregators/reports. Nonetheless, the overall point is the same — Tesla accounts for a huge portion of US electric car sales. Doesn’t dozens of electric models from other automakers (most of which are much more affordable), nearly half of US electric car buyers are buying a Tesla Model S or Model X.

Looking at March figures, Tesla accounted for 45% of US electric car sales. Looking at the quarterly split is probably more reasonable, though, given shipment patterns. The result there is 38%. Either way, approximately 4 out of every 10 electric car sales are high-end Teslas, and that’s a rather shocking result — even to a Tesla fanboi.

There have been many, many discussions about why Tesla is an EV leader (or the EV leader), and why other automakers seem to be trailing so much, but I don’t recall putting all of the below factors together in one single article that tries to explain why Tesla is absolutely dominating an electric car market with only 2 models out of the 40+ that are on the market … so here we go.

1. At the core, the main issue is probably that automakers don’t want to see a swift transition to electric vehicles. They want to drag the transition out. A swift transition to electric vehicles is a financial threat to big automakers. If that premise is correct (and it seems it must be), that’s part of the explanation for the remaining points.


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