Thursday , October 21 2021

The best selling electric vehicles, and when will the Tesla Model 3 be # 1?



published in December 25, 2018 |
from Jose Pontes

December 25, 2018 per Jose Pontes

Several people asked me: "Is the Tesla Model 3 the best-selling EV?"

My answer is: Yes, it's the best-selling EV 2018, with over 100,000 units sold.

Okay, but what about the salesperson of all time? What is the more common EV globally? The Nissan Leaf? And who will be two years from now? The model 3?

That's when I had to check the numbers.

With 5 million plug-ins already sold through October last year, top-selling models are starting to reach significant numbers in the automotive world. While the Tesla Model 3 (~ 103,000 units) and the BAIC EC-Series (~ 150,000) are the fashion now, the fact is that both nameplates are still new, with the Californian being 16 months and the Chinese model not much older at 23 months.

As such, the top 3 positions are in the hands of older models, the newest being the # 3 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. This model is two months away from celebrating its sixth birthday.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV CleanTechnica Test Drive

In the lead, we have the Nissan Leaf, which despite all the bad press is doing its job effectively, relying on almost 376,000 units sold. The original version with frog eyes reached 300,000 units.

Not bad, right?

The # 2 Tesla Model S continues to accrue sales, with 254,000 made so far, and it will still take some time for its younger brother, Model 3, to reach it.

The value of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (179,000 units) is relatively new for 3rd place, with the Japanese SUV having recently surpassed the Chevrolet Volt.

Gone are the days when the hatchback with extended range was big on the plug-in scene. It was the best-selling electric plug-in (PEV) vehicle in 2012 and runner-up in 2011 and 2013.

So the current question is answered. As for the next two years, things get more complicated …

Although we can more or less predict how the early 2021 image will look for legacy automakers, the Chinese wave of manufacturers is very unpredictable for me to know how things will be two years from now.

And in relation to Tesla, things are even more uncertain, because every week (if not every day) there is something new happening. Sometimes it seems that the fate of Tesla is being written by some writers of Mexican novels, so much the twists and turns.

But let's carry out an exercise in futurology.

To be on the all-time podium by early 2021, a model must consistently sell more than 10,000 units a month. At this point, there will be several models selling above this limit, but most will be new nameplates without enough backlog to put them in the 500,000 units units that need to be on the podium.

Looking at the current podium holders, we can already delete the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. By then, there should be no more than 300,000 units produced, because even if there was enough demand to go further, Mitsubishi's production restrictions (battery restrictions?) Would prevent it from increasing sales to more than 10,000 units / month.

Regarding the Model S, due to its high price and the internal competition of the younger brother of Model 3, the total number at the beginning of 2021 should be around 380,000 units, but as we are talking about a Tesla, there are many factors ( China, production restrictions, new specifications, etc.) that add uncertainty to its performance. But more on that later, since we talked about model 3 …

And then we have the Nissan Leaf. Having already exceeded the limit of 10,000 deliveries / month sometimes with the 40kWh version, there is little reason to doubt that the arrival of the 60kWh version will boost the Japanese hatchback for regular performances of over 10,000 units / month once it arrives .

So we can see that the Leaf reached about 650,000 to 700,000 units by January 1, 2021.

Now for the current games, BAIC's EC Series and Tesla Model 3, the only two nameplates that offer 5-digit / month performances without sweat.

The Chinese EV is due to end this year with about 180,000 units manufactured, but the BAIC city car will face some contrary winds in the future, as increased competition – particularly convincing BYD Yuan – is expected to steal some long-term sales. I'm betting that sales of nameplate should stabilize around 130,000 units per year, ending 2020 with about 440,000 units made.

So now we have two (Leaf and EC-Series) of the three podium bearers in early 2021.

What about the elephant in the room and leitmotif for this article?

There are so many factors that can change the fate and success of Model 3 that I had to do two different scenarios, one from Bull and one from Bear.

In the Bull scene – undoubtedly, what Tesla fans will twist – about 30,000 deliveries in December can be expected, thanks to a production rate of 7,000 / week, which means that model 3 would end 2018 with about 150,000 units in the streets.

By 2019, with the base of 7,000 / week and a gradual increase during the year, aided by the start of production at Gigafactory 3 in China by the end of the year, production should reach about 400,000 units. This expects demand to continue higher than supply, mainly thanks to the arrival of the Standard Range at the end of the second quarter and the success of the car in Europe and China, where it will benefit from low / non-existent import tariffs on cars.

This would allow the Model 3 to outperform the Nissan Leaf as the most common EV in the world until the fourth quarter of 2019.

By 2020, Model 3 would build on the performance of the previous year, reaching about 600,000 units. Assuming demand remained strong thanks to buzz and the success of the Model 3 Standard Range in Europe and China, the model could reach one million units on the road before the end of the year.

As for the Bear scenario, the favorite of TSLA short, Model 3 will end 2018 with 145,000 units, because Tesla did not achieve a production rate of 7,000 / week at a consistent level.

By 2019, in this scenario, Tesla's demand problems begin to appear in North America and the standard range version is only available in the third quarter. Europe and China are not enough to compensate for weak demand, especially in China, where the US / China tariff war seriously damaged Model 3 demand – only 1,000 sales per month. Meanwhile, Gigafactory 3 has been delayed, with volume expected only in 2020.

With a more attractive and advanced Model Y introduced in 2019, the Model 3 is already experiencing some internal competition, with many potential customers preferring to wait for the next SUV.

All of these setbacks led the company to reduce its production from Model 3 to about 190,000 units / year, making the sedan end 2019 with 335,000 all-time deliveries below the evergreen Nissan Leaf.

In 2020, thanks to the start of volume production in Gigafactory 3 deliveries in China and Standard Range in Europe, Model 3 reached 300,000 registrations, but the long-term success of the nameplate is limited by the success of Model Y, which was swallowing up the production space of his older brother.

So until January 1, 2021, about 635,000 Model 3s will be made in this scenario, which will not be enough to remove the aging Nissan Leaf from # 1, especially with the Japanese car having a much improved generation in 2021. In other words , do not expect Folha to leave the throne any time soon.

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Tag: Mitsubishi Outlander, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Nissan, Nissan Leaf, Tesla, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model S

About the author

Jose Pontes Always interested in the automotive industry, especially in electric cars, José has analyzed the evolution of plug-in sales through the EV Sales blog since 2012, allowing him to get an expert view on where the VEs are now and where they are headed in the future. The EV sales blog has become a source for people interested in electric car sales around the world. Extending this work and experience, Jose is now a partner of EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales issues.

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