A Look At Tesla’s Plug-In Electric Car Sales Dominance In U.S.

JAN 25 2019 BY MARK KANE 38

Four out of five BEVs sold in the U.S. were Teslas in 2018

Tesla was the author of unprecedented growth for plug-in electric cars in 2018 as without the Model 3, the results in the U.S. would be – we believe – moderate at best.

As we dig deeper into the numbers, it turns out that the majority of plug-ins sold had a Tesla badge. In the case of all-electric cars the share is crushing.

U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – December 2018

Let’s start with the general plug-in electric car category. Tesla delivered around 191,627 cars, which is 53% of the total 361,307.

A year ago, the share was about 25.1% (50,139 vs. 199,818), so Tesla basically more than doubled its market share in the plug-in segment.

The Model 3 alone holds 37%! Here are the stats:

  • Model 3 – 38.7% (139,782)
  • Model X – 7.2% (26,100)
  • Model S – 7.1% (25,745)
  • Total: 53% (191,627)

The comparison of Tesla with plug-ins is not necessarily the best one, because the plug-in hybrids are a different species compared to fully electric cars, especially those with short range. We will see then how Tesla stands in the BEV category.

We estimate that in 2018, some 235,758 all-electric cars were sold, which gives Tesla a share of 81.3% (with peak of 89% noted twice – in September and December)! Model 3 alone is responsible for almost 60%! A year ago Tesla had “just” 48.4% share.

  • Model 3 – 59.3% (139,782)
  • Model X – 11.1% (26,100)
  • Model S – 10.9% (25,745)
  • Total: 81.3% (191,627)

Categories: Sales, Tesla

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38 Comments on "A Look At Tesla’s Plug-In Electric Car Sales Dominance In U.S."

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Thank you for bringing this statistic. I find it far more interesting than looking at stat mixing BEVs with polluting gasser hybrids. The future will not be sustainable unless it is based on zero emissions vehicles.

Impressive that Tesla had a 87% market share for BEVs in USA in H2, 2018. I expect that to drop off in H1, 2019 because of international sales and then be back at about 87% in H2, 2019 when Tesla reach 10k weekly for Model 3.

Another interesting stat would be market share by USD value of BEVs sold. That would probably take Tesla to a 95% market share in USA for H2, 2018.

@Change said: “Impressive that Tesla had a 87% market share for BEVs in USA in H2, 2018…”


If ithat continues some Tesla competitors will start to claim Tesla has through unfair practices gained market dominance… irrespective if that is true or not.

Tesla needs to make sure they are being careful and taking proactive measures to protect themselves as much as possible to a future antitrust lawsuit… which assuredly will happen if Tesla continues to maintain that high of a market share.

Highly unlikely.

@ffbj said: “Highly unlikely.”

Which part?

That Tesla continues position of market dominance or that an antitrust suit is filled against Tesla?

Sorry. I agree with the dominance part not the antitrust suit.
I thought maybe you just threw that in for emphasis, as an indicator of just how dominant they are.

From a legal competition point of view BEVs and Ice vehicles are the same and since Tesla is not selling 87% of all vehicles in the US there is no justification for an anti trust case.

I saw a piece recently where a news analyst pointed out that the U.S. hasn’t used the antitrust laws to break up such market dominating companies as Amazon.com or Facebook. The era of antitrust seems to be in the past.

There are a lot of legitimate things to worry about regarding the future of Tesla, but I don’t think that’s one of them.

BTW — In the days of the Ford Model T, Ford had at one time 90% of the automobile market.

Antitrust laws do not prohibit attaining dominance through regular business. They prohibit unfair practices, or attaining dominance through takeovers.

@antrik said: “Antitrust laws do not prohibit attaining dominance through regular business. They prohibit unfair practices, or attaining dominance through takeovers.

Antitrust laws also cover regular business… not limited to takeovers.

So antitrust laws do prohibit attaining dominance through regular business if the regular business includes unfair business practices… which what can be deemed “unfair” gets complicated.


Tesla having in the past offered access to the Tesla Supercharger network to any car maker willing to proportionally share in the network’s cost helps Tesla protect itself from antitrust claims… perhaps Tesla should update & more formalize that offer.

Likely claimed against Tesla would be that Tesla selling direct to consumers gives Tesla an alleged unfair advantage of being able to operate outside of an independent dealer franchise framework. Which if that claim is alleged would be tricky to assert without in the process exposing the inherent market disadvantages of the independent dealer network… for example it would be super awkward for traditional car makers to argue it’s not fair Teslsa gets to provide a better customer experience by not subjecting its customers to the franchise dealer experience.

Are you just fabricating BS out of thin air, or do you actually have facts to back you up? Because you are making accusations of potentially CRIMINAL offenses. So before you start making accusations, you had better know what you are talking about, and not just casually start yet another new fake meme without basis in fact.

Are you basing your accusations on the Clayton Act? FTC Act?

Under which of the “unfair trade practice” doctrines do you claim there would be a violation? Be specific.

Otherwise, do not be irresponsible and throw around false, baseless accusations in a public forum, or be prepared to answer when you stopped beating your wife.

@Nix said: “Are you just fabricating BS out of thin…”

@Nix- I’m a Model S & Model 3 owner and big Tesla fan. You have taken my comment opposite of its intent.

I’m not suggesting Tesla is in fact doing anything unfairly to gain EV market dominance… I don’t believe it has. I’m suggesting that Tesla needs be proactively protecting itself from possibly in the future those car makers with failed EV efforts to claim Tesla unfairly played ball.

It’s a real possibility some of Tesla’s competitors will take that route rather than being reflective and taking responsibility for their failed EV efforts.

There is zero cause of action for any Tesla competitor to file suit. All of them would face this question on the stand:

“Have you ever intentionally limited your own sales of EV’s to just CARB ZEV states, or to just the number of sales required to meet ZEV or CAFE mandates/requirements?”

End of lawsuit. For them to claim unfair competition, they have an affirmative DUTY under the law to show they themselves aren’t the reason for their own lack of ability to compete. They must have clean hands.

Please don’t fabricate new fake memes on behalf of Tesla haters.

@Nix said: “…Please don’t fabricate new fake memes on behalf of Tesla haters.”


@Nix- Perhaps before lighting your hair on fire and lobbing at me the “Tesla hater” label you should have taken time to understand point of my comment… which happens to be directed *against* the interests of “Tesla haters”.

I read your comment. You didn’t read mine.

The phrase “on behalf of” means doing something for another group of people or person.

If as a defense lawyer I file a not guilty plea “on behalf of” an accused murderer, that doesn’t make me an accused murderer.

Like I said, please don’t fabricate new fake memes on behalf of Tesla haters. They make up enough fake, baseless memes all by themselves without any help.

@Nix said: “…They make up enough fake, baseless memes all by themselves without any help…”

lol… Like saying please don’t recommend to homeowners to keep their doors & windows locked to help prevent home burglaries because that advise may give the neighborhood thief ideas.

No, that would be an example of an actual REAL problem.

What you were taking about with anti-trust BS was a fake made up problem that doesn’t exist.

It would be like don’t recommend to homeowners to build Godzilla-proof cages around their homes, because Godzilla is just at the edge of town! Be Concerned!! So Concerned!! about a fake fear that has no basis in reality.

“The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents carmakers including Ford, Fiat Chrysler, BMW and Porsche, said Tesla is looking for special treatment from the state. The group characterized Tesla’s request for 15 more direct-sales stores in New York state as “nothing more than a state-sanctioned, unfair leg up on its competition… The group argues Tesla’s technology is not unique, and therefore should play by the same rules as other automakers.” -source:

Are you seriously confusing that with a potentially criminal violation of Clayton Act, FTC Act, Sherman Act, or one of the “unfair trade practice” doctrines?

If you don’t know the difference between a lobbyist lobbying a state committee regarding new legislation, and accusations of potentially criminal federal offenses, you should step away from the keyboard slowly.

If have evidence of a real issue, pretty please with sugar on it, either actually back it up with real facts or stop making false and libel implications of possible criminal violations of law. Otherwise you are just another internet hype artist making up BS, no matter what cars you own.

@Nix- I’m *not* “alleging” anything against Tesla despite your repeated claims that I am.

Point of my link is to illustrate that if Tesla’s competitors are today willing to make bogus claims of unfair competition at a local administrative venue its not hard to imagine those competitors may in future port that tactic at the federal level… especially if Tesla continues to remain the King Kong market leader of EVs.

We both agree the unfair competition claims against Tesla alleged by Tesla’s competitors in my illustration link have no merit (I never suggested they did). We both agree there is nothing Tesla has unfairly done to achieve a dominating EV market share position.

lol… take a deep breath and chill out. Believe it or not we on same side.



Seriously, you’re overreacting here, and pretty strongly.

“I expect that to drop off in H1”

That might be possible, but keep in mind that Q1 has always been a much slower sales quarter for ALL car makers (both of ICE and EV sales). So we are likely to see a dip in US EV sales at the beginning of the year, just like we’ve seen every single year on the Plug-in Sales Scorecard.

Given this reality, Tesla may keep a relatively high US market share even while launching a massive sales push into global EV markets.

But either way, Tesla will be MASSIVELY increasing their YOY total sales numbers between H1 2018 and H1 2019 both in the US and globally.

Not so much for Tesla they have sold almost the same in each quarter aside from their growth in capacity to produce.

The next few years are going to be REALLY interesting, especially when Model Y comes out.

Allow me to add one more stat about Tesla dominance in the U.S. market. If I remember correctly, between 2015 and 2018, the top selling plug-in car was a Tesla. The Model S between 2015 and 2017, and the Model 3 in 2018, and probably the Model 3 will continue topping anual sales for a few more years to come.

And finally, the Model S is the all-time best selling all-electric car in the U.S. and in a few months it will take the crown from the Chevy Volt as the U.S. top selling plug-in car in history.

Seems more likely Model 3 will take that crown?…

Tesla is dominating in pure EV sales,and the Mod 3 is not even very affordable , when the $35,000 is available look for it to demolish sales records of all sedans , ICE or EVs , all without sales Adverts.

Yes I also expect demand for 35k USD version to be incane. Problem is for Tesla to get to the point where they can make it at a profit. I think that is harder than most people think. So I do not expect Tesla to reach that point until early next year.

It makes no sense at all for Tesla to be cutting 9% of their staff now with the express comment that they are doing it to cut costs enough to build the SR, if they aren’t planning on putting them on the market until 2020.

You mean 7% 😉


I seen this list of global gasoline prices, more reason EV’s will continue increasing market share.

Those prices are from 2005! Not exactly relevant to, well, anything. Gas prices are very low in the US right now. ($1.85/gal where I live). If gas prices remain that low, there will be some lost EV sales at the margins, more so to Tesla with their loss of federal tax credits.

Sorry about that lol I just ran across it and assumed it was recent.
I’ll try to be more careful.

For your thought experiment you should also include the global difference in electricity prices. Would be interesting to have a live map or global calculator. I am certain some people are closely watching these numbers.

I suspect Tesla to be the one least affected by gas prices — people buying a Tesla aren’t usually doing it in the hope of saving costs… (Except in Norway and the Netherlands.)