California is officially the first US state where cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles exceeded 1 million. The milestone was been achieved in Q4 2021.

According to Veloz’s stats and the California Energy Commission, the precise number as of the end of last year was 1,054,095 (including a small number of hydrogen fuel cell cars), compared to over 2.4 million in the country.

In fact, California noted plug-in car sales higher than the next 10 states combined and 7 times higher than the next closest state. This is a result of several factors, including how big the car market is, as well as how high the level of wealth and incentives are.

In 2021 specifically, plug-in car sales in California increased to 250,279, which represents a 12.4% market share, compared to nearly 7.8% in 2020. The state released an infographic, that highlights the main numbers:


Veloz notes that despite the impressive progress, and market share above the global average of 8.6% in 2021 (4.1% in 2020) according to the International Energy Agency's data, the state of California is behind Europe's average (over 20%).

The report says that, in the US, plug-in electric car sales exceeded 652,000, which gives California over 38% share.

The millionth vehicle happens to be a Volkswagen ID.4, delivered to a customer in Stockton, who was visited by Governor Gavin Newsom.

"The Governor traveled to Stockton this week to visit Michael Macias, the owner of the millionth electric vehicle sold in California. Macias, a Central Valley native, received several rebates and tax credits on his purchase of a new Volkswagen ID.4."


Plug-in electric car sales in 2021:

  • California: 250,279 (up 72% year-over-year; 12.4% share)
    including: (183,933 BEV, 63,141 PHEV, 3,205 FCEV)
    cumulative: 1.05 million (663,014 BEV, 379,125 PHEV, 11,956 FCEV)
  • US: 652,000
    cumulative: 2.4 million

Electric car sales in California (BEVs, PHEVs, FCEVs) - Q4 2021


California has set a goal to put 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030 and switch to 100% zero-emission sales by 2035. Even if we include plug-in hybrids in the stats, it means that 4 million must be purchased over the course of 9 years (440,000 on average).

Let's recall that in 2010, just 7,000 plug-ins were sold in the state of California, but it was a time when only a few models were available (mostly the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt).


According to the California Energy Commission's data, the top models in 2021 were Teslas (although the numbers differ from the ones, released by the California New Car Dealers Association).

Top models (above 10,000 units):

  • Tesla Model 3: 67,262
  • Tesla Model Y: 61,022
  • Toyota Prius Prime: 14,275
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV: 12,313 (plus 974 EUV)
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