The California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA) reports that during the first quarter of 2022, the overall light-vehicle registrations in California amounted to 425,216 (down by 13.8% year-over-year).

The report begins with a list of issues: "Inflation has surged, interest rates are moving higher, gas prices have increased, and there’s a war in Europe", but at the same time it notes that not the lack of demand, but rather limited production holds the market down.

The most important thing for us is that the plug-in electric car sales remain strong with several monumental achievements.

Plug-in car registrations during the period increased by about 37% year-over-year to 73,138 (estimated), which translates into a record of 17.2% of the total market (compared to 10.8% a year ago and 12.8% average in 2021).

Another thing is that for the first time all-electric vehicles significantly outperformed conventional hybrids. A total of 62,082 BEV registrations (up 55%) stand for 14.6% of the total market (nearly 1 in 7 new vehicles).

Interestingly, plug-in hybrids and non-plug-in hybrids are down, respectively by 17% and 2% year-over-year.

Plug-in electric car registrations in California (est.) - Q1 2022

  • BEVs: 62,082 (up 55%, market share of 14.6%)
  • PHEVs: 11,056 (down 17%, market share of 2.6%)
  • Total plug-ins: 73,138 (up 37%, market share of 17.2%)
  • HEVs: 47,198 (down 2%, market share of 11.1%)
  • Total xEVs: 120,336 (up 18%, market share of 28.3%)

Top models

Three all-electric cars were at the top of their subcategories:

  • Tesla Model Y (21,812, up 58%): #1 in Luxury Compact SUV (55.5% share)
  • Tesla Model 3 (21,506, up 121%): #1 in Near Luxury (65.2% share)
  • Tesla Model S (3,495, up 293%): #1 in Luxury and High End Sports Cars (25.1% share)
  • Tesla Model X (1,225): #5 in Luxury Mid-Size SUV (5.7% share)
  • BMW i3 (5): #5 in Entry Luxury (0.2% share)
    (just a symbolic number, as the model is retired)

Interestingly, the hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Mirai, probably for the first time, appeared in the Subcompact category, as #1 with 470 units and a 25.1% share.

* red underline only for models that can be identified as plug-ins by their name

Tesla Model Y and Model 3 - #1 and #2 best selling cars

The biggest achievement of Q1 2022 is that two electric cars - the Tesla Model Y and Tesla Model 3 - happened to be the best-selling ones in California.

We knew that it was coming, as the Tesla Model Y closed the year 2021 at #2, only slightly behind the Toyota Camry, while the Model 3 was #5.

Now, both Teslas are above 21,000 units, while the next most popular model, the Toyota RAV4, is under 16,000 (including some plug-in hybrids and hybrids). The Toyota Camry is fourth with over 12,000 units.

It's a huge milestone for electrification, which is expected to gradually continue its expansion.

The top models (above 9,000 registrations):

  1. Tesla Model Y - 21,812
  2. Tesla Model 3 - 21,506
  3. Toyota RAV4 - 15,990
  4. Toyota Camry - 12,257
  5. Honda Civic - 11,057
  6. Ford F-Series - 10,279
  7. Toyota Tacoma - 9,616
  8. Chevrolet Silverado - 9,378
  9. Toyota Corolla - 9,318
  10. Ram Pickup - 9,137
  11. Honda Accord - 9,061

Tesla brand sales

According to the report, in Q1, Tesla registrations amounted to 48,038 (up 83.7% year-over-year), which is 11.3% of the market (compared to 26,154 and 5.3% share a year ago). Tesla was the fastest-growing automotive brand in the state.

For reference, in Q1-Q4 2021, Tesla registrations stood at 121,080 (up 69.6% year-over-year), which is 6.5% of the market (compared to 71,390 and 4.4% share a year earlier).

In other words, Tesla captured more than one-tenth of California's car market and the rate of growth indicates that it will not stop there.

That's domination in the BEV segment - 77.4% of all BEVs. All non-Tesla BEV registrations combined were at 14,044.

Q1 2022 results in California:

  • Tesla Model Y - 21,812
  • Tesla Model 3 - 21,506
  • Tesla Model S - 3,495
  • Tesla Model X - 1,225
  • Tesla total: 48,038 (up 83.7%, 11.3% share)

CNCDA shows also that Tesla has a 3.3% share in the US market. Compared to 3,318,789 YTD, it would have to be some 109,500. That's not far from Experian's car registration data shared by Automotive News (113,882).

Having the numbers for the US and California enables us to estimate the difference, which is the number of Teslas registered in states outside of California. It's north of 61,000.

Got a tip for us? Email: