While most automakers are ramping up their EV efforts, Tesla still maintains a notable lead in most markets. With the release of California's Q1 2023 zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales report, this fact couldn't be more obvious, and it makes rivals' prospects of soon surpassing Tesla seem increasingly far-fetched.

Tesla sells a large number of EVs in the US, and a notable percentage of them are sold in California. This has been the case for years, and while many other states are starting to see a huge increase in Tesla sales and the sale of competing EVs, California is still a global leader in the segment.

According to the Golden State's recently released ZEV sales report, which was shared on Twitter by Sawyer Merritt, over 1 million fully electric cars have been sold in California since the state began keeping track. Nearly 100,000 of those EVs were sold during Q1 2023, and, to no surprise, a large percentage were produced by Tesla.

We recently reported that California already hit the milestone of 1.5 million EVs sold two years ahead of schedule, which is true. However, that number also includes plug-in hybrid electric cars (PHEVs), not just fully electric cars or battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).


Tesla dropped its prices at the end of 2022 and has continued the trend into 2023. The price reduction caused a spike in demand for its vehicles, and sales soared. The Tesla Model Y was the clear leader for Q1 2023, with sales over six times higher than the next best-selling non-Tesla BEV.

The US EV maker sold over 33,000 Model Y crossovers in California in the first quarter of 2023. Its smaller sibling, the Model 3, saw just south of 20,000 units sold. Meanwhile, Model S and Model X sales for the same period came in at 3,101 and 887, respectively.

Some other fully electric vehicles saw over 2,000 units sold, surpassing the Tesla Model X, but not any of Tesla's other models. According to Teslarati, notable rivals include the Chevrolet Bolt EV/EUV, BMW i4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Polestar 2, and Volkswagen ID.4.

In the end, over 21% of all vehicle sales in California in Q1 2023 were light-duty zero-emission vehicles. However, it's important to note that this percentage not only includes BEVs, but also PHEVs, and fuel cell vehicles (FCEV).

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