Tesla Model S Soon To Exceed Nissan LEAF Sales In The U.S., But Can It Hold On?

OCT 6 2017 BY MARK KANE 22

Despite the fact that Tesla began sales of Model S in U.S. some 2.5 years after the Nissan LEAF, the cumulative deliveries between the two EVs are nearly equal today.

And now the battle for the “best selling all-electric car” in America is on!

New Nissan LEAF

Though September, Nissan has sold 114,337 LEAFs in the US, while Tesla has delivered an estimated 111,242 Model S sedans.

The difference of slightly over 3,000 units is expected to disappear by the end of the year (as the current LEAF is just now running out of inventory); just in time to reach parity ahead of the 2018 Nissan LEAF’s introduction in January.

Of note:  Our cumulative sales Top 10 chart (above) also welcomes a new all-electric model in the 10 spot this month – the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which has quickly reached the 15,000 delivery mark.

Once January arrives, and new LEAF sales are underway, it is an open question who will prevail going forward.

Given that the Tesla Model S is expected to end 2017 with just under 30,000 sales, up slightly from the ~28,896 that were delivered in 2016, and the 25,202 moved in 2015, it is a pretty safe bet to pencil in another 30,000 or so sales for the Tesla.

The Nissan LEAF on the other hand…not so easy to predict sales. The original LEAF still holds the record for the most plug-in sales in a calendar year for the US (30,200), so Nissan has also shown the ability to move EVs.

Adding to the sales uncertainty, the 2018 LEAF is improved in almost every way, including a significant range bump from 107 miles to 150 miles (EPA), while at the same time the price has come down some $700.  So, Nissan LEAF sales will definitely being heading upwards in a hurry in 2018.  Nissan itself said it was conservatively expecting sales to double or triple.

Either way, the winner is the greater electric vehicle community, as plug-in sales look to soar in 2018…especially when adding in the Tesla Model 3;  a vehicle that (at least in theory) could be taking down both the Model S and LEAF as overall sales champ before next year closes.

Nissan LEAF sales in U.S. – September 2017

Tesla Model S sales in U.S. – September 2017

Categories: Nissan, Sales, Tesla

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22 Comments on "Tesla Model S Soon To Exceed Nissan LEAF Sales In The U.S., But Can It Hold On?"

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Total global Tesla Model 3 reservations: almost 500,000.

How many of those are expected to be from US customers?

About 200,000?

It’s anyone guess as Tesla never said anything about distribution. I would not be surprised if it’s more than half.

Talking about the S, remember?

I personally think the S doesn’t stand a chance simply because the T3 will cannibalize a significant portion of sales

Despite one of the worst intro’s ever, the 2018 LEAF I think will be a huge hit.

Mark, Can you show each auto makers combined units sold in the US? How close is each auto maker to the 200,000 unit mark under the Federal tax credit? Maybe even a production on which quarter each auto maker will reach 200,000? Thanks

You might want to switch how you do your graphs. The line chart smoothes out fluctuations in the data and is more appropriate for the cumulative numbers whereas a bar chart is better when numbers fluctuate like the month to month numbers do.

Swapping them around makes it hard to see the point you’re trying to make.


I also think the title shouldn’t have cumulative in it, and the legend should.

I have fond memories of my two LEAFs–the model which sparked the electric car revolution. These days, though, it’s not compelling. They will have to drop the price considerably to compete.

They are going for about $22K post subsidy. How low do you want them to be?

Yeah. Agree. Add in local subsidies and the new model is a ridiculously good deal.

In some places it was sold for $14k just recently. Ignore FE, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about…as usual.

Well, I wanted him to say it should be X dollars. Personally, I think it should be about $20K for base model like mid level Corollas and Elantras. In few places where local subsidies are available, they are as such.

The Versa is at ~$15k. The Leaf should be about the same after incentives.

And it should also be 60 kWh or more.

We are slowly getting there….

But Leaf is bigger and more “luxury” than Versa. I think it should be compared to hatchbacks of Cruze, Elantra, etc. not the very bottom like Versa. Cruze hatch starts at $21K, Elantra hatch $23K.

Oops. Base Elantra hatch is also $21K (0-60 in 8 sec). I was looking at GT Sports with 201 HP motor with 0-60 time similar to Bolt.

For the hell of it I priced out an e-Golf, and I am amazed how expensive it is for what you get. To get automatic emergency braking you have to get a fully loaded vehicle, which comes to just under $40,000 MSRP – which is just $2,000 under the Bolt price with AEB.

I understand most of these will be leased, but why not make the MSRP in some way realistic? I guess I wonder that about the MSRP of the 500e too.

Because they really really don’t want to sell them.
Because VW isn’t using the latest battery chemistry it’s also getting bargain pricing on the battery it’s using. $$$Profit$$$.

They can’t die fast enough.

I would tend to agree.

The laggard OEMs are mostly only coming to electrification through PEVs’ kicking and screaming.

For the most part they want to slow walk the whole transition as much as possible because of all the sunk costs/IP they have invested in ICE and just general and institutional resistance to change and probably close ties to Big Oil in some cases.

This is where Tesla has done its best work in beginning to disrupt what had become a very stagnant industry at mostly the management/business level.

Do you know how much they are paying for the battery? Why make unsubstantiated claims?

This is very impressive performance from Nissan that they managed to sell as many Leafs as they did. Let’s be honest, that car looks pretty bad. I’m very excited about Leaf2 as this car really looks good enough to be considered by anyone. Hopefully they will protect the battery on the long range model.

will easily take over the VOLT in sales numbers to based on the current dwindling sales…

If you add all Tesla 100% Electric vehicles as a total you get the big picture. Model S X and 3 are all growing. As a total they are so far ahead of ALL the others.
In 2018-19 with the Tesla Model Y and Pick up and Semi it’s going to be really charged up.