3 electric vehicles are the leaders in their category in California – Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y
As reported earlier today, electric vehicles have a higher share of auto sales in California than ever before. The Tesla Model Y is the 2nd best-selling vehicle in the state across the board! Model 3 is the 12th best-selling vehicle. Overall, plug-in vehicles accounted for 11% of all new car sales in the first half of 2021.
However, examining these general views of the market and top sellers leaves out a more nuanced perspective. In particular, three models of electric vehicles have exceeded their vehicle classes in the Golden State.
First off, starting with the little guy, the Chevy Bolt leads its subcompact car class. In fact, it’s not even close, and the Bolt has a whopping 34.6% share of this class of cars. The best-selling car in the subcompact category is the Nissan Versa, with a 25.5% share.
Interestingly, the Tesla Model 3 has an equally strong hold on its class, the “Near Luxury” class of cars (which, I admit, I still find is the name of a class of vehicles). The Model 3 holds 36.6% of this class, more than three times the share of 11.1% of the vehicle class of the BMW 3 Series.
Rather than going from the most impressive to the least impressive, we get more and more impressive every step of the way. The Tesla Model Y was by far the king or queen of its class, the luxury compact SUV class. The Model Y held 38.9% of this category in the first half of the year, while the Lexus NX No.2 held only 9.6% of the category.
Unfortunately, even California needs more models of electric vehicles. The best sellers in the market are doing extremely well, but there isn’t enough variety and choice. It seems that the only other electric vehicle model among 20 vehicle categories to feature in the top 5 in its category is the BMW i3. Yes, the BMW i3. The i3’s rather meager 588 sales in the first half of 2021 (an average of 98 sales per month) put it in 5th place in the smallest category of all – ‘Entry Luxury’ – and earned it an 8, 2% of this class of vehicles.
When do we have the best electrical sellers in more classes? Which class then gets an electric bestseller – midsize cars, sports / pony cars, compact cars, big cars, compact / midsize pickups, full size pickups, subcompact SUVs, compact SUVs, midsize SUVs, big SUVs, vans, something else?
Going through the vehicle class listings and creating the tables above, the other thing that really struck me was: why so many people (Californians, no less!) still buying competitors in these categories with the best-selling electric vehicles? Why are so many people still buying Lexus ES, Lexus IS, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC Class, Nissan Versa, Chevy Spark, quite lame and limited? The charts above are exciting, but at the same time, it’s disappointing how many people are still choosing to buy worse, more expensive, and obsolete gasoline vehicles in America’s most advanced electric vehicle market, even as so many of their neighbors and colleagues are switching to electricity. The electrical transition happens overnight on an individual basis when a person switches to electricity, but it takes years across neighborhoods, communities, cities and societies.
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