Best-Selling EVs Around the World

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Even though the sales of electric vehicles have been gradually increasing over the past few years, the percentage of EV sales still make up only a small portion of the auto market. These numbers are likely to keep increasing with more auto manufacturers joining the EV market, the variety of models, improvement of the batteries and increasing charging stations, and government incentives to EV companies and customers.

According to Report Buyer, the global electric vehicle sales projected growth between 2018 and 2025 is from 1.50 million units to 10.79 million units, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 32.57%. Global sales of electric vehicles have passed the one-million mark for the first time in 2017 and are still increasing. In July 2018, nearly 1 in every 25 cars sold in China was a plug-in and 60% of the registered cars in Norway are all-electric or plug-in hybrids.

Nevertheless, some car manufacturers trying to break into the market are having a hard time getting a slice of the already small pie because the market is already being geographically dominated by certain manufacturers.

Tesla in the US

Tesla has doubled their quarterly delivery record from 40,740 vehicles in the second quarter to 83,500 vehicles in the third quarter of 2018, compared to only 29,980 vehicles delivered in the first quarter. Tesla has managed to increase their sales from 16,689 vehicles in 2014 to 50,145 in 2017 with an increase in market share from 0.11% to 0.29%, stealing the attention from luxury car manufacturers like Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi who didn’t use to take Tesla as much of a threat in the US market mostly because of Tesla’s low production.  The increase in the production numbers has led Tesla to dominating the US electric market, with the Tesla Model 3 sedan being the top-selling plug-in electric car in the U.S., delivering 55,882 Model 3 sedans from the beginning of 2018 until August, with 37,572 vehicles difference between Model 3 and its closest competitor, the Toyota Prius Prime which delivered 18,310 vehicles. Tesla Model S comes in the third place with 14,645 Model S sedans and Tesla Model X in the fourth place with 13,600 X SUVs.

In the rest of the world though, Tesla isn’t doing as well.


For the first three quarters of 2018, new electric passenger vehicles managed to get a market share of only 0.9% of the total German new car market with only 24,574 vehicles registered in Germany, compared to 16,433 vehicles and a market share of 0.6% during the first three quarters of 2017. For the first three quarters of 2018, Smart has remained the bestselling EV in Germany, with 5,246 vehicles, Volkswagen with 4,321, Renault with 3,760, Kia with 2,927, BMW with 2,629, and Tesla in the sixth place with 1,616 vehicles. The beginning of the fourth quarter saw Volkswagen taking the lead in September with 515 vehicles sold, compared to 338 sold by Smart.


Europe’s EV market grew by nearly 40 percent from 2016 to 2017 and while the EV market was doubled in Germany, it still comes second to Norway which is the largest EV market in Europe.

Despite having the same production issues as Tesla, the vehicles aren’t produced fast enough for consumers orders, Nissan Leaf has become the best-selling EV in Europe with 18,000 deliveries and 37,000 orders in the first half of 2018. It is followed by Renault Zoe manufactured by the Nissan-Renault Alliance, which was the best-selling EV in Europe in 2017.

Tesla has a big market in Europe, especially in Norway which was Tesla’s number 1 market in Europe in 2017, and was replaced by the Netherlands in 2018.


China stands for the biggest percentage of global EV sales, with 579,000 EVs sold in 2017. It is also the second biggest market for Tesla after the US, which is one of the reasons why Tesla wants to build a factory in China. In 2014, only 50,000 EVs were sold in China, but that number increased 10 times in 2018. The best-selling EVs in China is the BAIC-EC series with 40,406 vehicles sold in the first half of 2018, followed by BYD Qin PHEV in the second place with 27,013 vehicles sold and BYD Song PHEV in the third place with 23,609 vehicles.


The best-selling EV in the world in 2017 was BAIC EC-Series, selling 78,079 vehicles, followed by Tesla Model S with 54,715, and Toyota Prius prime in the third place with 50,830 vehicles sold around the world. In the first quarter of 2018, BAIC EC-Series remained the best-selling EV in the World, but the Model S fell to the third place to be replaced by the Nissan Leaf in the second place, while Model X was the fifth best-selling EV and Model 3 held the eighth place.


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