What is the Best Selling Electric Vehicle?

What is the Best Selling Electric Vehicle?

Recently, the market for electric vehicles (EVs) has grown dramatically. Consumers want to know what the best-selling electric vehicle is at the moment, as worries about petrol prices and climate change spur the adoption of electric vehicles.

Finding the best selling electric cars can provide information about consumer preferences and the direction the industry is taking. With automakers investing billions in electrification and governments setting ambitious EV adoption targets, an understanding of the existing EV market leaders suggests where things might be heading.

Metrics for Determining the Best Selling Electric Vehicles

Determining the top-selling EVs requires examining a few key metrics:

  • Total global sales numbers: The most straightforward metric is total cumulative global sales since the model’s release. However, this can disadvantage newer models.
  • Sales in major markets like the US, Europe, and China: Looking at sales in top geographic regions gives a better sense of current demand.
  • Year-over-year sales growth: Calculated by comparing annual sales to the previous year. Highlights “hot” EVs with surging consumer demand.

When examining performance in key economies such as the US, China, and Europe, regional variations become more apparent, even though global sales provide an overall picture. Even though they have had lower total global sales to date, newer models can nevertheless dominate based on recent growth.

The Tesla Model 3 is the Best-Selling Electric Vehicle

What is the Best Selling Electric Vehicle?
What is the Best Selling Electric Vehicle?

The Tesla Model 3 is currently the clear global leader in EV sales by all important indicators. Since its 2017 release, Tesla’s base model has spearheaded the EV revolution with an unmatched blend of technology, performance, brand appeal, and acceleration:

Tesla Model 3 Sales and Growth Figures:

  • Over 1 million units sold as of February 2023
  • Global sales up 46% year-over-year as of Q4 2022
  • Dominates US BEV sales, outpacing 2nd best-seller by over 100,000 units
  • #1 in Europe with over 317,000 units sold as of January 2023
  • Fastest growing BEV in China as of Q4 2022

The Tesla Model 3 made history in 2021 when it sold more than one million units worldwide. It shows no signs of slowing down as it keeps extending its lead.

Monthly Global BEV Sales January 2023:

Model Sales
Tesla Model 3 82,057
Wuling Mini EV 30,534
Tesla Model Y 29,317

(Source: EV-Volumes.com)

The Model 3’s sales dominance shows Tesla’s leadership in the necessary areas to drive mass adoption – affordability, efficiency and access to fast charging infrastructure. With the quality continuing to improve on already high owner satisfaction, competing automakers have struggled to match Tesla’s pace of innovation.

Tesla Model 3 vs. The Competition

The Tesla Model 3 leads the EV sales charts, but the competition is getting more and more competitive with vehicles like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Volkswagen ID.4. How does the Tesla Model 3 benchmark compare to its most direct competitors?


  • Tesla Model 3: Up to 358 miles
  • Volkswagen ID.4: 240-323 miles
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5: up to 303 miles
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E: 270-300 miles

The Model 3 offers class-leading maximum range. The ID.4 and Ioniq 5 come closer to the long-range version’s 358 miles but fall short of matching Tesla.


  • Tesla Model 3: 0-60 mph as fast as 3.1 seconds
  • Volkswagen ID.4: 7.0 seconds
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5: 6.1 seconds
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E: Mid 3 seconds to 6.1 seconds

The Model 3 is a rocket, reaching 60 mph in as low as 3.1 seconds when equipped with Performance trim. In terms of performance, other models such as the Mach-E and Ioniq 5 challenge it far more closely in their top specifications.

Charging Network Access

  • Tesla Model 3: Proprietary Supercharger network with over 40,000 chargers globally
  • Volkswagen ID.4: Electrify America’s network with under 800 US stations
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5: 600+ US stations compatible with Ioniq 5
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E: Ford Pass charging network currently smaller than Tesla’s

Here, Tesla demonstrates one of its enduring competitive advantages: its extensive in-house fast charging network. With 40,000 Superchargers across the globe, Tesla drivers have privileged, dependable access that other automakers are yet unable to match.

Tesla Model Y Surges to Second Place

Since its release in 2020, Tesla’s Model Y has quickly ascended the EV sales charts, but the Model 3 continues to lead. In December 2022, the Model Y outsold all other EVs in Europe because of its crossover SUV form factor.

Key Tesla Model Y Sales and Growth Figures:

  • Over 200,000 units sold globally as of February 2023
  • European sales up over 500% year-over-year as of January 2023
  • Outsold Ford Mustang Mach-E by nearly 40,000 units in the US in 2022
  • Currently produced at Tesla factories in Fremont, Berlin, Shanghai and Austin

The Model Y’s adaptability as a performance family car that outperforms the well-liked Model 3 sedan in terms of efficiency and cargo capacity contributes to its appeal on a worldwide scale.

In the US, the Model Y finished fifth overall in terms of best-selling passenger cars across all propulsion types in 2022, which is quite an accomplishment for an electric vehicle up against established brands like the Toyota Camry. The Model Y’s sales momentum is increasing globally, and in 2023 there are no signs of stopping down.

The Model Y’s quick ascent demonstrates features that could eventually overtake the Model 3: additional usefulness that maintains performance and efficiency in a desirable form factor. But the Model 3’s years of unwavering supremacy demonstrate why it is currently the best-selling vehicle.

Tesla Model Y vs. The Electric SUV Competition

The electric crossover/SUV segment sees intense competition between new and traditional automakers. As the Tesla Model Y continues its meteoric sales growth, key rivals like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1S/R1T aim to conquer the EV truck and family SUV market.

Range and Efficiency

  • Tesla Model Y: Up to 330 miles of range
  • Ford F-150 Lightning: 230-320 miles
  • Rivian R1T: 314 miles
  • Rivian R1S: 316 miles

The Model Y beats both the F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1S handily on maximum range. However, the Rivian R1T comes closest to matching it. All models offer ample range for daily driving and road trips.

Cargo Capacity & Passenger Room

  • Tesla Model Y: 76 cu ft of cargo space, seats 5-7
  • Ford F-150 Lightning: Can carry up to 2,235 lbs
  • Rivian R1T: Gear tunnel provides extra storage
  • Rivian R1S: Similar cargo as Model Y, seats 5-7

Compared to gas-powered SUVs, the Model Y offers exceptional cargo flexibility thanks to its spacious trunk and fold-flat seats. The R1T’s tunnel adds distinctive storage, while the Lightning’s truck bed volume outclasses that of all competitors.

Off-Road Ability

  • Tesla Model Y: Not specialized for extreme off-roading
  • Ford F-150 Lightning: Powerful torque great for off-road
  • Rivian R1T/R1S: Tank turn, lots of ground clearance, max tow rating of 11,000 lbs

Here, Rivian sets itself apart with its specially made electric adventure trucks intended to perform exceptionally well off-road. The Model Y is still comfortable but not luxurious, while the Lightning boasts genuine off-road credentials.

The Model Y is an appealing luxury electric SUV with an emphasis on performance, range, and technology. While the Lightning draws in devoted pickup owners, purpose-built vehicles like the Rivian models cater to explorers. But the comprehensive, family-friendly package that EV early adopters desire is provided by Tesla’s Model Y.

Nissan LEAF Maintains Global Popularity

The world’s first mass market electric vehicle has stayed remarkably relevant. With over 700,000 total units sold globally since 2010, the Nissan LEAF remains a consistent presence worldwide.

Key Nissan LEAF Sales Figures:

  • Over 25,000 sold in the US during 2022
  • Over 5 million miles driven by Leaf owners in Europe
  • Over 67,000 sold in Japan since launch
  • Recently updated with up to 215 miles of range

The LEAF lacks the flair and brand cachet of a Tesla yet reliably meets practical needs for affordable electric mobility. Even with rival EVs arriving from nearly every major automaker, the 2023 Nissan LEAF remains alluring with:

  • Sub $30,000 starting USD MSRP
  • Smooth, quiet Nissan reliability
  • High safety ratings and modern driver assistance features
  • Familiar hatchback utility now with up to 215 miles range

Because range anxiety is less important to normal consumers when cost and convenience trade-offs seem realistic, the LEAF’s global appeal is demonstrated. The LEAF remains firmly entrenched in the EV elite due to its ongoing appeal on a global scale.

Respect is due to the Nissan LEAF, which helped launch the electric vehicle industry years ahead of more ostentatious competitors. Performance is not as important as practicality, which keeps it a volume seller.

Renault Zoe Leads the European EV Market

While Tesla clearly dominates, traditional automakers have scored EV success in certain markets. An excellent example is the Renault Zoe – Europe’s best-selling electric car in both 2021 and 2022.

What is the Best Selling Electric Vehicle

Key Renault Zoe European EV Sales Figures

  • Over 24,500 units sold in Q4 2022
  • #1 EV model sold in Germany as of January 2023
  • Over 100,000 sold total in its home market of France
  • Combination of affordability, familiarity that resonates across Europe

For traditional automakers, the Zoe offers a winning EV strategy: emphasize brand recognition and usefulness above cutting-edge performance or technology. The Zoe transforms electrification from futuristic to friendly by incorporating Renault’s reputation for low-cost mobility into an electric vehicle.

While Americans are enamored with Tesla automobiles or striking designs such as the Ioniq 5, Renault succeeded in selling a large quantity of the Zoe to practical European buyers by:

  • Sub-$35,000 USD starting MSRP
  • Reliable real-world range up to 245 miles
  • Car-sharing flexibility across European cities
  • Cute, friendly styling with eco-conscious vibe

The Renault Zoe proves wildly exciting performance matters less outside niche demographics. Its Recipe for EV success combines efficiency, affordability and flexibility European families need.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 Gains Global Popularity

Hyundai aims to be the electric automaker for the masses. The creatively styled Ioniq 5 crossover SUV represents the brand’s push towards practical, affordable EVs wrapped in bold packaging.

Key Hyundai Ioniq 5 Sales Figures and Notes:

  • Over 120,000 total units sold globally as of February 2023
  • Sales up over 600% year-over-year in Europe as of Q4 2022
  • #8 best-selling EV in China in 2022
  • 2023 North American Car of the Year Award Winner

With a starting price around $40,000 in the US, the Ioniq 5 boasts a forward-thinking design, distinctive sustainable interior materials, and a practical real-world range. Early praise outlines the value-based magic mix Hyundai perfected to entice EV skeptics:

  • 303 miles max range – distances that ease range anxiety
  • Fast 800V charging – 10%-80% in just 18 minutes
  • Quirky retro-modern styling – stands out from boring EVs
  • Affordable starting price – proves EVs can be reasonable

Although production was hindered by supply chain problems, early evaluations and awards show that there is a market for the Ioniq 5 in North America, Europe, and Asia. Leading Hyundai’s hundreds of upcoming EVs that promise accessible mobility for the general public is this beachhead SUV.

Volkswagen ID.4 Leads VW’s Electric Shift

The automaker synonymous with “People’s Car” aims to make EVs for the people. The Volkswagen ID.4 compact SUV spearheads VW’s $100 billion investment into electric models through 2025.

Key Volkswagen ID.4 Sales Figures:

  • Over 200,000 units sold globally as of February 2023
  • #2 best-selling EV in China for 2022 after Tesla Model Y
  • Over 37,000 sold in the US during 2022
  • Produced at VW factories in Germany, China and Tennessee

The ID.4 checks sensible boxes like ample cargo room, modern styling and cutting-edge tech backed by Volkswagen’s reputation for affordable quality. With a 275 HP RWD Pro Performance model arriving at under $37,000 in the US, VW gets the electric car formula right by:

  • Packaging: Familiar compact crossover form factor
  • Range: Up to 323 miles depending on battery equipped
  • Price: Starts at just over $35,000 in the US
  • Software: Sleek user interface with over-the-air updates

This balance helps explain the ID.4’s appeal versus flashier or more exotic EVs. VW’s electric shift appears wise by leading with a likable affordable model drivers worldwide need rather than tech showcases with limited appeal.

Other Notable Top-Selling EVs

While the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y dominate globally, older Tesla models and fresh competitors round out the rest of the best-selling pure electric vehicles.

Hyundai Ioniq 5:

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a midsize electric crossover with a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $40,000 and can charge up to 80% in just 18 minutes.

Volkswagen ID.4:

The Volkswagen ID.4 is a compact electric SUV with a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $40,000 and can charge up to 80% in just 38 minutes.

Rivian R1S/R1T:

The Rivian R1S/R1T is a luxury electric SUV/pickup truck with a range of up to 400 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $70,000 and can tow up to 11,000 pounds.

Chevrolet Bolt:

The Chevrolet Bolt is a compact electric hatchback with a range of up to 259 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $31,000 and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford’s iconic Mustang muscle car reimagined as an electric SUV represents Detroit’s most credible Tesla fighter so far. With up to 314 miles of range and genuinely quick acceleration, Ford leverages the Mustang halo into 39,458 Mach-E units sold in 2022.

Ford F-150 Lightning:

The Ford F-150 Lightning is a full-size electric pickup truck with a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $40,000 and can tow up to 10,000 pounds.

Ford Mustang Mach-E:

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is a midsize electric crossover with a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $43,000 and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds.

Chevrolet Bolt EV/EUV

Despite battery recall setbacks, Chevy’s humble EV tallied 24,828 combined Bolt EV and slightly larger Bolt EUV crossover sales last year, proving its legit eco-friendly transportation when supply flows properly.

Rivian R1T and R1S

The startup adventure truck maker is just getting started yet managed to sell over 20,000 Rivian R1T pickups and R1S SUVs in 2022. With extensive capacity expansions underway, Rivian appears poised for much higher volume this year.

Tesla Model S and Model X

While both veteran models now skew toward lower-volume premium status, Tesla still managed to sell over 61,000 combined Model S sedan and Model X SUVs last year. Limited supply of both six-figure options makes room for the Model 3 and Model Y to dominate volume.

Tesla Model X:

The Tesla Model X is a luxury electric SUV with a range of up to 371 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $90,000 and can seat up to seven passengers.

Tesla Model S:

The Tesla Model S is a luxury electric sedan with a range of up to 412 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $80,000 and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.99 seconds.

Tesla Model 3:

The Tesla Model 3 is a midsize electric sedan with a range of up to 358 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $40,000 and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds.

Tesla Model Y:

The Tesla Model Y is a midsize electric crossover with a range of up to 326 miles on a single charge. It has a starting price of around $50,000 and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds.

What Does the Future Hold for Best-Selling EVs?

Based on the latest sales figures, Tesla shows no signs of loosening its grip on the electric vehicle market. However, increased competition promises more affordable and capable EVs coming from both legacy and new automakers. What developments lie ahead?

More Chinese Brands Arriving Globally

Chinese EV startups like BYD, Xpeng and Nio posted huge sales growth in China and just began entering European and potentially US markets. With generous EV subsidies in China, Chinese automakers experimented earlier with volumes abroad lacked. Expect more affordable Chinese EVs certified for international markets.

Tesla Facing More Direct Affordable Rivals

Automakers like Hyundai and Volkswagen carefully benchmarked Tesla’s strategy and sales data when developing EVs like Ioniq 5 and ID.4. The positive reception for both more affordable Tesla alternatives suggests an influx of even more competitive mass-market EVs replicating Tesla’s measured approach to practical, attainable vehicles.

Continued Surge Projected in EV Sales

According to BloombergNEF, electric vehicles could represent 58% of new passenger car sales globally by 2040. With carmakers pouring over $500 billion into electrification this decade, EVs across more vehicle types promise to unseat gas-powered models as battery costs keep decreasing.

While Tesla defends its dominance, legacy and start-up brands alike now chase the benchmark premium EV leader carved. The Model 3 and Model Y set expectations for aspiring EV owners worldwide. Near term, Tesla leads the pack but long term, the market seems hungry for prudent, affordable electric transportation however it’s packaged.

Conclusion of Best Selling Electric Vehicle

Global sales of electric vehicles have more than doubled since 2019, and the business is still seeing tremendous growth. For the time being, Tesla continues to hold onto the top-selling models as consumer demand for EVs grows. Globally, the Model 3 is in control, but the Model Y is gaining traction.

More options are promised by the growing variety of EVs offered by startups and established automakers alike. With rising models like Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, which offers 300+ miles for under $40k, and range anxiety decreasing, there may be real challenges to the long reign of Tesla’s dynamic pair.

However, to catch up with Tesla, comparable computer power, charging infrastructure, and vertically integrated batteries are needed. Luxury brands like Porsche, Mercedes, and others that target the Model S and Model X appear less susceptible to competition. However, if Ford, VW, or Renault manage to achieve the same level of reasonably priced practicality as the Model 3, the days of Tesla consistently holding the top rank will come to an end.

For the time being, the Model 3 continues to dominate the EV market, with all significant indicators working in its advantage. However, the competition appears dedicated to imitating Tesla’s achievements in the near future with workable substitutes that consumers may find more appealing in large quantities.

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