Almost a third of all registrations in the first quarter of 2022 correspond to the Tesla Model Y, which is currently manufactured in both Fremont, California and at the Gigafactory in Austin, Texas. If we add Model 3 to the equation, they add up to 62.8% of the US EV market, and by adding the sales of the Model S/X then we are talking about 71.7%.
At a national level, Tesla has a market share of 3.3%, more than doubling the 1.4% it had a year ago, that is, considering all types of light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks). According to figures calculated by Experian, Tesla sold as many cars as Toyota – with 11 hybrid and plug-in models -.
An interesting thing to notice is that electric cars in the US are sold mainly in the State of California, where 38.93% of the country's registrations accumulate. The fees there are therefore very different, as 14.8% of the market is electric and 11.5% hybrid. We can easily contrast this with a 3.23% share of electric cars in the other 49 states, with hybrids at 6.57%. In most of the center part of the country, electric vehicle quotas are extremely low: for instance, Wyoming (0.03%) and South Dakota (0.05%); while in Alaska it is at a very similar level (0,06%). The data does not seem to change very much as compared to figures from 2021.
It is very curious to compare these data with a couple of very truly American phenomena: on one hand we have a wild speculation of used or brand new models from brands like Tesla, Lucid and Rivian; on the other hand we have exaggerated price increases from car dealers - the famous dealer markups - which have come to double the MSRP ("Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price"). They are popularly called "stealers" instead of "dealers", more than probably for some good reasons allegedly attributed to popular wisdom.
As everybody knows, electric cars have long waiting lists, pick-up trucks above all; at the rate that reservations are going, Tesla, Ford and General Motors have "locked in" the sale of all their (limited) production of electric trucks for years. Also, at this point one thing must be clarified: in most parts of the United States cars cannot be sold directly, and new brands such as Tesla do not have a dealer network; however, even Ford sees clear advantages in that business model, mainly because it allows it to control prices directly: with no dealer markups or discounts, the cars cost a fixed amount.
Are car manufacturers with dealerships getting an advantage over Tesla? Not at a national level: we have already seen that Tesla dominates sales with an iron fist. Korean brands Hyundai and Kia have nearly a 10% share, and Ford Motor Company itself has a very low 5% share. But there are even more peculiar things: General Motors delivered only 457 electric cars in the first quarter of 2022.
Apart from the California sales figures, we can (unfortunately) say that the typical American customer is rarely interested in electric cars, but it could be a very hasty conclusion, as the consequences of the crazy gasoline increases were not yet very noticeable in the first quarter of 2022, and it is already almost the end of the second. Surely prices of more than 5 or 6 dollars per gallon are beginning to be decisive in order to get rid of the gas-powered SUVs that normally swallow more than 23.5 miles per gallon; so perhaps more people will start thinking of something more affordable.
Truth is USA is a huge country and sometimes road distances persuade regular, common drivers not to travel long distances with electric cars. However, Tesla has the main routes well covered with its Supercharger network, and the Electrify America network (a product of the diesel-gate scandal for Volkswagen) allows to basically travel the country from coast to coast and north/south without any kind of problem.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.