Teslas accounted for 79 percent of all new electric vehicle registrations in 2020

Tesla's latest battery day event revealed big changes for the company.
Image: Unsplash | Afif Kusuma

Electric cars are finally having a moment. Thanks to companies like Tesla, they are more popular than ever. Moreover, as battery prices continue to decline, electric vehicles are becoming more accessible to everyday drivers.

It now appears that Tesla’s influence cannot be overstated. According to data from Automotive News, as reported by CNET’s Roadshow, Tesla’s vehicles accounted for 79 percent of all electric car registrations in the U.S. last year. That’s an enormous figure for one automaker and demonstrates that all other electric car companies will be playing catch-up for some time.

Market Dominance

Upon hearing the words “electric car” most people probably think of a Tesla. That’s no surprise considering that it was the first company to make electric vehicles mainstream. Although the road to this point hasn’t always been pretty, Tesla now sits comfortably at the top of its industry.

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The recent data from Automotive News shows just how comfortable the company’s lead is. In total, there were 200,691 new Tesla vehicles registered last year in the U.S. That marks a 16 percent increase from 2019.

The company’s most affordable car, the Model 3, was the most popular electric vehicle in the country with 95,135 new registrations. It was followed by the Model Y, which had 71,344 registrations. Both of Tesla’s other vehicles, the Model X and Model S also claimed a spot in the top five.

As Roadshow notes, the only non-Tesla in the top five is Chevrolet’s Bolt EV. It claimed 19,664 registrations last year. It’s worth noting that Chevy released the first Bolt in 2015, which means it has had plenty of time to compete. Even so, it remains a distant third to Tesla’s top two vehicles.

Heating Up

Despite Tesla’s current lead in the electric vehicle market, competition is poised to start heating up in the next few years. Numerous automakers have announced plans to invest heavily in the electric car space. Earlier this month, Ford committed $29 billion to electric and autonomous vehicles.

Although Tesla has built a commanding lead, Ford has been around for more than a century and is still one of the world’s top automakers. Elon Musk’s company will face a challenge unlike anything it has seen to date when Ford begins to shift a wider range of its models to electric power.

GM is another imposing competitor. It committed to ending gas-powered car sales across its lineup by 2035.

Of course, there will also be more market share to go around in the coming years. Interest in electric vehicles continues to grow as consumers become more conscious about their personal impact on the environment. Governmental support also helps the industry. Late last year, California announced that it will ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035. It’s likely that other states (and perhaps other countries) will follow suit.

As demand for electric vehicles heats up, it will be interesting to see if Tesla can maintain its edge. The company responsible for the upcoming age of electric cars certainly has some work cut out for it.


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