Tesla Motors Inc became the largest seller of electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States in 2015. Tesla beat out other auto manufacturers such as Nissan, Chevrolet, BMW, Toyota and Ford to gain the crown. Tesla was also the biggest seller of EVs in the world in 2015 with sales of over 50,000 units. Elon Musk is the global face of the growing electric car company. We created the following chart showing how many electric cars were sold by manufacturer and model in the U.S. in 2015, as well as how many EVs were sold compared to gasoline vehicles.
The top line of our chart shows that traditional gasoline cars still drastically outsell EVs in the U.S. There were 17.35 million gasoline cars sold in the U.S. versus only 116,548 EVs. Still, EVs are an increasingly important component of the auto industry as manufacturers are required to comply with federal emission regulations.
As can be seen from the chart, Tesla sold around 25,700 Model S cars. This compares with 17,300 vehicles sold in 2014. This represents an increase of 48% in sales for 2015. 2015 also represents the first year that Tesla becomes the best selling EV in USA. The Model S was the third best selling EV in 2014 behind the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. The Nissan Leaf was the second best selling EV with 17,269 cars sold in the U.S. in 2015. This was followed by the Chevrolet Volt in third with 15,393 cars sold. The BMW i3 came in fourth with 11,024 cars sold. In addition, Tesla sold 214 cars for the Tesla Model X.
The Tesla S is a well-designed vehicle by any measure. It won the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year, as well as earning the Car of The Century award from Car and Driver in 2015. Car and Driver note that the P90D performance model can hit 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds. The EPA gives the Model S 70D a range of 240 miles, although that performance is variable.
The Tesla Model S is selling quite well despite the high price tag. It costs around $63,700 after the tax credit. This is about $40,000 more than the Nissan Leaf with a cost of $22,360 after the tax credit. The Chevrolet Volt also has a more affordable price tag of $22,300. The Tesla Model X costs around $86,700 after the tax credit.
The BMW i8 is the most expensive EV in production with a cost of $133,657. This model sold 2,265 vehicles in the U.S. in 2015, putting it in eleventh place. The concept car has an all-electric range of around 23 miles and a fuel efficiency of 112 miles per gallon. It also has some serious speed. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, with a top speed of around 160 mph. The high price tag limits the model to only the very wealthy.
Tesla is now the clear leader in the EV market in the U.S. and the world. The Model S outsold the Nissan Leaf globally by around 7,000 cars in 2015. As the new kid on the block in the automotive industry, Tesla is changing the perception and increasing the performance of EVs. The traditional automakers like Ford and Chevrolet are struggling to keep up with Tesla. However, Tesla may face even stiffer competition in the near future. Elon Musk recently stated to the BBC in an interview that it is an open secret that Apple is designing an electric car. Musk noted that it is difficult to hide that fact since Apple has hired over a thousand engineers for the project. A number of those engineers have been poached from Tesla. Still, Musk noted that he does not consider Apple a threat. Rather, he said that Apple could help to expand the industry. At any rate, the EV industry will get even more interesting in the next few years if Apple does introduce its own model.
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