Tesla Faces More Competition Than Ever Before as EV Sales Hit Record-High First Quarter

Mandatory Credit: Photo by FILIP SINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12587099d)Tesla cars are charged at the Tesla Supercharger station in Berlin, Germany, 02 November 2021.
FILIP SINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock / FILIP SINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

While Elon Musk made headlines this week for his successful bid to buy Twitter, news about rising competition for his Tesla electric vehicle company flew largely under the radar.

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Tesla still dominates the EV market, accounting for about 75% of EVs sold during the 2022 first quarter, according to the latest data from Kelley Blue Book (KBB). That’s up from a 70% share the previous year. Tesla’s Model Y SUV and Model 3 sedan made up 68% of the market all by themselves.

But as KBB noted, “Tesla’s rear-view mirror is getting crowded.” Americans bought almost twice as many EVs in the first quarter of 2022 as they did in the first quarter of 2021, and EVs made up more than 5% of total car sales for the first time. Perhaps more importantly, consumers bought 32 different models during the first three months of 2022 vs. 18 during the first three months of 2021. KBB expects at least 50 different models to be on the market by the end of the year.

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Tesla’s main advantage is that its vehicles got a years-long head start on the rest of the field under the stewardship of Musk, the company’s founder and CEO.  But as more automakers launch their own electric vehicles, Tesla “is in for a tougher fight than it has seen before,” KBB said.

One notable rival is the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which was recently named the 2022 World Car of the Year. The starting price of the Ioniq 5 is $44,000, well below the $64,990 starting price for the Tesla Model Y. Hyundai vehicles also are still eligible for the full federal $7,500 electric-vehicle tax rebate no longer offered on Tesla products.

Tesla faces additional competition from new types of EVs, including electric pickup trucks. During the first quarter of 2022, 99 customers took delivery of GMC’s Hummer EV truck, while 43 received a Rivian R1T pickup. Ford is nearing production of its F-150 Lightning electric truck. Tesla’s own Cybertruck should start production sometime next year.

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A list of the top 10 selling EVs during the first quarter follows.

  1. Tesla Model Y.
  2. Tesla Model 3.
  3. Ford Mustang Mach-E.
  4. Tesla Model X.
  5. Hyundai Ioniq 5.
  6. Kia EV6.
  7. Tesla Model S.
  8. Nissan Leaf.
  9. Kia Niro.
  10. Audi e-Tron.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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