For many years, the Nissan Leaf held the title as the world’s best-selling electric vehicle. With dimensions and utility that rival a regular Volkswagen Golf, it gained a strong following not only in Europe, but also in the USA, where consumers are not big fans of hatchbacks.
However the tide is changing and Tesla’s entry level Model 3 has proven to be a huge hit, which is surprising considering Tesla’s well publicized woes in producing the Model 3 at a decent volume and quality – something which ‘old school’ car companies do every day.
According to data compiled by Jato Dynamics, the Model 3 has climbed up to the top of the global EV sales charts, delivering 130,248 units.
The Model 3’s rapid rise is impressive because the numbers were contributed mostly by USA and Canada, as the Model 3 deliveries in Europe didn’t start until early this year.
The Nissan Leaf on the other hand, mustered just 86,110 units, behind the China-only BAIC EC. Nissan on the other hand, continues to market the Leaf as the world’s best-selling electric car, with a fine print that says the claim is based on cumulative sales since 2010.
Source: JATO Dynamics, Twitter @lovecarindustry
The other electric cars on the top-10 best sellers list are made by Chinese brands that many outside of China are unfamiliar with. All of these models are sold almost exclusively in China, which is now the world’s largest electric car market, selling 1.1 million electric passenger cars last year.
To combat traffic congestion, many major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou limit new car sales by requiring buyers to go through a lottery system – held either monthly or bimonthly, depending on city - before they can register their new vehicle. Electric cars however, are exempted from this.
As for the BMW i3, it also available with an optional 650cc range extender petrol engine, with 50 percent of European buyers and 70 percent of American buyers opting for it, so it's not grouped on this list.