Surprise: Tesla Model S isn't just the best selling electric vehicle, it's the cheapest

Posted on July 24, 2016 by Matt Pressman

It was definitely thrilling to see the Tesla Model S become the best selling electric vehicle both in the U.S and worldwide in 2015. And, it wasn't just electric vehicle sales, according to a research report from German-based ZSW, the Tesla Model S also took the top spot among new electric vehicle (EV) registrations worldwide in 2015. So whether it was sales or registrations, the Tesla Model S was crowned king of all EVs in 2015 taking the throne from the former champ, the Nissan Leaf. That said, how is Tesla Motors [NSADAQ: TSLA] tracking so far in 2016? Don't jump to any conclusions as we've uncovered a few unanticipated surprises in the data.

Above: 2016 Tesla Model S speeds ahead of the competition (Source: Motor Trend)

Let's explain. We only have data for U.S. sales so far. That said, according to InsideEVs*, for the first half of 2016, the Tesla Model S has remained the best selling plug-in electric vehicle in the U.S. And, it's worth highlighting that the Tesla Model X is also gaining momentum fast: "We should especially note the Model X (even after all the production constraints) as it finds itself high on the countdown in 4th place, ahead of the Nissan LEAF, and with eye on 3rd... [and] Tesla, Ford and BMW were able to put two models into Top 10, which is also a pretty good achievement." Check out the stats below.

Above: Top 10 U.S. plug-in cars (Source: InsideEvs*)

Okay, maybe all this doesn't surprise you. The Tesla Model S is such a phenomenon that it doesn't just outsell all other electric vehicles, but, it's also been outselling all other cars in its segment (large luxury cars) in both the U.S. and Europe taking the crown from the gas-powered Mercedes S-Class. But, let's get back to electric vehicles. If the Tesla Model S is classified as a large luxury car — luxury should mean expensive, right? Well... what if we told you it was actually the cheapest electric vehicle? 

Above: Tesla Model S in front of the Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada (Source: Motor Trend)

According to InsideEVs*, "As one would expect, Tesla Motors occupies most of the top spots for electric vehicles as sorted by range rank. Yet despite the high price tags on the Teslas, the size of battery packs on board still make the Model S the 'cheapest per mile' for range. The Model S 75 stands at $299 per mile of EPA range." This also marks a key industry milestone as the "price per mile for EVs [now] falls below $300 for the first time." Check out analysis below.

Above: BEVs [battery electric vehicles] price per mile of range – U.S. (July 2016) – some models estimated (Source: InsideEVs*)

To be fair, the Chevy Spark deserves some credit, "The Model S 75 stands at $299 per mile of EPA range, ahead of the 90D, 75D and 60. Only the Chevrolet Spark EV manages to thwart an all-Tesla Top 5... [and] when deducting the $7,500 federal tax credit, the Chevrolet Spark EV easily takes the #1 spot at $230/mile of EPA range." That said, when looking at the official MSRP price per mile of EPA range (see blue lines above), the Tesla Model S 75 kWh variant takes the crown for the lowest price on the electric vehicle market today. Yes, another crowning achievement for the Tesla Motors trophy case, albeit one you might not expect. 

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*Source, InsideEVs: Chart 1, Chart 2

Posted in Electric Vehicles, tesla model s, Tesla Model X, tesla news, TSLA


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