New data reveals electric vehicles have crossed an adoption milestone in California, with EVs accounting for more than 1 in 5 new cars sold so far in 2023. Tesla models continue to thoroughly dominate the EV rankings.
According to the California New Car Dealers Association, EVs captured 21.5% of California’s total auto market from January through September, over doubles the 9.8% EV share just two years ago in 2021, exhibiting the rapid acceleration in consumer EV demand.
The California auto market offers a glimpse into the future as the state drives EV adoption through incentives, charging infrastructure investments, and looming combustion engine phase-outs. With EVs topping 20% share, a tipping point appears close as consumers increasingly opt for electrified transportation.
And no automaker has benefited more from this EV boom than Tesla, whose Models Y and 3 take the top two sales spots by a massive margin. From January to September 2023, Tesla sold 106,398 Model Y and 66,698 Model 3s in California.
The next best selling EV, the Chevy Bolt, only managed 15,151 units in comparison. Combined, the Model Y and Model 3 outsold the rest of the top 5 EV models nearly 4 to 1. Tesla’s domination of California is fueled by its product lead and vast Supercharger network.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and BMW i4 rounded out the top 5, beating out Tesla’s luxury Model X SUV. Upstart Rivian’s R1S SUV is proving popular as well, beating the Niro EV and Volvo XC40 Recharge for 10th place.
Clearly, Tesla retains a stronghold on the EV-leading California market it helped create, as legacy automakers aim to catch up, they have significant ground to gain to match Tesla’s impressive sales velocity and brand cachet.
With EVs taking an ever-larger market share, California continues setting the pace for an emissions-free transportation future, Golden State’s rapid EV adoption foreshadows the imminent dominance of battery-electric drivetrains as the new normal.