2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011
Regardless of the number of cars they've sold—fewer than the Renault-Nissan alliance—Tesla is undoubtedly the best-known electric-car maker in the world.
It delivered 76,000 cars last year, against roughly 10 million each for Volkswagen Group, Toyota, and General Motors.
But its sleek, fast, electric Model S and the associated Supercharger fast-charging network turned the industry on its ear.
No carmaker has yet produced a straight-across competitor for the Tesla Model S or Model X, and the first ones from luxury makers won't arrive in showrooms for perhaps 18 months.
All that said, we were curious to see if there was a consensus on the second most important electric-car maker in the world.
We asked our Twitter followers which of four makers was "best in electric cars" after Tesla.
After Tesla, which automaker is best in electric cars?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) April 3, 2017
The results, frankly, seemed to correspond roughly to sales.
Four out of 10 participants (41 percent) chose Nissan, which with its alliance partner Renault, has sold close to 400,000 electric cars, including more than a quarter of a million Leafs.
Following Nissan came General Motors, chosen by 28 percent of survey participants, which is now on its second generation of Volt plug-in hybrid.
It's also now rolling out the 238-mile Bolt EV battery-electric car across the 50 U.S. states over a nine-month period.
2017 Nissan Leaf
Following GM came BMW, at 26 percent. The German luxury maker of "ultimate driving machines" took a big risk with the technically advance i3 hatchback, for a time the most energy-efficient car sold in the U.S.
But following its 2013 launch, little else has happened in electric cars at BMW. The carmaker seems to be focusing largely on low-range plug-in hybrid versions of its high-volume sedan and crossover utility models now.
The final choice, VW Group, garnered a mere 5 percent of the votes.
While VW has announced plans to offer 30 different electric cars across its stable of brands by 2025, so far it has only the Volkswagen e-Golf—nice enough, but hardly groundbreaking.
And many reader believe that VW only "got religion" on electric cars as a way to distract from the sins of its diesel scandal.
Our conclusion from the survey: sales matter in perceptions of how committed manufacturers are to electric cars. What a surprise, eh?