With Tesla looming in its rearview mirrors, the little Nissan Leaf is chuffing ahead in the global electric-car sales race.

The company that built the original modern electric car announced on Tuesday that it sold its 400,000th copy of the Leaf worldwide, just as the longer-range Leaf Plus version goes on sale to spar with Tesla's new Short Range Model 3. (The Leaf Plus is rated at 226 miles of range from its 62-kwh battery.) 

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Over its now seven-year lifespan, the Model S has sold more than 260,000 globally. (The Model X doesn't come close, at a little less than 90,000 sales since 2015.)

Although the Tesla Model 3 sells almost twice as many cars per month as the Leaf globally, it may take a long time for it to catch up with the Leaf's six-year head start.

Bloomberg estimates that Tesla has sold 215,000 Model 3s so far.

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It's a different story in the U.S., where Nissan sells only a small fraction of the number of Model 3s that Tesla sells every month. In the U.S., Tesla sold 77,000 Model 3s to the Leaf's 19,455. Even with the Leaf's head start, going on sale in 2011, Tesla sold more model 3s last year than the 129,000 plus Leafs that Nissan has sold in the U.S. since the car went on sale. 

Regardless of who's winning the sales race, it's worth celebrating that so many people are buying efficient electric cars in a few short years.