California’s more aggressive deadline for phasing out sales of new internal-combustion vehicles, culminating in a 2035 shift to all EVs, might seem a tough target to achieve to those in some parts of the U.S.
But it’s all about perspective. In the U.S. as a whole, EV sales accounted for 5.6% of the U.S. vehicle market in Q2 of 2022—up from 5.3% in Q1 and just 2.7% in Q1 2021. While that sounds like impressive growth, California is in another league. By the midpoint of 2022, fully electric vehicles made up an estimated 15.1% of new-vehicle sales in California.
That’s according to a Q2 California Auto Outlook released earlier this month by the California New Car Dealers Association, which also points out that the share of EVs, plug-in hybrids, and hybrids combined now nears 30% of the market in the Golden State. Hybrids and EVs have gained consistently since 2018, while plug-in hybrids are actually at a lower portion of the overall market now than they were then.
EVs vs. hybrids vs PHEVs - 2022 Q2 California Auto Outlook
Once again, in this tally that uses registrations rather than reported sales to tease out what's actually happening in the market, the Tesla Model Y was the top-selling vehicle in California, topping longtime sales champs like the Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla.
The sales dominance of the Model Y, which arrived in 2020, has been no fluke. The electric crossover outsold the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado combined. Model 3 sales also passed the bestselling pickup trucks. More Model Ys were sold in the first half of 2022 than all models from Nissan (or Hyundai, or Kia).
This report, interfaced with Tesla’s own sales totals, has shown that California has at times been about an eighth of Tesla’s global market. Tesla has topped 10% market share in the state for some time—and it sold about 78% of the EVs bought in California in Q1.
Expanding this out on a national basis, nearly a third of U.S. EV buyers in Q1 got a Tesla Model Y.
2022 Tesla lineup (Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.)
On a brand basis, Tesla is second only to Toyota in California. Tesla maintains a nearly 11% market share in California for the first half of 2022, versus just 3.3% for the U.S.
Teslas are not cheap, and it’s elbowed into the existing luxury market. Affordable electric vehicles remain scarce in California and the rest of the country, and the vast market-share gains expected by regulators there and nationwide may take more than a single brand's success to achieve.