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Tesla’s Growing Dominance in California’s EV Market

Tesla continues to assert its dominance in the California electric vehicle (EV) market, with Tesla Model Y and Model 3 leading as the top two selling vehicles in the state. In the first quarter of 2023, Model Y recorded 31,940 units sold while Model 3 sold 17,715 units.

California, known for its forward-leaning stance on EVs, now sees almost a quarter (23.2%) of new vehicles sold in the state being electrified. This comprises of 19.5% Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and 3.7% Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV). The state’s overall “electrified” vehicles, which include hybrids, now stand at 34.2%.

Interestingly, BEV sales are growing faster than PHEV and hybrids, indicating that Californians are gradually shifting towards fully electric cars. In fact, BEV and PHEV sales remained flat from the last quarter of 2022, while BEV sales alone continue to rise, Electrek reports.

The state’s preference for Tesla is becoming increasingly clear. Last year, Tesla’s Model 3 even outsold the Toyota Camry, which had been the state’s best-selling car for 28 consecutive years. Model Y has managed to extend its dominance over competitors, claiming 10.3% of the popular light truck segment in the first quarter, selling 2.4 times as many units as the second-place Toyota RAV4.

However, Tesla still trails Toyota as the No. 2 selling brand due to its presence in fewer market segments. That said, Toyota’s market share dropped from 17.3% in 2022 to 15.2% in the first quarter of 2023, while Tesla’s rose from 11.2% to 11.8%. If this trend continues, Tesla could potentially overtake Toyota as the top-selling brand in the next couple of years.

While the first quarter of 2023 has seen increased sales for most brands compared to the same period last year, Tesla’s sales growth was modest at 10.6%. Despite some concerns over supply challenges and the public image of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the brand has managed to maintain its stronghold in the California EV market.

Given California’s status as a trendsetter in the adoption of new technologies and styles, this trend in EV sales is likely to spread to other states. The state’s increasing preference for BEVs over PHEVs and hybrids may also indicate a future trend towards fully electric vehicles in the U.S. automotive market.

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