EV Sales Jumped 83% in U.S. in 2021, Tesla Still on Top

Battery-electric vehicles enjoyed a record year, surpassing 2020’s results of about 322,000 EVs basically in the first six months of 2021. 

2021 Tesla Model Y blue
Despite increased competition in 2021, the Tesla Model Y remained the top selling EV in the U.S.

The final tally was 434,879 EVs, an 83% jump compared with 2020 results, Reuters reported. However, they accounted for about 3% of the total new vehicle market of 15.1 million units.

Tesla remains firmly on top of sales in the growing battery electric segment despite a growing challenge from traditional carmakers such as Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG. 

During what was a record year, all four of Tesla’s four models now on the market, the Model Y, Model 3, Model S and Model X, held four of the spots on the list of the 10 best-selling EV models compiled by TheDetroitBureau.com. 

Tesla continues to dominate EV sales 

But the list is very much in flux. The Tesla Model S was once the top selling EV now it has fallen to ninth and is very likely to fall out of the Top 10 this year as new vehicles enter the market. In addition, a rush of new vehicles due to reach the market this year, such as Ford Lightning and Transit EV, as well as new EVs from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Kia reach the market.  

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT - by Golden Gatebridge
Ford’s electrified vehicle sales were up 153.6% in November, helping it achieve third place in EV sales for 2021.

Meanwhile, Ford and Volkswagen, which posted negligible sales of EVs in 2020 grabbed key spots on the list with strong sales of new models, including the Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4 and Audi e-tron. The Porsche Taycan also continued to attract affluent buyers looking for a unique, environmentally friendly, luxury vehicle.  

Overall, the 10 best-selling battery-electric vehicles in the U.S. in 2021 were:

  1. Tesla Model Y — 193,454 (est.) 
  2. Tesla Model 3 — 107,932 (est.) 
  3. Ford Mustang Mach-E — 27,140 
  4. Chevrolet Bolt EV/EUV — 24,828 
  5. Volkswagen ID.4 — 16,742 
  6. Nissan Leaf — 14,328 
  7. Audi e-tron — 10,891 
  8. Porsche Taycan — 9,419 
  9. Tesla Model S — 8,000 (est.) 
  10. Tesla Model X — 7,500 (est.) 

Tesla’s totals were estimated because the company doesn’t break out its sales by vehicle.

First R1T pickup closer
Rivian began producing vehicles at the end of 2021, putting out 1,021 R1 series vehicles.

GM’s push into EVs off to slow start 

General Motors position on the list was hurt badly by the recall of Bolt. Sales of the Bolt halted in August and tumbled 99.5% in the fourth quarter. The Bolt still finished fourth on the list and was on track to sell almost 40,000 units before he production shut down. 

The GM plant building the Bolt, outside Detroit, is now closed through February, and Factory Zero in Detroit is just beginning to ramp up production of the new GMC Hummer EV. GM also expects to begin building electric delivery vans at a plant in Ingersoll, Ontario during 2022. 

New entrants such as Rivian and Lucid are just beginning to ramp up production, while facing challenges such as the shortage of semiconductors and slow ramp-up of battery production. 

Rivian disclosed this week it built 1,021 vehicles during the final months of 2021. The company had promised to deliver a total of 1,200 vehicles. CEO R.J. Scaringe informed investors the company would not hit the target and the company’s stock price declined. Lucid has yet to announce any sales totals, an official told TheDetroitBureau.com.