The Tesla Model 3 achieved yet another milestone as it continues its international ramp. Over the first quarter, the electric sedan from Silicon Valley successfully rocketed past other popular electric cars in Western Europe, taking its place at the top of the region’s list of best-selling EVs.
Berlin-based automotive industry analyst Matthias Schmidt noted that Tesla sold 19,482 Model 3 in the first quarter, a significant lead over the previous #1 EV in the region, the ubiquitous Renault Zoe, which sold 11,049 units over the same period. This is particularly impressive for the Model 3, as it was only available in the market since February, and it was more than twice, or (at times) even three times the cost of the best-selling Zoe. The Nissan Leaf, a veteran in the mainstream EV market, bowed down to the Model 3 as well, selling 10,315 in the first quarter.
The Model 3’s competitors in the premium electric vehicle segment were farther off. The Jaguar I-PACE, which recently received the World Car of the Year award, was 7th place in Europe’s sales, selling 3,012 units in Q1. The Audi e-tron, also a much-hyped vehicle that was, at one time, considered as a potential “Tesla Killer” by skeptics, sold a rather humble 2,526 units in the first quarter, according to the Berlin-based analyst’s data.
In a statement to Forbes, the auto analyst noted that the Model 3’s competition from Europe might be deliberately holding back their sales due to the European Union’s (EU) carbon dioxide (CO2) regulations, which are set to become tighter next year. According to Schmidt, automakers might be aiming to grow their electric car fleets in 2021, in order to bring down their average emissions and avoid fines. Thus, Tesla has all the opportunity it needs to push the Model 3 today, since its all-electric fleet is in no danger from the EU’s tightening emissions rules.
“I expect the Model 3 to finish the year as the top-selling electric car model in Europe helped along by the fact that other manufacturers are reducing supply of their electric models to 2020, with plenty of creative excuses, in order to lower their fleet average CO2 emissions – when it counts – to achieve the next round of EU targets being introduced in 2020 covering 95% of their total fleet and 100% in the following year. Tesla is the only manufacturer that doesn’t have an issue meeting fleet average CO2 emissions and effectively has an open goal up to the end of this year,” the analyst said.
The Tesla Model 3 is proving to be a disruptive vehicle in every region it has been deployed to so far. With Model 3 deliveries focused on North America last year, the electric sedan became the best-selling luxury vehicle in the United States. The Model 3 made its presence known as it made its way into Europe as well. Norway, for one, reported that nearly 60% of all vehicles sold in the country in March were all-electric. More than 18,000 cars were registered in the country during the month, and over 10,000 were all-electric. From this number, 5,822 were Tesla Model S, Model 3, and Model X, which means that one in every three vehicles sold in Norway in March was a Tesla. The Model 3 also made a strong impact in Switzerland, where the all-electric car became the country’s best-selling car at the end of Q1, electric or otherwise.