Tesla shares are down nearly 30 per cent since their peak in November, the company is facing multiple lawsuits alleging racial discrimination, Tesla consumer rankings are sinking, and CEO Elon Musk continues to court controversy with provocative tweets.

The good news for the electric vehicle maker is that competitors angling for a piece of the company’s leading market share don’t appear to be gaining meaningful ground just yet.

Dr. Ed Yardeni, President of Yardeni Research, has the latest numbers to back that up.


by Ed Yardeni, Yardeni Research

(1) Tesla still leads the pack. 

Tesla didn’t buy any advertising time at the Super Bowl. It didn’t need to: Tesla’s models landed in 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 11th place in Car and Driver’s 2021 ranking of US EV sales.

Tesla sold 172,700 Model Ys last year, making it the most popular EV and the 17th best-selling vehicle—gas or electric powered—sold in the US last year.

It was followed by the Model 3 (128,600 cars sold), Model S (9,100 cars), and the Model X (3,000 cars).

No other manufacturer had as many models on the list. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E landed in the 3rd spot (27,140 cars sold), followed by the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV (24,803 cars) and the Volkswagen ID4 (16,742 cars).

This year, EVs are expected to face new competition from Ford and GM electric trucks—the F-150 Lightning and the GMC Hummer Pickup.

(2) EVs sell faster outside of the US. 

US EV sales remain paltry compared to those in the rest of the world.

US EV and plug-in hybrid car sales in 2021 amounted to only 535,000, or 4% of new cars sold in the US, compared to the 3.2 million EVs sold in China (15% of new cars sold there) and 2.3 million EVs in Europe (19%), according to Canalys data.

In December, battery-powered cars outsold diesel cars in Europe for the first time, according to a January 17 NYT article.

Overall, Canalys estimates that 6.5 million EVs and plug-in hybrids were sold worldwide in 2021, up 109% y/y; that compares with just 4% y/y growth in the total global car market.

In China, the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is the top seller with a $4,500 base price, followed by Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3.

In Europe, Tesla’s Model 3 is the best-selling car, but Volkswagen Group, with several car brands offering EVs, was the largest overall manufacturer of EVs.

(3) EV special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) crash. 

Besides Tesla, traditional, old-school auto manufacturers have been dominating the EV market.

Despite the initial fanfare, they haven’t faced much competition from the upstarts that went public via SPACs over the past two years.

The shares of Nikola, Lordstown Motors, Canoo, Faraday Future Intelligent Electric, Fisker, and Lucid Group have fallen by double digits over the past year and are trading at or near 52-week lows.

All but two of these companies, Fisker and Faraday Future, have disclosed federal investigations.

Our September 3, 2020 Morning Briefing warned that the hype surrounding new EV companies and SPACs could result in the mother of all pileups.

It’s time to call the tow trucks.


Related stories:

Electric Vehicle Forecast to 2050