Chad Kirchner — 05/04/2013
Tesla is having a tumultuous year, legally. They recently won the right to sell their Model S vehicles in New York, but then were denied sales in Virginia. Tesla is gaining ground in Texas, though, with a new factory and model on the line.
When it comes to sales though, Elon Musk’s Tesla must be motivated by Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” The Model S has reached a new milestone when it was recently announced that Tesla sold more vehicles than expected (and that the company became more profitable sooner than expected). So far this year the Tesla Model S has sold more units in North America than the Chevrolet Volt, taking the lead in rechargeable automobile sales.
The 4,750 deliveries of Model S vehicles exceed the 4,421 sales of the Chevrolet Volt, and the 3,695 sales of the Nissan Leaf. Even though these are all low-volume numbers, being on top is still a great success for the independent automobile maker in Palo Alto.
It should be noted that General Motors sells the Opel Ampera in Europe. The combined sales of both the Volt and the Ampera is approximately 9,000 units. Also, Nissan Leaf sales dipped early this year because the company moved production of the US version of the vehicle from Japan to Tennessee.
According to automotive analyst John Wolkonowicz, the Volt makes more sense to more people, and will likely regain the sales crown by the end of the year. “The Volt is the one that makes sense out of that whole group of plug-ins, because you can use it like a regular car when the battery runs out,” says Wolkonowicz.
Range anxiety is becoming less of an issue, especially with the Tesla, due to the excellent range (approximately 300 miles on the high-end version). Also, Tesla is installing 30-minute “Supercharger” stations along popular motorway routes across the country. Tesla is also hinting at a 500 mile range in the near future. So even though analysts seem bearish on Tesla, Tesla seems to delight in proving them wrong every chance they get.