The U.S. vehicle sales figures for the first three quarters of the year are a rebuke to anyone still doubting that all-electric vehicles are in the process of implanting themselves solidly in the market – even in combustion-engine-loving America. As of the end of September, Tesla – maker of exclusively BEVs, we remind you – is outselling Mercedes-Benz in the US of A, according to Automotive News.
The figures are 230,855 vehicles sold for Tesla, and 213,708 for the Silver Star luxury automaker. That performance puts Elon Musk’s company in third spot among high-end vehicle manufacturers, behind only Lexus and BMW. And Tesla may just catch those rivals before the year is out.
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Hold on just a minute, says BMW. The German automaker’s big boss Oliver Zipse begs to differ, making the claim in an interview with German publication Handelsblatt that Tesla is not a premium brand. Comparing the two is thus an apples and oranges proposition.
Perhaps in a bid to avoid BMW being seen to lose its status in America to the upstart EV maker, Zipse pointed to differing standards between the two companies when it comes to quality of construction and reliability, and to the lower prices Tesla charges for “equivalent” products.
Questions of semantics aside, Business Insider made the point that Tesla’s surge past Mercedes might not be unrelated to many traditional automakers suffering from suppressed sales due to the ongoing microchip shortage. When that problem resolves, we may get a clearer idea of where Tesla stands in the marketplace vis-à-vis other carmakers.
Of one thing there can be no doubt, however. That Tesla is even in the same ballpark, as a matter of course, as the traditional car manufacturers, this with a relatively small lineup that contains zero combustion-engine models, is proof if any was still needed that EVs are here to stay. Not only that, but the trend towards electrification will only grow in strength.
The only question really concerns timing. And to that end, Toyota is explaining its refusal to sign on to this week’s COP26 agreement between six major automakers to eliminate gas- and diesel-powered vehicles from their lineups by 2040 by saying it’s still not clear whether the world will be ready by then, in terms of consumer demand but also in terms of battery supplies, infrastructure, etc.
See also: Top 17 All-Electric Vehicles in Canada in 2021: More EVs By the Month