The electric vehicle market was really unimpressive in the early going. But you could make that argument for any technology. Just look at the difference between Sony's (SNE) PlayStation 1 more than two decades ago to its PSVR virtual reality headset now.
You could say the same for Apple's (AAPL) iPhone vs. an old Nokia or today's 4K high-resolution TVs vs. the tube TVs we had in the 90s.
The advances in the EV market are happening rapidly and a big part of that is because of what Tesla (TSLA) has done with its vehicles. The Model S was a serious game-changer for the EV market, as Tesla finally introduced a vehicle that looked as good as it performed, while achieving plenty of range and sporting a battery with very low degradation.
Tesla enjoys a powerful run atop the EV leaderboard and, according to recent reports for the month of August, it extends that leadership even further as Model 3 production continues to improve.
For the last three years, the Model S has been the top-selling EV in the U.S., but its 14,310 shipments so far in 2018 is being smashed by the Model 3, which has shipped almost 56,000 units so far this year. Tesla now dominates the top-three selling electric vehicles in the U.S., with its S, X and 3 models.
The lowest of the three comes from the X, which has shipped 13,600 units. Still, that's 3,300 units (or roughly 30%) more than the next closest pure-EV vehicle, that being the Chevy Bolt from General Motors (GM) .
Worth noting is that on the year-to-date list, the Toyota (TM) Prius Prime has sold more than 18,000 units and the Chevy Volt has sold over 11,000 units. However, both are hybrids and thus, not pure EV vehicles.
Will Tesla's Dominance Continue?
The answer is yes -- for now.
The report linked up above was retweeted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, being shared with his 22.5 million followers and likely acting as a catalyst to the stock, which is up 1.3% on the day, to $285.
Tesla 1st, 2nd & 3rd in August sales https://t.co/npDKC9QEpP— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 6, 2018
The I-PACE from Jaguar is expected later this year, while the Audi e-Tron should come out early next year. The Porsche Taycan is due up in late 2019 or early 2020, but Porsche will only make 20,000 units the first year.
Mercedes-Benz and General Motors are also making a big push into EVs and hybrids, highlighted by the former's introduction of the all-new EQC earlier this week.
All in all, though, Tesla has a backlog of orders for the Model 3 totaling into the hundreds of thousands. Bears will counter and say those orders can be canceled and shouldn't be counted as money in the bank. Given its precarious financial situation, this is an unfortunate truth for Tesla.
But that does not mean they should be ignored. There have been production woes and quality issues with the Model 3, but thus far, it has not swayed consumers away from Tesla. What we don't know is how many of those reservations are waiting to buy the short-range Model 3, as Tesla is only producing the long-range Model 3 at the moment.
So it's way too early to say Tesla is out of the woods when it comes to its financial situation. But demand seems to be anything but an issue. And that should remain the case, easily through the remainder of the year and likely through 2019 and well. Beyond 2020, competition will increase in a meaningful way vs. today's current EV market and is something Tesla will have to account for if it wants to stay on top.
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