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Tesla Model 3 dominated EV sales in Australia in 2021


After much speculation over its sales tally, official figures reveal a dominant performance by the popular Tesla Model 3 in Australia

The Tesla Model 3 sedan has officially been crowned Australia’s best-selling EV in 2021.

Updated figures released today by the EV Council of Australia (EVC) show the Model 3 recorded 12,094 sales in 2021 – easily beating its closest competitor, the MG ZS EV small SUV (1388 units). 

Speciation has been rife over just how many Model 3s had been sold in Australia after Nine Entertainment reported on Sunday that 12,058 units had likely been transferred to customers, based on state and territory registration data.

The EVC followed up the report on Monday with exclusive sales results directly from Tesla that stated over 15,054 were sold in 2021, but the group has since issued a correction.

Tesla Model 3 2022-1
The Tesla Model 3 has proven to be the best selling electric vehicle for 2021

“Due to a human error, the Tesla delivery figures for 2020 were erroneously added to the delivery figures for 2021 by Tesla before the figure was provided to the EVC,” a spokesperson from the EVC said.

“So instead of 15,054 Tesla Model 3 deliveries in 2021, the figure reported should have been 12,094.”

The impact of the figures has also affected the overall sales results of EVs in the last year, but with 20,665 units shifted and market share now sitting at 1.95 percent – up from 0.78 percent in 2020 – the growth of zero tailpipe emissions vehicles is still growing aggressively.

Reporting of inaccurate sales data is typically circumvented by the fact that all car manufactures – aside from Tesla – report their sales data to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), which cross checks the figures with national registration data to ensure accuracy.

Now at a competitive price, the Model 3 is popular with Australian buyers

Where does the Tesla Model 3 place in overall sales?

The revised figures show the Model 3 has not overtaken the Toyota Camry (13,081) as the most popular sedan in Australia (as previously suggested), but has outperformed popular family vehicles such as the Subaru Forester (11,810) and Toyota Kluger (9320).

It follows a news report earlier this week that saw the Model 3 crowned as the best selling EV in Europe in 2021, and the 17th most popular vehicle outright.

Tesla Model 3 Supercharger front 3/4
Tesla’s Model Y midsize SUV will launch in Australia this year

Why is the Model 3 so popular?

In 2021, Tesla made the decision to source Australian-delivered Model 3s from China instead of the US and in doing so drove down prices across the range.

With the starting price now below $60,000, the Model 3 also became eligible for a range of subsidies released by the Australian state and territory governments.

Buyers have also been drawn to the currently exclusive access to Tesla’s Supercharger network which numbers at over 40 chargers, spread largely across the east coast.

This is matched with the Model 3’s reassuring range capacity with the entry-level grade capable of up to 491km while the Long Range AWD stretches that to 614km, with distances tested according to the more realistic WLTP standard.

Tesla Model 3 Hertz duo
There are plenty of places to charge a Tesla thanks to their supercharger network

What are the top 10 most popular EVs and PHEVs?

Following the dominant performance by the Tesla Model 3 and impressive showing from the MG ZS EV runner-up, sales dropped off considerably for the eight remaining vehicles on this list. 

However, the diverse range of prices and vehicle types shows there is a broad interest in zero-tailpipe-emission vehicles.

Third and fourth place went to plug-in hybrid versions of the Mitsubishi Outlander (592 sales) and MG HS (580) midsize SUVs.

MG ZS EV 2022 plug charging
The MG ZS EV came in second place in the best-selling EV cars for 2021

The Porsche Taycan was fifth and managed to collect 531 sales in 2021, following news earlier this month that it managed to eclipse the popular 911 sports car in global sales last year.

Sixth and seventh place were filled by the Hyundai Kona EV (505 sales) and Volvo XC40 Recharge (495) small SUVs, which both feature full-electric as well as petrol-power options in the Australian market.

The affordable Hyundai Ioniq (407) and Nissan Leaf (367) hatchbacks made up eighth and ninth place respectively while the more premium Mercedes-Benz EQA small SUV (367) finished in 10th place.

Porsche Taycan 2022 social
The Porsche Taycan has surprised many with its high amount of sales

Top 10 most popular EVs and PHEVs in 2021

  1. Tesla Model 3:  12,094
  2. MG ZS EV:  1388
  3. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV:  592
  4. MG HS PHEV:  580
  5. Porsche Taycan:  531
  6. Hyundai Kona EV:  505
  7. Volvo XC40 Recharge:  495
  8. Hyundai Ioniq:  407
  9. Nissan Leaf:  367
  10. Mercedes-Benz EQA:  367