California's Plug-In Car Sales Almost Reached 25% Market Share In 2023

New light vehicle registrations in California in 2023 amounted to 1,775,915, which is 11.9% more than in 2022. In Q4, registrations increased by almost 5% to 421,613.

According to the California New Car Dealers Association’s (CNCDA) data and estimates, sales of plug-in electric cars increased much faster than the overall market, which resulted in a record market share for rechargeable cars.

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California’s plug-in car sales hit new record

In 2023, more than 440,000 new plug-in electric cars were registered in California, which represents almost 25% of the total volume. More than one-fifth of all new cars (over 380,000) were all-electric.

During the fourth quarter of 2023, some 105,095 new plug-in cars were registered in California, which is 20% more than a year ago and represents 24.9% of the total market.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations amounted to 89,933 (up 18% year-over-year), taking more than one-fifth of the market (21.3%). Plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) registrations increased by 37% year-over-year to 15,162 (3.6% share).

The non-rechargeable hybrids are also growing quite fast, with a 63% increase in Q4 to 56,691 units and a 13.4% market share.

Below, we attached the latest numbers for the quarter and year-to-date, with new graphs based on the latest data provided by CNCDA (revised compared to the previous quarters).

Plug-in electric car registrations in California (est.) in Q4’2023 (YOY change):

  • BEVs: 89,933 (up 18%) and 21.3% share
  • PHEVs: 15,162 (up 37%) and 3.6% share
  • Total plug-ins: 105,095 (up 20%) and 24.9% share
  • HEVs: 56,691 (up 63%) and 13.4% share
  • Total xEVs: 161,786 (up 32%) and 38.4% share

* some numbers were revised by CNCDA; some numbers estimated

In 2023, more than 440,616 plug-in cars were registered in California (up 45% year-over-year), which is 24.8% of the total market.

BEVs noted over 380,000 units sold and a 21.4% share. The report says that the average BEV share in the U.S. in 2023 was 7.5%.

Plug-in electric car registrations in California (est.) in Q1-Q4’2023 (YOY change):

  • BEVs: 380,891 (up 46%) and 21.4% share
  • PHEVs: 59,725 (up 40%) and 3.4% share
  • Total plug-ins: 440,616 (up 45%) and 24.8% share
  • HEVs: 197,368 (up 36%) and 11.1% share
  • Total xEVs: 637,984 (up 42%) and 35.9% share

For reference, in 2022 plug-ins noted over 303,000 registrations (revised data) and a market share of 19.1%, including over 260,000 BEVs (16.4% share).

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The fourth quarter of 2023 shows a slight weakening of the plug-in market compared to Q2 and Q3, although it remains at a near-record.

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The number of stand-alone all-electric models—listed among the most registered ones in their subcategories—amounted to 12. Two Tesla cars—Model Y and Model 3—are the best-selling ones overall in California.

All-electric car registrations [select models] (Jan-Dec 2023):

  • Tesla Model Y (132,636): #1 in Luxury Compact SUV (64.8% share)
  • Tesla Model 3 (82,786): #1 in Near Luxury Cars (52.8% share)
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV/Bolt EUV (19,041): #4 in Small Cars (10.2% share)
  • Volkswagen ID.4 (12,280): outside of the top five in its category
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E (11,311): #2 in 2 Row Mid-Size SUV (15.1% share)
  • Tesla Model X (10,449): #2 in Luxury Mid-Size SUV (10.5% share)
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 (9,632): outside of the top five in its category
  • BMW i4 (8,695): #2 in Near Luxury Cars (5.5% share)
  • Rivian R1S (6,665): #1 in Luxury Large SUV (21.0% share)
  • Tesla Model S (4,718): #1 in Luxury and High-End Sports Cars (10.6% share)
  • BMW iX (4,603): outside of the top five in its category
  • Kia EV6 (4,148): outside of the top five in its category
  • Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV (3,547): #4 in Luxury Large SUV (11.2% share)
  • Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan (3,095): #4 in Luxury and High-End Sports Cars (7.0% share)
  • Audi Q4 e-tron (2,933): #5 in Luxury Subcompact SUV (12.3% share)
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* red underline only for models that can be identified as plug-ins by their name

The top plug-in hybrids are the Jeep Wrangler 4xe (13,351), Toyota RAV4 Prime (7,181), and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (4,319).

Just like in the previous quarters, two all-electric cars—Tesla Model Y and Tesla Model 3— happened to be the most popular new cars in California.

The top five models overall (Jan-Dec 2023):

  1. Tesla Model Y – 132,636
  2. Tesla Model 3 – 82,786
  3. Toyota RAV4 – 58,496
  4. Toyota Camry – 51,330
  5. Honda Civic – 42,564

In Q4, Tesla noted 47,592 new registrations, which was the second-best result after Toyota (75,592). The data indicates that Tesla’s sales and its share decreased year-over-year in Q4 (the annual result was positive though).

Nonetheless, Tesla remains the dominant player in the BEV segment with a 60.5% share in 2023. All non-Tesla BEV registrations combined were at about 150,302 in 2023.

BEV registration results in California:

  • Tesla Q4: 47,592 (down 9.8%, 11.2% share)
    non-Tesla BEVs total: 42,341
  • Tesla Jan-Dec: 230,589 (up 24.6%, 13.0% share)
    non-Tesla BEVs total: 150,302

CNCDA shows that Tesla had a 4.2% share in the U.S. market in the Q1-Q4’2023 period. Compared to 15,049,478 units sold in total, Tesla accounted for approximately 630,000 units.

The number of Teslas registered in states outside of California (calculated as the difference between the estimated total U.S. and California) is roughly 400,000.