The Tesla Model 3 Was The Most Popular Used EV In The U.S. In 2023

It seems Tesla didn’t just have a great year on the new car sales front. The electric brand’s most affordable electric car, the Model 3, was the most popular used EV in the United States in 2023, according to data provided by online sales aggregator iSeeCars.

This isn’t a new trend. The Model 3 also held the top spot for the most popular second-hand battery-powered car in the country in 2022, but it’s beginning to face more and tougher competition on the used market. In 2022, 40% of total 1- to 5-year-old used EV sales were represented by Tesla’s most affordable model, while in 2023 it was at 34.9%.

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Some of that competition is coming from inside the house. A big chunk of the used car sales volume went to the Model 3’s sibling, the Model Y, which sits in the second spot on the list. The site reports that 11.9% of used EV sales went toward the battery-powered crossover. A year earlier, the Model Y represented 10.3% of all the used EVs sold in the U.S. (aged between 1 and 5 years).

Tesla Model 3 and Model Y

But while Tesla’s cheapest offerings are good performers on the used market, as well as on the new car market, the company’s aging flagships—the Model S and Model X—are falling in popularity whichever way you look.

The Model S, which was in third place in 2022 among the most popular used EVs in the U.S., is now in fifth place. The Model X, which was fourth in 2022, is now sixth. As with the Model Y and Model 3, which are the most popular new EVs in the country, the two more expensive and larger models have been relegated to the lower half of the top 10 list when it comes to sales performance on the used market.

For new car sales, the Model S and Model X were categorized by Tesla under the “Others” tab when referring to sales volume.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV, which was discontinued in late 2023 and has new supplies dwindling, took the place of the Model S as the third most popular used EV in the country. At the same time, the Nissan Leaf replaced the Tesla Model X as the fourth most popular used battery-powered vehicle in the U.S.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E came in sixth, followed by the Audi e-tron and Porsche Taycan, while the Volkswagen ID.4 closes the top 10 list of most popular used EVs in the United States in 2023.

2023 Rank Model 2023 % of Total 1- to 5-year-old Used EV Sales 2022 Rank 2022 % of Total 1- to 5-year-old Used EV Sales
1 Tesla Model 3 34.9% 1 40%
2 Tesla Model Y 11.9% 2

10.3%

3 Chevrolet Bolt EV 6.9% 6 6.2%
4 Nissan Leaf 6.2% 5 6.7%
5 Tesla Model S 5.6% 3 9.8%
6 Tesla Model X 5.5% 4 7.7%
7 Ford Mustang Mach-E 4.6% 7 3.7%
8 Audi e-tron 2.9% 8 2.7%
9 Porsche Taycan 2.4% 9 2.4%
10 Volkswagen ID.4 2.2% 10 1.7%

In other words, there were no newcomers to the 2023 list compared to 2022, and most models retained their ranks. That said, older cars like the Model S and Model X are likely to drop further down the list in the following years as customers are looking for more modern vehicles.

“Most of the top-ranking electric cars are showing their age, with only the Model Y being relatively new to the market,” said Karl Brauer, iSeeCars Executive Analyst. “And in this race of older EVs, the aging Bolt and Leaf pulled ahead of the aging Model S and Model X. Without major updates to Tesla’s most expensive vehicles they are likely to continue dropping in popularity.”

When it comes to the whole used car market, there isn’t a single EV in sight in the top 20 list. Instead, the rankings put the Ford F-150 at the top, followed by the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Chevrolet Equinox. We’ll see if any of those results change after 2024 ends.