Electric cars have come a long way over the past few years. While sales are still just a drop in the bucket compared to gasoline and diesel cars, there are now enough electric models that buyers have some actual choice at different price points. That means it’s also possible to hold an electric car popularity contest. Compare the Market, a U.K. price-comparison website, used Google search data to determine the most-searched-for electric car in the world — and the Tesla Model 3 came out on top.
Given the hype surrounding the Tesla Model 3 since well before its launch, it’s not surprising that Tesla’s least-expensive vehicle was the subject of the most searches. The Model 3’s lead over other electric cars was significant. It garnered 54.7 percent of search traffic surveyed. The Nissan Leaf took second place, at 16.1 percent, followed by the Tesla Model S (13.1 percent) and Model X (9.5 percent). The only other models with significant search traffic were the BMW i3 (4.4 percent) and Renault Zoe (2.2 percent).
Compare the Market also broke down its results by country. The Model 3 was the most-searched-for vehicle in the United States, China, India, and most of Europe. However, the Nissan Leaf earned that distinction in Russia, while the Tesla Model S got the most search traffic in Mexico and Argentina. The BMW i3 was the most-searched electric car in Brazil.
In a testament to globalization, the rankings didn’t necessarily align with the national origin of a given car. The BMW i3 was the most-searched model in Japan, for example, while the BMW was outpaced by the Tesla Model 3 in its home country of Germany. It’s worth noting that search traffic doesn’t automatically translate to sales. The Tesla Model 3 still has a long way to go before it catches up to the Nissan Leaf, which remains the bestselling electric car in history.
It’s unclear if other automakers will ever be able to match Tesla’s popularity, but they are trying. The Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-Tron recently arrived to challenge the Model X, while the Porsche Taycan will soon do battle with the Model 3. General Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen have ambitious plans to launch lower-priced electric vehicles, and some automakers (we’re looking at you, Hyundai) could also expand availability of existing electric models, giving carbuyers even more choices.
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