15 Best electric car models in the U.S. (Ranked by sales)

The American EV market is still in its nascent stages, and the adoption is slower compared to Europe or China. According to Felipe Munoz of market analysis firm JATO, these were the best electric car models (in sales volume) in the United States in 2021. The last column in the below table indicates how much EV variants contributed to in that model’s sale. In the case of models which exist only as EVs, this number is 100%.

Best electric car models (in sales volume) in the U.S. for 2021

PositionElectric carSales volume% of model’s total
1Tesla Model Y160,138100
2Tesla Model 3138,682100
3Ford Mustang Mach-E27,140100
4Chevrolet Bolt EV22,073100
5VW ID.416,742100
6Tesla Model S15,536100
7Nissan Leaf14,239100
8Porsche Taycan9,168100
9Hyundai Kona EV8,66810
10Kia Niro EV7,93430
11Audi e-tron7,496100
12Volvo XC40 Recharge6,25423
13Polestar 23,117100
14Chevrolet Bolt EUV2,772100
15Audi e-tron Sportback2,351100
Source – Felipe Munoz of JATO Dynamics.

Tesla Model Y: The Model Y outsold the Model 3 for the first time in 2021, clearly proving the crossover style is finding preference even in EVs.

Tesla Model 3: Despite ceding its position to the Model Y, the Model 3 put on a strong show: Combined sales of No. 3 through No. 15 tally up to 143,490 units, a few thousand units more than the Model 3’s numbers.

Ford Mustang Mach-E: Ford CEO Jim Farley recently shared with analysts that the company aims to make hardware and software changes “on the fly”, which will lead to cheaper production of the Mach-E in Mexico and increase profits.

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E Ice White Edition
Ford’s plant in Mexico in the future will only make the Mustang Mach-E, as global demand remains high for the electric Mustang SUV. Image: Ford

Chevrolet Bolt EV: The Bolt’s place in the top 5 best electric car list for 2022 is in question as production has been halted at least until end February owing to the battery recall.

VW ID.4: According to VW USA CEO Scott Keogh, the company could have sold four times as many ID.4’s in 2021 had it not been constrained by supply. The ID.4 is imported from Germany currently, however, VW’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant is expected to commence production from later this year, but imports will still continue until the plant can satiate demand. The cheaper USD 35,000 ID.4 should also drive up its volumes higher up in the best electric car list.

VW ID.4 Chattanooga plant assembly line
The arrival of the USD 35,000 ID.4 should further drive up sales for Volkswagen in 2022 and 2023. Image – VW

Tesla Model S: Tesla is selling 10 times more Model Ys than the premium Model S, however, the innovations continue on the premium sedan. The Yoke steering wheel was one of the feature additions in 2021, which according to Tesla improves safety by providing a clear view of the road.

Nissan Leaf: Will the Nissan Leaf continue to be on the best electric car list next year? Thanks to its price (the Leaf is now the cheapest EV in the USA) it may exist, but the Ariya should be stealing some of that limelight.

Porsche Taycan: Not only was the Taycan one of the best electric car models, it was also one of the best selling Porsches having outsold the 911.

Hyundai Kona EV: The Kona is the first model on this list which exists in ICE flavor too. Given that only 10 per cent of Kona buyers opt for the EV variant is a clear example of the slower adoption rate in the country as compared to Europe which witnessed 40 per cent opting for the Kona EV.

Tesla Model Y - 2nd best electric car in terms of sales in the USA
It could take years for ‘legacy’ car companies to go past the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, which are America’s most preferred electric cars by a long distance. Image – Tesla

Kia Niro EV: A new Kia e-Niro will launch this year with a modern exterior, interior and better range, which should push it up the best electric car list even further in 2022.

Audi e-tron: In 2021, Audi sold 53 per cent more EVs in the USA as compared to 2020. The e-tron was the best electric car from the brand having seen 26 per cent jump in sales. With the arrival of the facelift, rumor is that the e-tron will be called the Q8 e-tron.

Volvo XC40 Recharge: The EPA range of the XC40 Recharge improved by 7 per cent last year, but so did the prices marginally. Despite that, the XC40 Recharge figures in the best electric car list with decent sales performance.

Nissan Leaf front three quarters
The Nissan Leaf is the cheapest electric car on sale in USA, but it’s future is in doubt. Image – Nissan

Polestar 2: In 2022, Polestar is targeting 65,000 unit sales (global) further increasing that to 290,000 by 2025. To this end, the brand is also targeting manufacturing the upcoming Polestar 3 in South Carolina. Expect the new 3 and the Polestar 2 to continue figuring in the best electric car list in the immediate future.

Chevrolet Bolt EUV: Similar to the Bolt EV, production has been halted till end February, but in more worrying news for fans of the Bolt, the future of the Bolt EV and EUV is uncertain after 2023-24 as GM’s Ultium line of products – which will be a larger portfolio by then – replace them. Which among the Ultium would enter the best electric car list is a better question to ask then.

Audi e-tron Sportback: Audi USA might have had its best ever EV sales last year, but the e-tron Sportback saw numbers dip 77 per cent. With the cheaper Q4 e-tron having arrived, it remains to be seen if the e-tron Sportback even figures in the best electric car list next year.

Featured Image – Ford