Expert Insights

Best-Selling Electric Vehicles

Dave Nichols
Laurance Yap
January 31, 2024
2023 was a great year for electric car sales, with over a million new EVs being sold in the U.S. for the first time. The best-sellers list contains many familiar names – and also a few surprises.
Aerial view of Volkswagen ID.4 driving on the road

EV Sales Top 1 Million for the First Time

2023 was a record-setting year for electric cars in the U.S. While headlines in the last couple of months of the year were focused on slowing demand and increasing dealer inventory, new EV sales reached almost 1.2 million vehicles across the country, according to industry watcher Cox Automotive. As a share of the overall market for new vehicles, EVs represented 7.6 percent of the total market, up from 5.9 percent – with fourth-quarter numbers hitting 8.1 percent, a 40-percent increase over the same time in 2022.

While the slowdown in electric vehicle growth is real, it’s important to note a couple of things: EV sales are not decreasing, they’re just growing at a slower rate than before. And Cox forecasts that EVs will eclipse 10 percent market share in the U.S. this year. Plus, if you’re in the market for a new EV, higher dealer inventories should mean better deals; even best-selling models are now readily available, meaning that you’re likely to get a juicy discount instead of paying MSRP or over.

What were the best-selling EVs in the U.S. last year? Let’s have a look.

Ford F-150 Lightning driving on a dirt path

10. Ford F-150 Lightning

We’ve sung the praises of the Ford F-150 Lightning many times here at GreenCars. It’s a vehicle that revolutionized the pickup truck, the most popular vehicle format in America. With a wide range of trim levels, from entry-level work truck through to fully-laden luxury Platinum models, there’s a Lightning for almost any taste, and they all come with impressive performance, standard all-wheel drive, and great tech features. 24,165 Lightnings were sold in 2023, and we expect that number to rise with the introduction of the new Flash trim, which has all of the most desirable features at an attractive price. If you need to tow frequently, expect to lose some range – or consider a hybrid F-150 instead.

Tesla Model X exterior front shot in white

9. Tesla Model X

Nearly a decade old, the falcon-winged large SUV from Tesla still sells in decent numbers. A recent facelift has kept the Model X relevant – with a much-improved interior with horizontal touchscreen and the availability of an ultra-high performance Plaid model. While its EPA estimated range was recently downgraded after customer complaints, between 300 and 335 miles is still more than enough for most uses. 24,700 drivers purchased a Model X in 2023, seduced by its performance, unique design, and high-tech features.

Tesla Model S exterior front view in a parking lot

8. Tesla Model S

Arguably the first luxury electric car, the Tesla Model S sedan found an estimated 26,700 buyers in 2023. A simplified model range, updated styling, and a the stunningly fast high-performance Plaid model have kept the Model S current despite the fact that it hasn’t had a complete redesign since its introduction. The latest models are much better-built than earlier versions, and the new interior in particular is a huge step up, with much better materials, a more intuitive interface, dual wireless phone chargers, and other upgrades. The EPA-estimated range of up to 405 miles is hard to reach, particularly in the cold – but it’s still leagues more than most of the Model S’ competitors, which struggle to reach 300 miles.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 side profile exterior view by plains and a tree

7. Hyundai Ioniq 5

With a choice of two- or all-wheel drive, two battery sizes, and a reasonable starting MSRP – not to mention a gorgeous, spacious interior and unique looks – the Hyundai Ioniq 5 remains one of our favorite EV crossovers here at GreenCars, and 33,918 American buyers in 2023 agree. Built on a sophisticated EV-only platform, the Ioniq 5 is impressively efficient, sports-car fast, and is also one of the fastest-charging EVs on the market thanks to its 800-volt architecture.

Volkswagen ID.4 driving on the road

6. Volkswagen ID.4

Now made in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Volkswagen ID.4 saw its sales increase in 2023 to 37,789 units – in some part thanks to its eligibility for the $7,500 federal tax incentive, which helped make it more affordable to more people. We like this people’s electric SUV, which has a roomy interior, good driving dynamics, and a choice of two battery sizes as well as rear- or all-wheel drive. For the 2024 model year, Volkswagen is addressing some of the vehicle’s shortcomings to make it even better, adding more power and improved range along with a better infotainment system.

Ford Mustang Mach-E white exterior view by a brick building

5. Ford Mustang Mach-E

While the Mustang Mach-E doesn’t resemble the two-door coupe Mustangs that we may be used to, with their rumbling V8 engines, it’s certainly a performer, both in terms of its 0-60 times and its sales. 40,771 new Mach-Es found homes in 2023, attracting buyers with their sporty styling, spacious interior, vertical-format touchscreen, and entertaining driving dynamics. A wide variety of Mach-E models means it’s easy to find one to fit your specific needs and budget, and for 2024, there’s a new Mach-E rally model designed for aggressive off-road use, as well as a stylish new bronze appearance package.

Rivian R1S driving on a grassy plain. It is an exterior view of the side profile

4. Rivian R1S/R1T

2023 was big year for EV startup Rivian. After a slow ramp-up, production hit its stride last year, and over 47,200 R1S SUVs and R1T pickup trucks found American homes last year. Designed from the ground up for electric power, the R1S and R1T have none of the packaging compromises of trucks that have been adapted from gasoline vehicles; they pack more room and more versatility into a smaller, more maneuverable package than competitors. Buyers also love the Rivians’ gorgeous interiors, distinctive exterior styling, and go-anywhere versatility. They’re premium-priced products, with starting MSRPs in the mid-$70,000s, but they offer a lot of value for the money.

Chevrolet Bolt driving on a rainy road, back view of the exterior

3. Chevrolet Bolt

At the end of 2023, production of the Chevrolet Bolt – one of the best-selling EVs in the U.S., and certainly the best-value EV in the U.S. – ceased, but only after 60,245 units were sold, the best sales year in the vehicle’s history. That’s testament to the Bolt’s incredible combination of virtues: an EV-only platform that combined a tight exterior package with a remarkably spacious interior; an EPA-estimated range of up to 259 miles, and a low (sub-$35,000, before generous incentives) starting MSRP that put it within reach of many, many Americans. General Motors has promised that the Bolt will be returning in 2025, built on the company’s all-new Ultium EV platform; in the meantime, other Chevy models like the Equinox EV and Blazer EV will have to take up the slack.

White Tesla Model 3 parked by a mountainous terrain

2. Tesla Model 3

Tesla continues to be the dominant player in electric vehicles – well over half of the new EVs sold in 2023 were Teslas, though their share continues to decrease as more brands enter the market. The Model 3 sedan saw very healthy sales of over 232,700 units, driven by several rounds of price cuts, each of which made it more and more affordable as the year went on. For 2024, the Model 3 is no longer eligible for the full $7,500 federal purchase incentive, but buyers can look forward to a significantly refreshed model with numerous enhancements. In addition to better performance and range, the Model 3 has received its first major exterior update, with more streamlined front end and LED lighting, as well as an upgraded interior with ambient lighting, available seat ventilation, and nicer materials.

Black Tesla Model Y driving on the road

1. Tesla Model Y

The best-selling vehicle in the world also happens to be the best-selling electric vehicle in the U.S., and it’s not hard to see why. It has everything you’d want from an EV crossover: lots of space, a manageable exterior size, decent range and great performance. 385,900 Americans agreed, snapping up the Model Y in droves over 2023, fueled by multiple price drops. You can choose from rear- or all-wheel drive Model Ys, and there are long range and performance versions to suit different needs. Plus, unlike the Model 3, the Model Y is built in Texas – and still eligible for the $7,500 federal rebate, which can now be applied at the time of purchase. Starting MSRP is under $45,000 – which means that with the rebate, the Model Y can actually cost even less than the Model 3.