Tesla is taking gas cars off the road in huge numbers through trade-ins

Tesla revealed its trade-in statistics in the Q1 2021 Earnings Call Update Letter, showing that a majority of the vehicles it accepts through trade-in are gas-powered.

In the Update Letter that was released a few minutes after Wall Street closed up shop for the Monday trading session, Tesla revealed it had successfully accomplished another profitable quarter thanks to strong demand for its two mass-market vehicles, the Model 3 and Model Y. That, along with expanding production efforts, increasing gross margins, and decreasing manufacturing costs powered a positive quarter once again for the electric carmaker.

The fact of the matter is, however, that gas-powered cars are being displaced by electric vehicles. The market share for the automotive industry still remains heavily based on the production and sale of gas-powered vehicles, but electric cars are beginning to make their presence known. IHS Markit, a market analysis company, said that the overall presence of BEVs rose from .5% in 2019 to 1.2% in 2020. The firm forecasts global EV sales to rise by 70% this year.

With that being said, Tesla is undoubtedly the overall leader in EV sales by a single manufacturer. Statista broke down EV sales by manufacturer in 2020 via CleanTechnica, and Tesla had a commanding lead over second-place Volkswagen. Tesla sold 499,550 vehicles in 2020, Volkswagen sold 220,220 EVs.

However, some of these sales, not all of them, were brought in by the need for a new car. According to a graphic that the automaker included in its Update Letter, gas-powered vehicles make up an overwhelming percentage of Tesla’s trade-ins: 98%.

Credit: Tesla

The graphic seems to reveal that nearly 60% of its trade-ins come from “non-premium brands,” including Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Chevrolet. Close to 40% of the company’s trade-ins are premium brands, like Audi, Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Only 2% of the trade-ins are EVs, proving the competition, in the simplest terms, is other gas vehicles and not other EVs.

Tesla wrote in its Update Letter:

“ICE vehicles comprised 97% of cars sold globally in 2020 and 98% of Tesla trade-ins. As more OEMs join our mission by launching EVs, we believe consumer confidence in EVs continues to increase, and more customers are willing to make the switch. Our Q1 order rate was the strongest in our history, and we are moving as quickly as possible to add more production capacity.”

It has always been Tesla’s goal to create more EVs on the road, and doing this requires the displacement of gas-powered cars. Tesla has been able to make their vehicles a more appealing option than gas-powered cars, and consumers are beginning to recognize the advantages that driving an EV has over driving a gas car. The increase in EV market share, which is led by Tesla’s domination of the sector, shows that more people are turning away from fossil fuels and looking toward electrification to solve their transportation needs.

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