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Tesla Inc. was once an underdog. Today, it’s the dominant automaker in the rapidly growing EV space. Legacy automakers are developing new EV platforms to challenge Tesla. The electric vehicle and clean energy company is clearly the one to beat as far as market share. Recent developments have made the Tesla Model Y small electric SUV even more appealing. Is the Model Y replacing the Toyota RAV4 as the symbol of sales dominance in its segment?

Move over Toyota, Tesla means business

The Toyota RAV4 is a staple in its segment. It’s undoubtedly the most popular small SUV in the last five years. Despite stiff competition, the RAV4 has been practically irremovable from its throne…until now.

Tesla’s small electric SUV is outselling the Toyota RAV and every other small SUV. An electric vehicle from an automaker shrouded in controversy is the most popular vehicle in the world at the moment.

If the sales trend continues, the Model Y will close out 2023 as the most popular SUV of the year, beating out Toyota in a category many auto enthusiasts didn’t think was possible. Wasn’t the Honda CR-V supposed to dethrone the RAV4 eventually? What about popular models like the Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5?

The Tesla Model Y has quietly zoomed past its fully electric rivals and is now eclipsing internal combustion engine vehicles in sales. Regarding popularity, the Model Y’s rise to the top is reminiscent of the RAV4’s long history of dominance. The question is, what changed? How did Tesla’s small electric SUV manage to start outselling an automotive Goliath like the Toyota RAV4?

The Tesla Model Y: Built to win

A gray 2023 Tesla Model Y small electric SUV is parked near water.
The 2023 Tesla Model Y | Tesla

Tesla is no stranger to controversy. Like its enigmatic CEO Elon Musk, the brand has ruffled more than a few feathers. Its pricing rollercoasters, reliability issues, and self-driving claims have earned the hatred of many drivers. On the other end of the spectrum, the company’s EVs have won the hearts of millions despite their pitfalls.

The Tesla Model Y may not have been an immediate hit, but it has been positioned for success for longer than you may think. One hint that the Model Y was destined for greatness was the growth of Tesla’s Supercharger Network. The network of fast-charging stations has grown to a point where competitors have taken notice. Ford, a Tesla rival, will make use of the charging network. When you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Superior charging experiences are only part of the Model Y’s appeal. It has always shined because of its performance specs, but the Model Y’s newfound affordability is part of the reason sales are skyrocketing.

How much does the Tesla Model Y cost?

According to Tesla, the 2023 Tesla Model Y starts at $47,490. It’s eligible for a federal electric vehicle tax incentive. This brings its starting price closer to $39,990. The small electric SUV is a steal for under $40K.

It goes from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.0 seconds. The Model Y has a top speed of 135 miles per hour. It can travel for 279 miles on a full charge. The EV is incredibly quick for its size and has exceptional driving range for its price. The Tesla Model Y is the new Toyota RAV4 from a sales perspective. In terms of practicality and reliability, the EV still has a lot to prove. The nameplate is positioned to dominate as charging infrastructure grows and electric vehicle skepticism dwindles.


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