Best-Selling Car of 2023 in Q1: Tesla Model Y

07/12/2023 / Gail Alfar

With its groundbreaking technology, sleek design, and outstanding performance, the Tesla Model Y has captured the hearts and minds of people worldwide. In the first quarter of 2023, the Model Y achieved an unprecedented milestone for any electric vehicle by becoming the best-selling car globally with 267,000 vehicle sales, according to JATO Dynamics data compiled for Motor1. That's a significant increase over the same period in 2022 and signifies accelerated EV adoption in the global vehicle market. 

With those sales figures, the Model Y managed to beat demand for the Toyota Corolla, Camry, Rav4, and Tacoma. It also bested the Hyundai Tucson, Ford, Chevrolet, and RAM pickup trucks, Nissan and Honda crossovers, and several other high-volume contenders from other automakers.

How did this happen, especially considering that Tesla hasn’t used paid advertising in the past (according to Elon Musk)and this vehicle is uniquely all-electric? Let's look at why the Model Y is so successful and how it became a market leader.

Tesla Model Y: A Game-Changer in the Automotive Industry

Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Performance 

As a proud owner of the stylish and fun-to-drive Model Y since September 2022, I can confidently say that the vehicle consistently delivers excellent performance in various weather conditions.

Behind its super smooth ride are two powerful electric motors that provide instant speed (zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds). These motors digitally control the torque of the front and rear wheels, resulting in tight handling, traction, and stability control. This is especially important in wet weather and when driving off-road. 

Every Tesla, including the Model Y, boasts a continually improving and reliable powertrain, thanks to a dedicated team of engineers who meticulously test and refine every detail. The goal is to achieve the best and safest performance while minimizing environmental damage and ensuring the highest quality results possible.

Tesla Model Y's Spacious Interior and Versatility        

One of the standout features of the Model Y that makes it the best-selling car of 2023 (so far) is its remarkably spacious interior. With seating for up to seven passengers, this compact SUV provides ample room for people, pets, and cargo.

The rear seats fold flat, offering impressive space for large items. Tesla’s website shows that behind the first row, when the second-row seats are folded, there are 72.1 cubic feet of cargo volume. 

I’ve used my Model Y for hauling large loads of garden supplies and enabled Camp Mode in the vehicle for overnight camping. There’s room for a comfortable mattress and much more.

When driving my Model Y, I feel completely immersed in the experience and feel a close connection to the surrounding environment. The panoramic glass roof enhances the feeling of spaciousness, creating an open and airy atmosphere. The minimalist, sophisticated interior that Tesla is known for allows me to focus solely on the beautiful driving experience.

Advanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability 

Tesla vehicles are equipped with eight telescopic cameras that enable them to navigate highways, change lanes, and park with remarkable precision. 

The Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability takes this technology a step further, allowing for autonomous driving in certain situations. 

While the FSD feature is not fully operational as of now, it's being beta-tested by approximately 400,000 people in North America, including myself. In fact, when I drive my Tesla, almost all of my navigation is on FSD beta. I simply tell the vehicle where to go on the maps, and it takes me there with my careful and attentive supervision.

Note: Tesla announced in their Q4 2022 Shareholder Deck that nearly all customers in the USA and Canada who purchased the FSD feature — approximately 400,000 people — now have access to the FSD beta.  See (p. 10) for more information.  

Cutting-Edge Safety Features 

It only makes sense that the best-selling car of Q1 2023 would also be one of the safest. Tesla's safety features in its vehicles were my number one reason for purchasing one. One example of Tesla's commitment to safety is an incident in January 2022 when a Model Y saved the lives of a family after the car plunged over the edge of Devil's Slide in California. Despite the 250-foot drop onto jagged rocks, all four passengers survived with relatively minor injuries. Miraculously, all four passengers remained alive and relatively uninjured!

How does Tesla maintain its high safety standards? One of the features that allow them to stay safe is over-the-air software updates, which are developed based on real-world crash test analysis and simulations conducted in Tesla’s crash labs.

Advanced Safety in the Model Y

It's crucial to understand that, when it comes to active safety systems, they are not all created equal. The differences in sensors, computing power, and software quality within Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems vary among different vehicle makes and models.

Tesla takes this to a whole new level, and I’ll explain why.

Their safety features are driven by numerous cameras on each car, a neural-net computer, and the wealth of data gained from their fleet of over 4 million cars.

At the heart of Tesla's safety advancements is Tesla Vision, a technology built on a deep neural network. Unlike traditional vision processing techniques, Tesla Vision has the remarkable ability to deconstruct the vehicle's environment, as detailed in Tesla’s 2022 Impact Report, published in April. 

The exceptional safety performance of Tesla vehicles is validated by independent assessments. Model Y earned a prestigious Five-Star Safety Rating from the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP). Notably, it achieved the highest overall score among all vehicles tested by Euro NCAP, highlighting its outstanding safety capabilities.

In 2022, both the Model S and Model Y distinguished themselves as leaders in safety, earning the highest overall safety scores among all vehicles evaluated by Euro NCAP.  These remarkable achievements are what I believe put Tesla in the lead and made the Model Y number one.

The below chart is found on page 76 of Tesla's 2022 Impact Report at

tesla safety assist rating

Extensive Supercharger Network 

Range anxiety over the Model Y's driving distance on a single charge, a major concern for potential EV buyers, is addressed by Tesla's extensive and accessible Supercharger network.

You may have noticed Tesla vehicles charging at Superchargers in your area. I have used Superchargers in my city of Austin, as well as throughout Texas and Louisiana. Supercharging is a delightful experience, and Tesla makes it easy to find a charging station along your route. The screen in the Model Y tells me exactly how far it is to the next Supercharger on a trip, how much charge I will have when I arrive there, and it preconditions the battery so it will fast charge at optimal speed. 

From my personal experience, Supercharging stops provide a convenient opportunity to take a short break, use the restroom, grab a snack, and check my phone. It takes me from 15-20 minutes at most to Supercharge on a trip. I see other Tesla owners walking their dogs, getting out to stretch, watching movies/playing games, and resting while Supercharging their EVs.

Tesla is expanding its global Supercharger network so fast that it is hard to keep track of them all! Many new locations are added every week in the USA.

The Tesla Ecosystem, Brand Loyalty, and Community 

Tesla extends its commitment to innovation beyond just its vehicles. The company continues to expand an ecosystem that includes an extensive network of charging stations, frequent software updates, home battery storage, and solar.

You might also be aware of the passionate community of Tesla owners, known for its support, sharing of knowledge, and the collective pursuit of a sustainable future. 

Purchasing a Tesla goes beyond owning a vehicle. It grants access to the world's best supercharging network and the opportunity to join an incredible community of Tesla owners. This community is often humorously referred to as 'the unexpected friends that come with the vehicle.'

Is the Tesla Model Y the Future of Transportation?

Redefining the automotive landscape, the Tesla Model Y captured the title of the world's best-selling car in Q1 of 2023. Its revolutionary electric performance, spacious interior, advanced tech, and commitment to safety have all contributed to its success.

The Model Y not only pushes the boundaries of what's possible but also serves as an inspiration for a new generation of automotive engineers and designers.

With its high-tech features and unwavering commitment to innovation, the Model Y prompts the question: Could this electric SUV shape the future of transportation? Its sustained popularity, along with recent price cuts, indicates a strong demand that is likely to continue. There is plenty of competition, however, with other manufacturers releasing new EV models all the time and conventional combustion trucks remaining popular. 

Ultimately, the answer lies in the hands of consumers, contingent upon their adoption of sustainable, efficient, and exhilarating electric mobility.

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Gail Alfar

Gail is an independent writer who created the publication “Whats Up Tesla” Her writing focuses on increasing knowledge among people on the details of humanity’s path towards a sustainable energy future for all. Her dedication and passion is powered by her motivation to reach out to people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, and share her enthusiasm for electric vehicles, solar energy, battery storage, and autonomous driving software.